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. firstname.lastname@example.org 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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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!
Copyright (c) 2018. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
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.
Thank you to all the volunteers and organizers who made the 24TH Annual Covered Bridge Bike Tour a smashing success. For doing your part to help preserve Historic Fallasburg Village with your registrations, thanks to all our riders, the largest turnout in several years. And, thanks to Mother Nature, you gave us the perfect day for everyone to explore some of West Michigan’s most beautiful scenery.
As we closed up shop at the end of the event we had much to celebrate. Again, our gastronomical goodies from volunteers; the “cookie baker network” cookies and the culinary Italian Country-Style meal served al fresco from our Tuscan kitchens, set our bike tour apart. Not possible to walk away from us hungry!
There were sore muscles that night amongst the tourers I’m sure, but no injuries-0. Two blown tires and a broken chain resulted in rides from our SAG Driver (Support and Guidance) back to Fallasburg Village mid-route for a handful. That was the worst of it. An earlier meal at the Fallasburg Village Cyclist’s Café the consequence.
The Fallasburg Historical Society was pleased to contribute to the League of Michigan Bicyclists, “$1 Per Rider” program helping promote cycling in our State and make Michigan a safer place to cycle as we have since 2010.
Plan for the 25th Annual Covered Bridge Bike Tour
Next years event, the 25TH Annual Covered Bridge Bike Tour on Sunday, July 7, 2019 will be a milestone. Planning has already begun after catching our breath from the 24TH. We always welcome ideas, feedback, and participation as we prepare. Contact us through our website at www.fallasburg.org
Fall for Fallasburg
September and October are visitor favorites for fall color viewing in Fallasburg Village, and of special note are: Saturday & Sunday, September 15 & 16, and Saturday, October 27.
Fallasburg Village Bazaar set for Sept. 15 & Sept. 16
On Saturday & Sunday, September 15 & 16, the 50TH Fallasburg Fall Festival of the Arts will unfold in adjacent Fallasburg Park. Venture just across the Fallasburg Covered Bridge from the park after art, get a little history, and take a step back in time. From 10:00AM – 5:00PM both days, the Fallasburg Historical Society Bazaar offers self-guided walking tours of our historic village with free admission to all our museums; the Schoolhouse, the Fallas House, and the Misner House, then come browse our old- fashioned Bazaar of artisans and their crafts under tent. Enjoy food and refreshments. For more information on the Fallasburg Historical Society, and the Bazaar: www.fallasburg.org
Fallasburgh Flats Vintage Base Ball Tournament
On Saturday, September 15 only, the Fallassburg Flats, our 1860’s Vintage Base Ball Club will culminate their season by hosting their annual Fall Finale, The John Wesley Fallass Invitational Vintage Base Ball Tournament in Fallas Field across from the Fallasburg Schoolhouse. Admission is free. Preliminary games begin at 10:00AM with semi-final and final games in the afternoon followed by an awards ceremony around 5:00PM. For more information on the Fallassburgh Flats, and their regular season schedule: email@example.com
Local author Emma Palova book-signing at one-room schoolhouse
Emma Palova will have a book signing of Shifting Sands Short Stories on Sept. 15 & Sept. 16 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the one-room schoolhouse. Come and chat with the Czech-born author about her book. You can buy your copy locally. Check EW Emma’s Writings at http://emmapalova.com for more info about the book signing.
Ghost Walk at the Fallasburg village
On Saturday, October 27th, “Boo”! It’s a “Ghost Walk.” The Fallasburg Historical Society will be hosting a paranormal investigation in collaboration with the Michigan Paranormal Alliance (MPA). Sign in begins at 6:30PM and runs to 7:00PM at the Fallasburg Schoolhouse. You will accompany MPA on your “Ghost Walk” from 7:00PM – 9:00PM to investigate/research 3 historic buildings and the Fallasburg Village Cemetery. We have less than 10 tickets left @ $40 each that include your research w/MPA, beverages/snacks, and an event t-shirt. Call 616-560-9109 for tickets.
Christmas in Fallasburg set for Dec. 8
If you’re a “calendar marker, Saturday, December 8, 6:00PM-8:00PM, it’s “Christmas in Fallasburg”, A Community Celebration! Come for music and merriment at the Fallasburg Schoolhouse, finish in Fallas Field at the Fire!
I share with you a communication we received that sums up the “Fallasburg Experience” whether serendipitous, or scheduled. Come for a visit and see for yourself!
Ken Tamke, President
Subject: just happened to be travelling through…
May 5, 2018
Thanks so much for all that you folks have done along the Flat River there in Fallasburg. My wife and I were trying to take a shortcut from I-96 to M91, and we found ourselves just north of Lowell, saw the signs, and thought, “Why not?” The park, bridge, historical community, and especially the road that lead us east out-of-town was the perfect unplanned way to slow down, enjoy, and spend a spring day in our area of Michigan. We eventually found our way to M91 and headed for home in Remus. But, whenever we have the chance, we’ll be sure to revisit Fallasburg again. Keep up the good work! BTW, I’m sending my $5 fine…I think I went faster than a walk! God bless.
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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.
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