Vol. IV, No. 4

Hagar · Bainbridge · Coloma · Watervliet

Winter 2012

The Blizzard of February 1936
By Fred Munchow This snow storm probably stands out more in my mind than any that I have seen since. I was ten years old, growing up in Coloma. My mother and dad drove to Ann Arbor with my sister, to get her medical treatment at the U of M Hospital. I stayed with the Potts family, who were our friends. We had a small snow storm on Monday, February 3, when my dad got back to pick me up. We got stuck and I had to walk home, pack lunch and walk to school. The following weekend the snow was coming so hard that you could not see anything. That Sunday, February 9, my dad got a phone call that my mother and sister were at the Watervliet Station. They somehow had got on the last train that evening. My dad left me home alone and went to get them. He told me to keep the fire going in the living room stove if he did not get back. I sat looking out the window, feeling very lonely.

This photograph shows a snowy Watervliet in April 1926. Collection of NBHS 9998.13.06.

From the Coloma Courier, February 1936:  West Street and sidewalks around Coloma’s school building were completely blocked with drifts of snow several feet deep.  Despite efforts to plow, Paw Paw Street was covered with 8 to 14 inches of hard-packed snow, and up to 18 inches on the sidewalks.  “The old fashioned bob sleigh was brought in to use this week, several of them being seen on the streets for the first time in years.”

When I saw the big head lights on the 1927 Dodge plowing through the drifts, I was sure happy. Dad did not make it in the driveway, but left the car in the road. The train that my mother and sister were on was the last train to run until Monday night. The snow had blocked the tracks below our house. It was in drifts, I guess between 12 to 15 feet deep. When they came to open the tracks, I watched as the engine had sort of a snow blower on the front and they would ram the blower into the drift and the snow would fly. They would back up and do this again and again. We were out of school Monday and Tuesday, which was unheard of back then. I had never before had a snow day. The trains did not run for two days and people didn’t shovel out for more than a week.
The 3rd annual

Coastline Children’s Film Festival
is coming to the Loma Theatre this February! Great Films - All Ages Welcome - Details on Page 6

300 Coloma Ave./ P.O. Box 207, Coloma, Michigan 49038

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From the Director’s Desk
By Tracy Gierada I was honored to be named Executive Director in September 2012. My predecessor Alex Gates is doing well in his new adventures in Paris; if you would like his contact information I’m happy to share it. As the museum’s first Director, Alex laid a solid foundation of professional management and started great traditions of community outreach. I am eager to continue that success and I’m very enthusiastic for the future of the North Berrien Historical Society. If you haven’t met me yet, I hope we will get to speak soon. Call me at the museum or stop in! It has been my pleasure to work here since January 2009 as the Director of Education. We are in the process of hiring a Director of Programs who will take over my prior duties. The change in job title reflects the importance of volunteer coordination and special events, as well as education. We have had many applicants and I hope our new employee will begin by early 2013. The museum has been busy this fall. Read more on Page 5 about the phenomenal attendance at the Annual Meeting and other recent happenings. Our main gallery is looking different with the removal of the old ‘bomb shelter’ display— Scott Young led a team of volunteers in moving it out. I hope you’ll read more in this newsletter about the fascinating artifact donations that have come in recently, as well as the temporary exhibit and wonderful programs we have planned for the winter months. The Michigan Humanities Council just sent word that we have been selected to host the national traveling exhibit Journey Stories from the Smithsonian Institution. The exhibit is about modes of transportation and how travel has shaped ideas of freedom in American history. The schedule is not yet set, but we will be one of six host sites in our state. I look forward to planning special programs and community collaborations to surround this exciting exhibition.
Continued on Page 7

300 Coloma Ave. Phone: (269) 468-3330 P.O. Box 207 Fax: (269) 468-4083 Coloma, MI 49038 Connect with NBHS Online!
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North Berrien Historical Society Board of Directors
Scott Young Bennet Leedy Kandyce Hays Cindy Young Shirley Boone Ray Mays Marc Hettig Karin Miller Pauline Morris Sherry Polashak Tom Scheid Sally Williams Tracy Gierada Vacant Ryan Nykamp President 1st Vice President 2nd Vice President Secretary Treasurer Assistant Treasurer Director Director Director Director Director Director

Director / Curator Director of Programs Office Manager

The mission of the North Berrien Historical Society is to preserve and distribute information regarding the history of North Berrien County. We wish to promote, encourage learning, and disseminate knowledge of the area’s cultural and architectural legacy.

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Mark your Calendars!

All events are at the North Berrien Historical Museum unless otherwise noted.

Tuesday, November 20, 7:00pm

North Berrien Notables, presentation by Tracy Gierada, Executive Director/ Curator. This narrated slide program will cover interesting local connections to famous people and events in history, such as visits from Louis Armstrong. Discover the range of surprising and noteworthy stories about athletes, politicians, musicians, writers, and other remarkable figures in the history of North Berrien County. Free.

Holiday Lights & Delights Fundraiser. Treat someone and support the museum at this delightful evening event! Enjoy seasonal drinks, appetizers, and desserts, and live music by Thursday, Les & Becky Burford on guitar, ukulele, and mountain dulcimer. Our 20+ Christmas trees November 29, will shine brilliantly in the dark and outdoor luminaries will grace our grounds. Generously 5:30pm sponsored by Bob's Barn Bakery & Farm Market, D.W. Hammond Chocolates & Fudge, Vineyards Gourmet Chocolates, and Harding's Friendly Market. $5 Admission. Holiday Open House. Live Music, Gingerbread House Nov. 29 through Dec. 2 decorating, Santa’s Workshop crafts, and more than 20 special Christmas trees! Please see flyer insert for full details. Holiday Keepsakes Show & Tell. Bring in a favorite photo, Tuesday, decoration, or other keepsake from holidays past and share its December 11, story with the group. First, Janet Sullivan will lift our spirits 2:00pm with a ukulele performance. Free. Black Ash Basketry: A Story of Cultural Resilience (Documentary Film, 58 min.) This film will take you on an incredible emotional journey across culture and through time following an age old tradition, now threatened with disappearing forever. Through the voices of Native elders and basket makers in West Michigan, discover a story of family, the value of traditions, hope for the future and a spirit of resilience in the face of change. Free.

Tuesday, January 15, 7pm

Feb. 1 through rd 3 Annual Coastline Children’s Film Festival. Please see Page 6 for full details. Feb. 10 Saturday, February 9, 1-3pm Tuesday, February 19, 7pm Victorian Valentines Party. Bring your family to the museum for festive crafts, games, and refreshments. View our collection of historic valentines and find inspiration to create your own valentines to take home. Suggested Donation $3/person. First by Car and First by Air: All from Southwest Michigan, presentation by Dr. Stuart Boekeloo, Local Historian. This program will discuss the historic transportation milestones reached in nearby communities. In the 1890s, America’s first gas-powered automobile prototype came out of the Baushke Carriage Works in Benton Harbor, while on Silver Beach in St. Joseph, Augustus Herring was one of the first to fly a motorized aircraft. Years later the Whirlpool Corporation developed products for supporting human space travel. Free.

Page 4 Below: Alma Arent shared with us this image of “some of the German POWs who worked at the canning factory in Coloma” in By Tracy Gierada 1944. In her photo album, Alma recorded the name of each of the Due to the popular topic of our an- ten POWs in this photograph. The guard sits holding a firearm, next to a prisoner holding a cat. nual meeting program on October 16, German POWs during WWII, the museum has gained new artifacts and resources that document this topic. With this enthusiastic response from the community, in the future we will plan an exhibit that will offer visitors a look at the local stories and artifacts that have emerged. Thank you to all who have contributed their written memories, pictures and artifacts: Jean Stainbrook, Alma Arent, Dolores Totzke, Charles Krammin, Kay Erickson, Alton Wendzel, Santo & Debbie CostanzaKolberg, George Glade, Fred & Edith Munchow, and Ace Covey. Others have also brought the museum interesting artifacts in recent months. These donations have all added new and valuable pieces to our collecBelow Left: Both sides of a 1925 German coin that tion. I extend our thanks to: was found by metal detectors on the property where Emma Morlock - Borroughs Adding Machine, stand the Coloma POW camp was located. Searches in 2010-12 unearthed dozens of objects which were reMarsha Cole - baton, Gladiolus Festival parade photo cently donated to the museum by Ace Covey. Fran Wooley - Burpee seed sack, Army song book Below Right: Thomas Frazier with his 3-week old Amy Hiler - 1915 quilt, 1880-1950s quilt daughter Evelyn in 1918. After returning from World Rick Rasmussen - Paw Paw Lake photos War One, Frazier had nine more children while living Don Hafer - Whirlpool product literature in Watervliet, including son Wilson Frazier. Wilson Frazier - Thomas Frazier WWI footlocker, uniform, personal effects and correspondence Sally Blunier - 1873 Boyer Family Bible and Stand Maryfrances Styers - glasses Bennet Leedy - Allene Stark autograph book Karl Bayer - Tri-City Record images City of Coloma - tree cross-section

Collections News

During the Holiday Open House, we will premiere a new temporary exhibit: The Hazen’s Christmas Lights. For more than 40 years starting in 1952, Richard and Irene Hazen set up elaborate Christmas light displays at their home on Coloma North Road. They did it “in hopes of making people happy at Christmas.” Over 1,000 visitors came to view their decorations annually, signing guest books located in a fruit stand at the front of their yard. The Hazen’s daughter WANTED Terri donated a collection of photographs, a video, newspawooden shingles per articles, and the guest Agriculture images and documents books. These items will be Watervliet Paper Company objects exhibited this winter from NoHagar Township resort/ tourist items vember 29 through January 4.

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Fall was packed with programs for schools and the public
By Tracy Gierada We are working with one fewer staff person than normal in recent months, so it has been a busy season at the museum. I am happy to report that we hosted a variety of very successful programs and maintained our commitment to serve local school groups despite being a bit short-handed. Our monthly third-Tuesday evening program on September 18 featured an informative and entertaining talk by Chuck Nelson from Sarett Nature Center. His presentation “After the Ice” explained the development of southwest Michigan’s geography over the last ten thousand years. Drawings assisted us in visually understanding how the sand dunes and river systems we know today were formed over time. The North Berrien Historical Society’s Annual Dinner and Meeting were held on October 16. In our basement, a full house of 75 guests enjoyed a delicious meal catered by The Friendly Tavern. We then moved out to the Nichols Agricultural Building, where a grand total of 155 people were present for our Annual Meeting. Officers Scott Young and Shirley Boone were elected to begin new terms on our Board of Directors. The huge crowd was drawn in by our featured speaker Dr. Howard Poole, who presented a fascinating discussion of German POWs on Southwest Michigan Farms during World War Two. The program provided a look at the experience of the POWs from the time they entered military service through the war’s end. Many attendees took time to write down their personal memories of the prisoners on clip boards, which the museum will preserve. We were lucky to have a sunny and mild fall day for our free Halloween Cemetery Tours on Saturday, October 27. The Watervliet Cemetery Tour had 42 people in attendance, while 48 people took the tour at Coloma Cemetery. It is clear that local residents truly enjoy the chance to learn about some of the lives that are memorialized in these beautiful and historic city cemeteries. Great weather also accompanied the Coloma Cemetery tours that I led in late October for all the 4th grade classes at Coloma Elementary School. This is the second year for those tours and it appears this is another program that is a very valuable experience for the students. I expect that we will continue to provide it annually for many years to come. In other education news, our Traveling Trunk programs have seen much use recently. For the first time this fall, we loaned three different trunks to the Lakeshore Lifelong Learners, a collaborative of home school families in Berrien County. I visited the Watervliet North Elementary School 3rd grade classes with our Potawatomi Past & Present traveling trunk. Many thanks to Joyce Kolenko and Gwen Elsner, who spent hours of volunteer time preparing a birch bark canoe craft for the third graders to complete. Upon the request of Coloma Middle School’s 5th grade teachers, I brought in our Fur, Forest, and Frontier Days trunk and led hands-on, activity-based lessons for their classes in early November. The museum has also continued to be a great resource for local youth groups. Special museum tours were held for Coloma Cub Scouts on October 29 and for Coloma Tiger Cub Scouts on November 5. We have supported both Coloma and Watervliet High Schools by purchasing a Yearbook Ad, as we do every year. Last year we started the tradition of presenting a historical slide show for the contestants in the Miss Coloma Pageant, and I look forward to presenting for this year’s participants on December 8. Also in December, we will host museum visits from eight elementary classes from Coloma and Watervliet. They will enjoy decorating gingerbread houses and touring our display of community trees.

Above: Chuck Nelson speaks at the museum in September. Below: Dr. Howard Poole presents for the crowd at our October 16 Annual Meeting.

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Coastline Children’s Film Festival coming to the Loma Theatre
All ages are welcome for fantastic films and museum events this February
The mission of the Coastline Children’s Film Festival is to bring high quality films and animation for children and young adults to Berrien County and to present them— on the big screen— as shared theatrical experiences for the whole family and community. The 3rd annual event will be held February 1-10, 2013 and for the first time is coming to Coloma! The films are open to everyone at no charge with a suggested donation of $1. Please spread the word and come with friends and family to enjoy.

Saturday, February 2
1:00 to 2:40pm Films - Loma Theatre “A Trip to the Moon” (1902) - 15 min. Considered the first science fiction film “Man on a Mission” (2010) - 82 min. Documentary about Richard Garriott’s efforts to fly in space like his father 3:00 to 4:30pm Reception - North Berrien Historical Museum Refreshments; “Out of this World” music by members of Coloma Marching Band (15 min.)

Wednesday, February 6
5:30 to 6:40pm Film - Loma Theatre “The Adventures of Prince Achmed” (1926) - 67 min. Considered the first animated film. With an exciting story, its silhouette style is intricate, colorful, and mesmerizing. German subtitles are spoken in English.

Sunday, February 10
1:00 to 2:15pm Film - Loma Theatre “Safety Last” (1923) - 73 min. Harold Lloyd, master of physical comedy, stars in this iconic silent film 3:00 to 4:30pm, Sound History Workshop North Berrien Historical Museum. Hear historic sound-makers: instruments, phonograph, records, and 8-track. Make your own candy i-Pod to keep! Ages 8-18; preregistration is required.

Page 7 Director’s Desk, Continued from Page 2 I hope you can join us on Thursday, November 29 for “Holiday Lights & Delights”— a fundraiser for the museum. For just $5 per person we’ll have delicious treats, live music, outdoor luminaries, and more. This is the only time you can view our tree display in the dark, when the lights shine in their full brilliance, and it’s quite a beautiful sight. Our 2012 Holiday Open House is November 29 through December 2. Please see the flyer in this Newsletter and let your friends and family know that this is a wonderful time to visit the museum. Please help us in thanking the local sponsors who generously contribute by decorating trees and donating products for our holiday festivities. The local groups sponsoring trees for us this year include: Chemical Bank, Edgewater Bank, Honor Credit Union, Randy’s BP, Cottage of the Four Seasons, The Friendly Tavern, Handmade Treasures, Rite Aid, Coloma Lioness Club, Lakeland Community Hospital Auxiliary, Captain Kirk’s Coloma Car Wash, Edward Jones - Denise Barowicz, Faith Lutheran Church, Beaches & Cream, Mill Creek Charlie’s, Vincent J. Jewelers, North Berrien Food Pantry, and the North Berrien Artists Guild. Finally, when you receive our letter in late November I hope you will consider making a donation to our Annual Fund Drive. This appeal is another important revenue source for supporting our educational programs and local history preservation projects throughout the year. I hope to see you here at the museum soon. I send my best wishes to you and your family for a very joyful and peaceful holiday season! North Berrien Historical Society Membership Form
Benefits include: Quarterly Newsletter, Advance invite to special events, and Members-only opportunities Name Address City, State, ZIP Phone E-mail

 New Member  Renewing Member

 I may like to

Please check desired annual membership level.

 Individual ($15)  Student ($8)  Family Donor ($50)  Senior ($10)
Additional tax-deductible contribution: $________ Total Amount Enclosed: $________
Send your completed form along with your check to: North Berrien Historical Society P.O. Box 207, Coloma, MI 49038

Jean Daniels Rhonya LeVeque Lori Carlson Greg Krell Joyce Kolenko Cindy Young Jean Christensen Scott Young Marge DuVernay John Nelson Margaret Schmieding Barbara Nelson Milt Stibal Wade Lynch Linda Stibal Roger & Barb Miller Family Jack & Ginger Payovich Family

to our generous sponsors of the

Holiday Lights & Delights
Museum Fundraiser D.W. HAMMOND
Chocolates & Fudge Chocolates

Milt & Linda Stibal Margaret Schmieding Lorna Van Komen Lori Carlson Marge DuVernay

Please join us on November 29!

Thank you for your support!

NONPROFIT ORG U.S. POSTAGE PAID Watervliet, MI Permit No. 29

P.O. Box 207, Coloma, MI 49038 Return Service Requested


Newsletter - Winter 2012

P lease join us with family and friends at our 8 th A nnual

November 29 - December 2, 2012

Hagar · Bainbridge · Coloma · Watervliet