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.
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 feedbackby 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.
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.
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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During the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fallasburg Historical Society (FHS) would like to express deepest gratitude to all the health care workers, first responders and to all our essential workers, who keep us well, fed and alive.
To salute you, we tied yellow ribbons around the historical buildings at the Fallasburg pioneer village and painted some hearts.
When the state shutdown is lifted, we sincerely invite you for a visit and a step back in time to this oasis of peace on the banks of the Flat River. Just cross the Covered Bridge and immerse yourself in history.
FHS intern adds 250 artifacts to the Collective Access platform
By Emma Palova
LOWELL, MI – Sorting through hundreds of pictures intern Darcy Stubbs, a Calvin College student, found some real treasures among the Fallasburg Historical Society artifacts.
The discoveries included two bibles: John W. Fallass bible and a bible with metal clasps given as wedding gift to Charles Beckwith.
“I got to know Fallasburg through the Millers’ chronicles of pictures,” Stubbs said.
“That was a great introduction.”
Coming from Homer, Stubbs picked Fallasburg from a network of internships available for its small-town feel. Her main task was data entry.
The goal of the internship was two-fold: to organize and computerize Fallasburg artifacts and to get exposure to museum work.
“It was a great partnership for getting that accomplished,” said Lisa Plank, director of Lowell Area Historical Museum.
During her internship, Stubbs added 250 pictures to the Fallasburg collection of artifacts- the Collective Access platform.
The pictures are all donations from Elaine Miller Duggan.
And it’s all about appreciating the value of history in places like Fallasburg through the various artifacts.
Some of the work was tedious like sorting through 10 postcards to change the narrative to the Covered Bridge.
“I am grateful because the younger generation is proficient to do this,” Ken Tamke, FHS president, said. “Darcy has been the most well-rounded intern we’ve landed.”
Stubbs also did research for the post office interpretive sign in Lowell for the Lowell Area Historical Museum.
She enjoyed the small-town perspective and making the artifacts accessible to the public.
“Just because the towns are smaller, their history is not less important,” Stubbs said.
Plank said it was a great collaborative project for all the organizations.
Stubbs, a former Navy supervisor and technician, participated in an archeology expedition in Jordan at Umm al-Jimal in June 2019. At the West Church, she enjoyed finding out about the meaning of different layers of floor under the mosaic.
Following is an entry from CA with information about the Bible given to Beckwith. You can search by objects or identifier no:
This leather-bound family bible is embellished with embossed sacred images on the front cover, back cover, and binding, which are painted with gold paint. Especially ornate is the intricately detailed ‘Holy Bible’ title also embossed on the front cover, back cover, and binding. The Bible also has two metal clasps. This Bible is a “The Household Edition” family bible that contains the Old and New Testaments, the Apocrypha, Concordance, Psalms in Metre, Marginal References and Readings, and Fine Foil-Page Engravings, and more. A family Bible given at the wedding of Edmund Alger and Fannie Beckwith. Written in the front cover is “John 3:16”. Note attached says it was given by Edith (Willard) Mueller (her mother lived in the Fallas house), belonged to Mrs. Henry (Mary)Booth (Edith’s grandmother). A separate note says it was found by Theron Richmond in the attic of his former family home, now the Rocking R Ranch. Given in memory of Theron and Ruth Richmond by their children Shirley Smith, Tom Richmond, Barb and Dick Curtis. William Gardner lived in Rocking Ranch house which was his family home. Brother Sidney Gardner was married to Catherine Beckwith. A sticky note poses the question: “How did the Bible get from the Alger house (corner of Burroughs and Lincoln Lake) to the attic of the Rocking R house (near Simyrund (sp?)?Read More
Paper, Leather, Ink
January 1 1886
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The Fallasburg Historical Society is pleased to announce and showcase a sparkling new website where you can explore online our collection of images and artifacts.
FHS President’s message
Our collaboration with Calvin College’s History Department began the project three years ago. Under the mentorship of Lowell Area Historical Museum’s Executive Director, Lisa Plank, Calvin student interns have been digitally cataloging our archived material; pictures, documents, and assorted pieces of memorabilia that tell the story of people and places in Historic Fallasburg Village and Vergennes Township.
This “spring cleaning” process has led to the rediscovery of many forgotten treasures tucked away in files. We’re still a work in progress, but will continue over the coming months to add to, and refine the site.
WWI support cards
FHS president Ken Tamke holds a box with Women’s Cooperative yearbooks.
The treasure hunters: Lisa Plank, Ken Tamke and Calvin intern Grace Bolt.
Now begins the arduous task of properly storing and preserving our collection. What a nice convenience for students, scholars, and history buffs to be able to view it online, quite another thing to hold in your hand the actual essays and poetry John Wesley Fallas and his wife, Phebe Brown Fallas penned 170 years ago. Now both are possible!
The Fallasburg Historical Society will hold its Annual General Meeting, Monday June 17TH.
The meeting will be held at the Lowell Chamber of Commerce and will start at 7:00PM.
The purpose of our Annual General Meeting is a forum for our members, friends, and volunteers to lend their voice to our organization. We’re always looking for new ideas and fresh faces. Please consider getting involved. FHS needs you!
The 25TH Annual Covered Bridge Bike Tour.
Sunday, July 7TH, 2019.
Fallasburg bike tour 2016 registration with Tina Siciliano Cadwallader & Devon Siciliano.
Bikers register at the schoolhouse.
Our ride at your own pace, select your distance (12 – 100-miles) bike tour, takes you through some of West Michigan’s most beautiful countryside along marked and mapped routes with SAG (support and guidance) if you need it. Enjoy wonderful refreshments along the way, and a great homemade country Italian meal with all the trimmings at the end of your trip. Starting from our one room schoolhouse, you exit historic Fallasburg Village over the Fallasburg Covered Bridge, one of two you’ll encounter on your 28- or 50-mile cycling adventure. You may also select to tour around the Flat River Watershed, a 12- mile journey that circles the Village. For the hale and hearty 100-milers, we’ll send you South in the morning and North in the afternoon with Fallasburg as a mid-way point allowing you to eat in the middle of your ride or at the end. All roads begin and end in Historic Fallasburg Village!
Visit www.fallasburg.org to pre-register and save some $$$. Walk up registration opens at 7:00AM on the day of the ride. Fallasburg Village, 13944 Covered Bridge Road, Lowell.
Schoolhouse Open Sundays
Don’t forget, our “Schoolhouse Open Sundays” season begins in June – September. We’ll be open as many Sunday afternoons as we can from 2 – 4PM. Village walking tours and open houses are available year-round by appointment.
Come to Historic Fallasburg Village and take a step back in time!
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