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.
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.
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!
Copyright (c)2017. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
I heard someone say it just the other day, “summer has just flown by,” and it’s true. The silver lining in that cloud is the onset of fall. Hard to argue it’s not the most beautiful season in West Michigan.
A big thanks to our volunteers
Cooperative weather patterns have facilitated much-needed village maintenance projects. Volunteers and jacks-of-all-trades, Mark Kuzee and Alan Rumbaugh, have spearheaded the effort with preparing, patching, painting, carpentry, and electrical work on a variety of FHS properties. Frank Brechbiel often lends a hand, even yours truly on occasion, and hard not to acknowledge Tina Cadwallader who has been a pretty good sport about cleaning up the messes we make.
A job well-done
Murray Lake Elementary students at Fallasburg
Our flagship museum, the schoolhouse
Our Schoolhouse has been kept busy. She saw two wedding ceremonies, a book signing, Murray Lake Elementary’ s first grade classes, the Fallassburgh Flats Vintage Base Club, and a steady stream of Sunday drivers.
Of special note…One of those weddings joined Doug Wilbur, 47-year superintendent of Fallasburg Park, and patron saint of Fallasburg Village in holy matrimony. Congratulations! Doug & Lori!
The book signing, introduced our own Emma Palova’s first book, a collection of short fiction, “Shifting Sands Short Stories,” which Palova describes as “magic realism.” There’s still a chance to get your own personal signed copy. Emma will be at our Schoolhouse once again on Saturday, Sept. 16 and Sunday, September 17, from 1-4PM on the big weekend.
The big weekend of the 3rd annual Fallasburg village bazaar
The Big Weekend? Saturday & Sunday, September 16 & 17, of course! The Fallasburg Bazaar in the heart of Fallasburg Village, the John Wesley Fallass Invitational Vintage Base Ball Tournament, Saturday on Fallas Field, “Shifting Sands Short Stories” book signing with Emma Palova, on Saturday and Sunday at the Schoolhouse. Fallasburg Village Museums open both days, and oh yeah, that little, old art fair across the Covered Bridge, LowellArts’, Fallasburg Fall Festival of the Arts-the Granddaddy of them all! No better time to come out to Fallasburg and explore.
Nancy Price Stroosnyder of the Whites Bridge historical society at the first annual Fallasburg village bazaar.
Brand new website
For you “virtual” explorers, FHS is very happy to announce the completion of our website upgrade project, the address, www.fallasburg.org . Thank you to the Lowell Cable Television Fund for your financial support. Thank you to Betsy Davidson and Addorio Technologies LLC of Lowell for your know-how. Please check it out, all the pages, pretty cool? We still have a tweak or two to make, a picture to change, but Betsy has done a phenomenal job. Then, she says she’s going to teach FHS how to maintain it… She doesn’t know what she’s getting herself into!
To join, to donate, to volunteer. For events, information, or just a trip down memory lane…
Get ready for an action-packed fun-filled weekend in the pioneer village of Fallasburg on Sept. 16 & Sept. 17 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The third annual Fallasburg village bazaar is this weekend.
Attention vendors: the set-up starts today Friday, Sept.15 from noon to 8 pm.
If setting up tomorrow, you must be done by 10 am when the village bazaar officially opens.
Below is just a sampling of the treasures ahead of you.
We Anticipate good weather and fun treasure seekers.
The village will be decked out in its autumn glory. Come and experience history of the 1850s village founded by John Wesley Fallass.
Once you enter the Fallasburg Park on Fallasburg Road hang a second right at the Covered Bridge Road, and mainly cross the iconic Covered Bridge into the village that nestles on 42 acres on the banks of the Flat River.
The vendor booths will be located along the Covered Bridge Road between the historical buildings. That is on the lawn in front of the Tower Farm and by the Misner House with abundant parking.
Following is a list of vendors:
Nancy Price Stroosnyder of the Whites Bridge historical society at the first annual Fallasburg village bazaar.
Fallassburgh Flats vintage baseball team
Rock art by Doug & Marcia
Lowell, Crew, Whites Bridge Historical Society group and metal detecting outfit.
Rock Art, Sandy’s Fudge, Anna Maria with gnome and fairy houses, Shabby Chicnaniggans signs and furniture, soaps & sachets, greeting cards, Thunderstorm Metal Art, James $ Heather Babala, metal, stone and glass.
The new vendors include Susan Clarke with silk scarves dyed organically in leaves and berries, Larry Rowland with birdhouses, Bettany Tania with jewelry made from guitar strings and antique vintage tins.
You can still get a spot by contacting Michelle Emas at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 1-616-648-0048.
The 12 by 12 feet booths are $50, and 12 by 24 are $100 for both days.
The Fallasburg Historical Society (FHS) requests that you set up on Friday between noon and eight. Same day set up should be complete by 10 a.m. prior to the opening of the Fallasburg bazaar event.
“I hope that the weather cooperates,” liaison Michelle Emaus said. “Colbie will have her lemonade stand with pink, yellow and pomegranate lemonade.”
Emaus said the camaraderie among the vendors is fantastic.
“We hope to grow the event,” she said. “We want to encourage people to cross the Covered Bridge. It is growing with vendors and attendance.”
As with any event, Emaus said it’s the people who make is so great.
The vintage Fallasburg Flats baseball team will hold a tournament on Saturday from 10 a.m. at the Fallas Field across from the one-room schoolhouse.
“No fear.” They play baseball without gloves. Check them out.
Local author Emma Palova will have her book signing of Shifting Sands Short Stories inside the schoolhouse from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on both days. Come and chat with the author about the egotistical characters in the book like the perfect math professor Martin Duggan.
We will have refreshments.
Also the Fallasburg Historical Society will have an informational table at the shelter during the Fall Festival for the Arts. Stop by and say hi.
Local author book signing at the Fallasburg pioneer village during Fall Fest for the Arts and Fallasburg Village Bazaar
By Emma Palova
Lowell, MI -I find history being the biggest Partner
on my life’s journey. I have to think back to the Soviet invasion of former Czechoslovakia on August 21, 1968, which has formed my life and the career of a writer all the way to the present author.
If it wasn’t for the Soviet invasion, my father former professor Vaclav Konecny would not have defected the occupied country for the USA. He was one of thousands of expatriates who illegally left the country in protest of the suppression of the Prague Spring reformist movement led by Alexander Dubcek.
I write about this in the Greenwich Meridian where East meets West memoir about the Konecny family immigration saga spanning three generations.
My writing has been inspired by the leader of the 1989 Velvet Revolution, late president Vaclav Havel. I embarked on my professional writing career as a correspondent for Czechoslovak Newsweek, based in New York City.
History continues to inspire me, because I find in it similarities to today’s problems and solutions in the society.
“I have a lifelong passion for history & politics which in turn fuel my writing,” Emma Palova said in a recent interview for the Lowell Ledger.
Palova has been writing about the Fallasburg Historical Society (FHS) events since mid 2000s. In 2015, she designed the “The next 50 years of Fallasburg” campaign for the FHS.
FHS president Ken Tamke commented about the collaboration between the historical society and Emma Palova of Emma Blogs, LLC.
Murray Lake Elementary students at Fallasburg
FHS’ collaboration with Emma Palova was born out of necessity. Our website was old, outdated, and had too many people trying to fix it. Realizing the importance of a viable website integrated with social media, but also realizing that a re-design and launch of something new and fresh would take time and money, FHS sought to take an intermediate step so as not to lose our cyber presence completely. We were familiar with Ms. Palova’s writing as a reporter for the Lowell Ledger. A proposal was drafted. Ms. Palova was able to help publicize ongoing FHS events through social media sites and through a blog she created, “Fallasburg Today,” in this interim period. The same charming coverage present in her writings for the Ledger helped Fallasburg engage its followers and supporters by keeping them informed and up to date while undergoing our website remodel.
Now, three years later, with a sparkling new website, FHS found Ms. Palova’s work to be indispensable. Lacking familiarity and comfort with technology aside, Ms. Palova captures nicely the feeling of Fallasburg and its residents. Her coverage of events attracts people to become involved as volunteers, donors, and participants. Her knowledge of social media fills a gap that in today’s world, is integral in communicating our message. FHS could not be happier with Emma Palova and the contribution she makes to the Fallasburg Historical Society.
In the spirit of collaboration, FHS vice-president Tina Siciliano Cadwallader offered that Emma could use the Fallasburg one-room schoolhouse museum for her book-signing events.
A successful first book signing was held at the museum on July 16.
“I couldn’t be happier, so many of my fans from the newspaper years came to the event,” she said. “Moreover, my parents, whom I write about the Greenwich Meridian saga also attended.”
Emma Palova’s next book signing event of Shifting Sands Short Stories will be held during the Fallasburg Fall Festival for the Arts and the Fallasburg Village Bazaar on Sept. 16 & Sept. 17 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the one-room schoolhouse museum. Everyone is welcome.
Come and explore the ambiance of the 1850s Fallasburg pioneer village and chat with the local author and journalist, who has been covering area events for more than two decades.
The feature photo shows FHS volunteers Addie Abel (right) and Dotty Blain (left) doing what they do best. That is assisting at most of the events held at the Fallasburg one-room schoolhouse, including Emma’s book signing.
“I share the same passion for history with all the FHS volunteers,” Palova said.
Summer is almost here as spring winds down. It’s been a busy and productive time in the pioneer village for the Fallasburg Historical Society. (FHS) March and April showers have in fact brought May flowers, but the rains also delayed our much-needed roof replacement on the Fallas House.
Through the benevolence of the late Harold Englehardt of Lowell and his bequest, the Grand Rapids Community Foundation’s Lowell Area Community Fund, awarded monies to FHS to get the job done in what we hoped would be mid-March. Mother Nature strikes again, yet Villagers and volunteers came to the rescue. Craig Wood’s young crew scaled the slippery slope and patched new critter invasion routes which just seemed to appear as soon as we got the last ones secured. Not to worry. The weather did improve and Risner’s Roofing & Home Improvement of Lowell installed a beautiful new roof. Thank you, Grand Rapids Community Foundation, Lowell Area Community Fund, Risner’s, and timely help from Village volunteers. We couldn’t have done it without you!
Speaking of timely help, Fallasburg Historical Society’s Calvin College History Department Intern, Brianne Lynn, under the direction and mentorship of Lowell Area Historical Museum’s Executive Director, Lisa Plank, has completed her term assignment. Brianne has brought FHS ever closer to having all their accession pieces (the stuff that people donate, and the treasures we acquire) digitally cataloged in a wonderful software program and website developed by the Lowell Museum’s software guru, Jeff Ostrander. The site, “The Past Online,” allows anyone with a computer, tablet, or smart phone to access documents, pictures, and artifacts that comprise our collections, for research, or just out of historical curiosity. Have a look: www.thepastonline.org
And, while you’re surfing check out www.fallasburg.org Last December, FHS engaged Addorio Technologies, LLC, of Lowell, to redesign and launch a new website. The first steps were to create basic “Home” and “Contact” pages for the Society which went live in January. The subsequent work, the fun part, has been in development and has just gone up on our site. This work comes courtesy of the Lowell Cable Television Endowment Fund which awarded FHS a grant for the implementation of additional Internet pages. These pages will highlight and provide a means for registration and payment for “Events” like the upcoming 23RD Annual Covered Bridge Bike Tour on Sunday, July 9, and the Fallasburg Farmhouse Soiree on Saturday, August 5.
On another Internet page, you’ll find links to other organizations like “The Past Online,” Lowell Area Historical Museum, and the Fallassburgh Flats, our Vintage Base Ball Team. Of course, there’ll be a “Photo Gallery” page with four seasons of village pictures and historical tidbits. But, the page I’m most excited about is “History’s Mysteries.” Every museum has them, pictures you can’t identify of people and places, artifacts that baffle-what is that? Well, Fallasburg has their share, and you’ll be able to play history detective. We’ll put them up on the site, and who knows what might happen. Thank you to Addorio, and the Lowell Cable Television Fund. Technology is daunting to us old-schoolers, but you’ve helped us broaden our horizons and share our resources as only technology can do!
Murray Lake Elementary students at Fallasburg
Murray Lake Elementary school students at Fallasburg
Lowell Community Expo at Lowell High School in late March brought together Fallasburg Historical Society legends Ed Roth, Dottie Blain, and Addie Tower Abel, along with current FHS Treasurer, Alan Rumbaugh, Board Members Melanie Brim and Tracy Worthington, all as goodwill ambassadors from the Village. The group was out to make new friends and so they did. A local Boy Scout, John Lothian, in pursuit of his Eagle Scout Badge wants to follow up on our new roof and paint the Fallas House for his community service project. Recently retired from Grand Valley State University, Communications Specialist, Mark Kuzee, stopped by. He has relocated to the Lowell Area with his wife Sue, has a penchant for woodworking, and finds exciting the challenges of maintaining historic properties just like our man of many hats, Alan Rumbaugh. We’ve already pressed Mark into service making custom siding patches for critter holes in the wildlife refuge we call Fallasburg Village.
Spring cleaning in Fallasburg was undertaken in several Saturday morning sessions. Tina Cadwallader polished up the Schoolhouse and got it ready for Murray Lake Elementary School’s 1ST Grade Class visit. Alan Rumbaugh, Lisa Sostecke, Mark Kuzee, Frank and Patty Brechbiel and even Fallasburg Intern, Brianne Lynn spiffed up the Misner House filling a dumpster. And, yours truly recycled what amounted to the evolution of the personal computer: old monitors, keyboards, CPU’s, printers, and yes, mice, too.
“Spring into the Past,” a creation of the Tri-Rivers Museum Network on the first weekend in May is a collaboration of what has grown to 41 local museums that share the geography of three rivers. The Flat, the Thornapple, and the Grand Rivers roughly define a boundary. All FHS museums were open for the weekend as were other network museums, free of charge, with regional tours encouraged. Fine weather and sunshine insured a steady stream of visitors and the Fallassburgh Flats, FHS’s Vintage Base Ball Team initiated their 2017 season with an intra-squad scrimmage on Fallas Field. For more information on the Flats and their season schedule: www.fallassburghflats.com
On Monday, June 19, 2017 at the Lowell Chamber of Commerce, 7:00 p.m., FHS will hold our Annual General Meeting. This is an opportunity for our members to have a voice and our friends to offer an opinion. Most importantly, it’s a chance to get for all of you to get involved! We can’t do it without you! We hope you’ll come out and join us!
“Spring Into the Past” and bring the family to tour the small museums of the Tri-River Historical Museum Network in Barry, Eaton, Ionia, Kent and Montcalm counties on May 6 & 7.
“Youngsters will be amazed at how folks got along without all of today’s technology and older folks will enjoy reminiscing the good old days,” said publicity director Judy Gager.
“Fashions through the Ages” is this year’s theme as more than thirty member museums or historical societies roll out their red carpet to show off the unique history of their communities.
Fallasburg pioneer village located three miles northeast of Lowell is one of the 30 participating museums this year. The quaint village is waiting to be discovered. The one-room schoolhouse will open for the season on Sundays from 2 to 4 p.m.
During this annual event museums are open the first Saturday/Sunday in May from 11 am to 5 pm for your convenience. Visit our website for descriptive information and a handy map to plot your tour beforehand or get a booklet at any of the museums.
For more information on the Fallasburg Historical Society (FHS) as it readies for the new season at the village and the annual Covered Bridge bike tour on Sunday, July 9 go to:
Fallasburg, MI -The Fallasburg Historical Society (FHS) is pleased to announce that it has received a grant from the Grand Rapids Community Foundation to replace the badly worn Fallas House roof. The award came just in the nick of time, as critters had struck again, opening a large hole in the roof. The oldest home still standing in Vergennes Township will be weather-tight and critter-free very soon thanks to the grant.
Calvin College intern to catalogue Fallasburg artifacts for “The Past Online”
For the second year in the running, the Calvin College history department arranged for student Brianne Lynn to assist the FHS in the digital cataloging of Fallasburg artifacts, documents, and pictures.
This information will be used in “The Past Online” website developed by the Lowell Area Historical Museum (LAHM). Ms. Lynn has resumed the task of entering data in collaboration with LAHM executive director Lisa Plank, who will act as mentor. Visitors to the website can access historical information about the Fallasburg village and Lowell, as well as other communities, as the project evolves.
FHS launches new website
In January, the FHS launched the much-anticipated new website, www.fallasburg.org It is the same web address we’ve always maintained, but the site now features a brand-new look thanks to Betsy Davidson, owner of Addorio Technologies of Lowell.
Murray Lake Elementary students at the Fallasburg school.
In front of the Fallasburg schoolhouse museum.
You will first notice new pictures when you visit our home and contact pages.
However, it is still a work in progress. Much more than just an electronic billboard, we want our site to be a repository of information that tells our story so visitors can learn about what FHS does, about our events and news, and the village history, through pictures and narratives.
We will accomplish this with additional pages and links to “The Past Online,” and other sites. We are looking for village pictures to populate the site, so if you could send them along. At the end of this process, Betsy is going to show us how to use all of this technology. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks!
Visit FHS @ Lowell Community Expo on March 25
In the meantime, FHS is looking forward to participating in the Lowell Chamber of Commerce’s, “Lowell Community Expo” on Saturday, March 25. Stop by Lowell High School and say hello to our volunteers!
Spring into the Past on May 6 and May 7
On Saturday and Sunday, May 6 and 7, Fallasburg Village and our museums, the Misner House, the Schoolhouse and the Fallas House will be open for tours as part of the Tri-Rivers Museum Network’s “Spring into the Past.” The Tri-Rivers group has grown from a handful of member museums to 41, all in proximity to the Flat, Grand, and Thornapple Rivers. We’re all going to be open, 10 – 5. Make it a “History Weekend” to remember.
Fallasburg one-room schoolhouse opens for the season, Fallassburgh Flats vintage baseball season begins in May
Fallasburg Covered Bridge Bike Tour takes to the road on July 10.
Fallasburg schoolhouse museum.
May also signals the beginning of our FHS “Season in the Village.” The Fallassburgh Flats will start to play with Vintage Base Ball on Fallas Field. For information go to: email@example.com
The Schoolhouse opens its doors most Sunday afternoons, 2 – 4 in June.
23rd Annual Covered Bridge Bike Tour set for July 9
February also began the odyssey of planning and preparations for the 23RD Annual Covered Bridge Bike Tour on Sunday, July 9. Mark your calendars! Come and ride with us!
Don’t forget to visit the new and improved www.fallasburg.org And, please like us on Facebook!
Submit your stories and photos for the new feature on the Fallasburg Today blog, “The FHS Time Machine” on http://fallasburgtoday.org
Hope to see you around Fallasburg village this season,
Featured photo of the Tower House by Bruce Doll.
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