Bygone Days: A look at the past in NE Allegan County

(Taken from the archives at the Then & Now Historical Library in downtown Dorr)

25 Years Ago — March 6, 1996

The Wayland Township Board has decided to use some of its fund balance to reconstruct a portion of Fifth Street. Trustee Randy Marklevitz dissented.

Bobbie Jo Ritchie, former Delton Kellogg basketball and softball star, has joined the Wayland City police force after graduating from academy at Kalamazoo Valley Community College.

Martin school officials acknowledge students these days do drugs, insist the local district doesn’t have serious problem.

Wayland Union schools Maintenance Supervisor Gene VanPutten has accepted a similar post at Rockford schools.

The Wayland High School volleyball team overcame influenza and opponents to capture the O-K Gold Conference and district championships in successive weeks.

The Martin basketball team earned a share of the Southwest Athletic Conference crown with road victories against Bloomingdale and Saugatuck. Again, it was Richie Guerrant and Robert Mitchell who led the offensive fireworks.

Gary Melvin and Lou Thierwechter announced they will not seek another two-year term on the Allegan County Board of Commissioners.

Scott Sullivan, in the Soapbox, tackled the issue os singling out star Tim Kisner of Hopkins and questions about sportsmanship. Sullivan said it’s always been his philosophy to play with not against an opponent.

Dorr Township Clerk Dick Dutkiewicz taking umbrage with Editor Nila Aamoth’s contentions about voting, suggesting legal notices are a way to let voters know.

Challengers Mary Howard and Dale Stein, Larry Switek will vie with incumbents Richard Malone and Robert McEwen for trustees’ seats on the Hopkins Village Council in the spring election.

Billed as a “Hudson Family Reunion,” Wayland coach Mike Hudson lost to his dad, Harry, coach of Wyoming Rogers, finishing the season with an overall record of 9-11.

The Hopkins basketball team finished the regular season with a 12-8 record overall and set a state record by playing in nine overtime games.

50 Years Ago — March 3, 1971

Henry Miller, Wade Greenawalt, William Schuh, Max Barnes, Don Shafer, James Koster and Robert Swartout are included in the crowded field of candidates for three Wayland City Council seats.

The only contest for Village of Hopkins seats also is for council trustee seats, with incumbents Dick Weick, Ed Hitt and Bill Weick taking on challengers George Schwartz, Dennis Kennedy, Donald Knudson and Robert Schwartz.

The Wayland City Council has shelved a proposed local snowmobile ordinance, noting it’s a good possibility the state may craft such a law.

Wayland physical education teacher and guidance counselor Mrs. Patricia Rowley has received a special service award for her 13 years as advisor to the local Girls’ Athletic Association.

Russell Laraway has sold his insurance firm in Martin to Mid-State Agencies of Otsego after being in business here for 12 years. Vice President Kenneth Bleeker will manage the company.

The 1970 census shows that Allegan County has seen a population increase of 15.3%. The census also indicated that 77.4% of the county is rural and agricultural and 22.6% is urban.

Now showing at the Wayland Theatre: Walt Disney’s “The Aristocats.”

Social studies teacher Eugene Knobloch wrote a letter about the need for passing local school millages, saying, “The State of Michigan or even the federal government will step in and force these communities to do exactly what the government wants.”

Longtime Martin school teacher Hattie Hilbert died at Pipp Hospital in Plainwell. She was 83. She was active in the Allegan County Historical Society.

The Hopkins FFA demonstration team of Jim Gratz, Ted Howard and Merle Coffey claimed the regional championship and qualified for the state competition at Michigan State University.

Ken Merren (101 pounds) became Wayland’s first-ever regional champion, but teammate Brent Irwin missed the cut for qualifying for the state tournament by losing to the defending state champion in his weight division.

Wayland’s basketball season was concluded in a district tournament loss, 85-80 to Plainwell. Dan Hall had 27 points, Mark Schipper 15, Boyd Heckert 14, Mike Longstreet 12 and Jim Hendrixson 10. The Wildcats lost four of their last five ballgames and finished with an overall season record of 9-8.

GAA members Carol Crawford, Mary Brower, Theresa Dunsmore, Marilyn Kuhtic and Pat Tolan represented Wayland High School at a Leadership Day conference at Western Michigan University.

75 Years Ago — March 8, 1946

F.W. Cumberworth, advertising and public relations executive with Standard, presented “Two Million Persons Have Never Seen an Elephant” to the Wayland Chamber of Commerce.

Cecelia Schroeder have a talk on “Conservation to members of the Ladies Library Club at the home economics room at Wayland High School.

Norris Schuh has been notified that his brother, Leon, has been promoted from lieutenant colonel to colonel while at a hospital in Oklahoma.

Philetus Edwards, mail carrier and drummer for several area bands, died at his home in Wayland. He was 71.

Mrs. Ida Ritter, mother of local businessman L.P. Reno, died in a hospital in LaGrange, Ind.

Well known band leader Ted Weems will bring an ensemble to the Dixie Pavilion south of the village Friday night, March 15.

Audley B. Calkins, a 1910 graduate of Wayland High School, died in a Mission, Kansas, hospital. He was owner of a greenhouse and once had an article published in Better Homes and Gardens magazine.

The district basketball tournament will be held March 7-9 at Allegan. Teams include Wayland, Hopkins, Martin, Bangor, Bloomingdale, Fennville, Plainwell, Otsego and host Allegan. Caledonia edged Wayland 25-24 to win the Barkenall League trophy. Named to the all-league team were Bob Hendrixson of Wayland and Dick McBride of Hopkins.

The Wayland High School junior class play will be “Dude Ranch” March 28 and 29.

Now showing at the Wayland Theatre:

  • Edward Arnold in “The Hidden Eye.”
  • George Montgomery and Eva Arden in “Last of the Duanes.”
  • Judy Garland, Ray Bolger and Angela Lansbury in “The Harvey Girls.”
  • Dennis O’Keefe, Perry Como and Carmen Miran da in “Doll Face.”


100 Years Ago — March 4, 1921

Mrs. Beth Mosher presented a paper to the Ladies Library Club about Beaver Island and the murder of King Strang and subsequent disbursement of his some 3,000 Mormon followers in 1856.

Lee H. Bierce, secretary of the Grand Rapids Association of Commerce, told members of the Commercial Club about the scarcity of money and downward spiral of prices since the world war. An orchestra from Grand Rapids provided entertainment.

A Mr. Mock of Battle Creek took school photos and sold about 100 copies to students.

The Wayland High School senior play will take place Thursday and Friday evenings. Materials for the stage are being donated by Mr. Hunsberger and Mr. Bowman.

This week’s Musical memory contest features the Polish Dance by Scharwenka and Largo by Handel.

Twenty-two children in Mrs. Goldie Stockdale’s class are pages in the Modern Health Crusade.

Anyone interested in joining the National League of Women Voters is encouraged to attend a meeting March 8.

Andrew Forbes, a longtime resident of Wayland Township, died at his home just each of the village.

The F.C. Wing Furniture Store is reporting that it is overstocked and prices have been slashed.

Helvetia Milk Condensary is seeking all the milk it can purchase at an increased price of 35 cents per hundredweight.

Allie Frue is planning a Poverty Party at his hall in Ohio Corners Saturday evening.

Dr. Ira Slater has posted a want ad for a horse and buggy “for days and nights when my car is off the road.”

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