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Vol. II, No. 2 Hagar · Bainbridge · Coloma · Watervliet Summer 2010

Records shine light on early Hagar Township

Hagar Township officials recently donated to
the museum a book of Justice of the Peace Notes,
now one of the oldest manuscripts in our collection.
Entries made between 1846 and 1905 document legal
disputes, marriages, and death inquisitions. This re-
cord provides a rare glimpse in to the lives and rela-
tionships of early residents of Hagar Township.
The majority of records are suits filed against
individuals for debt payment, theft, trespassing or as-
sault. Several entries during the Civil War relate to
enlisted men seeking discharge or furlough for medi-
cal reasons, including a doctor’s letter from “Brunson
In this entry Justice of the Peace Alexis D. Finch recorded the
Harbor,” as Benton Harbor was then known.
marriage of James Bundy of South Haven and Louisa Harris of
In a few entries the book
Hagar Township, who were wed on July 4, 1852.
describes the Coroner's Inquest
for unidentified bodies found on
the shores of Lake Michigan. In
Please Vote Yes on August 3
one case from September 1878, to Renew our Millage - Here’s Why
the deceased was determined to A vibrant and well-preserved heritage is an
be a victim of the Chicago-based irreplaceable source of community pride and educa-
Schooner Meary, which capsized tional opportunity for the residents of North Berrien.
on the lake ten days before the body was found. In 2006 area voters agreed to support the Historical
Marriage records are especially interesting, Society with a millage, allowing the museum to sub-
providing evidence of the young ages at which many stantially expand its work. Professional staffing, high-
girls were married in frontier communities. One en- quality traveling exhibits, improved collections stor-
try tells of the July 24, 1863 wedding of Vincent G. age and record-keeping, site safety and accessibility
Brant, age 21, of Hagar and Mary Ann McMarshall, upgrades, and much more have been possible with this
age 13, of Pipestone Township. The Justice of the stable funding. On August 3, 2010, we ask for your
Peace does note in this case, unlike those of other “yes” vote in favor of a renewal of our millage, and
teenage brides, that the couple was married with the we ask you to please encourage others to do the same.
consent of Mrs. Eliza I. Hayes, the bride’s mother.
Continued on page 7

300 Coloma Ave./ P.O. Box 207, Coloma, Michigan 49038
Page 2

From the Director’s Desk

By Alexander Gates

Another successful traveling exhibit has come

to completion with over 1,000 visitors viewing The
Life Atomic and taking part in public programs. I’d
like to offer a special thank you to our community
300 Coloma Ave. Phone: (269) 468-3330
partners; the Coloma-Watervliet Area Chamber of
P.O. Box 207 Fax: (269) 468-4083
Commerce for their assistance with the sock hop, and
the Coloma Public Library for their hosting of the Coloma, MI 49038
book discussion. We also greatly appreciate a $1,000
grant from Entergy Corporation, which owns the Pali-
sades Nuclear Plant, to help make our exhibit and pro-
Connect with NBHS Online!
grams possible. Thank you to the many volunteers
who made these activities a success. Become a fan on Facebook
A busy summer is planned for 2010, with
events both at the museum and out in the community. Curator’s Blog:
The Tri-City Heritage Tour will highlight historic sites
throughout the entire region. Several new temporary
exhibits will be on display at the museum including Twitter:
the contents of the 1980 Coloma Cub Scout Pack 664
time capsule, and paintings of local scenes by Evelyn
Carter Krieger. In addition to an informal “heirloom North Berrien Historical Society
show and tell” program, the museum will also host Board of Directors
experts such as Dr. Michael Nassaney from WMU. Scott Young President
For kids and families, Summer Time Travelers will Bennet Leedy 1st Vice President
again offer free educational activities throughout the Kandyce Hays 2nd Vice President
Cindy Young Secretary
summer. Again I thank our volunteers for all of their
Shirley Boone Treasurer
assistance – especially at the Glad-Peach Festival Ray Mays Assistant Treasurer
Cone Barn, our largest annual fundraiser. Marc Hettig Director
Since you welcomed me to the community Karin Miller Director
three years ago I have had to the pleasure of watching Pauline Morris Director
the organization grow. Just in the last two years over Sherry Polashak Director
Tom Scheid Director
50 new members have joined and hundreds more are
Sally Williams Director
staying in touch with our Newsletter and online pres-
ence. Nearly 5,000 people are served by the museum Staff
each year, most completely free of charge. Remem- Alexander Gates Director / Curator
ber; vote YES on Tuesday, August 3, 2010 as we Tracy Gierada Director of Education
seek the renewal of our millage in the four townships Gwen Elsner Office Manager
and two cities of North Berrien. The historical society
performs many crucial duties that preserve and pro- The mission of the North Berrien Historical
mote our cultural heritage, but we could not operate Society is to preserve and distribute information
without the support of the entire community. Please regarding the history of North Berrien County.
help us secure millage funding for another four years We wish to promote, encourage learning,
as we work to further enhance your historical museum and disseminate knowledge of the area’s
in to one of the best in Southwest Michigan. cultural and architectural legacy.
Page 3
Mark your Calendars!
Tuesday, June 15, Heirloom Show & Tell. Bring along a special photograph, antique, or other historic
7pm keepsake and share its story with others. Free.

Saturday - Sunday,
Free. See pages 4-5 for details.
June 26 - 27

Lunch with the Curator. Bring a brown bag lunch and join us to view and discuss
Friday, July 9, 12-1pm Asparagus! Stalking the American Life (2008, 53min). This documentary film
covers the challenges facing the asparagus industry in Oceana County, MI. Free.

Archaeological Evidence of 18th c. Daily Life at Fort St. Joseph, presentation by

Tuesday, July 20, Michael Nassaney, Ph.D., Prof. of Anthropology, Western Michigan University/
7pm Principal Investigator, Fort St. Joseph Archaeological Project. Learn about recent
artifact discoveries and what they reveal about daily life at the Fort. Free.

Hagar History Day. Discover surprising and fascinating stories

Saturday, July 24,
from the past in Hagar Township. Meet in Riverside for a slide
10 - 11:30am show, then drive to Lake Shore Cemetery for a tour. Free.

Tour of Mary’s City of David. Take an exclusive guided tour of this Benton
Tuesday, July 27,
Harbor historic site. Advance tickets are $10 for NBHS Members and $15 for non-
7pm members, or $15 at the door for all. Read more on page 7!

Election Day. Please vote yes to renew the millage for the North Berrien Historical
Tuesday, August 3 Society in Hagar, Bainbridge, Coloma, and Watervliet Townships, and in the cities
of Coloma and Watervliet.

Preserving the Old Rugged Cross Church, presentation by Barb Cook,

Tuesday, August 17, Board of Directors, Old Rugged Cross Foundation. A world-famous
7pm hymn debuted at this 1862 barn and church in Pokagon— learn about the
building and the years of ongoing work to save and restore it. Free.

Catch us on the Airwaves Meet us Downtown!

Tune to hear us get the word out Saturday, July 3, 2pm
about the Tri-City Heritage Tour on Watervliet 4th of July Celebration. Join us
these popular radio shows! at Watervliet City Hall to view our original
video A Visual History of Watervliet.
Monday, June 21, 9:30-10:30am
WGTO - FM 101 / AM 910 Saturday, August 7, 2:30 and 3:30pm
Talk of the Town with Bobbie Jo Hartline Coloma Glad-Peach Festival. Head to the Loma
Theater to view one of our local his-
Thursday, June 24, 9-9:30am tory videos on Coloma, Watervliet, or
WSJM - FM 94.9 / AM 1400 Paw Paw Lake. Grab some hot dogs
In the Spotlight Live with Brenda Layne and ice cream from our Cone Barn
while you are downtown!
Page 4

Left to Right: Coloma United Church of Christ, Millburg Red & White Feed Store, Van Buren County Historical Museum in Hart-
ford Township, St. Paul’s UCC Cemetery in Bainbridge Township, Curtis Community Center/ Curtis School in Hagar Township

Official Tour Guide will appear in June 17 Tri-City Record

ful opportunity for families and friends to spend time
together exploring the community and discovering
how much of our rich local heritage is still preserved
in our historic buildings, landscapes, and museums.
The official Tri-City Heritage Tour website at features
interactive maps, photos, and descriptions of all 2010
Heritage Sites. In addition, visitors may post ques-
tions or comments on any page by simply entering a
Architecture and local history will be the focus name and valid e-mail address. The website will be
of the first ever Tri-City Heritage Tour on June 26-27, maintained after the tour as a resource on local his-
2010. More than 20 historic properties in Hagar, toric properties and a place for community discussion
Bainbridge, Coloma, Watervliet, and Hartford will be about history and historic preservation.
open free to the public and interpreted by volunteers The selection of 2010 Heritage Sites was over-
throughout the weekend. The official Tour Guide seen by an Advisory Team including NBHS staff,
with maps and site information will be published as a Board Member Marc Hettig, Annette Maze from the
four-page insert in the Tri-City Record on June 17. North Shore Dairy, Pam Hutchins-Dorstewitz from
Free Tour Guides will also be available at the North the Van Buren County Historical Museum, and Rick
Berrien Historical Museum, the Van Buren County Rasmussen. Sites were given priority that could pro-
Historical Museum, and the Tri-City Record Office. vide volunteers and represent diverse architectural
The Tri-City Heritage Tour is designed to cre- styles. Some tour highlights include the Davidson
ate access, awareness, and excitement about local Chapel in Coloma, the earliest funeral home in the
heritage. With help from the official Tour Guide, the region, and the Coloma Interurban Station, where his-
tour is self-directed and participants may visit as toric materials will be on display. Pioneer Cemetery
many or as few sites as they wish. This is a wonder-
Continued on next page

Left to Right: Mantle in Hartford Library/ Olds-Merriman House, Duffield’s Cottages on Little Paw Paw Lake, Bainbridge Town-
ship Hall/ Bainbridge Center School, Interior of Coloma Interurban Station, Watervliet City Hall/ Fire Station
Page 5

Time Travelers offers historical summer fun for kids and families
For the second year in a row, Time Travelers
kids programs will be offered in June, July and August
2010 at the North Berrien Historical Museum. Sum- All sessions are on Wednesdays
mer Time Travelers are free, interactive educational from 10am to Noon at the
programs with two main goals: Learning and Fun! North Berrien Historical Museum.
Designed for ages 6-12 and families, Time
Travelers is meant to inspire an interest in history and  June 16 - Gold Rush: Experience the gold strike
in historical museums. All Time Travelers programs in Coloma, California and learn about pioneer life
feature real museum artifacts, hands-on activities and in the mid 1800s.
demonstrations, a craft to take home, and a fun and  June 30 - Flight: See cool flight experiments and
welcoming atmosphere. learn about early airplanes and airports in South-
Each day brings to life a west Michigan.
unique and exciting  July 14 - Resorts: Pretend to ride trains and
theme, where we will ex- steamships to the famous Paw Paw Lake resorts
and dance halls.
plore first-hand how the
 July 28 - Machines: From laundry to newspapers,
past differed from our
July 2009 Time Travelers learn how machines big and small have made life
lives today.
easier for people in history.
Time Travelers programs are free, but advance
 August 11 - Fruit: Discover the work and play
registration is required. To register a child for one or
that has always made the “Fruit Belt” a special
more programs, please call the museum at (269) 468- place to live!
3330 or e-mail

Continued from page 4

traditions come alive at sites like the North Shore
in Hartford and St. Paul’s Cemetery in Bainbridge Dairy Centennial Farm, the SW Michigan Basket,
Township will feature detailed maps for self-touring. Crate & Veneer Machinery Museum in Riverside, and
The North Berrien Historical Museum and the Van the Red & White Feed Mill & Store in Millburg.
Buren County Historical Museum will both offer spe- The inaugural Tri-City Heritage Tour will seek
cial family-friendly activities. Two former rural feedback from visitors at tour sites and online with the
schools will be opened, now the homes of the Curtis hopes of making the Tour an annual event to celebrate
Community Center in Hagar Township and the Bain- the history of the Tri-City region. The Tri-City Heri-
bridge Township Hall, which is complete with its tage Tour is sponsored in part by a grant from the Ber-
school bell. Duffield’s Cottages on Little Paw Paw rien Community Foundation and is coordinated by the
Lake and the Paw Paw Lake Yacht Club are examples North Berrien Historical Society and the Van Buren
of the resort heritage of the area, while our agricultural County Historical Society.

Left to Right: Davidson Chapel, Barnyard at North Shore Dairy Centennial Farm in Coloma Township, Millburg Christian Church,
North Berrien Historical Museum, Michigan Historical Marker at Van Buren County Historical Museum.
Page 6

Spring programs explored the Atomic Age and more

The spring of 2010 featured intriguing topics
in local history and culture at the North Berrien His-
torical Museum. We are excited to continue pursuing
new topics, helping to connect local stories and arti-
facts to larger issues in regional and national history.
On March 16 we welcomed the Winemakers
of North Berrien— Joe Herman of Karma Vista
Vineyards and Tony Peterson of Contessa Wine Cel- Left: Students are introduced Right: Dr. Seuss Story Time
lars. Each described their beginnings and current to The Life Atomic at 1950s Spring Break
work as pioneer winemakers in Coloma, contributing
to a recent statewide boom in the wine industry. struction in the 1960s. On May 4 we hosted a lecture
The traveling exhibit The Life Atomic: Grow- by Dr. Erika Doss from Notre Dame. Dr. Doss con-
ing Up in the Shadow of the A-Bomb was kicked off nected nuclear anxiety in the 1950s to other tensions
with a festive, food-filled Opening Reception. The over race and gender roles in American culture, draw-
following week many families attended 1950s Spring ing examples from art and popular culture to support
her argument. At the Co-
loma Library on May 13, our
Martian Chronicles Book
Discussion saw lively con-
versation about the Atomic
Age. The 4th, 7th and 10th
grades from Coloma Schools
also visited the exhibit for
tour programs. Older stu-
From April 1 - May 15, 2010, The Life Atomic exhibit featured Civil Defense films, dents experienced small dis-
Cold War radio spots, Atomic Age artifacts, and a hands-on replica family fallout shelter. cussion groups in our hands-
Break, a free activity day at the museum. Visitors on replica fallout shelter, viewed Civil Defense films,
tried out ‘50s games, toys, and hula hoops, learned and practiced team problem-solving. The 4th grade
about the Cold War arms race from Dr. Seuss’ Butter tours focused as usual on local history, but the stu-
Battle Book, played an inflation guessing game and dents enjoyed viewing
more! Families also enjoyed music and dance at the Duck and Cover, a Civil
free Community Sock Hop, sponsored by the Co- Defense film made for
loma–Watervliet Area Chamber of Commerce in con- school children in 1951.
junction with The Life Atomic exhibit. In late April the
Bill Shalk from the Cook Nuclear Plant spoke museum made the local
on April 20 about the history of nuclear power in this news for hosting a gather-
Cub Scouts time capsule
region including photos of the Cook Plant under con- ing of Coloma Cub
ceremony begins on April 28
Scouts and families as
they opened a 30 year old time capsule. Some of its
contents will be displayed in a temporary exhibit at
the museum this summer.
Our May speaker, Bruce Johnson from the La-
Porte County Historical Society, brought us the story
of the Infamous Belle Gunness. Gunness was dis-
covered as one of the most prolific female serial kill-
ers in U.S. history after her LaPorte farmhouse myste-
riously burned in 1908. In an eerie story rampant
At 1950s Spring Break, kids and families create with years of tall tales, Johnson’s research has helped
artwork inspired by the styles of famous ’50s artists to distinguish the facts from mere rumors in the case.
Page 7
NBHS Exclusive Tour: Mary’s North Berrien Historical Society
City of David on July 27 Membership Form
North Berrien Historical Society members and
friends are invited for a guided walking tour of Mary’s
City of David on Tuesday, July 27 at 7pm. Tickets are
available pre-sale at the North Berrien Historical Mu- Address
seum at a cost of $10 for members and $15 for non-
members. Tickets at the door will cost $15 per person.
City, State, ZIP
Mary’s City of David was recently added to
the National Register of Historic Places as an “historic Phone
district”. The tour will include Bethany House, which
has never before been open to the public, as well as E-mail
the greenhouses, print shop, museum, and gift shop.
Visitors can also walk down to the famous Eastman  New Member  volunteer
I would like to
Springs and enjoy refreshments served from the his-  Returning Member for NBHS
toric ice cream stand on the property. Call the mu-
seum at 468-3330 for more information on the tour. Please check desired annual membership level.
 Individual ($15)  Student ($8)
Please Vote Yes on August 3
 Family ($50)  Senior ($10)
Continued from page 1
With a renewal of our millage funding, the Additional tax-deductible contribution: $________
NBHS will begin to implement a long-term strategic Total Amount Enclosed: $________
plan for upgrading our exhibitions, facilities, and Send your completed form along with your check to:
grounds. We will also continue to develop our com- North Berrien Historical Society
P.O. Box 207, Coloma, MI 49038
munity services such as free exhibits and lectures,
public programs, school tours, and research assis- 
tance. In this millage campaign our members and
New Members Donations
friends are our greatest advocates— please consider
writing a letter to the editor to help remind others Anita Hirsh - Coloma Anita Hirsh
about the value of our work. If you would agree to Jerry Puckett - St. Joseph Karin Miller
Tracy Gierada - St. Joseph Douglas Geisler
place a sign in your yard to support NBHS prior to
the election, please call the museum at 468-3330.

How the Millage has impacted NBHS Continuing Members

2006 2009 Sandy Kraemer - Coloma Nancy Weir - Coloma
Douglas Geisler - Bridgman Sue Dahlquist - Coloma
Museum open to public Museum open to public
Kevin McLemore - Coloma Dolores Totzke - Coloma
76 days per year 268 days per year Debbie Friday - Coloma Cindy Young - Watervliet
Open May-October Open Year-round Deanna Heminger - Coloma
Scott Young - Benton Harbor
Volunteer operated 2.5 Full Time Employees Robert & Karin Miller - St. Joseph
William & Sue Moser - Coloma
Approx. 1,500 visitors 4,600 visitors Robert & Elaine Gierada Family - Saline, MI
Budget of under $20K Budget of $150K
978 unique 2,465 unique Thank you for your support!
website visitors website visitors
Watervliet, MI
Permit No. 29
P.O. Box 207, Coloma, MI 49038

Newsletter - Summer 2010

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Hagar · Bainbridge · Coloma · Watervliet

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