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.
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.
Fallasburg, MI -Tagging on to the huge success of both events, the Covered Bridge Bike Tour and the Fallasburg Village Bazaar, the Fallasburg Historical Society (FHS) is moving ahead with another fall event.
The 2nd Village Haunting will take place on Oct. 27 at the pioneer village of Fallasburg. The event is a public paranormal investigation with the Michigan Paranormal Alliance (MPA).
Sign in is from 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.. Participants will accompany MPA to investigate three historical buildings: the one-room schoolhouse, the Dave Misner House and John W. Fallass House.
The Michigan Paranormal Society ghost detecting equipment.
The haunted Tower Farm circa 1850.
Tina Siciliano Cadwallader organized the paranormal investigation @fallasburg
“The main purpose of the event is to raise money for the buildings maintenance and to see if we have ghosts,” said FHS vice-president Tina Siciliano Cadwallader.
Four groups of 10 people will be rotated from one location to the other. They will be trained on how to use “haunting” equipment and/or trained how to use simple items like cell phones and a flashlight for their own research of their “haunted places.”
The team will also answer questions and they will have a medium too. The psychic medium is Rosemary Lelieveld with team members:
“The whole idea is helping souls reside in place in this life and next,” said Lelieveld, “We educate people and empower.”
The team has been together for 20 years, and each team member has had a paranormal experience. They will be using various equipment inside the historical buildings such as: EMF meters that measure electromagnetic fields, movement, pressure and other anomalies created by an entity such as a ghost.
“Electromagnetic field can be a conduit for paranormal activity,” said Lelieveld. “We will be looking for abnormal anomalies first on a scientific level.”
Secondly comes, where science meets spirit.
“If the devices show activity where we can feel and communicate with a ghost,” she said. “I was born with that natural ability.
There is a distinct difference between a ghost and a spirit.
“A ghost is a soul that hasn’t crossed over,” Lelieveld said. “Spirit is a human soul that has crossed to the other side. The whole idea is to communicate with the ghosts that are present.”
People will get to observe how the professional team works together.
“Many people have fear of the unknown,” she said. “There is no reason to be afraid.”
The Michigan Paranormal Alliance team donates all their work and time to give back to communities. They have investigated public places such as Waverly Hills Sanatorium, Trinway Mansion, Mansfield Reformatory, businesses and private homes.
Lelieveld also offers private readings. Her first paranormal experience was when she was 16 years old at a friend’s house.
“I had a conversation with her grandma,” she said.
The friend was surprised to hear that: “My grandma has been dead for five years.”
As a group, they had many paranormal experiences.
“We all had different experiences, some heavier,” she said. “It’s hard to single them out.”
“We have comparison data from two years ago to look over and see what the differences are, if any,” said Siciliano Cadwallader.
All proceeds benefit the preservation efforts of FHS.
The event is sold out.
Copyright (c) 2018. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
For application and waiver go to: http://www.fallasburg.org/bike-tour/
Start location: 13944 Covered Bridge Road, Lowell, MI 49331
Tour options (in miles): 12, 28, 40, 50, 62, 78, 100
Registration fee: $25 for individuals / $35 for family After deadline (July 2): $30 for individuals / $40 for family
More information: Ken Tamke 616-682-0785 email@example.com
Directions to Fallasburg from Lowell:
North approximately 3 miles to Fallasburg Park Drive.
Right to entrance to park.
Angle right on Covered Bridge Road.
Over covered bridge to school house. Park in field across the street.
*Look for county signs alerting you to the Park/Bridge/Historic Village.
Bike Tour Release & Registration
Please submit this form to register if you are not using Paypal.
You may also print this page & bring it to the event or mail it to:
215 Greentree Ct NE
Ada, MI 49301-9709
All participants must sign the release at the event. (See below.) Payment is for registration purposes only.
As a participating rider in the Covered Bridge Bike Tour, I understand that:
Riding a bicycle on public streets can be dangerous to my personal safety.
I will wear an ANSI or SNELL approved helmet during the tour.
I will ride according to vehicle codes.
The routes will be over public streets and road exposed to traffic. Some may have cracks, potholes, manhole covers, drainage gates, poorly-maintained railroad crossings, loose gravel, foreign objects and aggressive animals.
I understand that none of the sponsors or organizers can guarantee my safety while participating in such an event.
Parent/guardian signature required for applicants under 18 years. Riders under 16 years must be accompanied by an adult.
By signing/submitting this form, I agree to release from liability the Fallasburg Historical Society, the organizers, the sponsors and the workers for any injuries or harm sustained as a participant in this tour.
Historical team finds forgotten treasures, a historian’s dream
By Emma Palova
Fallasburg, MI – During the recent digital cataloging of Fallasburg artifacts, the historical team discovered forgotten treasures from Vergennes Township.
These included a remarkable collection of Women’s Committee for the National Council of Defense index cards filled out by women from Vergennes Township in support of World War I in 1917. The Vergennes Township Clerk/Registrar was responsible for undertaking this survey and completing the index cards from women in the community. The collection includes many recognizable names in the community.
WWI support cards
Calvin College history intern Grace Bolt resumed the painstaking process of entering the data for Fallasburg artifacts at the Lowell Area Historical Museum (LAHM). She was working under the mentorship of Lisa Plank (LAHM) executive director and Ken Tamke, Fallasburg Historical Society (FHS) president for 14 weeks.
This was the third year of digital cataloging of Fallasburg artifacts in cooperation with the Calvin College History Department.
“I was familiar with the process of entering stuff like description, dimensions, pictures and saving it,” Bolt said.
Bolt got hands on experience doing museum work as she helped to get the collection organized and to be a part of preserving history.
“This is a historian’s dream out here,” she said about Fallasburg village. “Everything is digitally captured.”
“This will also make the collection accessible to the public,” said Tamke. “Many forgotten treasures were rediscovered in our schoolhouse files.”
The other great finds were Vergennes Women’s Cooperative yearbooks, Flaunting a forgotten era, old leather-bound property tax ledgers, accounting ledgers, and log books of school board minutes, some dating back to the late 1800s.
The Vergennes Women’s Cooperative archives of yearbooks go back to 1850.
“It’s a valuable cache of Vergennes Township history,” said Tamke.
These items were stored in the basement of the Misner House. They sat there until 2007 or 2008, safe, but not in a climate controlled environment.
“We noticed signs of deterioration,” he said. “We did retain some of the historical treasures in the schoolhouse.”
Now, the historical treasures will remain in a climate controlled environment stored in proper boxes.
Plank said it was an opportunity for Fallasburg to get their collections organized.
“It benefited all sides,” said Plank. “Fallasburg will have proper archival storage.”
Both FHS and LAHM with digital cataloging have more resources available now.
The largest collection of the WWI support cards is at the Greater Grand Rapids Women’s History Council.
Visit Fallasburg pioneer village during your museum tour
Fallasburg, MI – As you plot your museum tour this weekend, stop by in the Fallasburg pioneer village just three miles north of Lowell.
Just cross the Covered Bridge into the 1837 village founded by John W. Fallas. You will have stepped back in time.
You will marvel at the historic treasures like the one-room schoolhouse, the Misner House, the John W. Fallas House and the Tower Farm & barn, all preserved under the auspices of the Fallasburg Historical Society (FHS).
“Spring Into the Past” is a tour of the museums of the Tri-River Historical Museum Network in Barry, Eaton, Ionia, Kent and Montcalm counties.
“We’re continuing last year’s theme of “Fashions through the Ages” with many new displays as our member museums or historical societies roll out their red carpet to show off the unique history of their communities during this annual event,” said Tri-River Museums Network spokesperson Judy Gager.
Beach wear, bustles and bridal gowns – a variety of timeless “Fashions Through the Ages” will be visible in the museums of the Tri-River Historical Museum Network during the annual museum tour.
The quaint museums are as versatile as the fashions, located in former vintage homes, meeting halls, stores and depots in small communities throughout the Tri-River Network.
“They all are eager to share the history of their community both past and present,” said Gager.
Museum hours are usually also varied, but during this annual event all museums are open the same days and hours so visitors can tour several the same day: Saturday from 11 am to 5 pm and Sunday from noon to 5 pm.
It is with heavy heart that I write my spring message. Charter member of the West Central Michigan Historical Society, former President of the succeeding Fallasburg Historical Society, and lifetime champion of the cause of preservation, Edwin Roth passed away March 8Th at 98 years old. To say Ed lived life to the fullest would be a vast understatement. His spirit will of course live on, his legacy, one of many, Fallasburg Village today.
Everyone who knew Ed Roth has a story. His easy-going, self-effacing manner made you comfortable when you were around him, his sense of humor ever-present. I believe we all marveled at his longevity in our individual quests to find the fountain of youth. Ed’s answer was simple, eat right, live clean, and another nugget he shared with me last Christmas with a large smile, “Don’t go to Doctors”! That was Ed.
I wasn’t around when Ed Roth staked the National Historic Site Marker at the John Wesley Fallas house which was undergoing a major restoration in the 1990’s. I was around when Ed accepted the award from the Michigan Barn Preservation Network for “Barn of the Year,” 2014, recognizing the Fallasburg Historical Society’s work on the Tower Barn. These projects, amongst so many others, we’re the labor of Ed Roth’s love, and he maintained a strong and steady hand in all of them. Thank you, Edwin Roth! You are irreplaceable!
The clipping is from the FHS scrapbook’ circa 1990.
“I ran across some really great stuff,” said FHS president Ken Tamke. “Pretty much all newspaper clippings that chronicle the history of the West Central Michigan Historical Society from the mid-60s and then FHS through the late 90s.”
The historic district status was awarded in 1999.
Calvin College students tour Fallasburg pioneer village
Still in the firm grasp of winter cold, but on a bright and sunny day, the Calvin College History Department’s “Public History” class visited Fallasburg on January 17TH. Professor Kate VanLiere’s students, as part of a month-long intensive study course stopped first at the Lowell Area Historical Museum to get a look at the inside workings of a small museum and a grand tour from Executive Director, Lisa Plank. Then it was on to Fallasburg for a walking tour with yours truly and their outside look at our National Historic District. The group of 30 briefly popped their heads in the door of the Schoolhouse, Misner House, and Fallas House. With FHS’ small museums in hibernation for the winter, and each property unheated, it was actually colder inside than out. Our brisk walk was appreciated and gave our visitors an overview of the entire Village from Fallas Barn to Covered Bridge.
FHS gets intern to assist in digital cataloging
For the third consecutive year, the Calvin College History Department has provided a student intern for the Winter/Spring term to assist FHS with our digital cataloging of documents, photographs, and artifacts. Under the tutelage and mentorship of Lisa Plank at LAHM, this year’s intern, Grace Bolt, has focused on the treasures contained in the School. Most remarkable have been the handwritten Attendance Ledgers which chronicle Fallasburg School students, school year by school year, back to the early 1900’s, all completed by the teacher of the day. Grace has painstakingly recorded and photographed the logs. She could now tell you, if you went to Fallasburg School, when you were absent, and what ailed, lots of Chicken Pox, Mumps, and Measles. With a keen interest in Geography as well as History, tech-savvy Grace is working to create an online aerial view map of Fallasburg that highlights all its historic sites, buildings standing or not.
Pictured above Mr. Ed Roth at Lowell Expo 2017 with daughter Jeanne Vandersloot, and FHS members Tracy Worthington and Al Rumbaugh.
Fallasburg Historical Society, Table #129, at the Lowell Community Expo, Saturday, March 24, from 9AM – 3PM, Lowell High School.
Fallasburg Village comes out of hibernation, Saturday, 11AM – 5PM & Sunday, 12PM – 5PM, May 5 & 6, the first weekend in May! We’ll participate in the Tri-Rivers Museum Network’s, “Spring into the Past” event. 41 small local museums team up and open up-free of charge!
About the feature photo: Mr. Ed Roth with Randy Mouw, Barncats Contractor who fixed the Tower Barn, accepting Barn of the Year award for 2014 from the Michigan Barn Preservation Network.
Copyright (c) 2018. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
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.
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.