Remembering Dottie Blain

By FHS president Ken Tamke

I first met Dottie Blain in 2005 when I joined the Fallasburg Historical Society Board of Directors.  She was a strong, resilient, country woman cut from the same cloth as my grandmother.  They knew each other, as did most residents of the close-knit communities of Vergennes and Lowell.  She was also a Dorothy like my mom, shortened to Dot or Dottie with those who were close. Dottie and I hit it off immediately. 

As I plunged in at FHS to assist with the Covered Bridge Bike Tour, and Christmas in Fallasburg, I quickly realized Dottie was a main organizational force behind our signature events.  “Chief cook and bottle washer” was a humorous way to characterize her participation, yet her involvement went much further.

Anyone who ever attended our Christmas In Fallasburg “Pot Luck” in the Fallasburg Schoolhouse, sampling the various culinary offerings set out around the room owed their sigh of satisfaction to Dottie’s cooking.  Her Swedish Meatballs were legendary!  Cooking aside, her coordination of other contributors; cookie bakers and salad makers, table setters and supply go-getters, kept everything running smoothly.  If we were lucky, there’d be leftovers to take home after the party.

The Covered Bridge Bike Tour presented many, many challenges, but that didn’t faze Dottie.  We never really knew how many riders we would attract each year.  Anywhere from 100 – 250.  While they’d all set out at roughly the same time, they returned to Fallasburg Village piecemeal and want to be fed.  Dottie’s Country Style Italian feast, meatless or vegetarian with grilled garlic bread would be waiting, piping hot, whether 11:00AM or 2:00PM.  And, then of course, there was dessert-Strawberry Shortcake.  Never mind the various rest stops along the different cycling routes.  Dottie had them stocked with home baked cookies, fresh fruit, and Gatorade.  A logistical nightmare to be sure, but Dottie always had the situation well in hand.  FHS owes the longevity of the Covered Bridge Bike Tour, 25 years, in no small part to Dottie.

Dottie took great pride in preservation of Fallasburg Village by virtue of her Lowell roots and longtime friends.  She attended Lowell High School where she met Larry Martin, a fellow FHS Board Member, and architect of the Covered Bridge Bike Tour from the cycling side.  Larry was the great-grandson of Edwin Fallas, great-grandson of John Wesley Fallas-founder of Fallasburg Village.  Dottie and Larry shared similar temperaments, senses of humor, and their appreciation for the remarkable historic district of which they were stewards.

One of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do was inform Dottie on the morning of the 17TH Annual Covered Bridge Bike Tour, Larry Martin had been hit and killed on a bike ride the afternoon before as fate would have it.  While grief-stricken that a kindred spirit had passed, her strength of character somehow got her through the day where many would have broken down.

The Fallasburg Historical Society mourns the passing of our colleague, but moreover our dear friend.  Dottie Blain, Rest in Peace.

Ken Tamke, Fallasburg Historical Society

Obituary

Blain, Dorothy 12/12/1940 – 1/5/2021 Lowell Blain – Dorothy A. Blain nee Pearson, age 80, passed away on Tuesday, January 5, 2021. She was preceded in death by her parents, John Pearson in 1964 and Joanne Bittle in 1990. Dorothy is survived by her children, Sheila (Tim) Aalsburg and Kenneth Blain; granddaughters, Chloe and Maya; youngest sister, Frances “Fran” (Rick) Rowell of Louisiana; childhood friend, Addie (Orison) Abel. Dorothy will be remembered for her generosity and hosting large family gatherings. She grew up in southern Michigan and graduated from Lowell High School in 1959. She married and raised two children. Through the years, Dorothy worked as an upholsterer, a realtor, school bus driver, and a greeter at Meijer. Per Dorothy’s request, cremation has taken place. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Fallasburg Historical Society. To share a photo, memory and to sign the online guestbook please visit www.stegengafuneralchapel.com

Featured photo: FHS volunteers at the Lowell Expo in 2017: Dottie Blain, Mike Organek, Addie Abel.

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

Christmas in Fallasburg

It was a night to remember with an awesome buffet, Christmas music by Hawks & Owls, great company and new this year-a raffle.

The one-room schoolhouse was decked out for Christmas and with new maps donated by Pinky McPherson from the one-room schoolhouse on Parnell Rd.

The night ended with a huge bonfire at the Fallas Field.

 

 

Copyright (c) 2019. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Happy holidays

Old-fashioned Christmas in Fallasburg

Fallasburg, MI – Come to the best Christmas party in the area complete with music, a Christmas buffet, libations and a bonfire. Bring a friend to enjoy the old-fashioned atmosphere.

Just cross the Covered Bridge into the 1850s Fallasburg pioneer village. You will step back in time enchanted by the magic of the holiday season. The one-room schoolhouse will be decked out for Christmas for you to enjoy.

The public is invited to the “Christmas in Fallasburg” party on Saturday, Dec. 14 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the one-room schoolhouse. The party will be topped off by a roaring bonfire at the Fallass Field across from the schoolhouse. You can’t miss it. You will be able to hear it crackling into the crisp night, as it melts the snow around it.

Holiday music provided by Hawks & Owls, libations, refreshments and the famous Fallasburg Christmas Buffet. A $20 donation is requested from adults.

“The schoolhouse in Fallasburg has always been a place that joins everyone together. She was built, so we would come; to learn to share and to celebrate,” said Ken Tamke, president of the Fallasburg Historical Society.

“Our schoolhouse, dressed for the holidays, once again stands ready to welcome you. Please join us for our community celebration.”

Subscribe to the Fallasburg Historical Society e-newsletter “Fallasburg Today” to stay in the loop with our happenings.

Copyright (c0 2019. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

President’s message & party invite

Old-fashioned Christmas in Fallasburg

Everyone is invited to “Christmas in Fallasburg” on Saturday, Dec. 14 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the one-room schoolhouse. The party is topped off by a roaring bonfire at the Fallass Field.

Holiday music by Hawks & Owls, libations, refreshments and the famous Fallasburg Christmas Buffet. A $20 donation is requested from adults.

The schoolhouse in Fallasburg has always been a place that joins everyone 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.

President’s message

fallas-ken-headshot
Ken Tamke

2019-wow, has the year flown by.  Hard not to look ahead to 2020 and all it has in store, but before I do…

Our volunteers and benevolent contractors have done an amazing job replacing the Schoolhouse Porch and maintaining buildings and grounds yet the work of the preservationist is never done.  Thanks to all of you for keeping Fallasburg Village neat and tidy.  We couldn’t do it without you!

Fallas schoolhouse 1

Fallasburg Historical Society-Schoolhouse Pic, 1964 Dr. Ruth Herrick

The picture of the school was taken by Dr. Ruth Herrick in 1964 a short time after the school closed.  Dr. Herrick was one of the founders of the West Central Michigan Historical Society in 1965 which is now FHS.  The picture of the school and some others were donated recently to FHS by Marie Vierson, VP. of the Ada Historical Society.

2020 will bring with it a new “to-do” list.  The Schoolhouse needs painting.  The David Misner House, the old village parsonage which serves as a museum and FHS office probably needs a new roof, and the Tower Farmhouse, while mostly weathertight, needs major interior and foundation work.

In spite of these daunting tasks there is much to celebrate in 2020.

FHS’ digital cataloging of historical pictures, documents, and artifacts, a continuing work in progress, went live on the Internet.  Visit our collection at https://collection.fallasburg.org/   There is lots more to come in 2020.

2019-06-01

2020 will mark the 25TH Anniversary of the original Fallasburg Schoolhouse Restoration undertaken by the Vergennes Township Historic Commission with HUD Community Development Block Grant funds.  In 1995, the Schoolhouse was in the home stretch towards completion.

Of the same vintage as our 1860’s Schoolhouse, the Fallassburgh Flats Base Ball Club play the game the way it used to be played back then, right at home in Fallas Field.  They are always looking for new players to join their family (sorry, no Spring Training in Florida).  Follow the Flats on Facebook or www.fallassburghflats@gmail.com

As the season of giving is upon us, please join those who feel it’s important to preserve, educate, and share this valuable resource for which we are stewards-Historic Fallasburg Village.  Become a member.  Become a volunteer.  Please visit our websites www.fallasburg.org www.fallasburgtoday.org

Below are new additions to our portfolio of artifacts: maps donated by Pinky McPherson are now hanging at the schoolhouse and a photograph of the Miller family plane.

Fallasburg maps

Fallasburg maps 2

 

FHS-CA. Miller, Plane, Fallas Field

Happy Holidays & Seasons Greetings!

 

Ken Tamke, President

 

 

Christmas wishes

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Thanks to everyone who attended the Fallasburg Historical Society (FHS) Christmas Party. It was the most well attended and festive gathering in our Christmas party throwing history; the bonfire was magnificent.

To all who have renewed memberships, made donations, or volunteered their time to FHS and our cause for preservation of Fallasburg Village in 2018, thank you. We simply can’t do it without your support! Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Ken Tamke
FHS president

Copyright (c) 2018. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Christmas in Fallasburg 2018

An old-fashioned Christmas party in Fallasburg rings in the season

By Emma Palova

It was a night to remember: good food, great friends and live music by band Hawks & Owls. After months of preparations for the annual signature event and fundraiser of the Fallasburg Historical Society (FHS), the party was a smash hit.


People streamed in from all over West Michigan, a sign of changing times; most of them found out about the party from Facebook and Twitter. The great coverage from the Lowell Ledger helped immensely.
For those who came late, there was no food left or libations. The Christmas buffet consisted of turkey and all the trimmings, two types of meatballs, pasta and stuffing, plus different salads and deviled eggs.
A lot of credit for the food goes to Patty Brechbiel, as well as other ladies of the FHS. The epic dessert buffet was partially created by Joann Childs.
The elaborate dessert selection featured nutty bars and devil’s cake, among others. But mostly it was the camaraderie of the event that brought it home.
The one-room schoolhouse was beautifully decorated with electric candles, and the drive across the lit Covered Bridge at the speed of walking enhanced the historic atmosphere of the pioneer 1840s village founded by John W. Fallas.
The party was capped off by a huge bonfire at the Fallasburg Base Ball Field.
“We never know how many people will come out,” said FHS president Ken Tamke. “This was a huge turnout.”
“Villager Craig Wood spent the whole year building the bonfire,” said Tamke.
The party started in 2006 and it is Tamke’s brainchild. Previously the FHS hosted a “wild game” dinner at the Fallas House. The Fallas House is small and not too many people could attend.
“We never made any money on it,” Tamke said. “The caterer did.”
Tamke lobbied to use the one-room schoolhouse instead, get a band, serve beer and wine, and to have a potluck.
“There was a brush pile in the field that first year, so we lit it,” Tamke said. “Craig Wood took over the fire. We’ve been going with the same formula ever since.”
The FHS volunteers put a lot of work into getting the old one-room schoolhouse ready for the annual event. This includes decorations, large round tables with red tablecloths and a buffet style dinner, while making sure everything works including the heater and electricity.
It is also the favorite FHS event considering the atmosphere in the historic pioneer village of Fallasburg all decorated for Christmas.
Everybody enjoyed the music by live band Hawks & Owls that has been playing at the party since its beginning. They played non-stop.
The huge bonfire warmed up the night in a large radius around it. People gathered in a circle around the bonfire for great conversation and to enjoy the warmth of the fire.
The bell in the belfry at the schoolhouse announced the end of the party.
Happy holidays.
More holiday festivities coming to Lowell:
Visit Santa on the Riverwalk with photos by Bruce Doll:
Saturdays Dec. 15 and Dec. 22 from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Wednesdays Dec. 12 and Dec. 19 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Copyright (c) 2018. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Join the FHS on Google +

To follow  the Fallasburg Historical Society progress join us also on Google+

Just click the link below.

https://plus.google.com/communities/103626474079704714374?sqinv=ZjRMY2pIbm4zU0xOMHBVTWhTaTFvZFFHUFlxajJB

Mark your calendars for the annual Christmas in Fallasburg party on Dec. 8 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. A $20 donation is requested to benefit the Fallasburg Historical Society.

The party features a fancy buffet, beverages and music by Hawks & Owls. It is topped off by a bonfire.

It is a once in a lifetime experience as you cross the Covered Bridge into the 1850s pioneer village.

Copyright (c) 2018. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

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.

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.

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.