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 — Dec. 16, 1996

Albert William (Bill) Finkbeiner and his wife, Esther, opened and ran a diner located about one mile north of Wayland, where the Red Wagon Garden center is now located on Division. Included on the menu was a hot beef or pork sandwich that even included mashed potatoes and gravy for 20 cents.

Developer David Double has withdrawn his request Martin annexation request for his proposed 18-home subdivision.

For Martin, information that was once held inside 50 boxes now has been moved to a few computer disks.

A large vocal crowd showed up to the Leighton Township Board meeting on a sewer project, but a gravel pit proposal was approved without opposition. Leighton officials voted 4-1 to proceed with plans for extending sewer service to 142nd Avenue.

A citizens’ group opposed to privatization of school bus services is threatening recall of Wayland Board of Education members. Leader Mary Martin said the group’s slogan is “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Randy Marklevitz continues to question the results of the recount for Wayland Township Supervisor, in which Democrat Jose Blanco was declared the winner by just five votes. He may seek a second recount.

A senior citizen who was a patient at Sandy Creek Nursing Center was found collapsed in a snow bank near Lorraine and Maple streets in the city. Sandy Creek officials said they believe the woman somehow left the building without being detected.

Rebecca Kleinbrink penned a letter to the editor objecting to Editor Nila Aamoth’s “Soapbox” comments about breastfeeding in public.

The Globe published a photo of outgoing Hopkins Township Supervisor Kevin Cronin passing the gavel to newly elected Supervisor Mark Evans.

Allegan County Clerk-Register of Deeds Joyce Watts was the winner of a lawsuit against the County Board of Commissioners for excluding her from evaluation of County Administrator Joanne Jones.

The Byron Center basketball coach called Hopkins’ Tim Kisner the best player he’d coached against since Chris Webber after the Vikings defeated the Bulldogs 73-61.

Walter Smith drained four three-pointers and Wayland defeated Kelloggsville 58-43.

50 Years Ago — Dec. 15, 1971

Russell Sill took over duties as Allegan County Clerk, succeeding the retiring 30-year veteran Esther Warner Hettinger.

Wayland’s first child care center, Play School Park, has opened under the direction of Mrs. Dennis Nickels and assistant Mrs. John Davis for three mornings a week at the United Methodist Church.

Members of the Wayland Board of Education learned by citizens that the recent move to split sessions has created new challenges in bus routes and in some cases resulted in students having to walk distances to reach the bus stops.

Clifford Reynolds was honored by Hopkins Public Schools for serving 25 years as a bus driver, beginning in 1947.

Wayland Union Schools is planning a series of holiday concerts between Dec. 16 and Dec. 21 at the boys’ gym.

Michigan State Police Trooper James Cody has been promoted to sergeant and transferred to Ionia, John Kool was promoted and Burl Ghastin reassigned to Paw Paw.

Robert Hitzler, who works on the non-dairy creamer line, was honored for 30 years of service at Pet Incorporated.

Local citizen Ronald E. Frank is circulating petitions to have flashers and bells installed at the Penn Central RR crossing on 142nd Avenue.

A letter writer who signed as “Steady Reader,” discussed why so many shoppers go elsewhere to buy goods and services and suggested customer service rather than lack of varsity is the biggest reason.

The Globe published a fascinating photo of nine local ladies from days gone by (the 1930s) at a “Tramp Party” and asked readers to identify them.

Joan Lautenschleger of Dorr, a 1970 Wayland High School graduate and sophomore at Hope College, won the state championship in a collegiate forensics tournament.

Senior guard Jim Hendrixson scored a career-high 33 points, but Wayland lost a 68-61 decision to Hamilton to fall to 0-3 on the season.

Hopkins FFA member Phil Lenhart finished second in the state broiler contest and teammate Burton Brenner was third.

Hopkins Public Schools has launched a survey on its athletic program, asking district residents to indicate what they’d like to see.

Gerald Arnsman scored 17 points as Hopkins defeated Allendale 68-58 in its season opener.

The Wayland girls’ varsity basketball team lost 53-10 to Martin.

75 Years Ago — Dec. 20, 1946

Robert Townsend, 34, formerly of Wayland, died in a motorcycle accident in Mesa, Ariz. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. Arlie Townsend, were preparing to travel to Arizona after receiving the telegram.

Mrs. Wayne Chrisman led Ladies’ Library Club members in a carol sing program. Club members helped purchase a huge Christmas tree placed on the lawn at Henika Library, where there will be more carol singing on Christmas Eve.

Wayland native John Damoth, 55, was killed in a traffic crash northwest of Farwell. He starred in football, basketball and track at Western State Normal and was a teacher and coach at Hastings, Allegan, Manton and Frankfort.

Mr. and Mrs. Morris Hoff of Wayland are expanding their bakery business by purchasing the Faulk and facility in Allegan.

Mrs. J. Martin Clouse and Mrs. Bernard Barrows presented an informational session on pockets to the South Wayland Extension Club.

An independent adult men’s basketball league has been formed and six teams will be included in a league. Participation will be limited to local men and those nearby who do not have gym facilities.

The Wayland Theatre remains closed until Christmas Night, Dec. 25, when the classic film “My Darling Clementine,” will be shown, featuring Henry Fonda, Linda Darnell, Victor Mature ad Walter Brennan. On Dec. 27 and 28, “The Bowery,” starring Wallace Beery, George Raft and Jackie Copper, will be shown.

Miss Dorothy Jean Larson, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. A.L. Larson of Wayland, has been selected to sing contralto with the Kalamazoo College choir for a special Christmas service.

Wayland High School senior Louise Fifelski was the winner in a state-wide essay contest with her paper, “Diagnosis: Tuberculosis.”

Roy Johnson is the leading scorer and only senior on the Wayland High School varsity basketball team that is now 5-1 on the season.

100 Years Ago — Dec. 16, 1921

Glen Jackson was elected worshipful master of the James Fenton Lodge of the Masons in Wayland. Members are discussing erecting a new temple on the lot just east of the village hall.

The Forrest Lewis Post of the American Legion is using the slogan “We fought together, now we stick together.” Members meet in their rooms in the Yeakey block downtown.

Most of the students in the primary school are recovering from bouts with the chicken pox.

Wayland High School boys are planning to field “a snappy baseball team” and are running fund-raisers. They lost their battery of Hudson and Bouwman from a year ago due to graduation.

Howard Clack, Russell Birchard, Agnes Fifelski and Raymond Rider took part in Assemblt exercises, which included two Victrola selections.

High school girls are selling vanilla, with proceeds to benefit the basketball program this spring.

“According to an order from the Health Officer, all students out with communicable diseases must obtain a permit from the health officer or a physician before re-entering the school.”

Reuben B. Smith of Wayland has recovered his vehicle stolen three years ago in Kalamazoo. The man who stole it had sold it to his uncle. “Mr. Smith now has two cars to drive and is wearing a happy smile.”

Miss Ruth Thaler, 15, of Leighton Township, died of typhoid fever at her home Dec. 2. The funeral was held at Corning Church with many attending.

Those attending the next meeting of the Ladies Library Club are asked to bring some suitable gift for a child. The gifts will be distributed to Indian children of the community.

Longtime Leighton resident Mrs. Israel Beck died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Robert Smith, after being sick with erysipelas on Thanksgiving Day.

Now showing at the Regent Theatre:

• Wally Reid and Bebe Daniels in “The Dancin’ Fool.”

• Buck Jones in “Get Your Man.”

• Episode 4 of “Winners of the West.”

Eighty people were served at the Bradley Congregational Church at the chicken pie supper sponsored by the Ladies Aid Society.

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