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.
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!
Former students visit one-room schoolhouse
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…