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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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

Spring into the Past museum tour

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.

The Tower Barn

“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.

Get a descriptive booklet at any of the museums or plan your tour beforehand by downloading a copy of a map at http://www.commoncorners.com

Visit TriRiver on Facebook, too.

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.

Participating museums in the Spring into the Past Tri-River Museums 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.

“Fallasburg always Partakes in this annual tour,” said FHS spokesperson Emma Palova.

Get an informational booklet at any museum. Museums are free, but donations are certainly appreciated!

 

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

 

FHS President’s spring message

Remembering Mr. Edwin Roth

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.

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FHS president Ken Tamke

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!

Fallasburg Historical Society-Ed Roth Picture (1) resized

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.

Calvin College students
Calvin College students tour Fallasburg villlage.

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.

Say Hello:

Fallasburg Historical Society, Table #129, at the Lowell Community Expo, Saturday, March 24, from 9AM – 3PM, Lowell High School.

Come Visit:

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!

Sincerely,

Ken

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.

Happy new year 2018

Wishing everyone a great new year from the Fallasburg Historical Society. (FHS).

Visit the pioneer historic village in 2018 for fun and adventure. Check out our events. Join the FHS to help us preserve history for the future generations.

For more info go to http://www.fallasburg.org.

Copyright (c) 2017. Emma Blogs LLC. All rights reserved.

Christmas in Fallasburg 2017 was the most successful ever

Christmas in Fallasburg  party enjoys huge turnout

By Emma Palova

Fallasburg, MI – It was a night to remember. After much anticipation and preparation, the “Christmas in Fallasburg” party rolled in with fanfare last Saturday on Dec. 9. Snow was on the ground and we didn’t get the promised arctic blast by the local weatherman.

The Covered Bridge was all lit up and created a great photo opportunity at night. Just driving across the bridge in the silence of the night was an experience in itself. Of course the bridge allows only One-Way traffic at the speed of walking under the fine of $5.

I always feel nervous before each event, including my own, after all the marketing and promotions. The Christmas party is a premier event for the Fallasburg Historical Society (FHS).

“We never know how many people will come out,” said FHS president  Ken Tamke.

However, the party turned out to be the most successful party ever with 75 people in attendance.

“The fire was magnificent,” said Tamke. “Villager Craig Wood spent the whole year building it.”

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 and a buffet style dinner, while making sure everything works including the heater and electricity.

In other words, it was a true old-fashioned Christmas.

It is also the  favorite FHS event considering the atmosphere in the historic pioneer village of Fallasburg all decorated for Christmas.

People packed out the schoolhouse like never before. There was standing room only between 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. This year, we enjoyed newcomers and a younger crowd as well. There were families with children.

It was heartwarming to see the oldest member of the FHS Edwin Roth, 97, come in with his daughter Jeanne Roth Vandersloot. Roth never misses out on an FHS event.

Everybody enjoyed the music by live band Hawks & Owls. They played non-stop. The spirit of the night was in meeting new people as well as enjoying old friends. Even some people on snowmobiles stopped by. With new people involved also appeared new dishes like the delicious French green bean casserole, as well as the mainstay meatballs in two different versions, turkey and stuffing.

We headed out to the bonfire, that 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.

As we came back, the bell rang in the belfry announcing the end of the festivities.

I feel honored to be a part of the FHS preservation efforts including the Christmas magic in Fallasburg.

Thank you for a great year. Looking forward to 2018. Happy holidays.

Copyright (c) 2017. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

FHS president’s message

Dear friends,

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.

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FHS president Ken Tamke

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!

Ken

Copyright (c)2017. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Christmas in Fallasburg

 

Fallasburg Historical Society cordially invites you to the traditional “Christmas in Fallasburg” party on Dec. 9.

13944 Covered Bridge Road – Lowell, Michigan 49331

Hawks & Owls
Christmas in Fallasburg always features the band Hawks & Owls.

 

Dear friends,

 The schoolhouse in Fallasburg has always been a place that joins us together.  She was built so we would come; to learn, to share and to celebrate.

 Our schoolhouse, dressed for the holidays, once again stands ready to welcome you.

 Please join us for our community celebration.

“Christmas in Fallasburg”

Saturday, December 9, 6:00-8:00PM

Come and enjoy:

Holiday music by Hawks & Owls

 Libations, refreshments, and our Fallasburg Famous Christmas Buffet

 A roaring bonfire in Fallas Field to cap off the evening

 A $20.00 donation is requested from adults.

Copyright (c)2017. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

FHS president’s message for fall

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.

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FHS president Ken Tamke

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

 

 

 

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.

Fallassburgh Flats
Fallassburgh Flats vintage baseball team

 

 

Wedding

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!

Book signing

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.

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Volunteers Doty Blain & Addie Abel during Emma’s book signing

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.

 

 

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!

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History’s Mysteries

To join, to donate, to volunteer.  For events, information, or just a trip down memory lane…

www.fallasburg.org

Our next event:

Christmas in Fallasburg, Saturday, December 9, 2017

 

 

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