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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:

https://collection.fallasburg.org/

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

Prologue 

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.

https://collection.fallasburg.org/Gallery/14

                            https://collection.fallasburg.org/Gallery/13 

                                                                                                              

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

Epilogue

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.

Copyright (c) 2020. 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

150th Anniversary of the Fallasburg Covered Bridge

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 Festival with pictures and information about the monumental bridge rebuilding in the 1990’s, 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 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”.

Fallasburg Centennial cookbook 1971

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 collectable trinket

Commemmorative coins to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Fallasburg Covered Bridge.

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.

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.

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

Walking tours of Fallasburg village

Fallasburg Historical Society (FHS) offers tours by appointment

Fallasburg, MI – Book your tour today for a walk through the 1850s historic village of Fallasburg located just six miles north of Lowell on the banks of the Flat River. You will be delighted by the quaint atmosphere of the hamlet far from the maddening crowds of big cities as you step back in time. The village, which started as a saw-and-grist milling operation, has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1999.

The tour will take you from the one-room schoolhouse with the belfry and the original desks down the Covered Bridge Road past the historic buildings: the Misner House, the recently renovated Tower Farm and the J.W. Fallass House.

The Misner House is home to the village artifacts; these include treasures such as the Fallasburg Footprints, WWI Women’s Registration Cards among many others.

For a digital collection of artifacts go to:

https://collection.fallasburg.org/

You can visit the Fallass House as part of the tour. The tour ends by the Covered Bridge which is celebrating 150th anniversary this year. It’s a wonderful photo opportunity.

For appointment contact FHS president Ken Tamke via the website http://www.fallasburg.org or use the comment section in the blog or email kentamke@comcast.net

Featured photo: A small group tours the village.

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

In Observance of Memorial Day at Fallasburg

Pictured above are the grave stones of those who served our country because “Freedom is not free.”

Volunteers from the @Fallasburg Historical Society cleaned up the Fallasburg Cemetery on the north side of the Fallasburg Historic District of the village.

Visit the the 1850s historic village this summer for a walking or a biking tour. The one-room schoolhouse museum will be open on Sundays from 2 to 4 p.m.

Stay tuned for an upcoming story about the completion of the historic district with the last missing piece- the bronze marker for the historic “Tower Farm.” The main remodel of the dilapidated structure took place during the pandemic when everything was cancelled.

“The Quest for the Bronze Marker” will showcase the colorful history of the old farmhouse from its origins to its classy renaissance.

The bronze marker will look like the ones placed in front of the schoolhouse amd the Fallass House.

The sign marks the “Fallasburg Historic District” once you cross the Covered Bridge heading north.

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


Fallasburg on National Register of Historic Places

Looking for something to do this summer?

Get ready to visit Fallasburg by studying up on its fascinating history of how it got on the National Register of Historic Places.

The sleepy hamlet started as a saw-and gristmilling operation in the late 1830s and 40s.

Thanks to years of preservation work by a team of volunteers, the Fallasburg Historic District is fully preserved and thriving under the walnut trees with the newest addition of the remodeled Tower Farm.

Stay tuned for full story.

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

Fallasburg Historic District

Tower Farm remodel completes Fallasburg historic village

Walking through the immaculate white rooms still smelling of fresh paint at the Tower Farm with pristine views of the Fallasburg village and the woods in the back, it would take the wildest imagination to transport you back in time before the remodel. The 1850s dilapidated farmhouse was falling apart, when the Fallasburg Historical Society (FHS) embarked on the ambitious remodel in May of 2020. It was the last missing piece in the total reconstruction of the historic village due to the limited funding and since it was the last building to be occupied, it provided income to the FHS.

However, the roof was replaced in 2011 and the windows were replaced in 2014 to save the structure from extreme decay. In the years past, the FHS peeled off the asphalt/fireboard siding put on in 1954. Within the past year, the FHS was able to secure individual donations to begin a proper renovation.

The Orlin Douglass/Tower Farm was built by Douglass in 1850.  It was later acquired by the Towers. In 1896, the right half of the farmhouse was moved from a nearby location so that sister-in-law’s, Tower and Steketee, could live together with their families.

The outside had greyish brown color and a layer of green fiberboard had been put on circa 1954 and peeled off during window installation, according to Craig Fonger, a volunteer and webmaster. All the mechanicals were replaced and proper fire blocking was installed to prevent fire from migrating to the second floor.

“COVID presented us with an opportunity we otherwise wouldn’t have had,” said Fonger. “This completes our village restoration and allows us to present a finished product to the world. Additionally the rental income will help benefit FHS.”

“I’m ecstatic about the Tower House rehabilitation,” said FHS president Ken Tamke.

  It has been a very long haul on this project, 30+ years, and the result is stunning.  Were it not for a couple of grants, the Lowell Area Community Fund administered by the Grand Rapids Community Foundation that awarded FHS a grant for a new roof in 2011, and the Lowell Cable Television Endowment Fund which awarded FHS a grant for new windows in 2014, the Tower House just might not have survived.

“The job our remarkable volunteers and contractors did that helped get the home to the finish line cannot be underestimated, many thanks to them,” Tamke said.  “They deserve a lion’s share of the credit.”

Fonger said that nothing in the structure was neither square or plumb.

“At almost every turn we were forced to improvise in some way, in some caseseschewing the assistannce of builders squares and levels and just making things fit,” he said.

But, there was also gratification in the fact that the Tower House was the last property in almost 30 lumberring years of rehabilitation- each succession building on the legacy of preceding FHS boards.

Fallasburg Village has undergone an amazing renewal and is finally to a point beyond damage control, but there will always be something, paint here, repair there, TLC all around.  The life of the preservationist is never boring or without tasks.  FHS is up to the challenge!

Over the last decade, the village has continued to improve buildings, according to the treasurer Alan Rumbaugh. First, the stagecoach was redone, then Blackmer, next the Fallas house, and then Betsy Fallas. The Post Office and and Beckwith Tavern have been nicely maintained. The Tower and Fallas barns have both had major repairs with the Tower Barn getting the Barn of the Year 2014.

The School House had a new front porch/deck put on last year and the entire building was repainted. The old shack beside the Stagecoach House has been torn down adn the double wide across the street has been removed and a new farm type house will be built on that property.

Now that the Tower House has been brought to reflect its past, we have a village street that we can start to promote to the public and build a much bigger following for the FHS.

We hope to have the Tower House disdplay farm artifacts in the FHS part of the house, reflecting the history of the “Tower Farm” and water melon crops. The other half of the house will have tenants that will not only give us some income to promote the village, but hope for them to be an active member, living in the village.

The Misner House will be repainted this summer and some other minor work done on it. The displays in that house would be more in line with domestic items, washing machines, spinning wheels, etc.

The Fallas House would be set up as it would have been in the 1800s. The School House will reflect the life in a one-room school, which was in use into 1950s. The other houses on the street are private residents and have noted on the yard signs.

The original plan was to restore the Tower House creating a museum that represented 20TH century life.  FHS has communicated regularly with the Tower Family and has obtained family mementoes, furnishings, pictures, and artifacts that will be displayed.  We hope to hold occasional meetings, gatherings and outdoor functions supported by our new kitchen with this landmark farmhouse and grounds as the backdrop.

According to treasurer Al Rumbaugh, farming artifacts and memorabilia will be stored at Tower the House. The Tower House will also be used as office to work on program planning and archival projects.

Fonger credited much of the work to Rumbaugh and David Cadwallader who spent many hours on the project.

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

Fallasburg Covered Bridge

Featured on WZZM today. Photo by Bruce Doll.

Stay tuned for the next installment of “Tales From the Burg” series that connects Fallasburg’s past with the present via stories and artifacts.

Fallasburg’s artifacts can be found online in Collective Access at Collective Access

Mr. Goodsell’s letter about the Covered Bridge.

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

Historic Farmhouse Listed

Fallasburg Historical Society

 Historic Farmhouse Listed!

Spread the word!Experience Farmhouse Living. Due to the overwhelming response, the new rental price is $1,200. The FHS will first consider non-pet owners and then pet owners.  · Lowell, MI

Live the farmhouse life in a thoroughly and lovingly renovated home! Original hardwood floors throughout. Located just outside of Lowell in historic Fallasburg Village. Imagine the historic Fallasburg Covered Bridge waving goodbye to you in the morning and welcoming you home in the evening. Immediate access to North Country Trails, beautiful Fallasburg Park, and the pristine Flat River. Prospective tenants are people who value and enjoy an historic home surrounded by nature. The home features three bedrooms upstairs, and two baths – one up and one down – with laundry upstairs conveniently located near the bedrooms. References and credit check required. $1050/month-to-month; First month and equal deposit. You’ll be renting from Fallasburg Historical Society www.fallasburg.org . Tenant responsible for lawn mowing and snow removal and utilities. No pets. Apply at open house on Sunday 1-3PM. COVID guidelines will be followed. If it’s still listed, it’s still available.

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