Students from Murray Lake Elementary visited the historic 1850s Fallasburg village for a tour starting at the one-room schoolhouse where they took seats in the old original desks in front of the black chalkboard.
The 1867 schoolhouse came alive as the yellow Lowell Area school bus dropped the kids off and the bell rang to their laughter and chatter.
The one-room schoolhouse is the signature museum of the Fallasburg Historical Society (FHS) and it remained a functioning school until 1961.
So let the class begin. The teacher and tour guide was Mr. Ken Tamke. Tamke FHS president emeritus and Murray Lake teacher Denise Washburn have established this field trip tradition so long ago that no one can remember.
“This ties into first-grade lesson plans,” Tamke said. “They read Little House on the Prairie.”
Mr. Tamke took the kids by groups on a whirlwind tour through the village where he pointed out the flowering Black Locust tree in front of the newly renovated Tower Farm.
“It is said to be the oldest tree in Michigan,” he said.
At the Misner House, which stores the Fallasburg Historical Society (FHS) artifacts, the tour took on a funny spin as Mr. Tamke talked about the predecessors of the modern washing machine ( paddle laundry) and microwave.
The 1850 Misner House is the most complete museum in Fallasburg Village with recently installed climate control to preserve the artifacts.
The kids also toured the Fallas House built by founder John Wesley Fallas and his brothers, Silas and Arad in 1842. They loved the wooden “abacus” which was actually used as a wooden playpen to entertain toddlers.
The photo displays on easels attracted the kids’ attention as the closest objects to current times. The tour down the Covered Bridge Rd. included buildings that are part of the village, but not owned by the FHS.
“People live in there?” a child was fascinated in front of the old yellow Stagecoach House aka Fallasburg Inn built in 1859.
And finally, the kids ran across the Covered Bridge only to get fined for crossing at a speed faster than walking.
“I have a dollar,” a child said.
Watch for a story with pictures in the Lowell Ledger.
More action coming from the village as seven-year-old lepidopterist Liam Lopez-Wagner will be planting milkweed as part of his Amigos for Monarchs project on June 11 at 10 am in the historic village.
Copyright (c) 2022. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
Fallasburg village bazaar with list of participating vendors
By Emma Palova
The Fallasburg Historical Society (FHS) village bazaar is at full capacity for vendors for this year. Here is an updated list of participating vendors.
The bazaar is set this year for Sept. 14 & Sept. 15 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the historic Fallasburg village with ample free parking.
From Lincoln Lake Rd. just hang a right onto Covered Bridge Rd. and cross the Covered Bridge into the Fallasburg pioneer village and you will be charmed by the historical ambiance of the museum buildings and a variety of vendors ranging from fairy houses, jewelry to rock art and fudge.
Local author Emma Palova will be signing her brand new book “Secrets” from the Shifting Sands Short Stories collections at the one-room schoolhouse on both days, Sept. 14 and Sept.15 from noon to 5 p.m.
Two Hot Tamales- Food truck, Authentic Mexican Food
Whimsical Wick- antique vessels filed with wax turned into a candle
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Copyright (c) 2018. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
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.
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!
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