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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