Stop by today at the FHS booth by the Showboat. Board member Craig Fonger will share his historic insights. And you can buy a cookbook or a coin commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Fallasburg Covered Bridge.
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Fallasburg Historical Society (FHS) offers tours by appointment
Fallasburg, MI – Book your tour today for a walk through the 1850s historic village of Fallasburg located just six miles north of Lowell on the banks of the Flat River. You will be delighted by the quaint atmosphere of the hamlet far from the maddening crowds of big cities as you step back in time. The village, which started as a saw-and-grist milling operation, has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1999.
The tour will take you from the one-room schoolhouse with the belfry and the original desks down the Covered Bridge Road past the historic buildings: the Misner House, the recently renovated Tower Farm and the J.W. Fallass House.
The Misner House is home to the village artifacts; these include treasures such as the Fallasburg Footprints, WWI Women’s Registration Cards among many others.
Walking through the immaculate white rooms still smelling of fresh paint at the Tower Farm with pristine views of the Fallasburg village and the woods in the back, it would take the wildest imagination to transport you back in time before the remodel. The 1850s dilapidated farmhouse was falling apart, when the Fallasburg Historical Society (FHS) embarked on the ambitious remodel in May of 2020. It was the last missing piece in the total reconstruction of the historic village due to the limited funding and since it was the last building to be occupied, it provided income to the FHS.
However, the roof was replaced in 2011 and the windows were replaced in 2014 to save the structure from extreme decay. In the years past, the FHS peeled off the asphalt/fireboard siding put on in 1954. Within the past year, the FHS was able to secure individual donations to begin a proper renovation.
The Orlin Douglass/Tower Farm was built by Douglass in 1850. It was later acquired by the Towers. In 1896, the right half of the farmhouse was moved from a nearby location so that sister-in-law’s, Tower and Steketee, could live together with their families.
The outside had greyish brown color and a layer of green fiberboard had been put on circa 1954 and peeled off during window installation, according to Craig Fonger, a volunteer and webmaster. All the mechanicals were replaced and proper fire blocking was installed to prevent fire from migrating to the second floor.
“COVID presented us with an opportunity we otherwise wouldn’t have had,” said Fonger. “This completes our village restoration and allows us to present a finished product to the world. Additionally the rental income will help benefit FHS.”
“I’m ecstatic about the Tower House rehabilitation,” said FHS president Ken Tamke.
It has been a very long haul on this project, 30+ years, and the result is stunning. Were it not for a couple of grants, the Lowell Area Community Fund administered by the Grand Rapids Community Foundation that awarded FHS a grant for a new roof in 2011, and the Lowell Cable Television Endowment Fund which awarded FHS a grant for new windows in 2014, the Tower House just might not have survived.
“The job our remarkable volunteers and contractors did that helped get the home to the finish line cannot be underestimated, many thanks to them,” Tamke said. “They deserve a lion’s share of the credit.”
Fonger said that nothing in the structure was neither square or plumb.
“At almost every turn we were forced to improvise in some way, in some caseseschewing the assistannce of builders squares and levels and just making things fit,” he said.
But, there was also gratification in the fact that the Tower House was the last property in almost 30 lumberring years of rehabilitation- each succession building on the legacy of preceding FHS boards.
Fallasburg Village has undergone an amazing renewal and is finally to a point beyond damage control, but there will always be something, paint here, repair there, TLC all around. The life of the preservationist is never boring or without tasks. FHS is up to the challenge!
Over the last decade, the village has continued to improve buildings, according to the treasurer Alan Rumbaugh. First, the stagecoach was redone, then Blackmer, next the Fallas house, and then Betsy Fallas. The Post Office and and Beckwith Tavern have been nicely maintained. The Tower and Fallas barns have both had major repairs with the Tower Barn getting the Barn of the Year 2014.
The School House had a new front porch/deck put on last year and the entire building was repainted. The old shack beside the Stagecoach House has been torn down adn the double wide across the street has been removed and a new farm type house will be built on that property.
Now that the Tower House has been brought to reflect its past, we have a village street that we can start to promote to the public and build a much bigger following for the FHS.
We hope to have the Tower House disdplay farm artifacts in the FHS part of the house, reflecting the history of the “Tower Farm” and water melon crops. The other half of the house will have tenants that will not only give us some income to promote the village, but hope for them to be an active member, living in the village.
The Misner House will be repainted this summer and some other minor work done on it. The displays in that house would be more in line with domestic items, washing machines, spinning wheels, etc.
The Fallas House would be set up as it would have been in the 1800s. The School House will reflect the life in a one-room school, which was in use into 1950s. The other houses on the street are private residents and have noted on the yard signs.
The original plan was to restore the Tower House creating a museum that represented 20TH century life. FHS has communicated regularly with the Tower Family and has obtained family mementoes, furnishings, pictures, and artifacts that will be displayed. We hope to hold occasional meetings, gatherings and outdoor functions supported by our new kitchen with this landmark farmhouse and grounds as the backdrop.
According to treasurer Al Rumbaugh, farming artifacts and memorabilia will be stored at Tower the House. The Tower House will also be used as office to work on program planning and archival projects.
Fonger credited much of the work to Rumbaugh and David Cadwallader who spent many hours on the project.
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The Fallasburg Historical Society (FHS) is looking for volunteers to spruce up the historic pioneer village of Fallasburg.
The FHS has several maintenance projects in Fallasburg Village this summer. We’re looking for volunteers!
Rehabilitation of the Tower Farmhouse. We’ll need help from skilled tradespeople, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, and help with general labor.
Preparation and painting the exterior of the Fallasburg Schoolhouse and metal roof.
Preparation and painting the exterior of the Misner House Museum/FHS offices.
Landscaping, tree trimming and cleanup of FHS properties including Vergennes Township’s Fallasburg Cemetery.
If you like to join FHS in our preservation efforts of historic Fallasburg Village we’d love to have you. Work dates and times are flexible. Materials will be provided. Contact Ken Tamke for info. email@example.com 616-682-0785 www.fallasburg.org
Join us for the FHS annual meeting on June 15 from 4 p.m. at the Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce.
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Schoolhouse new wooden deck completed during summer
A picture is worth a thousand words and YOU made this happen. Look what we did on your summer vacation!
Your memberships, donations, volunteerism, bequests, and attendance at events like the 25TH Annual Covered Bridge Bike Tour, July 7TH, which was a smashing success, the upcoming Fallasburg Bazaar on Fallasburg Fall Festival of the Arts Weekend, September 14 & 15, and our Christmas Party, December 14th, make this possible. Thank you for doing your part in preserving Fallasburg Village!
Our historic Schoolhouse concrete patio, like many things do when they get old, began to sag and settle. Water was collecting and draining towards the building instead of away from it threatening foundation timbers and support infrastructure.
We needed to move forward with the project for fear if we waited, irreparable damage could be done. Several bids were secured, but in the end after careful examination, we realized, with volunteer help and expertise, a couple of craftsman contractors to set stone and build the new wooden deck with entry stairs, we could get this done and be open in time for the Fallasburg Bazaar on Fall Festival of the Arts weekend, September 14 & 15.
Maintaining a historic village does demand the skills of a General Contractor. Alan Rumbaugh, FHS Treasurer, has performed magnificently on our behalf. With his contacts, and building renovation know-how, he’s guided the work with a steady hand. David Cadwallader and his crew, including wife Tina, FHS Vice President, spearheaded the removal phase of the old concrete patio, deftly piloting the Bobcat and loading the dumpster. Jack Miedema, our stone mason, reconfigured and reset the stone wall to accommodate the carpentry. Ken Rasmus engineered a beautiful new pressure treated wooden deck and entry stairs while also adding some drainage and foundation water protection features underneath. Villager, Ron Dawson, undertook the re-welding and retro-fitting of the existing iron railing onto the new patio expertly. Jack of all trades, Frank Brechbiel has done a little bit of everything along the way on this much like he does in the village year-round. Adding an exclamation point to the whole project; we were able to keep our concrete ADA compliant Wheelchair Ramp undisturbed, and integrate the former central concrete entry steps at the end of the patio. Come take a look. You’ll be proud of the work you’ve done.
The Fallasburg Historical Society Bazaar I keep mentioning is Saturday & Sunday, September 14 & 15, 10:00AM – 5:00PM. Our bazaar features an old- fashioned collection of artisans and their crafts under tent just across the Flat River and Fallasburg Covered Bridge from the Fallasburg Fall Festival of the Arts. We have over 20 vendors signed up this year. This grassroots event just keeps growing and growing.
Local author Emma Palova will have a book signing of her new book “Secrets” at the one-room schoolhouse on Sept. 14 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday Sept. 15 from 1 p.m. to five p.m.
Stop by for an autograph in the historical ambience of the schoolhouse.
Christmas is coming… “Christmas in Fallasburg”, A Community Celebration! Saturday, December 14, 6:00PM-8:00PM, music and merriment at the Fallasburg Schoolhouse, a phenomenal fire in Fallas Field follows! You’re invited!
For more information on the Fallasburg Historical Society, membership, donations, etc., the Fallasburg Bazaar, and “Christmas in Fallasburg,” go to: www.fallasburg.org
Enjoy the Fall,
Ken Tamke, President
Fallasburg Historical Society
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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!
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