Christmas magic in Fallasburg

Christmases of the past

By Emma Palova

Fallasburg, MI – The weather outside is frightful with an arctic invasion coming our way, but I am definitely looking forward to tomorrow’s Christmas party in Fallasburg.

It has become a tradition much like baking, shopping and writing Christmas cards. It’s like recapturing part of the past magic of Christmas that we all have experienced as kids.

It’s all the Christmases of the past coming together into one. We each have special memories of Christmas tied to our childhood past.

Every year we meet out there inside the old Fallasburg one-room schoolhouse to share camaraderie, to break bread and enjoy Christmas music.

First you have to cross the Covered Bridge at the speed of no more than a walk. And then you immerse yourself into the magic of the pioneer village.

I live three miles from the village, and I have discovered it early on after moving out into the northeast corner of Kent County. The village is located approximately three miles north of Lowell. It nestles on the banks of the Flat River.

The Patina of time has settled in on the historical buildings from the 1850s like the Tower Farm. It’s a bygone era of a simpler time in the village.

You can hear the horses and coaches cross the bridge. The party runs from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., and it is capped off with a bonfire.

The Fallasburg Historical Society (FHS) has been managing the village since 1965. As with any historical preservation, the challenges are many. They range from funding to labor for the upkeep on the buildings.

Without a dedicated team of volunteers, none of the events throughout the year would be possible.

These include:

March Expo in Lowell

Spring into the Past Museum tour

Fallasburg Covered Bridge Bike Tour

Fallasburg Village Bazaar

Christmas in Fallasburg

As we wish you a peaceful holiday, we hope that you can join us in our historic preservation efforts by volunteering time or a money donation.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Fallasburg Today at http://fallasburgtoday.org

Fallasburg http://www.fallasburg.org

Thank you for your support.

Copyright (c) 2017. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

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FHS president’s message

Dear friends,

Fall, in and around Fallasburg, is truly a very special and scenic place.  Purists might say this hasn’t been an optimum year for fall color or its longevity, but it sure had me fooled, and the “Indian Summer” we enjoyed was exquisite!  I hope you had a chance to visit and soak it all in.

fallas ken headshot
FHS president Ken Tamke

2017 is almost up, and so is another year for FHS as steward of Fallasburg Village!  The job of the preservationist is never done however, although finally weather says otherwise, at least for outdoor projects.  I do believe volunteers would still be out prepping, repairing, and painting properties if we pitched a tent-well, maybe a heated tent.

I guess you really could call this the year of the volunteer!  They have been amazing in the things they have accomplished maintaining our buildings and grounds, and so have they been in the preservation, and sharing of knowledge about our history.  FHS’ cataloging project of “accession” pieces, the stuff people donate to us; pictures, documents, artifacts, old farm tools, our museum exhibits, has been kept on track by volunteers, and our events come off without a hitch thanks to volunteers, as well.

“Hall-of Famers” for fall include FHS members; Alan Rumbaugh, Tina & David Cadwallader, Mark Kuzee, Frank & Patty Brechbiel, Tracy Worthington, Addie Abel, Emma Palova, Michelle Emaus, and JoAnn Childs.  You are tops.  We couldn’t do it without you.  The list of “cookie bakers,” and “foodies” that help us out from our membership is simply staggering.  Thanks to all of you!

Special thanks should go out to Mitchell Tower.  Mitchell recently completed his Eagle Scout Badge Project-the construction of a fenced “community garden” honoring his family’s heritage on the historic Tower Farm in Fallasburg.  It looks beautiful!  FHS can’t wait to get growing.

As the season of giving approaches we at FHS hope you might consider joining us as a volunteer.  Please visit our website, www.fallasburg.org/contact/

And, don’t forget the Christmas Party, “Christmas in Fallasburg, A Community Celebration,” Saturday, December 9, 6 – 8PM at the Fallasburg Schoolhouse.  www.fallasburg.org/events/

Happy Holidays & Seasons Greetings!

Ken

Copyright (c)2017. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Featured

Christmas in Fallasburg

 

Fallasburg Historical Society cordially invites you to the traditional “Christmas in Fallasburg” party on Dec. 9.

13944 Covered Bridge Road – Lowell, Michigan 49331

Hawks & Owls
Christmas in Fallasburg always features the band Hawks & Owls.

 

Dear friends,

 The schoolhouse in Fallasburg has always been a place that joins us together.  She was built so we would come; to learn, to share and to celebrate.

 Our schoolhouse, dressed for the holidays, once again stands ready to welcome you.

 Please join us for our community celebration.

“Christmas in Fallasburg”

Saturday, December 9, 6:00-8:00PM

Come and enjoy:

Holiday music by Hawks & Owls

 Libations, refreshments, and our Fallasburg Famous Christmas Buffet

 A roaring bonfire in Fallas Field to cap off the evening

 A $20.00 donation is requested from adults.

Copyright (c)2017. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Heating up the night at Fallasburg

Christmas party at Fallasburg scores high

FHS president Ken Tamke speaks about the annual Christmas party held last Saturday at Fallasburg:

In the grips of the polar vortex once again, the cold and the snow, we didn’t quite know what to expect for “Christmas in Fallasburg.”  Party planners take note of the scouting motto, “Be Prepared.”  Not only did we have one of our best turnouts ever, but the diverse mix of guests, young and old, Villagers and visitors, created a positive party vibe that swept the crowd right up inside it.  Bruce and Becca Ling’s Hawks & Owls String Band played inspired.  Patty and Melanie’s food was fabulous and so were all the potluck contributions, thanks.  Everything was gone at the end of the evening.  And, the bonfire…  Well, I’ve said all along, it was almost a shame to light it.  It was so artfully constructed by Villager, Craig Wood.  Enjoying those flames and that heat with those gathered was a most magnificent cap to the evening.  Thanks to all who attended and thanks for your support of the Fallasburg Historical Society and our efforts to preserve Fallasburg Village.  Happy Holidays!!!

By Emma Palova

Fallasburg, MI -Okay, the Christmas party last week at the one-room 1867 Fallasburg schoolhouse was a smash in spite of the fresh snow outside, freezing cold inside and that some folks have mistaken the bonfire for a real fire.

“After all these years, I think they pretty much have it under control,” said a spectator taking a selfie by the bonfire.

“Can you hear it crackling?”

Yes, the huge bonfire crackled, melted the snow around it, attracted snowmobile riders and heated up the night.

Some area residents claimed the snow-capped logs of wood and carved their names in them.

“It was our biggest party ever,” said Ken Tamke, Fallasburg Historical Society (FHS) president.

Inside the schoolhouse people mingled to the sounds of the strings by the Hawks and Owls band nestled in the far corner by the cold stove.

Not only were there newcomers from near such as Saranac, but there were newcomers from as far as Ukraine like Irina.

Irina, a grad student of history at Grand Valley State University, came to the party with friends.

“This is so authentic,” she said. “I had no idea you could go inside the museum buildings.”

Absolutely. Thanks to the recent efforts of the FHS team, most of the buildings of the Fallasburg historical village dating to 1837 are accessible to the public.

The flagship Fallasburg School serves as the official museum of the FHS, and is open from May to October.

The only exception to public access currently is the gray-bluish Tower Farm, built circa 1850. However, the FHS is working relentlessly to get all the museums up to date.

Recently, the FHS has applied for a grant for some roof repair and website upgrades.

The Christmas party tradition, as a fundraiser for the FHS maintenance of the buildings, has been going strong, according to old-timers.

Edwin Roth, 94, the oldest Fallasburg resident has been coming to the party for at least a decade.

“I am 100 percent Swiss,” he bragged. “My parents came from Switzerland.”

Roth farmed in the area in the 1940s and for many decades beyond. He makes it a point not to miss the annual Christmas party. Long time volunteer Frank Brechbiel escorted Roth into the schoolhouse.

The schoolhouse was beautifully decorated for the season with a dinner buffet and a grog station set up by the windows.

The good people of Fallasburg lovingly called as “villagers” brought in food and desserts.

FHS board member Tina Siciliano Cadwallader made her entrance with a wooden box labeled as “Dangerous Explosives” full of bags of popcorn and other goodies.

Volunteer Patty Brechbiel manned the food station featuring among other dishes three different types of meatballs.

“Are these all the same?” Irina asked.

“No, try them all,” I said.

The party provided an excellent opportunity to check out the “little room in the back” with collections treasures. A young history lover explored the model of the Fallasburg village locked in a glass case.

On display on the shelves were class photos. There was Mrs. Richmond’s class from 1947 and a Fallasburg village plat map on a wooden board.

As the bell rang in the belfry, the chatter and music in the schoolhouse continued into the night. A drive through the lighted Fallasburg Covered Bridge was a perfect ending to a perfect party.

Come visit Fallasburg, located northeast of Lowell, throughout the year. You will treat yourself to a lesson in American pioneer history from the 1830s that started with founder John Wesley Fallass.

You will marvel at the treasures the village has to offer.

Copyright (c) 2016 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

White Christmas in Fallasburg pioneer village

Visit Fallasburg tonight for a memorable white Christmas

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Fallasburg, MI – Experience a white Christmas of the past inside the old 1867 Fallasburg one-room schoolhouse located at the pioneer village three miles northeast of Lowell.

Cross the wooden covered bridge across the Flat River into the sleepy hamlet and enjoy camaraderie with old friends. Most of them you will probably know from the past.

Sample Dottie’s famous Christmas buffet and Ken’s signature grog that will warm you up instantly.

The band Hawks and Owls will play Christmas music.

If you find Fallasburg resident Bruce Doll and tell him a good story, you may get a 1971 Fallasburg commemorative coin with the covered bridge.

You might run into some old-timers telling their stories of Christmases of the past.

The Fallasburg Historical Society (FHS) volunteers make things happen. Thank them tonight.

A huge bonfire at the Fallasbrug base ball field tops off the night with flames reaching high up into the dark sky.

The suggested donation for adults is $20 to benefit the Fallasburg village maintenance.

The second tiled picture mosaic features some of the FHS events and volunteers from around the year.

See you there tonight. The Christmas party runs from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Dec. 10, 2016.

Have a merry merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

From all of us at the Fallasburg Historical Society

Subscribe to our Fallasburg Today E-newsletter below.

 

Copyright(c) 2016 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Highlight of the Christmas party

Vintage Christmas at Fallasburg

Fallas logo

Fallasburg Historical Society invites public to the annual Christmas party

13944 Covered Bridge Road – Lowell, Michigan 49331

Dear friends,

 The schoolhouse in Fallasburg has always been a place that joins us together.  She was built so we would come; to learn, to share and to celebrate.

 Our schoolhouse, dressed for the holidays, once again stands ready to welcome you.

Fallas Christmas (2)
Christmas in Fallasburg

 Please join us for our community celebration.

“Christmas in Fallasburg”

Saturday, December 10, 6:00-8:00 p.m.

Come and enjoy:

Holiday music by Hawks & Owls

 Libations, refreshments, and our  famous Fallasburg Christmas Buffet

 A roaring bonfire in the Fallas Field to cap off the evening

Come and share the good news with your friends. We’re in an on-going process of restoring and maintaining our museum buildings located in the Fallasburg historic district. The Tower Farm, built circa in 1850, is in dire need of roof repair and other restoration.

 A $20.00 donation is requested from adults.

Fallasburg Historical Society is a non-profit tax-exempt 501(c) (3) corporation

Sign up for the FHS E-newsletter Fallasburg Today right here on our blog.

Copyright (c) 2016 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Merry Christmas

I  would like to wish everyone happy holidays on behalf of Fallasburg Historical Society. May peace and kindness prevail in this world.

Best wishes into 2016 and beyond.

Fallasburg village
Fallasburg village

The FHS vision

The next 50 years of historic preservation

We’re celebrating the 50th anniversary of the West Central Michigan Historical Society, now the Fallasburg Historical Society (FHS). These organizations have been preserving the pioneer tradition of the 1830s village of Fallasburg since 1965.

fallas ken headshot
FHS president Ken Tamke

It began with a vision of a restored village and its Covered Bridge, and now only the Tower Farm preservation project remains for the vision to be complete. It ends with our families being able to enjoy it in 2015, this picture postcard from the past.

“It’s our heritage, we just have to pay it forward,” said FHS president Ken Tamke.

Beginning the second 50 years, it’s never been easier for members, guests, friends and visitors to connect with us on the technology path.

“Comments and participation are always welcomed and encouraged,” Tamke said.

One room schoolhouse
One room schoolhouse

Fallasburg is now on Facebook. Join the conversation on twitter @fallasburg #fallasburg and on WordPress at Fallasburg Today on http://fallasburgtoday.org. Visit our website at http://www.fallasburg.org and subscribe to our e-newsletter Fallasburg Today.

Coming in 2016, after collaboration with the Lowell Area Historical Museum and a Calvin College department intern concludes, the FHS artifacts and documents will be digitally cataloged with collections available for examination by everyone from scholars to school kids.

New this year was the Fallasburg Bazaar that we will continue to develop. Our signature events are: Christmas in Fallasburg , the Covered Bridge Bike Tour and Schoolhouse Open Sundays. All these events could use more volunteers.

The Tower Farm Preservation Project will need help from skilled building trades as we move through 2016.

Please help launch 50 more years of historic preservation and education efforts by renewing your membership in the Fallasburg Historical Society today. And don’t forget to include your e-mail address.

Sincerely,

Ken Tamke

FHS president

Patronize our sponsors Main Street Inn and Vergennes Broadband.

Main Street Inn in nearby Lowell.
Main Street Inn in nearby Lowell.

 

Vergennes fiber
Vergennes fiber

Copyright (c) 2015 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Autumn in Fallasburg

Visit Fallasburg this fall

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI- As the leaves turn burning red and the nights grow longer, the forgotten Fallasburg village sleeps its dream from the 1830s.

It was a dream of pioneer John Wesley Fallass who founded the village in 1837 to have a bustling place. He built a mill in 1839 in the village and began manufacturing flour and lumber. By 1850 the village boasted a grist mill and a sawmill that housed a chair factory. The chair factory may be one of the first furniture factories in the Grand Rapids area.

The road into the Fallasburg historical district from the north.
The road into the Fallasburg historical district from the north.

The bustling lumbering village also had a stone-mason, a pair of blacksmiths, horse barns, a hotel and tavern, two general stores, post office, distillery, school, a cemetery and a tannery.

It became a main stage route from Ionia to Grand Rapids, and a thriving settlement on the banks of the Flat River.

A thriving settlement in 1850s
Fallasburgh, a thriving settlement in 1850s

But, destiny had it different. Everything changed with the arrival of the D & M railroad line in Lowell instead of Fallasburg in 1858. The village started steadily declining with the post office closing in 1905 and the grist mill was torn down in 1912.

The Tower Farm circa 1850 in Fallasburg.
The Tower Farm circa 1850 in Fallasburg.

However, what is left of Mr. Fallass’ dream remains treasured to this day. The charming hamlet nestles in the northeast corner of Kent County on 42 acres along the banks of the Flat River. The original 1871 Fallasburg Covered Bridge connects the forgotten village  to the rest of the world. The bridge is a perfect Kodak spot favored by photographers and newlyweds.

Interpretive signs before the Covered Bridge.
Interpretive signs before the Covered Bridge.

The village includes a schoolhouse, village cemetery, and house museums: John Fallass House, Misner House, Tower Farm & Tower Barn and Fallass Barn.

The Covered Bridge stretches 100 feet long, 14 feet wide and 12 feet high. Its lattice-work trusses are made of white pine timbers from nearby Greenville.

Currently, it is the only one of two wooden covered bridges in Michigan open to traffic. The area lost the Whites Bridge Covered Bridge due to arson on July 7, 2013. Efforts are in the works to replace the sister bridge.

The entire village is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The one-room schoolhouse is open on Sundays.
The one-room schoolhouse is open on Sundays.

Take a tour on a picture perfect day, stop by the new interpretive signs in front of the Covered Bridge and get to know the story of the old Fallassburgh from the early 1830s roots to its decline in the early 1900s. But, slow down or you will get a $5 fine for riding or driving on the bridge faster than a walk, according to original 1872 signs.

You will immerse yourself into the past filled with villagers who played out the story. These included the founding Fallass family, the Moon family who were educators in the area, the Tower family and postmaster John M. Waters. The Fallasburg Historical Society (FHS) has maintained the village since 1965 thanks to resident Leonora Tower who decided to share this gem with the community.

Fallasburg founder John Fallass' house
Fallasburg founder John Fallass’ house

The FHS president Ken Tamke said the lack of continued development has been both a blessing and a curse.

None of the current residents known as villagers wish for any further development other than maintaining the existing historical properties, according to a feasibility study conducted by Vergennes Township.

A county park that surrounds the village is used for weddings, reunions, company and Rotary picnics. You can hike, bike or ride through the park and the village.

It is the hope of FHS to restore the Tower Farm for community meetings and to maintain the house museums. A section of North Country Trail (NCT) runs through the village next to the Tower Barn.

Venture out to Fallasburg during the upcoming Lowell events Girls Night Out on Oct. 15 and Christmas through Lowell on Nov. 20, 21 & 22.

Mark your calendars for the annual “Christmas in Fallasburg” party this year set for Dec. 12 from 6 to 8 p.m. Suggested donation is $20.

Patronize our sponsors http://www.mainstreetinnlowell.com just three miles south of Fallasburg.

Main Street Inn in nearby Lowell.
Main Street Inn in nearby Lowell.

For more info on nearby Lowell events go to http://www.discoverlowell.org

For more information go to http://www.fallasburg.org.

Copyright (c) 2015 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Message from FHS president Ken Tamke

Come and explore the Fallasburg village today

Villagers have always recognized what a special place Fallasburg is, from the founding settlers to present day inhabitants.  Fifty years ago, villager Leonora Tower felt it was time to share this resource with the community at large. So, the West Central Michigan Historical Society was born, which  later became the Fallasburg Historical Society.

FHS president Ken Tamke
FHS president Ken Tamke

I marvel at how many visitors, locals and West Michiganders from far and near, are just discovering Fallasburg Village.

“Wow, I didn’t realize this existed,” is the most common response as they browse our museums and learn about this colorful slice of history.

I invite you to help us celebrate this 50TH Anniversary of our preservation efforts by taking a fall color tour through the Fallasburg Park across the Covered Bridge into the charming pioneer village.

Take a walk or a bike ride through the village this fall. Check out the gems of history, the John Fallass house, the Misner House, The Tower Farm & Barn and the one room schoolhouse museum.

The museum is open on Sundays from 2 p.m to 4 p.m. Docent led tours are available by appointment for groups.

Mark your calendars for a vintage Christmas in Fallasburg on Dec. 12 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at 13944 Covered Bridge Road, north of Lowell.

Sign up for Fallasburg Today E-newsletter on our FHS facebook page to stay in the loop.

For more information on the Fallasburg Historical Society go to www.fallasburg.org

For more information on the Fallassburgh Flats, and their season schedule:  fallassburgflats@gmail.com

We hope to see you out there!

Ken Tamke, President

Fallasburg Historical Society

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