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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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.

 

Tours at the Fallasburg school.

2016 Fallasburg village in retrospect

1880s Fallasburg pioneer village emerges as a historical treasure in 2016

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Fallasburg, MI – No pun intended, but 2016 was a year for the “history books” for the Fallasburg Historical Society (FHS).

It was a transformative year from a sleepy village lost in time for more than a century to a rejuvenated historical treasure waiting to be discovered.

Better known for the Fallasburg Covered Bridge, which connects the hustle from the Lincoln Lake traffic to this hamlet, the Fallasburg village in 2016 emerged on its own merit.

With the new FHS events, increased online presence in “Fallasburg Today” blog, E-Newsletter & social media, and the updated website, the village connected with the right audience. That is with the lovers of history scattered around the world.

 Starting in the spring of 2016, FHS volunteers scrubbed and cleaned to get its signature museum, the one-room 1867 schoolhouse with the belfry, ready for the season.

Annually, the FHS participates in the “Spring into the Past” museum tour organized by the Tri-River Museum Network on the first weekend in May.

Mark your calendars, this year the “Spring into the Past” tour falls on May 6, 7, 2017.

The event opens up the Fallasburg village located inside the Fallasburg Park for the tourist season. The museum is open from 2p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays from May to October, or by appointment.

Much like the park, the village reflects the colors of the season throughout the year. It’s yours to explore at any time of the year with walking, hiking and biking trails running through village.

The Falassburgh Flats Vintage Base Ball team starts its season on the ball field located at the village with the first game in May.

The biggest fundraiser of the year, is the annual Fallasburg Covered Bridge bike tour. The 23rd annual bike tour will be held on July 9th with several bike tour options. For complete info visit http://fallasburgtoday.org or www.fallasburg.org.

The tour gives you a unique opportunity to explore the pioneer village and the northern east region of Kent County in Michigan.

The fall in Fallasburg brings robust colors with epic events. These include the annual Fallasburg village bazaar inside the pioneer village. This novelty event in its third year coincides with the Fallasburg Fall Festival for the Arts.

Both events will be held on Sept. 16 & Sept. 17, 2017.

The FHS was included in the “Past online” pilot by the Lowell Area Historical Museum launched in the fall of 2016. Intern Katelyn Bosch from Calvin College assisted in the online project.

Bosch said that she likes the village as a historic entity because it has streets, unlike most museums which are single buildings.

The brand new Ghostbusters @ Fallasburg event was held last year on Oct. 29th. It featured village haunting and the haunted walk.

“We attracted visitors that would not have otherwise come to the village,” said Ken Tamke, FHS president.

But the crowning jewel of 2016 was the annual “Christmas at Fallasburg” party held on Dec, 10 inside the one-room schoolhouse with the signature bonfire. The party attracted a record number of visitors, according to Tamke.

From newcomers, drawn in by the social media, from as far as Ukraine to the oldest Fallasburg resident of Swiss origin, Edwin Roth, 94, the party was a smorgasbord for the history lover.

“I’ve never been to a Christmas party inside a museum,” said Irina from Ukraine, a student at the Grand Valley State University (GVSU) graduate program in Grand Rapids.

Currently, the FHS is in the process of updating its website. Stay tuned for more progress at this emerging Fallasbirg gem in the rough.

This post is also in response to the Daily Post “Retrospective” at

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/discover-challenges/retrospective

Subscribe to the Fallasburg Today E-Newsletter below:

For more info check the following links:

Fallasburg at www.fallasburg.org

Fallasburg Today blog at http://fallasburgtoday.org

Tri-River Museum Network at www.ioniahistory.org/tri-river-group.html

Fallassburgh Flats Vintage Base Ball Club at www.fallassburghflats.com

Past online at www.thepastonline.org

Copyright © 2016. 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.