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.

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

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Christmas magic in Fallasburg

Christmases of the past

By Emma Palova

Fallasburg, MI – The weather outside is frightful with an arctic invasion coming our way, but I am definitely looking forward to tomorrow’s Christmas party in Fallasburg.

It has become a tradition much like baking, shopping and writing Christmas cards. It’s like recapturing part of the past magic of Christmas that we all have experienced as kids.

It’s all the Christmases of the past coming together into one. We each have special memories of Christmas tied to our childhood past.

Every year we meet out there inside the old Fallasburg one-room schoolhouse to share camaraderie, to break bread and enjoy Christmas music.

First you have to cross the Covered Bridge at the speed of no more than a walk. And then you immerse yourself into the magic of the pioneer village.

I live three miles from the village, and I have discovered it early on after moving out into the northeast corner of Kent County. The village is located approximately three miles north of Lowell. It nestles on the banks of the Flat River.

The Patina of time has settled in on the historical buildings from the 1850s like the Tower Farm. It’s a bygone era of a simpler time in the village.

You can hear the horses and coaches cross the bridge. The party runs from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., and it is capped off with a bonfire.

The Fallasburg Historical Society (FHS) has been managing the village since 1965. As with any historical preservation, the challenges are many. They range from funding to labor for the upkeep on the buildings.

Without a dedicated team of volunteers, none of the events throughout the year would be possible.

These include:

March Expo in Lowell

Spring into the Past Museum tour

Fallasburg Covered Bridge Bike Tour

Fallasburg Village Bazaar

Christmas in Fallasburg

As we wish you a peaceful holiday, we hope that you can join us in our historic preservation efforts by volunteering time or a money donation.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Fallasburg Today at http://fallasburgtoday.org

Fallasburg http://www.fallasburg.org

Thank you for your support.

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.

fallas ken headshot
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.

Merry Christmas

I  would like to wish everyone happy holidays on behalf of Fallasburg Historical Society. May peace and kindness prevail in this world.

Best wishes into 2016 and beyond.

Fallasburg village
Fallasburg village

The FHS vision

The next 50 years of historic preservation

We’re celebrating the 50th anniversary of the West Central Michigan Historical Society, now the Fallasburg Historical Society (FHS). These organizations have been preserving the pioneer tradition of the 1830s village of Fallasburg since 1965.

fallas ken headshot
FHS president Ken Tamke

It began with a vision of a restored village and its Covered Bridge, and now only the Tower Farm preservation project remains for the vision to be complete. It ends with our families being able to enjoy it in 2015, this picture postcard from the past.

“It’s our heritage, we just have to pay it forward,” said FHS president Ken Tamke.

Beginning the second 50 years, it’s never been easier for members, guests, friends and visitors to connect with us on the technology path.

“Comments and participation are always welcomed and encouraged,” Tamke said.

One room schoolhouse
One room schoolhouse

Fallasburg is now on Facebook. Join the conversation on twitter @fallasburg #fallasburg and on WordPress at Fallasburg Today on http://fallasburgtoday.org. Visit our website at http://www.fallasburg.org and subscribe to our e-newsletter Fallasburg Today.

Coming in 2016, after collaboration with the Lowell Area Historical Museum and a Calvin College department intern concludes, the FHS artifacts and documents will be digitally cataloged with collections available for examination by everyone from scholars to school kids.

New this year was the Fallasburg Bazaar that we will continue to develop. Our signature events are: Christmas in Fallasburg , the Covered Bridge Bike Tour and Schoolhouse Open Sundays. All these events could use more volunteers.

The Tower Farm Preservation Project will need help from skilled building trades as we move through 2016.

Please help launch 50 more years of historic preservation and education efforts by renewing your membership in the Fallasburg Historical Society today. And don’t forget to include your e-mail address.

Sincerely,

Ken Tamke

FHS president

Patronize our sponsors Main Street Inn and Vergennes Broadband.

Main Street Inn in nearby Lowell.
Main Street Inn in nearby Lowell.

 

Vergennes fiber
Vergennes fiber

Copyright (c) 2015 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Tweeting

Social media: twitter

By Emma Palova

Lowell- I was on twitter first before Facebook because someone recommended that it is a good social site for writers. I am trying to remember my first tweet. I see that right now I posted 1,212 tweets since 2008.

I probably introduced myself. My first profile photo was on a beach under a palm tree with a margarita. Once I started with WordPress, I changed it to a photo in front of a computer in my studio.

WordPress automatically publicizes short links on twitter, so I forgot about the whole thing until this past summer.

I had to set up a twitter page for the Fallasburg Historical Society. I almost forgot how to do that. Much like Facebook you enter an email address and a password and set up your profile. Twitter now allows for photos, but still the number of characters is limited to140.

Actually one of my first encounters with social media was at a meeting at the Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce at 8 a.m. The publisher sent me “to spy.”

I immediately liked what I heard that Facebook is like a cocktail party, while Linkedin is like a business meeting. I wonder what they said about twitter. Maybe a birds’ nest.

Today, I use all three and more to market my work and other people’s info. It’s bizarre how social media work in circles with the info returning back to you.

For example I posted on twitter “Visit Fallasburg Today” with hash tag #Pure Michigan on their page.

Taz Painter posted on twitter: “Visited Fallasburg on a beautiful Sunday on Nov. 1” with hash tag #Pure Michigan. I reposted Painter’s tweet on Fallasburg’s Facebook page and got a response from Ronald & Peggy Topolski that Ronald went to the one-room schoolhouse. I’ll be doing a story with Mr. Topolski.

Twitter is very efficient in data delivery even if it may seem a little confusing at first.

“I don’t know anyone who’s on twitter in Lowell,” said Fallasburg park manager Doug Wilbur.

“Well, now you do,” I answered laughing.

And then Wilbur found his own twitter account.

My husband Ludek Pala recently joined in too to get Tunabear Internet. At first I struggled a little bit with the hash tags, but then I got it from TV from Access Hollywood.

Which one is my favorite social media?

It depends on what I use it for. WordPress publicizes on everything including Google +, Pinterest, Tumblr and Linkedin once you connect these services.

I use twitter often for Fallasburg and myself.

I also manage five Facebook pages and two public groups Writers Loop and Fallasburg Today.

People ask me how often to post? To keep everything connected at least once a week.

Definitely content because as they say content is the king.

How about the biggest challenge in blogging?

Copyright (c) 2015 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

Autumn in Fallasburg

Visit Fallasburg this fall

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI- As the leaves turn burning red and the nights grow longer, the forgotten Fallasburg village sleeps its dream from the 1830s.

It was a dream of pioneer John Wesley Fallass who founded the village in 1837 to have a bustling place. He built a mill in 1839 in the village and began manufacturing flour and lumber. By 1850 the village boasted a grist mill and a sawmill that housed a chair factory. The chair factory may be one of the first furniture factories in the Grand Rapids area.

The road into the Fallasburg historical district from the north.
The road into the Fallasburg historical district from the north.

The bustling lumbering village also had a stone-mason, a pair of blacksmiths, horse barns, a hotel and tavern, two general stores, post office, distillery, school, a cemetery and a tannery.

It became a main stage route from Ionia to Grand Rapids, and a thriving settlement on the banks of the Flat River.

A thriving settlement in 1850s
Fallasburgh, a thriving settlement in 1850s

But, destiny had it different. Everything changed with the arrival of the D & M railroad line in Lowell instead of Fallasburg in 1858. The village started steadily declining with the post office closing in 1905 and the grist mill was torn down in 1912.

The Tower Farm circa 1850 in Fallasburg.
The Tower Farm circa 1850 in Fallasburg.

However, what is left of Mr. Fallass’ dream remains treasured to this day. The charming hamlet nestles in the northeast corner of Kent County on 42 acres along the banks of the Flat River. The original 1871 Fallasburg Covered Bridge connects the forgotten village  to the rest of the world. The bridge is a perfect Kodak spot favored by photographers and newlyweds.

Interpretive signs before the Covered Bridge.
Interpretive signs before the Covered Bridge.

The village includes a schoolhouse, village cemetery, and house museums: John Fallass House, Misner House, Tower Farm & Tower Barn and Fallass Barn.

The Covered Bridge stretches 100 feet long, 14 feet wide and 12 feet high. Its lattice-work trusses are made of white pine timbers from nearby Greenville.

Currently, it is the only one of two wooden covered bridges in Michigan open to traffic. The area lost the Whites Bridge Covered Bridge due to arson on July 7, 2013. Efforts are in the works to replace the sister bridge.

The entire village is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The one-room schoolhouse is open on Sundays.
The one-room schoolhouse is open on Sundays.

Take a tour on a picture perfect day, stop by the new interpretive signs in front of the Covered Bridge and get to know the story of the old Fallassburgh from the early 1830s roots to its decline in the early 1900s. But, slow down or you will get a $5 fine for riding or driving on the bridge faster than a walk, according to original 1872 signs.

You will immerse yourself into the past filled with villagers who played out the story. These included the founding Fallass family, the Moon family who were educators in the area, the Tower family and postmaster John M. Waters. The Fallasburg Historical Society (FHS) has maintained the village since 1965 thanks to resident Leonora Tower who decided to share this gem with the community.

Fallasburg founder John Fallass' house
Fallasburg founder John Fallass’ house

The FHS president Ken Tamke said the lack of continued development has been both a blessing and a curse.

None of the current residents known as villagers wish for any further development other than maintaining the existing historical properties, according to a feasibility study conducted by Vergennes Township.

A county park that surrounds the village is used for weddings, reunions, company and Rotary picnics. You can hike, bike or ride through the park and the village.

It is the hope of FHS to restore the Tower Farm for community meetings and to maintain the house museums. A section of North Country Trail (NCT) runs through the village next to the Tower Barn.

Venture out to Fallasburg during the upcoming Lowell events Girls Night Out on Oct. 15 and Christmas through Lowell on Nov. 20, 21 & 22.

Mark your calendars for the annual “Christmas in Fallasburg” party this year set for Dec. 12 from 6 to 8 p.m. Suggested donation is $20.

Patronize our sponsors http://www.mainstreetinnlowell.com just three miles south of Fallasburg.

Main Street Inn in nearby Lowell.
Main Street Inn in nearby Lowell.

For more info on nearby Lowell events go to http://www.discoverlowell.org

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

Copyright (c) 2015 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Message from FHS president Ken Tamke

Come and explore the Fallasburg village today

Villagers have always recognized what a special place Fallasburg is, from the founding settlers to present day inhabitants.  Fifty years ago, villager Leonora Tower felt it was time to share this resource with the community at large. So, the West Central Michigan Historical Society was born, which  later became the Fallasburg Historical Society.

FHS president Ken Tamke
FHS president Ken Tamke

I marvel at how many visitors, locals and West Michiganders from far and near, are just discovering Fallasburg Village.

“Wow, I didn’t realize this existed,” is the most common response as they browse our museums and learn about this colorful slice of history.

I invite you to help us celebrate this 50TH Anniversary of our preservation efforts by taking a fall color tour through the Fallasburg Park across the Covered Bridge into the charming pioneer village.

Take a walk or a bike ride through the village this fall. Check out the gems of history, the John Fallass house, the Misner House, The Tower Farm & Barn and the one room schoolhouse museum.

The museum is open on Sundays from 2 p.m to 4 p.m. Docent led tours are available by appointment for groups.

Mark your calendars for a vintage Christmas in Fallasburg on Dec. 12 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at 13944 Covered Bridge Road, north of Lowell.

Sign up for Fallasburg Today E-newsletter on our FHS facebook page to stay in the loop.

For more information on the Fallasburg Historical Society go to www.fallasburg.org

For more information on the Fallassburgh Flats, and their season schedule:  fallassburgflats@gmail.com

We hope to see you out there!

Ken Tamke, President

Fallasburg Historical Society

Copyright (c) 2015 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.