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Tales From the Burg

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:

https://collection.fallasburg.org/

The series will have the logo of Mr. Goodsell’s letter. We encourage your input and feedback by 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

Prologue 

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.

Clark Goodsell.

https://collection.fallasburg.org/Gallery/14

                            https://collection.fallasburg.org/Gallery/13 

                                                                                                              

Harrisville, August 7 – 1932

Mr. Hermann Jones,

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.

Yours Truly,

C.W Goodsell

Epilogue

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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Tower Farm renovations-phase II

The next phase of the Tower Farm restorations has begun.

The crew has mostly painted the outside of the Tower Farm.  The foam insulation is being installed.  Then the sheet rock insulation will start.  The four porches are getting new decking during this time also.  The heating will be completed. Once the sheet rock is done, painting the inside will begin.  Then all the cabinets will be installed and plumbing finalized.   Long process that may be completed by the end of the year.

https://wordpress.com/post/fallasburgtoday.org/123492

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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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Christmas wishes

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

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!

Ken Tamke
FHS president

Copyright (c) 2018. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Christmas in Fallasburg 2018

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.
Happy holidays.
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.

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Join the FHS on Google +

To follow  the Fallasburg Historical Society progress join us also on Google+

Just click the link below.

https://plus.google.com/communities/103626474079704714374?sqinv=ZjRMY2pIbm4zU0xOMHBVTWhTaTFvZFFHUFlxajJB

Mark your calendars for the annual Christmas in Fallasburg party on Dec. 8 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. A $20 donation is requested to benefit the Fallasburg Historical Society.

The party features a fancy buffet, beverages and music by Hawks & Owls. It is topped off by a bonfire.

It is a once in a lifetime experience as you cross the Covered Bridge into the 1850s pioneer village.

Copyright (c) 2018. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

September message from FHS president

Get ready for fall events @Fallasburg

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.

fallas ken headshot
FHS president Ken Tamke

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!

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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

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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:  fallassburghflats@gmail.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!

Sincerely,

Ken Tamke, President

Subject: just happened to be travelling through…

Message:
May 5, 2018

Dear FHS,

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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Great finds at Fallasburg village

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.

20180509_1058542030589065.jpg
The treasure hunters: Lisa Plank, Ken Tamke and Calvin intern Grace Bolt.

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.

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.

20180522_1318461341079036.jpg
FHS president Ken Tamke holds a box with Women’s Cooperative yearbooks.

“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.

For more info go to https://www.ggrwhc.org/projects/wwi/

or

Grand Rapids Public Library

https://grpl.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/p16055coll5

The Fallasburg Historical Museum, the one-room schoolhouse opens for the season on June 3rd from 2 to 4 p.m. Plan your visit today.

 

Copyright (c) 2018. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

FHS annual meeting

Mark your calendars for the Annual General Meeting of the Fallasburg Historical Society (FHS) on Monday, June 18th.

The meeting will be held at the Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce at 7 p.m.

The purpose of the Annual General Meeting is to identify and to present to the general membership, a slate of candidates for election to the FHS board.

“Additionally, it is a forum for our membership to lend its voice and to get involved,” Ken Tamke, FHS president said. “Please join us to help preserve historic Fallasburg Village.”

The one-room schoolhouse museum opens for the season on June 3rd from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.  It will be open every Sunday through September. Plan your visit with us this summer and fall.

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