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

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

A scene from the Elmer Smith farm in Salem Township in the 1890s.

25 Years Ago — March 17, 1997

Wayland teen Jamie George, who has spent nearly all of his life battling leukemia and other health problems, now is facing a new challenge with a brain tumor.

Three Hopkins families have indicated they would rather keep their land in farming than have it used for a golf course after being approached by potential developers.

After the Wayland Board of Education voted to continue its transportation as it has been, trustee Roxie Muczynski asked if all the controversy and hand-wringing was worth all the hard feelings that surfaced.

The Martin High School band under Fred Bogdan was awarded a Division 1 rating at the Michigan High School Band and Orchestra Association district festival and later this spring will participate in the state festival.

Delinquent fire fees continue to be a problem in Wayland Township and the board is considering raising the cost for services.

The State Boundary Commission had a public hearing on a proposal to annex 140 acres in Wayland Township into the City of Wayland. The land borders Wayland High School and Wayland Middle School. Mayor David Miller said the township would lose $171 annually in tax revenue if annexation is approved.

Hopkins Township is preparing to adopt a fiscal year 1997-98 budget that includes a deficit of a little more than $26,000, which will be absorbed by a healthy fund balance.

Wayland’s basketball team concluded its season with a loss to Hastings in the district finals. The 15-8 campaign was the best for the Wildcats in a decade.

Martin freshman Rick Mena, at 125 pounds, finished third in the state Division 4 wrestling tournament.

The Wayland volleyball team lost to Stevensville Lakeshore in the regionals, ending its season with a 42-7-1 overall record and another O-K Gold Conference championship.

Hopkins also lost in the volleyball regionals to Bridgman after capturing its first-ever district championship.

Gretchen Beuschel was named the Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizen award winner at Wayland High School.

The Hopkins High School quiz bowl team has compiled a 15-7 record in the Allegan County tournament. Team members are Dan Hodge, Dick Wicks, Andy Fein, Luke Williams, Jason Stocking, Kevin DeVrou, Jeff Shields, Matt Navis, Rachel Adamczyk, Mike Navis and Dave Hodge.

Fred Oldebeken, an elder at Martin Reformed Church who donated land for the Son-Life Camp in Wayland, died at the age of 63.

Jean Gallup wrote a feature story about the the old-style Freeport News and publishers Ron and Christy Geiger.

50 Years Ago — March 15, 1972

An unusual ice storm struck the Wayland area, closing schools, downing trees and causing power outages. Local businesses reported that even the electric cash registers were frozen.

Village elections for Martin and Hopkins enjoyed a better than 50% turnout at the polls. Willis Zeinstra was elected commissioner at Martin and Richard Weick village president at Hopkins.

Mike Fisher, who graduated from Wayland High School in 1964, was named to the dean’s list at California State University Long Beach, where he is a senior majoring in industrial education.

Petitions with signatures of 453 signatures were filed with the school board to have a proposal for an auditorium and pool on the June annual school election ballot. Though the proposal to build a new high school was passed in September 1971, a separate request for the pool and auditorium was defeated. Cost was estimated at $240,000 for the auditorium and $525,000 for the pool.

The State Boundary Commission heard testimony on a proposal by the City of Wayland to annex a portion of Leighton Township to house the site of sewer lagoons.

Building Inspector Elvin Wabeke reported a record number of annual requests for building permits, 72, in 1971.

The Globe published a poem written by the nephew of Mrs. Norman Fleek, who became addicted to drugs while serving in Vietnam.

Mary Lou Fifelski wrote a letter to the editor complaining about the lack of coverage for Wayland High School wrestling meets and tournaments.

The United Church of Wayland, under the leadership of the Rev. James Smith, has launched a campaign for building a new church at 411 E. Superior St. The Congregational Church and Disciples of Christ Church two years previous agreed to merge for form the new church.

Casting call has gone out for the Wayland High School junior play, “You Were Born on a Rotten Day,” with Mrs. John Carroll as director, assisted by Pam Eylander and student director Jerry Langley.

Hopkins FFA member Merle Coffey had the grand champion steer and Scott Dekker the champion pen of pigs at the Ottegon Livestock Show and Sale.

Martin’s basketball team lost to North Adams in the regional finals of the Class D post-season tournament.

Neil Young went solo and captured the No. 1 slot among the nation’s tunes with “Heart of Gold.”

75 Years Ago — March 21, 1947

Editor-Publisher Rollo G. Mosher skipped his weekly “Observations Here and There” column because he was down with the flu.

The adult homemaking class had its 10th and final meeting of the season. Members are invited to a family night supper March 24 at the high school cafeteria. The next series of classes will begin April 7.

Harold Fox was elected supervisor of Wayland Township, Edward Russell clerk and Simon Fox treasurer. Russell succeeds Fred Brooks, who chose not to run again.

A sextette comprised of Dorothy Chrisman, Florence Rugaber, Elizabeth Clark, Mildred Smith, Mrs. Merle Andringa and Bessie Illiff sang three selections for members of the Ladies Library Club.

Bernard Bazzett has been announced as valedictorian for the Wayland High School Class of 1947 and Russell Hanlon salutatorian.

Guy Hilbert, 61, of Martin, a longtime painter and decorator, died at Brower Hospital in Plainwell.

A new adult clothing construction class will begin at the homemaking room March 31 at the high school.

A two-and-a-half-old steer raised at George Laker Hereford Farms has been regarded as the finest ever sold at the Wayland Livestock Auction. It was sold to Grand Rapids Packing Co.

Mrs. Donald Edgell gave a lesson on landscaping to the East Bradley Extension Club. Mrs. Alvin Kotrba will give next month’s presentation, on draperies.

The flu bug has taken its toll on the Party-Line Club. Only 11 members showed at the last meeting and the family party already is being postponed.

Now showing at the Wayland Theatre:

• Alan Curtis and Evelyn Ankers in “Flight to Nowhere.”

• Monte Hall and Adrian Booth in “Home on the Range.”

• Phillip Dorn and Catherine McLeod in “I’ve Always Loved You.”

• Walt Disney’s “Make Mine Music,” featuring Benny Goodman, Dinah Shore, the Andrews Sisters, Nelson Eddy, Sterling Holloway.

• Russell Hayden and Inez Cooper in “North of the Border.”

100 Years Ago — March 17, 1922

Elected to village offices were H.F. Buskirk, president; Naman Frank, clerk; L.D. Chapple, treasurer. Frank Chamberlain was elected Wayland Township Supervisor, Leander Chapple clerk and Howard Tanner treasurer. Tanner squeaked past Agnes Robinson 188 to 183.

J.F. Steeby delivered six head of cows to Grand Rapids to be slaughter that responded to a recent test for tuberculosis.

The Willys-Knight vehicle is being sold at Stockdale Garage in Wayland “at a new low price of $1,375.”

William Button left for Rochester, Minn., to check into Mayo Brothers Hospital for an operation.

John Ames and his sister, Mrs. Ethan Smith, ate an authentic Florida dinner consisting of sweet potatoes, green peas, new potatoes, lettuce, with a bouquet of flowers as a centerpiece. All were sent by Mrs. James Corning of Florida.

Vincent Harvat gave a demonstration on the methods of pruning, grafting and budding grape vines at the most recent meeting of the East Wayland Community Club.

Now showing at the Regent Theatre downtown: Dorothy Gish in “Remodeling her Husband” and Eileen Percy in “Maid of the West.”

Elizabeth Clark gave a review of the of the story “The Music Master” to the Ladies Library Club.

Will J. Bennett, born in Wayland Township in 1860, died at his farm home March 7.

“OLD COUPLE would buy a cheap house in Wayland. This place must be cheap.”

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