Bygone Days: A brief look at Wayland area’s past, Part 174

Fire Oldie25 Years Ago — July 18, 1990

EDITOR’S NOTE: It is with regret that I report there were no copies of the July 18, 1990, edition of the Penasee Globe at the Then and Now historical library in downtown Dorr.

Then and Now personnel are encouraging anyone who has Penasee Globe newspapers for the last half of 1990, they’d be delighted to accept them for sharing with the people who read this column weekly.

50 Years Ago — July 14, 1965

“Extra, extra, read all about it! One quarter of a million dollar fire wipes out business block, destroys 4 businesses.”

Yes, it was 50 years ago this week that the west side of North Main Street was devastated by a huge fire that took out Herb Chevrolet, Dewey Brothers Appliance Store, Ruthie’s Restaurant and Mutschler Electric.

The fire started on a Wednesday evening and new and used car salesman Otto Banas was sitting in the front office at Herb’s when he said he heard an explosion. There was some panic at first because the Nicolai Gulf gas station was located immediately to the north of the dealership and a Shell and a Standard gas station both were right across the street.

However, firefighters from the Wayland, Leighton, Hopins, Dorr, Moline, Middleville, Martin, Hopkins and Green Lake departments were able to contain the spread of the flames. Wayland Fire Chief Pat Brocker suffered minor injuries while fighting the blaze.

Noting that Herb’s Garage had been located in Wayland over three generations since 1926, owner Lester Herb said, “We will be selling new and used cars right along.”

The story and photos were captured in a one-page special edition of the Globe by Editor-Publisher Irvin P. Helmey.

Vernon Weick, owner of the local grocery store, was appointed president of the Village of Hopkins, succeeding Theodore Nicolai, who was resigning for health reasons after being elected to a second term only last March.

Bruce Wicks was elected president of the Hopkins Board of Education.

A dog show was put together in the yard of the Walt Gurney home. Terrie Torrey planned the show and Mrs. Lloyd Hill from Rom Mark Kennels of Kalamazoo served as judge. All canines came home with ribbons.

Wayland High School will offer a course in power mechanics this fall, with Ted Currie employed as instructor.

The very likely prospects of school consolidation will be the topic of a special meeting of the Wayland Board of Education, which is inviting all area parents and school districts sending tuition students. A new state law is calling for reorganization of K-12 districts and an Allegan County committee is working on a plan to comply.

Erwin Doublestein, James Kauer, Phyllis Thompson and Elaine Sheldon are attending the 14th annual Western Michigan University band camp.

Mrs. Frank Henika, 94, of Petoskey died. Born in Wayland in 1870, she was the sister-in-law of George Henika, who donated the library building to the village in 1899.

Wayland artist Russell Perry was exhibiting his paintings at the Muskegon Seaway Festival.

George Schrotenboer, chairman of the Moline Softball Association, has announced this year’s invitational tournament will get under way July 26. Last year’s tourney, much of it under the lights, attracted 60 teams, and a larger number is expected for 1965.

Members of the Wayland Grange were scheduled to view pictures of Europe at their next meeting July 16. Pomona Grange was meet at the Leighton Hall July 15. And Leighton Grange Master appointed Mrs. James Tinsler, Frank Brown, Charles Fisher and Mrs. Joe Waugh to handle booths for the Allegan County Fair coming up in September.

Cliff Robertson and Jack Hawkins were starring in “Masquerade” at the Wayland Theatre.

The Rolling Stones were riding high at No. 1 on the music charts with the grammatically incorrect (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.”

75 Years Ago —July 12, 1940

Wayland will go on the air! The editor of the Globe (Rollo Mosher) has been invited by Station WKZO of Kalamazoo (590 on your dial) to sponsor a 15-minute Wayland program next Saturday, July 13, going on the ether waves at exactly one o’clock.

That is one thing that this town has that we can be proud of — as loyal a crop of boosters as any town could wish. We may quarrel a little among ourselves on how the job is to be done, but woe to the person who tries to upset the apple cart, for we are united in making this town an up and coming place.

The Gun Lake baseball club split a doubleheader with the Girodat Cham­pions, of Grand Rapids Sunday, the Lakers winning the first game 7-6. Next Sunday the Gun Lake team tackles the powerful Kalamazoo Ramblers. Be sure to be “on deck.”

There are no such things as a double joint in a human being, a revolver silencer outside of fiction, or a blood test through which it is possible to determine whether an unknown parent of a child is of the white or Negro race.

George W. Vine of Newark, N.J. was playing golf near an American airdrome the other day when he had the shock of his life. A huge bomber flew low over the course just as the golfer drove off from the tee.

The ball, with the speed and accuracy of a bullet, flew high into the air. At the same moment the machine swooped— and the ball crashed through the win­dows of the cockpit and hit the pilot on the head, stunning him.

Fortunately, the airman recovered in time to stop the plane from crashing, but he was feeling so bad he had to bring the bomber down. This must surely be the first case of a golfer bringing down a bomber.

Bring your furniture, farm tools, etc., to the Wayland Livestock Sales every Tues­day at 2:30.

100 Years Ago — July 16, 1915

An ordinance “regulating and prohibiting certain practices and amusements in the streets and on the sidewalks of the Village of Wayland is now in effect. Penalties are a $5 fine or up to five days in the village or county jail. This local law was aimed at roller skaters primarily.

The Bradley Thimble Club met at the home of Mrs. Leslie Muir, who “delightfully entertained 11 members and two guests with many fine selections on the Victrola.”

The school meeting in District No. 10, Leighton, passed quietly, with Roy Smith being elected treasurer for a third term.

Many area residents spent Tuesday in Allegan to take in the Ringling Brothers Circus.

A grand ball will be given at the Birney House in Dorr July 22 with music provided by the Grangers’ full orchestra from Kalamazoo.

Eight boys from Sunday school at the local Congregational Church spent a week camping at Murphy’s Point, Gun Lake.

The bandstand has been installed permanently over the summer at the Wayland State Bank lot. The concert given last night by the military band “was excellent and enjoyed a large crowd of adults and children.” The band is under the guidance of Prof. W. Bickert.

A cow belonging to L.D. Miles was killed on the interurban just north of the village. Reports were that the cow bolted and tried to cross the tracks before the care arrived, but was unsuccessful.

Claude Smith is erecting a fine new cottage on the Smith Resort grounds on west Gun Lake and is now regarded as one of the finest properties around.


  • In your “100 Years Ago” segment, “Mrs. Leslie Muir” was my grandmother on my father’s side. Leslie himself died in 1918, shortly after my father was born, and as a result, no one in my immediate family knew anything about his; not even his first name. A close friend of mine did some amazing research just a couple of weeks ago, and now I and most of my family have some valuable information regarding my father’s family. My friend sent me a link to this article, so it was interesting to see my grandmother mentioned in it.
    This may be too much to ask, but if there is any more information on the Muirs, I would dearly appreciate access to it.

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