Tales From the Burg

Welcome to our series “Tales From the Burg” designed to connect the readers with the Fallasburg Historical Society’s (FHS) prescious treasure of artifacts known as Collective Access. You can find individual artifacts by clicking the link below:


The series will have the logo of Mr. Goodsell’s letter. We encourage your input and feedback by commenting below or on social media. Enjoy the first installment about Mr. Goodsell’s memories of the construction of the Fallasburg Covered Bridge.

Tales From the Burg

Flat River Days, Building a Bridge


In 1821, John Orton Goodsell, originally from Oneida, New York and ninth son of Goodsell Family patriarch John Sr., purchased 190 acres in Vergennes Township at the end of what is now known as Beckwith Drive.  The property, framed by the Flat River on three sides, looked down upon the river, and what would become the location of the Fallasburg Covered Bridge, gateway to Fallasburg Village founded in 1839 by John Wesley Fallass.

Clark W. Goodsell (C.W.), John Orton Goodsell’s son, was born in 1859, one of two children from his father’s second marriage. The following reflections come in the form of a letter dated August 7, 1932 from C. W., who grew up just a stone’s throw from Fallasburg to Villager Hermann Jones. Here are links to the original letter and land abstract from the Fallasburg Historical Society Collection.

Clark Goodsell.




Harrisville, August 7 – 1932

Mr. Hermann Jones,

Dear Sir, I received your letter O.K. but have been busy of late fishing for company.

Well, I guess I know more about Fallassburg than anyone left now. I was born up on the hill west of the

Burg in 1859, so I can remember a lot.  On a 2 X 4 on the northwest side of the old bridge is my name dated June 18TH, 1880, the day I first left home.

That bridge was built by a Frenchman by the name of Jerard Buzee. He built 9 such bridges after Flat River.  That bridge was built 1867 as near as I can make out. I was about 8 years old when Buzee and his crew boarded at our house while they framed the bridge.

I rode rafts of lumber down the Flat before they ran any logs, many times.  Ed Lewis, Charlie Richmond, and I have rode over the shoot on logs when we were boys.  I could ride anything that would hold me up or wore hair.  I rode a horse for John Fallass in the first fair at Lowell.  I weighed 48 pounds, so small they had to strap me on.  I rode runners until I was 26.  John Wright can tell you about my riding.  Give Billie Rex my regards.

Yours Truly,

C.W Goodsell


Four other bridges (not covered) preceded the Fallasburg Covered Bridge, the very first being built in 1839.  By 1849 the first two had failed.  The third bridge, a sturdier affair, lasted until 1860.  Enter bridge builder Jared N. Brasee & Co.  For $249.50, Brasee reconstructed the third bridge, now the fourth to span the Flat River.  In the spring and into summer of 1871, for $1,500, Brasee & Co. built the fifth-the Fallasburg Covered Bridge.  Villager, F.A. Geill adorned the portals of the bridge in 1872 with the signs, “$5 Fine for Driving on This Bridge Faster Than A Walk”, which are still in place today. 

2021 will mark the 150TH Anniversary of the Fallasburg Covered Bridge

It is hard to ignore that Villager, Hermann Jones, recipient of C.W. Goodsell’s letter in 1932 was not related somehow to Frank Jones.  Jones ran a General Store and a Tavern in Fallasburg Village in the mid-to-late 1800’s, was an avid hunter, fisherman, and trapper, living in a variety of dwellings within the Village, one of which was a small summer cottage on River St. sitting just above the covered bridge.  Here’s a picture of Frank Jones with his Flat River bounty, a Pike as tall as he is:

Descendants of the Goodsell Family are today, still present in West Michigan and beyond.  The farmhouse John Orton Goodsell built in the early 1820’s stood until 1950 when the property was purchased by Clarence and Stella Bradshaw.  Unable to save the original, the Bradshaw’s had to tear it down and start again.  Here is the 125-year-old Goodsell Farmhouse in 1950 before, and the Bradshaw home in 1951 after.

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Murray Lake Elementary @Fallasburg

By Emma Palova

Students from Murray Lake Elementary visited the historic 1850s Fallasburg village for a tour starting at the one-room schoolhouse where they took seats in the old original desks in front of the black chalkboard.

The 1867 schoolhouse came alive as the yellow Lowell Area school bus dropped the kids off and the bell rang to their laughter and chatter.

The one-room schoolhouse is the signature museum of the Fallasburg Historical Society (FHS) and it remained a functioning school until 1961.

So let the class begin. The teacher and tour guide was Mr. Ken Tamke. Tamke FHS president emeritus and Murray Lake teacher Denise Washburn have established this field trip tradition so long ago that no one can remember.

“This ties into first-grade lesson plans,” Tamke said. “They read Little House on the Prairie.”

Mr. Tamke took the kids by groups on a whirlwind tour through the village where he pointed out the flowering Black Locust tree in front of the newly renovated Tower Farm.

“It is said to be the oldest tree in Michigan,” he said.

At the Misner House, which stores the Fallasburg Historical Society (FHS) artifacts, the tour took on a funny spin as Mr. Tamke talked about the predecessors of the modern washing machine ( paddle laundry) and microwave.

The 1850 Misner House is the most complete museum in Fallasburg Village with recently installed climate control to preserve the artifacts.

The kids also toured the Fallas House built by founder John Wesley Fallas and his brothers, Silas and Arad in 1842. They loved the wooden “abacus” which was actually used as a wooden playpen to entertain toddlers.

The photo displays on easels attracted the kids’ attention as the closest objects to current times. The tour down the Covered Bridge Rd. included buildings that are part of the village, but not owned by the FHS.

“People live in there?” a child was fascinated in front of the old yellow Stagecoach House aka Fallasburg Inn built in 1859.

And finally, the kids ran across the Covered Bridge only to get fined for crossing at a speed faster than walking.

“I have a dollar,” a child said.

Watch for a story with pictures in the Lowell Ledger.

More action coming from the village as seven-year-old lepidopterist Liam Lopez-Wagner will be planting milkweed as part of his Amigos for Monarchs project on June 11 at 10 am in the historic village.

Copyright (c) 2022. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Spring into the Past museum tour this weekend

The Tri-River Historical Museum Network (TRHMN) will hold its premier special event “Spring into the Past 2022” this weekend on April 30th and May 1st with more than 30 museums and historical societies participating.

Stop by at the one-room schoolhouse signature museum in Fallasburg just six miles northeast of Lowell.

This year’s theme “Celebrating Women” depicts the many roles that women have played in history over the centuries as they serve their families in the home or community and fight for equality in many different ways.

Many museums are preparing special exhibits featuring women in their local communities such as Bowne Township Historical Society which is home to TRHMN.

“It has been a long couple of years and we are all excited to get back to business as usual,” said TRHMN president Sally Johnson. “We’re hoping for a great turnout.” TRHMN received the 2021 State Award for Special Programs/Events in September of 2021 from the Historical Society of Michigan.

“We were all excited to receive the award for our “Spring into the Past event,” Johnson said. “We all were so pleased to be recognized for the work we have put into this event over the years. It’s always nice to be acknowledged for your work.”

Kim Culbertson, president of Bowne Township Historical Society, readied several exhibits for the upcoming tour, including a yard sale to raise funds for a major barn project last Friday. The yard sale of antiques and more will be held on April 30 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“We’re very excited about our project,” she said. “This is our first fundraiser for the barn project.”

The tour covers museums in Barry, Eaton, Ionia, Kent and Montcalm counties. The closest museums to Lowell are: the Lowell Area Historical Museum, Fallasburg one-room schoolhouse, Bowne Township Historical Commission in Alto, Belrockton Museum in Belding, Saranac Historical Depot, Blanchard House in Ionia, Flat River Historical Society and museum in Greenville and Ada Historical Society.

The main purpose of the museum tour that started in 2002 is to showcase different museums in the network of the tri-river area.

The participating museums of the Tri-River Network provide collaborative support to each other, while recognizing the unique qualities of each museum.

 “Taking your children or grandchildren to a museum provides a wonderful opportunity to share your life and memories in a unique way,” said Judy Gager, spokesperson.

Johnson said that the main purpose is to entice people, locals and others, to visit our museums and see how we have been striving to preserve our heritage.

“There are so many locals who have no idea that we even exist,” she said.

All museums are free, but donations are appreciated. Each museum will have booklets with a map or you can download one for free at commoncorners.com

The time of the tour on April 30th is from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., May 1 from noon to 5 p.m. For more info contact each individual museum.

Spring 2022 sprouts new leadership, events, ideas special edition newsletter


New Leadership 
New Signature Event
Updated Mission Statement
New Strategy and Initiatives 
Events Updates  

Dear Member,

On behalf of the board of Fallasburg Historical Society, we enthusiastically welcome our new leadership – Craig Fonger as President and Bruce Doll as Vice President – to the helm of the Fallasburg Historical Society! It is spring in Fallasburg, and spring for the Society. Just as the flowers are blooming, new initiatives are blooming for us! Our new signature event, the Fallasburg Village Celebration on July 30, 2022, is what we are rallying for the most at the moment. We are looking forward to this being our signature event to promote our historic village to a broad group of people – raising awareness about us and raising our profile in the region. 

President Craig Fonger

Vice-president Bruce Doll

Additionally, we have been having meetings on strategy to refine and chart our future course. Included discussion has been our new mission statement, “Preserve and promote the unique history of Fallasburg Village by bringing its past to life for present and future generations.” We invited historic community stakeholder Lowell Area Historical Museum, director Lisa Plank, to help chart our future with them and are looking for creative ways to collaborate on programming. While we have been working together for years, we believe that working together more closely in programming makes us both stronger together! Moreover, we are exploring grants and fundraising we would like to pursue to expand programming and bring our facilities up to industry standards in terms of climate control. Climate control is crucial in controlling humidity which is the enemy of most historical artifacts. Additionally, we’ll be looking more closely at the museum industry standards and practices in all areas and ensure we are in line with those.  

President Fonger comes to us growing up in the area with deep family ties to the Lowell area. Back in 2019 while living in San Francisco – there for 22 years – Craig became an enthusiastic volunteer, recruited by then-Vice President Tina Cadwallader, to edit our website www.fallasburg.org. He returned to Michigan back in June of 2020 and jumped right in, again by recruitment from Vice President Cadwallader, with the Douglas/Tower Farmhouse renovation with Treasurer Alan Rumbaugh, the lead in that renovation initiative. He came up with aesthetic solutions to many areas in the renovation, integrating our history wherever possible. He and Alan put together the Farm Equipment gallery at Douglas/Tower Farmhouse, soon to be announced and open to the public – stay tuned! President Fonger has also advocated for exploring grants more vigorously for programming and climate control since his arrival and looks forward to leading us full circle in these initiatives.  Moreover, he leads the rental process, finding our stellar tenants that have been in the Douglas/Tower house for the past year. He is busy finding new tenants as the recent tenants have found their forever home. In addition, he has increased our social media profile since returning to Michigan. Recently, as a regular board member out in the community, now President Fonger recruited now Vice President Bruce Doll by chance at a Lowell Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting. In addition to the Fallasburg Historical Society, President Fonger also serves on the board of Lowell Light & Power and serves on the Property Tax Board of Review for the City of Lowell. 

Vice President Doll comes to us from the Kent County Youth Fair headquartered in Lowell. He was recently deemed Lowell’s 2022 Person of the Year. Bruce brings with him 20 years of networking in the Lowell area and producing the fair. The result has been that Vice President Doll – with aplomb – has brought together our new Fallasburg Village Celebration with resources we could have never imagined with all the important equipment and food for the Celebration as well as the talent that will be performing – four bands – Eli Roe, Hawks and Owls, Bruce Mathews, and Easy Idle String Band. Additionally, he’s brought us nearly $6000 in Celebration sponsorship in a very short period of time, graphic artist Denise Stain of United Graphics who designed our new logo, and he is bringing to us an experienced grant writer, Jessica Marks, to explore future grant opportunities. Bruce is an avid photographer and looks forward to us hosting an event in Fallasburg Village with the photography community. Also, rumor has it, he’s one heck of a bobcat driver, too. 

While a lot at Fallasburg Historical Society is changing, much will stay the same. Past President Ken Tamke will continue to be involved – with such deep family roots in the Village, we wouldn’t want it to be any other way. Ken will still be involved in our archival pursuits as well as leading tours and activities for schoolchildren in Fallasburg Village. Past Vice President Tina Cadwallader will still be active as a board member producing events like the Paranormal Investigation and attending board meetings being sure to challenge that the board is steering the ship in the right direction. Having Ken and Tina’s continued involvement and support ensures our stability moving forward.    

 There are a variety of upcoming events for 2022: Saturday, April 30 and Sunday, May 1, 11 am to 5 pm we have the Tri-River Museum Network Spring into the Past event in Fallasburg Village. Murray Lake Elementary at the schoolhouse with Ken Tamke on May 31st. We’ll have a booth space, donated to us by Chimera Designs in Lowell, at the 2nd annual Lowell Pride Celebration on the Riverwalk, on June 4th. We’ll return to the Lowell Chamber Riverwalk Festival on July 8 & 9. Back by popular demand on October 15th will be our Paranormal Investigation in partnership with the West Michigan Paranormal Society. Tower Farm Equipment Gallery Kickoff – TBD. Before you know it, we’ll be planning Christmas in Fallasburg. Sales of our commemorative 1971 centennial cookbooks and 2021 sesquicentennial coins continue to be distributed with our 2nd printing of 200 of the cookbooks which was reported in the Lowell Ledger. We are so excited to report there is so much going on for the Fallasburg Historical Society and we look forward to you joining us on Covered Bridge Road to our future!   

Patty Brechbiel – Secretary
Alan Rumbaugh – Treasurer
Addie Tower Abel – Village Legacy Board Member
Tina Cadwallader – Past Vice-President
Dave Emmette – Board Member
Joann Childs – Board Member


Visit websiteThe one-room schoolhouse in Fallasburg will be open during the Spring into the Past Museum Tour this weekend, April 30 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., May 1 from noon to 5 p.m.


 Preserving Fallasburg is a labor of love with people like you! Resurrecting, maintaining, and sustaining Fallasburg takes not only many hours of labor donated by members and the community – it takes dollars. If you are interested in helping us in our efforts a membership is greatly appreciated. Our village is unique and worth saving to educate and entertain generations to come! Your membership is a donation that allows us to preserve Fallasburg Village and thrive with programs and activities for our members and the community! Thank you!To become a member via mail click below to print a form and send a check to Fallasburg Historical Society 13944 Covered Bridge Rd, NE, Lowell MI, 49331To Become a member continue below.

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Fallasburg @Lowell Community Expo 2022

Explore the 1850s Fallasburg pioneer village

Visit booth no. 49 in the Gymnazium of the Lowell High School on Saturday, March 26 2022 during the Lowell Community Expo.

“Our visitors to the Expo should stop by our booth to hear of the progress we have made over the last several years,” said Alan Rumbaugh, treasurer for the Fallasburg Historical Society ( FHS).

The FHS has been working on digitizing files and artifacts so anyone can access them in the future.

“We have a major event planned for July 30 and would like to tell everyone about it,” Rumbaugh said.

The 150th anniversary of the Covered Bridge commemorative coins and cookbooks will be available for purchase at the Expo on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Stay tuned for more news in a special spring newsletter coming to your inboxes.

Copyright (c) 2022. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Merry Christmas from Fallasburg Historic Village

Fallasburg Centennial Cookbook

The cookbook is an assortment of recipes contributed by members of the community in and around Fallasburg that reflect what Ellura McPherson describes as “used many, many years ago by our ancestors” in her dedication of the book. You’ll find recipes from the likes of Tower, Richmond, Rogers, Fallas, and Ford, just to name a few. The cookbook has generated many a chuckle when leafing through the pages.

Mrs. C.A. Bradshaw, Stella, holds the distinction of the prize-winning recipe of 1970, “Vinegar Pie,” a favorite of lumbermen for many years so she claimed.


Dear Friends:

Herein is not a host of recipes designed to outshine any others. Quite the contrary. This is only a meagre collection of thoughts and ideas from the local people of the Fallasburg area-used many, many years ago by our ancestors.


Ellura Frost McPherson

Vinegar Pie feature recipe

1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup water, 1/2 cup vinegar–bring to boil. Add 1/4 cup butter, dash of nutmeg, 3 tbsps flour blended with little water.

Pour into unbaked pie shell. Top with vented crust. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes.

This is a prize-winning receipt of the 1970 West Michigan Historical Society Contest.

Fallasburg Covered Bridge Centennial Coin

This is a new minting of the “Fallasburg Covered Bridge Centennial” coin from 1971. The original has been updated and now features not only a rendering of the bridge on both sides of the coin, but has an automobile emerging from the portal on one of the sides, a Buick, in keeping with our manufacturing heritage here in Michigan. The first coin was introduced in conjunction with the placement of a bronze marker from the State of Michigan Historic Preservation Program indicating the bridge’s inclusion in the State and National Register of Historic Places.

Re-minted commemorative Fallasburg Covered Bridge Centennial Coin.

Copyright (c) 2021. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Sign up for our newsletter “Fallasburg Today”

If you want to stay in the loop on Fallasburg Happenings sign up for our quarterly e-newsletter. Become an FHS member to help preserve the Fallasburg Historical Village for future generations.

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Happy Holidays from Fallasburg

Click on the link below for the FHS most recent newsletter.


Featured photo by Bruce Doll.

Copyright (c) 2021. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

150th Anniversary of the Fallasburg Covered Bridge

Commemmorative sesquicentennial coins and cookbook available at the pavillion
About the feature photo: The Covered Bridge Centennial Celebration with marker placement ceremony in 1972. Pictured from left to right: Elma Roth, Fred Roth, Leonora Tower, Marian Yates, Ed Mueller.
The Fallasburg Historical Society (FHS) will be joined by the Kent County Road Commission (KCRC) at the Fallasburg Fall Festival of the Arts on Saturday & Sunday, September 18 & 19, 10AM-5PM, on the South Porch of the Fallasburg Park Pavilion.  We’ll be celebrating the 150TH Anniversary of the Fallasburg Covered Bridge, 1871 – 2021. 
To commemorate this sesquicentennial milestone, both organizations, FHS, and KCRC have collaborated to create activities and memorabilia as well as share pictures and artifacts that pay tribute to this iconic structure, arguably one of the most visited and photographed landmarks in Kent County.
KCRC, on Fridays in September, will feature on their social media websites “Fun Facts” about the Fallasburg Covered Bridge, a “Trivial Pursuit” of everything you ever wanted to know from behind the scenes about the bridge.  On Fallasburg Fall Festival of the Arts weekend, KCRC will be announcing their “Fall Color Tour.”  The color tour is a collection of different routes one can choose that guide color tour enthusiasts on a variety of roads in Kent County to soak it all in at their own pace.  This year, one of the routes will include a visit to the Fallasburg Covered Bridge and Historic Fallasburg Village.  Don’t forget to sing Happy Birthday when you go!  Additionally, KCRC staff will be on hand at the Festival with pictures and information about the monumental bridge rebuilding in the 1990s, and the nuts and bolts (literally) that are necessary to keep the bridge open to automobile traffic to this day.
The Fallasburg Historical Society will be making their 53RD appearance at the 53RD Fallasburg Fall Festival of the Arts and have reprinted and newly minted a couple of nuggets that date back to the Fallasburg Covered Bridge Centennial Celebration in 1971 that will be for sale.  The reprinting is of the “Fallasburg Centennial Cookbook”.  The cookbook is an assortment of recipes contributed by members of the community in and around Fallasburg that reflect what Ellura Frost McPherson describes as “used many, many years ago by our ancestors” in her dedication of the book.  You’ll find recipes from the likes of Tower, Richmond, Rogers, Fallas, and Ford, just to name a few.  The cookbook has generated many a chuckle when leafing through the pages.
My late Grandmother, Mrs. C. A. Bradshaw, Stella, holds the distinction of the prize-winning recipe of 1970, “Vinegar Pie”, a favorite of Lumbermen for many years so she claimed.  “Ghastly, is what it looks like me to me.”  “I can’t imagine eating such a thing”.  “There’s no accounting for taste, I guess.”  Food, is not the only topic of the cookbook.  There are recipes for “Grandpa’s Salve”, “Hand Lotion”, and even a remedy for “Inflammatory Rheumatism”.

 The new minting is of a “Fallasburg Covered Bridge Centennial” coin from 1971.  The original has been updated a now features not only a rendering of the bridge on both sides of the coin but has an automobile emerging from the portal on one of the sides, a Buick in keeping with our car manufacturing heritage here in Michigan.  The first coin was introduced in conjunction with the placement of a bronze marker from the State of Michigan Historic Preservation Program indicating the bridge’s inclusion in the State and National Register of Historic Places.
Covered Bridge aficionados, Fallasburg Villagers past and present, and local history buffs will all appreciate this collectible trinket
 Please make plans to visit the Fallasburg Historical Society and the Kent County Road Commission at the Fallasburg Fall Festival of the Arts on the South Porch of the Fallasburg Park Pavilion and help us start the party for our beloved Fallasburg Covered Bridge. Browse our respective collections of pictures and memorabilia and shop our commemorative merchandise.  Then, take a step back in time and venture just across the Historic Covered Bridge from Fallasburg Park and visit the Fallasburg Schoolhouse, with free admission both weekend days.
Find Out More About FHS