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 — April 12, 1999

The City of Wayland has approved a site plan for a new Shell gasoline station at West Superior Street near the U.S.-131 expressway, the former location of Joe Miller’s Phillips 66 station for many years.

Allegan County has awarded a contract to Environmental Recycling of Saginaw for the removal of tires at the pile in Watson Township.

The post office in Wayland is taking bids on construction of its new facility on Reno Drive.

Dorr Township Fire Department is welcoming its first female firefighter, Dawn Gruss, who also is an emergency medical technician with the ambulance service. Four other new firefighters are James Daymon, Lance Bowman, Peter Nelson and Kyle Bockheim.

Wayland and Martin are asking for help in sharing the costs of recycling at the Weick’s food store, Gun Lake.

Road repairs are rerouting motorists along 135th Avenue.

Cindy Shaffer and sons Ben and Amos are seeking some traffic relief along Gregorville Road where they live. They insist they’re “sitting ducks” for crashes.

A spring cleanup campaign is being launched by the Gun Lake Area Sewer Authority.

Incumbents Anita Modreske, Bob Golm and Bruce Sexton were re-elected to their City Council seats unopposed in a very light voter turnout.

A billboard calling attention to the perils of shaking babies has been installed on the expressway just south of the Wayland exit. Interestingly, Christopher McColl of Watson Township has pleaded no contest to charges of involuntary manslaughter in the death of 17-month-old Ryan Simpson.

Pat Staley wrote a feature story about the Allegan County Countrymen, a barbershop-style choral ensemble.

Local carpenter Rodney Dexter, a Korean War veteran, died at his Wayland home. He was 64.

Wilbur Fahrne of Shelbyville, a retired electrician at the Kalamazoo Regional Psychiatric Hospital and longtime local farmer, died in Allegan. He was 82.

Longtime area auctioneer Alfred Brenner of Dorr died at Allegan Hospital. He was 71.

50 Years Ago — April 9, 1974

Jackson’s Western Store on East Superior Street will undergo an expansion with an addition, according to owner Tom Jackson. He said a complete line of horse equipment and a tack room are promised.

Alan Steines, a Wayland High School senior, has won first place in the “Most Valuable Student” contest sponsored by the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and has earned a $700 scholarship.

Wayland State Bank plans to open a branch in Freeport after a group of citizens asked for the change. It is the sixth bank to affiliate with Wayland, the others being Hopkins, Dorr, Alto and Clarksville.

A new nursing center is being built at a site on East Elm Street with 99 beds. Three Wayland men, Ed and Dennis Nickels and George Hampel, were said to be instrumental in persuading construction of the facility here.

The Globe announced that City Assessor Ernest Martin, though he wasn’t the ballot, polled six votes to win the election regardless. Finishing second with five write-in votes was “M. Mouse.”

Arthur Popp won the GOP primary election for an Allegan County Board of Commissioners seat vacated by new County Treasurer Fred Edgerton.

Jeffrey Flowers and a partner are opening a new business, Hauter’s Sales, discount store in the space formerly occupied by Gambles.

Mimi Moulenbelt wrote a letter to the editor praising Editor Irvin P. Helmey for referring to two female City Council candidates by their proper first names, Margaret Dangemond and Marie Hall. “I’ve been told that my biggest problem is that I think I’m equal,” she quipped.

Pipp Community Hospital wrote a letter and included a picture of lab employee Juanita Heckert because her husband and two sons have been hogging all the publicity in the family.

Mrs. Noel Summers has been elected president of the Ladies Library Club.

Wayland High School senior Janice Truax has returned from a seminar sponsored by the Michigan Association of Christian Churches.

The Fraternal Order of Police is sponsoring the annual Easter Egg Hunt at the City Park Saturday morning, April 13.

The Allegan County Planning Commission is working with area townships on land use issues.

The Wayland boys’ track team lost 100-23 to Allegan. Junior John Luebberts was first in the shot put and other firsts were scored in the distance events by Kelly Lapham and Lee Kelly.

Junior Tom Damveld hurled four scoreless innings and Jon Johnson and Dave Koperski kept the shutout going in Wayland’s 2-0 win over Plainwell.

Former Editor-Publisher Rollo Mosher and his wife have returned from Fort Myers, Fla., to spend the warmer months.

Wayland High School graduate Dan Hall signed a letter of intent to play football at Indiana State University. Hall had spent two years at Grand Rapids Junior College.

Hopkins senior Kelly McEwen has been named to the third unit of the Class C all-state basketball team.

Notorious barkeater Jarv Willett returned to Ogrehouse on Wellington Street and promptly dumped a piece of bark into the refrigerator. Father Ray Matterson, Phil Ondersma, Louise Baker and Lee Anne Swann saluted Wayland while making their way to Allegan in a trip.

Thirty Hopkins High School students toured the Gorden Funeral Residence as part of their class project on “Death” and they were shown the movie “Take My Hand.”

Peter Laning of Gun Lake, former owner of Laning Disposal Services, died at age 58.

Mrs. Susie Bohn, 89, former owner and operator of Wayland Variety Store, died at Kent Community Hospital.

Elton John climbed into the No. 1 slot among the nation’s top 100 with “Bennie & the Jets.”

75 Years Ago — April 15, 1949

Miss Joanne Thurston, 18, of Grand Rapids, was killed in a head-on two-car traffic crash about two miles north of Wayland on U.S-131 when the car she was riding in tried to pass another. She was thrown from the vehicle.

The Congregational and United Methodist churches will have union Good Friday service in the former church. Local stores will  be shut down between noon and 3 p.m.

Wayland Fire Department is reporting a spate of grass fires because of dry conditions in the area.

Charles Andringa was elected president of the Wayland Rotary Club.

Henika Library Director Mrs. Dorothy Peterson, Mrs. James Kinney, Mrs. Frederic Hilbert and Mrs. Rollo Mosher attended the Allegan County Library Association meeting at Ransom Library in Plainwell.

The Wayland High School baseball team is shooting for the school’s third athletic trophy this year in Allegan County. Seniors Gene Weber, Bill Dobson and Paul Manning are regarded as the leaders. The Wildcats defeated Plainwell 6-4 last week. Dobson and Bill Mauchmar both unloaded a homer.

Mrs. Jay Smith was admitted to Crispe Hospital in Plainwell for an emergency appendectomy.

Mrs. Edna Lapham was in St. Mary’s Hospital after suffering an attack of gallstones.

The Party Line Extension Club had a meeting with 20 members present and was joined by the South Wayland Club.

Miss Marian Larson returned from Wheaton College to spend Easter with her parents, Dr. and Mrs. A.L. Larson and brought her roommate from Nappanse, Ill., to spend the week.

Mrs. Alfred Snook will review the book “Cheaper by the Dozen” for the Peg-A-Way Coffee April 18.

New water rates adopted by the Village Council will include a flat rate of $4.50 for the first 10,000 gallons and 23 cents per thousand for the next 40,000 gallons.

Now showing at the Wayland Theatre downtown:

• Leon Errol, Edgar Kennedy and Jack Parr in “Variety Time.”

• Allan Rocky Lane in “The Denver Kid.”

• John Wayne and Harry Carey Jr. in “3 Godfathers.”

• Edward G. Robinson, Gail Russell and John Lund in “Night Has a Thousand Eyes.”

100 Years Ago — April 11, 1924

The Wayland Township Republican caucus will be held Thursday, April 17.

Among the new books available in the Henika Library is “Henry Ford, the Man and His Motives.”

Now showing at the Regent Theatre: Thomas Meighan in “Back Home and Broke.” Mary Pickford in “Tess of the Storm Country,” regarded as the crowning achievement of her career thus far.

The Anti-Can’t Club of the Congregational Church will serve a chicken dinner at the Grange Hall. It also plans an apron sale.

A meeting of the fire company in Moline will be held in the hall and officers will be elected Thursday evening.

School District No. 19 held its March community meeting and voted to go on the record as the West Leighton Community Club.

Excavation has been completed for the new school building in Wayland and forms are being laid for the upper foundation.

The WHS girls’ basketball team defeated Otsego 31 to 2 at the school grounds outdoors.

The vote was light in the annual spring election, in which Calvin Coolidge was the preferred candidate for president.

Mrs. Alice White has been ill for several weeks and has been taken to the Soldiers Home in Grand Rapids.

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