Tower Farm renovations

Tower Farm renovations to complete Fallasburg village street look

By Emma Palova

Fallasburg, MI – The Tower Farm in the historic Fallasburg village will be renovated following the approval by the Fallasburg Historical Society (FHS) this week for approximately $75,000.

The 1850s historical building has deteriorated over the years, but has been patched up with a few fixes funded by grants from the Lowell Cable Television Fund and the Lowell Area Community Fund.

These included a new roof on the Tower Farm and new windows along with other exterior jobs such as the removal of asphalt shingles from the siding and repairs to the siding.

The ongoing restoration of the Orlin Douglass/Tower Farm has been in progress since 2010/2011.

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. 

One of the FHS board members Addie Abel lived in the Tower Farm until 1959. The Towers grew watermelons on the farm and sold them in Lowell.

“I was a Tower,” she laughed, “my connection to the house is that it was my home. I love that place.”

Abel said she doesn’t mind the proposed renovations.

“It belongs to the FHS, I would live there in a heart beat,” she said.

However, as the interior deteriorated, the FHS sought of ways to fix it up.

“Initial financing was all grant-based,” said FHS president Ken Tamke. “Over the years some other minor exterior fixes have taken place. This was the result of volunteer labor and not necessitating large outlays of the society’s funds.”

As with any historical building, the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) sets forth guidelines for preservation. According to these guidelines, the façade of a National and State Historic Property cannot be changed.

The concrete block covered the entry on the farm was removed, but it was not part of the original home. The roof had broken through and the concrete blocks had settled impeding closure and security of the entry doors.

The society is proposing to put back a second porch modeled after the original porch on the dwelling.

“We will contact the SHPO with any plans,” said Tamke. “Should it compromise any historic designations, it will not be built.”

The Tower Farm, which consists of two units, is zoned as single residential and a home-based business. As such, the FHS will rent out the single residential portion and retain the home-based business part for its own use as office space.

The use of the community garden on the four-acre property is currently being negotiated.

“We are still in negotiations on the volunteers for the garden and what will be produced on it,” said vice-president Tina Cadwallader.

The Tower Farm is the last building to be rehabilitated in the picturesque village on the banks of the Flat River. During the last two years, the Fallas House needed repairs due to major damage from pipes breaking over a winter. The bathroom, kitchen, and damaged walls were redone. A new roof was put on along with a total paint job. The Blackmer House and Betsy Fallas houses have all been rehabbed, the barn was redone and that left only the Tower House. This will be the last one on the Covered Bridge Rd. leading to the Covered Bridge, except for the rundown cottage by the bridge. The Misner House and the School House had been finished long time ago.

“The entire village street will look great with well-kept homes,” said FHS treasurer Al Rumbaugh.

The FHS expects to accomplish the final renovation project through volunteer labor and FHS’ financial resources with the future promise of rents to replenish reserves and charitable donations.

The main contractor for the project is Choice Contractors, Rosendall Well Drilling will be doing the well, Jack Mellema is the stone mason and Arctic Air will be doing the heating.

The FHS board will hold the annual board meeting on June 15 at 4 p.m. at the Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce. The public is invited to provide input.

Feature photo: project coordinator/FHS treasurer Al Rumbaugh in front of the Tower Farm.

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Sprucing up Fallasburg

Volunteer opportunities

The Fallasburg Historical Society (FHS) is looking for volunteers to spruce up the historic pioneer village of Fallasburg.

The FHS has several maintenance projects in Fallasburg Village this summer.  We’re looking for volunteers!

  • Rehabilitation of the Tower Farmhouse.  We’ll need help from skilled tradespeople, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, and help with general labor.
  • Preparation and painting the exterior of the Fallasburg Schoolhouse and metal roof.
  • Preparation and painting the exterior of the Misner House Museum/FHS offices.
  • Landscaping, tree trimming and cleanup of FHS properties including Vergennes Township’s Fallasburg Cemetery.

If you like to join FHS in our preservation efforts of historic Fallasburg Village we’d love to have you.  Work dates and times are flexible.  Materials will be provided.  Contact Ken Tamke for info.  kentamke@comcast.net  616-682-0785  www.fallasburg.org 

Join us for the FHS annual meeting on June 15 from 4 p.m. at the Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce.

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FHS salutes our heroes

Yellow ribbons and painted hearts at Fallasburg

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.

You can explore online the FHS artifacts on the premier Collective Access platform on https://collection.fallasburg.org/

Visit Fallasburg online at http://fallasburg.org

Featured photo: The John W. Fallass House

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Museum collaboration

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.

The Bible gifted 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.

Featured photo: Darcy Stubbs and Ken Tamke.

Explore Fallasburg artifacts on the

Collective Access (CA) platform at https://collection.fallasburg.org/

Following is an entry from CA with information about the Bible given to Beckwith. You can search by objects or identifier no:

BIBLE

OBJECT


IDENTIFIER

2017.001.0087

DESCRIPTION

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

MATERIALS

Paper, Leather, Ink

ORIGIN DATE

January 1 1886

ORIGIN PLACE

Chicago, Ill.

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Fallasburg Historical Society events 2020

Visit the historical Fallasburg village this year for a unique experience during any season.

We start off the year with the Lowell Area Chamber Expo on March 28 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Lowell High School. We will be located inside the cafeteria. Watch for our booth number.

Fallasburg events poster

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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.

 

 

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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