Laketown Township History
Laketown Township was established in 1858 and has a rich history.
Here are some samples from documents including board minutes (Twp Minutes), The Holland City News (HCN), Lake Shore Commercial (LSC) and Commercial Record (CR). Other media sources are identified as well.
Just a reminder that contemporary media accounts can have typos and inaccuracies. Always check your facts.
Some comments for context are included and are marked: Note: Explanation here.
Items are organized by decade, then year then by month and day.
From the first minutes of the Laketown Township Board annual meeting
April 4, 1859
A motion being made and second, it was voted to raise the sum of seventy five dollars for incidental expense of the town. $75.
Voted to raise ten dollars to buy town books for records. $10.
Voted to raise the sum of seventy five dollars for roads. $75.
Voted the following bylaws: All horses shall be restrained from going at large. Voted that all persons violating said law shall pay the sum of three dollars.
Voted to restrain all swine under twenty five pounds from going at large also all … persons violating said law is to pay twenty five cents fine. …
First supervisor: John Rouse
First clerk: Gerrit Rutgers
First treasurer: Arend J. Neerken
April 8, 1882 HCN
The people, in the Township of Laketown, are endeavoring to establish a daily mail route, between this City and Saugatuck via Graafschap and Laketown. This is a good idea, and we hope soon to see it effected with a good stage on the route.
April 25, 1884 LSC
- Messrs. Blades and Holmes have commenced fishing with set hooks. The establishment is small but they hope to enlarge as soon as they can make it pay.
- Harry Holt is getting his pound nets in order; he has his piles cut and on the spot and as soon as the weather permits will drive them and commence fishing. He has been quite unfortunate for the past two seasons, and we hope the adage of “three times and out” will apply to him, and that in this, his third time trying, he may be richly rewarded for his perseverance.
- We have had very nice weather for the past week for spring work in this neighborhood, and also for development of fruit buds and we are all making the most of our opportunity. …Gardening is progressing finely, early potatoes, peas, onions, lettuce, etc., are nearly all planted.
Sept. 5, 1884 LSC
- The school board in this school district have been making considerable repairs on the school house, and contemplate doing still more which will place our house among the good ones of the country houses. The teacher, Miss Belle Takken, of Douglas, has been engaged for the coming year, and will probably commence her school about October 1st. The annual school meeting was held on Monday last; J.H. Holmes was elected director, and eight months school voted for the ensuing year.
Nov. 21, 1884 LSC
- The school, under the management of Miss Belle Takken, is giving good satisfaction.
- Mr. Larson’s new house is rapidly nearing completion. We shall all be glad to see them in their comfortable quarters, and although we all wish we had as good, I am sure none will begrudge them their well deserved good luck.
- There is such a dearth of news, or items of interest, that it is an effort to say anything that will interest your readers. The weather, as everyone knows, is fine, the crops have all been secured safely and in good condition, corn is – shall I say husked, or shucked or what is the proper term to use – anyway the husks, or shucks, or whatever it is, have been taken off the corn and the golden ears are in the crib and a splendid show it makes. There is still some fall plowing to be done but not much.
Jan. 2, 1885 LSC
- A Christmas dance was given at the house of George Blades.
- Frank Coon has sold his twenty-acre farm to B. Sawyer and moved to North Holland, Ottawa County.
- Jens Larsen has moved into his new house. It is not quite finished as cold weather came a little too soon. It will be completed in the spring.
- An exhibition of the progress of the scholars in the Gibson school district was given at the school house on the evening of Friday, the 19th … and reflected great credit upon both teachers and pupils. A visit by our correspondent to the several schools of the town of Laketown was a source of much gratification and pleasure. We read much about the advantages which city scholars have over their country cousins but I think such a visit as I made would cause any one to withhold their sympathy.
- The winter thus far has been quite favorable for the fruit growers. Never in my experience did fruit trees and plants of every description go into the winter under such favorable circumstances. … Small fruits look exceedingly well, and if the season shall be favorable, a large crop may be expected. …
Feb. 21, 1885 HCN
The great source of anxiety as usual at this time of the year is the condition of the peaches. The sudden warm spell after the severe cold weather of Dec. 26th, enabled fruitmen, in a degree, to determine the damage done at that time. The intensity of cold varied with nearly every locality.
At Saugatuck village it was certainly 18 degrees below zero, while many thermometers showed 20 degrees and some as many as 24 degrees below. ln Ganges in many places it was only from 2 to 6 degrees below zero, while in others it was from 10 to 16 below.
In Laketown in the vicinity of Gibson post office it ranged from 9 to 11 degrees below, while in the northeast part of the town it was 20 below, and in Holland and Fennville it ranged from 24 degrees in the latter to 34 in the former. A critical examination of the buds in all these places was made, and (whether true or false none save the allwise God knows) the conclusions reached are that tender varieties in all places are more or less damaged; that near Holland, but very few of any kinds are alive; at Fennville not more than half. In Ganges and parts of Saugatuck and Laketown but little damage has been done.
The month of January and so far in February has been steadily and severely cold and stormy, the mercury keeping close in the vicinity of zero, though in no place so far as I have heard has it been more than six degrees below, and on two or three occasions it has been warm enough to thaw for 24 hours at a time. The question now is does such weather, though not cold enough to do any harm if continued for a short time only, by continuing so long finally so sap the vitality of the tree and buds as to destroy the embryo peach. …
I attended the annual meeting of the Saugatuck and Ganges Pomological Society on the 7th inst. at Douglas. …
Ten days have elapsed since the above was written. In the time we have had some of the worst storms within the memory of that “oldest inhabitant.” Roads are blockaded and snow drifts in many places are ten feet deep. I have peach trees ten years old completely buried. On the 18th the thermometer ranged from 8 to 20 degrees below, so far as heard from, varying ten degrees in half a mile, and the weather has not yet, 18th inst., been warm enough to form any idea of the damage done.
Note: Markham is a Laketown resident
May 22, 1885 LSC
- H. Doane, postmaster of Gibson, will carry the mail between Saugatuck and Graafschap the coming year, he to receive $325 got his services. So says the present mail carrier.
- Great improvements have been made on the Dr. Stimson farm in Laketown, some fifteen acres having been set to peaches, and eight acres has been and is being set out to small fruits.
June 26, 1885 LSC
- We are now just commencing with our fruit harvest. Strawberries head the list and come first to help us on in our struggle for the maintenance of our families; and although the price is low, yet, when we take all things in consideration, the returns from this source will not fall far behind the average. We hope for an improvement soon. All kinds of small fruits look well, except blackberries, which suffered very much from the cold of last winter. Raspberries were never better at this time of year. As time advances the peach trees look better; no curled leaf; no peaches dropping, except such as are stung by the curculio. Apples present quite a varied prospect, some trees being loaded, and others have but little if any fruit. We hope for nearly an average crop. Cherries are a light crop but are looking nice.
- N.B. Hubbard, the new mail carrier from Graafschap to Saugatuck, is busy making preparations for his work, and when he is once fairly in the harness will make everything nice and comfortable. If we shall succeed in getting the morning mail, as we expect, it will make it very nice for those who wish to go to Holland from Saugatuck early in the morning, so they will reach Holland by nine o’clock, in time to do a half day’s business and return by the afternoon stage.
- The general health of the neighborhood is good. Mr. Bell has had quite a siege with a malarial difficulty but is about and nearly well. He spent the last three weeks in Allegan serving as a juryman. Last week his wife went with him and succeeded in getting him home on Friday noon.
- Our church people are well served by the Rev. Decker of Ganges who preaches in the Gibson school-house each alternate Sunday evening. A large congregation greeted him last evening and listened to a good sermon.
- John Docking has gone to housekeeping. He and his young bridge are as happy as a bug on a rug, and cozily situated in their new house. May joy attend them.
Nov. 20, 1885 LSC
- The school is still being taught by Miss Belle Takken of Douglas, with good satisfaction to the pupils and patrons.
- During the past summer quite a number of changes have been made among our people. Thos. E. Coon has sold his farm and gone to live a short distance south of Sherman, on the C.&W.M. Ry. Burt Sawyer sold and gone to Dakota. Israel Wright has sold his place near the school house and bought the place owned by T.E. Coon, while George Walz of Douglas, has bought the Wright place and intends fixing it up into a nice fruit farm, which he can easily do, as a little money and energy will go a long way where so good a start has been made.
- Upon the whole the people of this vicinity have reason to rejoice. The fields have yielded a fair crop and of good quality. No better quality of wheat or potatoes are produced anywhere, and no sign of rot has appeared in the latter. So far as I have been able to learn, but few are unprepared for winter, whether mild or severe. Our fruit crop, both large and small, has paid the producer well. As a result, nearly everyone is enlarging his orchards, and not a few are preparing to set out largely of small fruits, and our slandered and much-abused “Laketown Sand” is making itself a record not to be ashamed of.
June 11, 1886 LSC
- Our collection of sample peach branches has been increased this week by the receipt of specimens from Jos. Wilson of Ganges and Capt. Larsen of Laketown. The latter is a little twig about an inch and a half long, on which fifteen small but perfectly formed peaches are clustered like a bunch of grapes.
- The Graafschap correspondent of the Allegan Gazette says: “The time-table of the Graafschap and Holland mail route is changed to four hours earlier in order to furnish the Saugatuck via Gibson line direct connection with Holland. Most of our mail by this arrangement being delayed a day, the advantages, if any, to either Saugatuck or Gibson, are at the expense of our business men. In our opinion the Graafschap extension of the Saugatuck and Gibson route should be discontinued, as it would save our postmaster the trouble of opening and closing a usually empty mail bag.”
Nov. 7, 1890 LSC
The new governor of California is a brother of Byron Markham of Gibson.
Note: Henry Markham served as Republican governor of California from Jan. 8, 1891 to Jan. 11, 1895.
Nov. 21, 1890 HCN
Robt. Miller of Gibson has secured rooms in Holland and will teach a writing class there.
Dec. 26, 1890 HCN
The residence of C.W. Holmes at Gibson burned last Saturday morning. The house was occupied at the time by a widow named Barnes, who lost the most of her housekeeping effects. The house was a one-story building and had no insurance.
April 3, 1891 LSC
Repeated complaints came from residents in the vicinity of Gibson of the operations of a gang of night prowlers and sneak thieves who have carried on their depredations all over the township of Laketown during the past winter. Their latest essay was to steal a quantity of corn and potatoes from parties named Dodge and Kingsley and evidence left of the identity of the culprits is almost strong enough to warrant an arrest.
May 17, 1907 LSC
- Everybody is busy setting strawberry plants these days.
- All are praying for a crop of peaches and apples this year. The later cherries are not hurt to a great extent they are full of buds and look promising.
- Mr. Clark is living on the Estepp Farm again this summer. He is engaged in the poultry business which he seems to enjoy.
- Mr. Kingsley has exchanged his 40 acre fruit farm for property in Chicago.
Jan. 7, 1910 CR
- The Interurban car was blocked up last Monday on account of the snow.
- Mr. James Overbeek sold his farm to Mr. L. Brink of East Saugatuck. Mr. Overbeek has purchased another large farm near Hamilton.
- One of our popular young men can turn on a fifty cent piece with a horse and cutter and in a hurry too.
- Misses Bess and Grace Miller entertained a number of young lady friends at a Christmas party last Thursday afternoon at their home.
- The Gibson Literary Society met at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Ogle to welcome the New Year. …
Jan. 14, 1910 CR
- Rev. Van Vessum conducted services at Graafschap last week. The church was crowded with people.
- Mr. Harm Bouws met with an accident last Saturday while operating his feed mill. He was hurt quite severely about his head. The doctor was called and took a few stitches to close the wound. He is improving nicely at this writing.
- Rev. and Mrs. A.S. Bunnell of Barry Co. are here visiting old friends and parishioners. He came to this his first circuit 31 years ago and again 10 years ago. Only two, Mr. Wright and Mrs. Docking-Bush, of his first congregation now reside here. Many have died and a few have moved away.
- The Willard and Bauhahn families visited Chas. Bolles’ family one day last week. With banks of snow blocking roads and a full blizzard, they had some extra excitement. Prof. Dieterle thought he came a long ways to get this experience.
- Who said snow? Well just come to Gibson if you have never seen the beautiful snow: We can show you some of the best in the country.
Jan. 21, 1910 CR
- The Interurban cars were blocked up last week. Gerrit Whitevene took a sleigh load of passengers to Holland last week Friday. Our auctioneers Lugars and Schulman were in the car all night. They enjoyed a good time.
June 3, 1910 CR
- Wm. Kleis in improving the looks of his house by giving it a coat of paint.
- The Elders and Harvey families have just recovered from the scarlet fever.
- Gerrit Heneveld, John Lambers and the latter’s son John have purchased the grocery and general stock of merchandise of Lucas Brink of Graafschap and will continue the business there.
- Herman Ten Cate, Henry Ten Cate, Gerrit Feyen and Fred Feyen will have the telephones before long.
- Mr. Wright is worse again with but little hope of recovery.
- Mrs. F.N. Ebbeson is having a mild attack of appendicitis. She is recovering quickly under Dr. Walker’s care.
- Wm. Hoadley’s baby is sick with whooping cough. Dr. Thomas is caring for her.
- The weather being so cold and the season so backward, most of the farmers are not through planting corn yet. That which is planted does not grow and what is up turns yellow from the cold.
June 17, 1910 CR
- Mr. Henry Van Lopik is improving his house by giving it a coat of paint. Henry Ten cate is also painting his house.
June 24, 1910 CR
- While nowhere in this vicinity is the apple crop very good, the prospects on this Hull & Miller farm are quite good.
- Mr. Kingsley planted 5,000 peach trees on his place this spring.
July 1, 1910 CR
Goshorn Lake Claims Another Victim
Lawrence Oleson of Chicago lost his life by drowning in Goshorn Lake last Friday while bathing with a number of friends. When young Oleson who had been working for Mr. McAlister left the house he made the laughing remark, “Well, goodbye. If you don’t see me back soon you will know I am drowned,” but little did he think how his words would be remembered.
He had been in the water only a short time when he began to feel encumbered by the life preserver he had been using and he took it off. Soon his friends saw hum sink and did their best to save him; some of them risking their own lives in the service of their friend.
The Life Saving crew from Holland was summoned and recovered the body at about one o’clock the next morning.
Oleson was 17 years of age and although his parents lived in Chicago and at first had intended to take the remains three, they finally decided on the Laketown Cemetery where the body was laid to rest Tuesday of this week.
- We will have Sunday mails again commencing Sunday. The office will be open from 11:30 to 12:30.
- Lewis Turrell has erected tents on the west end of W.A. Woodworth’s lots and will conduct a stand there this season. Besides the business he had last year, he will also take pictures this season.
- Jay D. Myers has put a bell at the west end of the ferry to be used to call him.
May 18, 1911 HCN
LAKETOWN TREASURER IN DEFAULT.
The people of Laketown were surprised lately by discovery of the default of Albertus Strabbing as township treasurer. It became known, of course, to the township board at time of settlement last April, but as he promised from time to time to make payment, claiming to have the money at hand, action was deferred until this week when Attorney Hoffman of Allegan was called to effect settlement. The result was that Strabbing gave his bondsmen, Fred Tinbolt and Geert Becksvoort, security which enabled them to agree to pay $1,000 before May 12 and the remainder within 20 days after that date. It is said that Strabbing used township funds with which to buy a threshing outfit and other things, thinking he could borrow money at the end, if necessary, to make good his accounts. — Allegan Gazette.
Jan. 2, 1914 CR
- A grand entertainment was held in the Dist. No. 4 school Wednesday, Dec. 24. A fine program was rendered and they had a fine Christmas tree. A large audience was present and all credit is given to their teacher Miss Grace Vork.
- Mr. Wm. Kamps had the misfortune of stepping on a nail.
- Rev. Bolles is holding Revival meetings in the church as Gibson every evening.
- Mr. Henry Ten Cate took the job of painting Albert Alferink’s barn.
- Henry Ten Cate purchased a new horse.
April 9, 1914 HCN
- Albert Elders went to Grand Rapids last week Wednesday to get married. We wish them a long and happy life
- F. Lemmen while repairing his barn some time ago fell and sprained his leg. He is able to get around on crutches again.
- Ben Borgman is staying with his brother Jake at present. Measles has broken out among his younger brothers and sisters at home and the home is quarantined.
- Mulder & Son have just received a carload of farm Implements — some prospects.
- Joe Aalderink of Hamilton visited his brother John at Laketown. He came over with his machine but ran out of gasoline and was compelled to cart his buzzy wagon back home by horse power.
- Henry Ten Cate has improved the looks of his home by giving it a new coat of paint.
- Mrs. D. Jager Is recovering from a severe case of grippe.
April 16, 1914 HCN
- Mr. Cornelius Scholten and his brother are training their young colt. Scholten brothers are very handy in this kind of work, believe me.
- Mulder and son have received two carloads of fertilizer and the farmers are swarming around the car like a swarm of bees after sweets.
- D. Jager has put In a phone. He says he has no time to see his neighbors. Now he can talk with them while at home. (Easy I think I will pyt one In myself.)
- H. J. Lagyins are quarantined with measles.
- J. K. Aalderink was to Fennvllle on business last Friday. He says it is quite a fruit country.
- A neighborhood feud was aired In Justice Simon Harkema’s court in Laketown Thursday afternoon in which practically every resident of the township was deeply Interested. The case Involved a suit for slander brought by Harm Strabbing against Kate Knipers. The House of Justice Harkema was crowded with farmers from far and near anxious to hear choice morsels of testimony that were expected to be brought out and each side was represented in the audience by many who took their part in the feud.
Prosecuting Attorney Stone of Allegan County appeared for Strabbing while Att. Daniel Ten Cate of this city represented the respondent. Some rather sensational testimony was given. It was not a jury case and Justice Harkema postponed making his decision. He cited the parties in the case before him at 4 o’clock Thursday.
Justice Simon Harkema of Laketown has decided the slander case of Herman Strabbing vs. Kate Kuiper. He declared the woman guilty of criminal slander and ordered her to pay the costs of $27.05.
May 14, 1914 HCN
- C.P. Zwemer has sold his farm to Wm. Kamps.
- Henry De Pree is doing a good business in chickens. Last week his 6 large incubators came due. In all fifteen hundred eggs were hatched so they must be having some chicks now.
- Farmers are having it easy now a days. They have time to rest up a little. Docks have it busy for there is plenty of water.
June 11, 1914 HCN
- A very welcome rain give the farmers a day or two rest and give some of the farmers more work.
- Our mail man was caught in the rain last Thursday morning but he didn’t seem to mind it. He Is the same Henry in rain, snowstorm or sunshine no difference. He is entitled to a word of praise. And is always found on the job.
- J. K. Aalderink went to Holland last Thursday on business and when he got there he found it pretty wet.
July 9, 1914 HCN
- Henry Meyerink had the misfortune of losing his thoroughbred trotting horse “Bill” as a result of blood poisoning caused by another horse kicking it.
- John Wiggers Jr., is building a new hen house.
- Miss Rena Boven who broke her leg last week in a runaway accident is improving slowly, altho the fracture Is a very painful one.
July 30, 1914 HCN
- H. De Pree’s automobile was out of commission. They always drove to Holland every Saturday night with their car, but Saturday July 18th it would not go. It finally showed a disposition to start. It went a short distance and stop. They finally got to Holland and back, making many stops on their way.
- Raspberry season is near an end but the price is high. Some farmers are receiving $4 per 16 qt. crate of red raspberries. Good luck for those who have them to sell.
- Henry Meyering bought a new horse.
- A welcome rain came last Monday to give the farmers an hour of rest. The rain was very much welcomed.
Sept. 24, 1914 HCN
- John R. Brown is remodeling his home on the Graafschap Road and he is installing a Holland furnace.
Nov. 25, 1914 HCN
- Misfortunes never come singly they say. Ben Ten Cate has broken his leg while jumping from a wagon and Fred his father has been seriously ill the last week.
Aug. 15, 1918 HCN
FAMILY REUNION AT EUREKA PARK
FORTY MEMBERS OF FACULTY OF MRS. HENRY BRINKMAN CELEBRATE EVENT
A family reunion of the Mrs. Henry Brinkman family was held Wednesday at Eureka Park, three miles south of Macatawa. All the children were present, namely: Mr. and Mrs. John Styker, Grand Rapids, Rev. and Mrs. Jacob Vander Meulen, Kalamazoo. Mr. and Mrs. John Kronemeyer. Hamilton, Rev. and Mrs. B. F. Brinkman. Pella, Iowa, A. Koeman family, Laketown, Mr. and Mrs. John Brinkman and family of Holland, A. H. Brinkman and family, Holland, Mr. and Mrs. Gerrit Du Mez and family, Holland. There were also present a granddaughter, Mrs. Henry Brinkman and a great-granddaughter, Gertrude Brinkman, of Pella, Iowa, and Raymond Knooihuizen, a prospective grandson.
A company of about forty celebrated the reunion. The day was pleasantly spent in festivities. Two of Mrs. Brinkman’s grandsons are in the United States military service. They are the sons of Rev. and Mrs. B. F Brinkman, of Pella, la. One, Gerald, is a sailor in the Great Lakes Training School, and the other Henry, is in a medical reserve corps in a base hospital in France.
Note: Addition from Jeremy Van Hoven, Laketown Township resident and member of the Parks and Recreation Commission:
One is from the actual date and the others are a year later but has some the above-mentioned parties in the pictures; right down to the Reverend Ben Brinkman and his family with his sons in uniform at Eureka park. The cottage in the picture is still standing and currently owned by George Dewitt.
The cottage is now green in color when it used to be white back over 100 years ago.
The picture labeled Brinkman Bunch Eureka Park 1919 depicts the following family members, starting from the front row left to right: Henry Brinkman, Fannie Brinkman, Henrietta Brinkman, Paul Brinkman, possibly Gerald Brinkman Jr. sitting down in the middle of the group is Mrs. Henry Brinkman (Jane) and I think that the little girl next to her is Gertrude Brinkman. The back row is Ben Brinkman, his wife Kate, son Gearld and his wife Margaret, next to her is Anna (Brinkman) Vandermeulen, then Reverend Jacob Vandermeulen. Very far back between Margaret and Anna is John Brinkman.
The picture labeled Brinkman family Eureka Park 1918 depicts the following family members starting in the front row from left to right: John Brinkman, John’s son Paul, Mrs. Henry (Jane) Brinkman; Ben Brinkman, John’s daughter Henrietta. Back row left to right: Kate Brinkman (Ben’s wife), Anna Vandermeulen, unknown/uncertain, Jacob Vandermeulen.
Oct. 9, 1918
Township Board Minutes
Justice Lambers reported in regard to loss sustained by John Knoll, by turkeys and chickens being killed by dogs. 17 turkeys and 6 chickens being killed. He estimated the turkeys to be the value of $34 and the chickens to be the value of $3, making for a total of $37.
On motion, it was resolved that the matter be left to the decision of the supervisor and the township clerk, but to make no settlement for more than $35 for the total loss.
Justice Bouws presented a claim of $11.75 for 15 chickens killed by stray dog, the chickens being owned by Ralph Breeme. Claims allowed and clerk instructed to issue an order for same. …
July 15, 1920 HCN
The Belvedere Farm sold for $100,000.00
Rumor has it that “Belvedere Farm has been sold to a party by the name of Leonard. The purchase price paid to Mr. Williamson was $100,000.”
The rumor has been verified and was found to be correct. Holland folks will not be pleased with Mr. Williamson’s decision to leave this vicinity. He has taken a live interest in the Holland fair and other things in Holland, and this city counts on the aid of such men as Mr. Getz, Mr. Golds and Mr. Williamson.
Belvedere Farm is a splendid layout and the owner has spent a great deal of money in making it beautiful and up to the minute.
Aug. 12, 1920 HCN
Millionaire Buys Farms at Gibson
Gibson, Aug. 9 – The Methven and Bennett Bros. farms here, comprising 800 acres, have been sold to a New York millionaire by the name of Felt. An adjoining farm of 80 acres may eventually be included in the deal. The farms are located on the lake front and a portion of it will be laid out for a beautiful playground.
Tentative plans are that Felt will build a stone road from the Michigan Pike to the water’s edge, a distance of one and one-half miles running thru his property and the grounds will be adorned with beautiful buildings making it one of the most attractive spots on Lake Michigan.
Both farms contain several acres of fine orchards and these will be developed. The property covers fully one mile of lake frontage.
- Lake Michigan is higher this month than last month by 0.17 feet. Must be because bathing is better than in July.
- A contract was let this week by the county road commission for the grading and building of culverts and bridges on the six miles of roads between the townships of Laketown and Fillmore. The piece of road is known by the commission as district road No. 2 under the Covert Act. Separate contracts will be let for the graveling when the proper time comes.
- The largest real estate transaction in Allegan County, aside from railway property, in many years was the sale of land in Laketown Township by John and Margaret Williamson to Earl C. Leonard, the purchase price being $101,000. The parties live in Chicago and the deed was executed June 2, but was filed at Allegan for recording last Thursday. – Allegan Gazette
Nov. 25, 1920 HCN
Will change farm into a beauty spot
D.E. Felt, Chicago millionaire, is converting his recently acquired property on the lake front near Holland, near Gibson, into a beauty spot. The place covers a half mile frontage on Lake Michigan and a private road of clay and gravel is being built from his home to the lake. Three windmills and a large reservoir will be built on a 50-foot bluff, which will supply the water for the entire farm. Extensive improvements will be made to the home and barn and a $10,000 garage will be erected. The property, which comprises between 200 and 300 acres, will be developed along modern lines and flowers and shrubbery will abound. A large tract will be reserved for recreation purposes and a portion of the land will be devoted to fruit culture. About 15 men are engaged in beautifying the place.
Jan. 5, 1922 HCN
D. E. Felt, a wealthy Chicagoan, who purchased a large tract of resort property on the Lake Michigan front southwest of Holland will experiment with the manufacture of maple syrup. He is building a sap house on his property and has 200 maple trees from which to extract the sap.
June 22, 1922 HCN
A large reservoir nearly 100 feet in diameter has been installed by D.E. Felt on his beautiful grounds on Lake Michigan, 8 miles southwest of Holland. The reservoir is seven feet deep and is built of concrete. It took a score of men two days to build the reservoir and the material consumed was 120 barrels of concrete and nearly 100 yards of gravel. The reservoir will be used to water the beautiful gardens.
The owner of the estate has also installed electric and gas power in order that the water may be pumped into the mains and by means of several sprinkling fountains, the entire garden is watered. Mr. Felt claims that the sun warming the water in the reservoir makes it the proper temperature for plant life.
Feb. 5, 1926 CR
Gibson P.T.A. Meeting
The regular monthly meeting of the Gibson Parent-Teacher Association will be held at the school house this (Friday) evening. The main feature of the program will be “Widow Sniggles and Her Family.” The committee invites all to “come and have a good laugh.” The last meeting of the association was held Jan. 8, but the stormy weather limited the attendance who enjoyed the feast the eats committee had ready. Those who braved the storm, however, were amply repaid by the fine program.
Feb. 12, 1926 CR
Notice of Letting of Drain Contract
Notice is hereby given, that I, W.E. Wilson, County Drain Commissioner of the County of Allegan, State of Michigan, will, on the 3rd day of March, A.D. 1926, at the farm of E.E. Kilmer, Sec. 27, in the Township of Laketown, in said county of Allegan, at 9 o’clock in the forenoon of that said day proceed to receive bids for the construction of a certain drain known and designated as “Carver Drain,” located and established in the Township of Laketown, in said county. …
Now therefore all unknown and nonresident persons, owners and persons interested in the above described lands, and you, James Boyce, E.E. Kilmer, D.E. Felt, Arthur Wade, Frank Tellesch, Gerritt Heneveld (Supervisor), Albert Scholten (Highway Commissioner) … are hereby cited to appear at the time and place of such letting as aforesaid, and be heard with respect to such special assessments and your interests in relation thereto if you so desire. …
Note: The drain is still in existence today and include Shore Acres Park and Gibson.
March 5, 1926 CR
New Home Burns to Ground
The new home of B. Koff on M-11 just over the town line in Laketown Township was completely destroyed by fire which broke out shortly after midnight on Wednesday night. Unable to secure a telephone connection at that hour, Mr. Sundin, a neighbor, drove to Saugatuck and aroused the crew of the chemical engine, who promptly responded to the call. The building was doomed, however, when they arrived and it was impossible to save anything from the flames.
Mr. Koff, who was in the house when the fire broke out, was overcome by smoke and was taken to the Holland hospital in an ambulance which was summoned. Mrs. Koff was out of town on a visit at the time.
The residence, one of the handsomest along the pike, had but recently been completed, and is said to have been furnished expensively. The amount of the loss and insurance carried has not been learned.
March 12, 1926 CR
Sixty Neighbors Help Them Celebrate Anniversary
Mr. and Mrs. E.N. Ebbeson of Gibson were pleasantly surprised on Sunday afternoon, Feb. 28, by sixty old friends and neighbors, the occasion being in honor of their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. After being called from their afternoon’s visit to return home … they were waylaid by two constables. … Mr. and Mrs. Ebbeson were arrested and brought before Judge Harvey. They were found guilty of fake accusations against them, and as a penalty they were sentenced to use the gifts of silver the rest of their days. The silver consisted of a dozen knives, forks and teaspoons, a meat fork and a gravy ladle. …
April 15, 1926 HCN
Allegan Cattle Have Been Thoroughly Tested
Few reactors found in Allegan County herds
Test of Allegan County herds for bovine tuberculosis has been completed. Results were most satisfactory. The percentage of reactors amounted to only 4.61%.
Testers are now engaged in the second test of reactors, the second step In the campaign to rid Allegan County of infected herds. The records by townships follows:
Township Herds Cattle Inf. Rec.
Laketown 167 838 27 55
July 29, 1926 HCN
New Cottage Destroyed at Castle Park
Fire was discovered Tuesday morning in a new cottage that had just been completed at Castle Park by Standley Matthews of Glendale, O. The family had Just awakened at 6:30 when smoke was discovered, and upon investigation it was found that a water heater that had been lighted for the morning bath had set fire to the woodwork and the bathroom was all aflame.
An alarm was immediately turned in and a hose from the water power at Castle Park was turned on. However, it was difficult to fight the fire, since the cottage is built high up and there was not sufficient water to do any material good. Within a half hour the new building, costing $6,000, was a mass of ruins.
A bucket brigade was formed and the cottage next door was thoroughly drenched and no doubt the work on the part of the park attendants and the neighbors saved this cottage from flames.
All the furniture, with the exception of the ice box, was also burned. Many beautiful trees in the vicinity were so badly scorched that it is doubtful whether they will survive.
Mr. Matthews came to Castle Park last year and was so impressed with the place that he decided to build a beautiful cottage, and the family had just moved in when the disaster came.
A call for help was sent in to the Holland fire department, and Chief Blom turned in an alarm to box 21, hotel corner, but knowing the bad condition of the road to Castle Park, he first demanded to know where the cottage was located, and how much danger there was from a general fire.
He immediately saw that it was useless to send a pumper into the hills where there is no water available and take a chance on wrecking more than $10,000 worth of fire fighting apparatus, when no good could be accomplished. Thereupon the trucks were sent back to the fire stations.
Nov. 18, 1926 HCN
Those who attended the concert arranged by Mr. Muller and Mr. De Koning at Gibson church on Friday evening. Nov. 12th enjoyed a real treat.
The program consisted of selections by seven members of the Hope Seminary Orchestra. Between these selections, the leader called on different members of the orchestra to render piano and accordion solos. The male quartette from the seminary interlaced the program with several selections.
On addition to the above there were several readings by another student from the seminary.
Dec. 16, 1926 HCN
Laketown man, new county clerk, moves to Allegan
Register of Deeds Frank Chamberlain of Allegan has returned from Grand Rapids where he has been very ill at the home of his daughter. He now is getting affairs of his office at Allegan ready to turn over to his successor, Gerrit Heneveld, Jan. 1. Mr. Heneveld of Laketown was elected county clerk at the last election and will move to Allegan right after Christmas.
Dec. 17, 1926 CR
Parent Teachers Assn. of Laketown School District Holds Meeting
The Parent Teacher Assn. of Laketown School District No. 2 met at Gibson School House on the evening of Dec. 3rd and was unusually well attended, several friends coming from Holland. The entertainment committee had arranged a Package Sale, the proceeds to be used to defray expense of the hot lunch which is served during the cold weather. Eager buyers soon emptied the large table which had been piled high with packages of all shapes and sizes, in charge of Mr. and Mrs. George Hemwell. …
In addition to the money which was raised at the Package Sale, the secretary has received $11 from those who did not attend. …
Jan. 13, 1927 HCN
The Parent-Teachers Association of Laketown school district no. 2 met on the evening of January 7th at the Gibson Church, as the Gibson school house had proven inadequate to accommodate the number of persons attending the parent-teachers meetings. It was the third annual Dad’s Night and the dads far surpassed the two previous nights.
The program committee was composed of James McCormick. George Hemwall and John Problom and refreshments were cared for by George McAllister, Olle Sundln and John Bell.
The program consisted of songs by the audience, readings, “January’s Greeting” by June McCormick and “Boyhood” by Ben Berlien; mandolin and guitar duets by John Problom and Olle Sundin: violin solos by Robert Robinson: piano solos by Bernard Problom. Fifteen minutes of fun was given by Charles Thurmer. A sextette composed of Sam Mize, Frank and Bruno Bransberger, Roy and Lennart Hemwall and Donald Ebbeson sang “No One but your Dear Old Dad” and “Solomon Levi.” James McCormick sang “On the Banks of the Wabash” and “Mellow Moon.”
It was then announced that professional talent had been secured for the balance of the program. A violin professor gave a wierd solo on a one stringed instrument and was George Hemwall In masquerade attire. A character sketch entitled “The Wedding Notice” was then given. E. N. Ebbeson. editor of “The Star”; Olle Sundin ns the office boy Bob, Harry Lee as Michael O’Rann, the groom, and last but not least was Bridget, the bride, which part was humorously managed by Charlie Robinson. The next meeting will be ladles’ night on February 4th.
April 22, 1927 CR
Disastrous Fire Destroys Thirty-Five Cottages
One of the most disastrous fires that ever visited Macatawa occurred there last Thursday night, April 14, when thirty-five cottages were completely destroyed. The property loss is estimated to be from $350,000 to a half million, partially covered by insurance. The origin of the fire is being thoroughly investigated. …
May 19, 1927 HCN
Bride and groom begin wedding trip in ox cart
Pioneer history was re-enacted Thursday at Gibson when Mr. and Mrs. John High Noyes, immediately after being united in marriage at the Gibson church, drove away on the first lap of their wedding journey in an ox cart. In the early days when wilderness was king in Michigan, the ox cart was the usual vehicle In which the sons and daughters of the pioneers drove away from the church, but the custom had fallen into disuse until Thursday when the newly married couple began their wedding trip in an ox cart drawn by two large black oxen of the Shore Acres farm.
The bride at the beautiful wedding was Miss Dorothy Felt, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. D. E. Felt, of Shore Acres, one of the most beautiful estates on the shore of Lake Michigan, near Gibson. The groom, of Chicago is connected with the Griffith Car Wheel Works and the couple will make their home in Chicago. The little Gibson church had been especially renovated for the beautiful wedding and it was further made beautiful with apple blossoms and lilacs. The wedding was solemnized at twelve o’clock by the Rev. Dr. Phillips, rector of the Episcopal church at Grand Haven. The single ring ceremony was used and the complete Episcopal service was employed. The bride and the maid of honor were gowned in period dresses.
The maid of honor was Florence Nodt of Chicago, the bridesmaid Florence Noyes, sister of the groom, the best man John Rutter of Chicago, and the ushers. J. Rogers and R. J. Koch of Winnetka, Ill. The flower girls were Mary Elizabeth Koch of Chicago and Constance Bittens of Grand Rapids. The ceremony was witnessed by many relatives and friends from Chicago and a number of Michigan cities. A wedding breakfast was served at the Shore Acres farm. The bride and groom have left on a wedding trip to Detroit.
June 17, 1927 CR
Local News and Comment
Samuel Mize has employment at Fruit Growers State Bank.
NOTE: Mize Memorial Garden at Butler and Mason streets in downtown Saugatuck is dedicated to Sam, his wife and Roxie Ann Mize of Laketown Township.
June 24, 1927 CR
Burns fatal to Mrs. Harry Lee of Gibson
Mrs. Harry Lee, 40, of Gibson, suffered fatal burns Monday evening when she attempted to light a kitchen range oil burner with an alcohol torch and the stove exploded.
Mrs. Mize, a neighbor, hearing the woman’s screams found flames issuing from the open door and all other entrances locked. Breaking a window, she discovered Mrs. Lee lying unconscious on the floor, her clothes burned from her body. Other aid was summoned and the fire was extinguished. Mrs. Lee never regained consciousness and died several hours later.
The husband alone survives. …
Mrs. Lee was very active in church and PTA work. The funeral was held Wednesday from her home. Burial was held in Laketown.
39 Cottages Burned at Macatawa Park
Macatawa Park suffered from another disastrous fire last Thursday, June 16, when 39 cottages were completely destroyed with a loss of $250,000.00. This is the fourth fire in five years. The following are figures of damage done by fires since 1922:
July 16, 1922 – 30 cottages destroyed, loss, $200,000.
Nov. 6, 1923 – Ottawa Beach Hotel destroyed, loss, $500,000.
April 18, 1927 – 59 cottages destroyed, loss, $350,000.
June 16, 1927 – 39 cottages destroyed, loss, $250,000.
In all, one and one-half millions of dollars. This does not include the destruction of the beautiful forest trees, etc., which cannot be replaced.
July 1, 1927 CR
Macatawa Park Cottage Owners Hold Meeting
An enthusiastic meeting of the cottage owners of Macatawa Park and members of the Macatawa Resort Company was held in the Hotel Macatawa ball room last Friday evening, about 75 being present. As a result of this meeting and the plans laid there for future progress, the pessimism that has been noticeable at the resort has turned into optimism. It is confidently believed by those who attended the meeting that Macatawa will come back much more quickly than had been expected.
The suggestions discussed were: Adoption of a rule that only fire-proof shingles be used in the future of the resort … the adoption of a rule to use fire screens around the chimneys; the purchase of a good deal more fire hose for the protection of the cottages; the construction of enough fire hydrants to protect the resort; the cleaning up of the present debris left by recent fires. …
It was pointed out at the meeting that the destruction of the natural beauty of the park has been greatly exaggerated. Macatawa is still one of the beauty spots of western Michigan. …
Oct. 21, 1927 CR
Wants Allegan to help pay bee inspection bill
At a meeting of the Allegan board of supervisors Thursday, J. Cowing of the state department of agriculture gave an exhaustive report of the devastating work of the American foul brood disease in bees in Michigan. He stated four townships in Allegan County, Fillmore, Laketown, Overisel and Salem, had been inspected with 881 colonies inspected and of this number, 338 were found infected. The cost for the cleanup in Allegan County was given at $1,600. Cowing said the state will pay half this amount if the county would appropriate a similar sum. The matter was referred to the committee on special appropriations. …
Nov. 25, 1927 CR
Laketown P.T. Association Hold Meeting
The Parent-Teacher Association of Laketown School District No. 2 met at Gibson School House on Nov. 4th and had a very large attendance.
After the regular business the president, Charles Robinson, turned the meeting over to Mrs. Maud Sundin, chairman of the entertainment committee. The program consisted of readings by June McCormick and Lennert Hemwall, short play by Josephine Boyce and Bernice Bauhahn, monologue by George Hemwall, harmonica solo, Norman Hellesey; song by trio Joe Hirtzer, Lennert Hemwall and Kenneth Peterson, and a humorous paper entitled “Clippings from Gibson Blatter” by Harry Lee. Refreshment committee served doughnuts and cider.
On Dec. 2nd three will be a rummage sale in addition to regular yearly package sale. Don’t forget the date Dec. 2nd, place Gibson School House. Time 8 p.m.
Dec. 9, 1927 CR
The Parent-Teacher Association of Laketown School District No. 2 held their third annual package sale at Gibson School House on Dec. 2nd. In addition to the package sale there was a rummage table and the articles were in such good condition that they were readily disposed of. … Mr. Harry Lee served as auctioneer and secured a good price for a pretty rug, made and donated by Mrs. Tungen, one of the newcomers in Gibson. He also secured a customer for the small balance left upon the tables. The 1927 package sale proved even greater success than the two preceding ones financially and a social time was enjoyed by the large number of members and friends who attended.
On Tuesday afternoon several ladies of Gibson Parent-Teacher Assn. met at the home of Mrs. Emily Hemwall and finished a quilt which was later sold at the package sale, going to Mrs. Charles Gustavson of Holland.
June 13, 1929 HCN
Mr. D.E. Felt of Shore Acres has a Legitimate Kick Coming
The Holland City News gladly publishes this communication by Mr. D.E. Felt owner of the Dorr Eugene Felt Shore Acre Farm, Route 8, Holland, without charge. The contribution is self explanatory.
Holland City News
Kindly insert the following notice in your paper:
“To avoid difficulty on my narrow roads to the bathing beaches at my place between Saugatuck and Holland, I built two roads to Lake Michigan and made them one-way roads, therefore in going in, kindly follow the arrows on the signs by the north road, and coming out follow the arrows on the signs by the south road. Also kindly refrain from digging up small trees or plants or picking flowers. Outsiders are to use the beach only by the public bathhouse and not drive automobiles or use the beach in front of my private bathhouse.
D. E. Felt, Route No. 8, Holland. Mich.”
Since I am furnishing a bathing beach, reached by two miles of surfaced roads built wholly at my own expense, to the people gratis, and derive no income from it in any way whatever, if you publish the notice without charge I shall appreciate it, but if you do publish it as a paid notice I will not be offended, and your bill for same will be cheerfully and promptly paid if addressed to me at 432 Wellington Avenue, Chicago, Illinois.
Very truly yours,
D. E. FELT
Aug. 14, 1930 HCN
Wealthy Holland Resorter Dies Suddenly at Chicago
Dorr Felt, age 65, wealthy inventor, died at his home from heart disease.
Mr. Felt will be greatly missed in Gibson, where he owned a beautiful estate of several hundred acres, bordering on Lake Michigan and where he built a $150,000 home that was furnished with rare pieces and pictures he had bought in his years of travel abroad. He was a man of splendid philanthropies and was very highly regarded.
Holland folks especially regret the passing of Mr. Felt. He had many acquaintances here and many were welcome at his beautiful gardens filled with rare flowers. His estate also included a deer park and his Lake Michigan bathing beach was ideal.
Mr. Felt is survived by the widow and four daughters. Funeral and burial was held in Chicago.
March 28, 1935 HCN
Mrs. E. M. Ebbeson of Gibson, southwest of Holland, is recovering in Douglas hospital from a fractured hip and other injuries suffered in an auto accident at Michigan City.
Allegan County News
Fire believed to have started from an overheated furnace caused damage of several hundred dollars to the home of George Wiersma of Laketown Township, a mile and a half south of the Windmill service station on U.S. 31. The blaze was discovered by Mr. Wiersma shortly after 7 Thursday night. He and a group of neighbors who hurriedly gathered, battled the flames that swept through the floor into the kitchen. A bucket brigade was set up. All of the furniture except a few small pieces, was carried from the burning house and saved. The loss is covered by insurance. This is the second fire in that vicinity, including the Brinkman fire, further north at the U.S. 31 intersection to Saugatuck.
May 13, 1938 CR
Gibson School Achievement Day
The Gibson school will hold its second annual achievement day Friday, May 13.
The PTA will elected officers for the coming year at 8 o’clock p.m. The school children will give the program after the PTA election.
Spelling work books, arithmetic work books, reading work books and history books that the children have written with pictures of homes in this district will be on display Friday afternoon as well as Friday evening.
Four-H handicraft and sewing exhibits. Awards will be presented at this time.
Aug. 3, 1939 HCN
Castle Boys Go on Long Canoe Jaunt on Au Sable River
Castle Park’s canoe trip was sized as an ambitious undertaking this week aa tight boys and four men left the Castle campus Monday morning for a long trip on the Au Sable River.
The group had not fully formulated its plans, but a possible route of more than 100 miles was charted on the river course, and the group will paddle as much of it as possible before returning home Friday.
The boys, paddling in four canoes will get into the river at Grayling, and paddle towards Au Sable Point on Lake Huron. What will determine the distance the group makes is the kind of fishing luck that holds with them. If it is good, boys planning the trip confided that progress on the river would be slow. …
Accompanied by Carter P. Brown, Jerry Breen, Jay Van Hoven and Carter Wilkie Brown, boys on the trip will be Pierce Erb, Dick Steketee, Peter Goodspeed, Minor Keeler, Jim McLean, Paul Stuhlreyer, Gilbert Carter and Dick Needham. All boys are members of the Castle play classes.
Winners Are Listed in Junior Show at Castle
Col P. T. Cheff Is Judge of Horsemanship and Games Events
The first annual Castle Park Junior horse show was held Saturday afternoon in the ring at Mrs. William C. Carter’s Maple Brook farm near the Castle.
Col. P. T. Cheff of Holland judged the show as children exhibited in three horsemanship classes and three gymkhana classes Saturday.
Features of the show were the gymkhana classes which included musical chairs, a water carrying race and an egg in spoon race. These classes followed judging in three classes on horsemanship. The judging included questioning of entries on technique of riding and on horsemanship. The show was in charge of a committee including Carter P. Brown, Mrs. William C. Carter, Carol Blossom, Jean Costen, Mary Hibbard, Margaret McLean, John Lindop and Gilbert Carter.
Duncan Forbes was ringmaster. Ring stewards were Minor Keeler, Sammy Earle and Paul Stuhlreyer. Peter Goodspeed was ticket seller. …
May 6, 1949 CR
- There will be no school on Friday, May 6th. The upper grades are going on excursion to Greenfield Village.
- The Joe Zeymans had quite a fire on their property. The brooder coop with 300 chicks was a total loss.
June 3, 1949 CR
There are quite a few cases of measles reported in the neighborhood.
June 17, 1949 CR
- Gibson Church is having Bible School classes this week. There is quite a large attendance.
- Johnnie Stitt had a bad fall and cut his forehead. He had to have three stitches put in. He is getting along nicely.
June 30, 1949 HCN
Felt Estate Purchased For Catholic Seminary
The famed D. E. Felt summer estate Shore Acres on Lake Michigan near Saugatuck has been purchased by the Augustinian Fathers, a Catholic order, for use as a preparatory seminary.
Announcement of the purchase was made in Detroit by the Very Rev. Charles J. Melchior, pastor of St. Augustine’s parish and provincial of the midwestern Mother of Good Council province of that order. This province embraces territory between the New York boundary and the Rocky mountains.
Shore Acres, long a show place in western Michigan, was built by the founder of the Felt and Tarrant Comptometer Co. Felt invented the comptometer when he was 23 years old. The 550-acre estate was acquired many years ago and for a time the family lived in a home part of which is now more than a 100 years old. The 25-room mansion was built 25 or 30 years ago. Mrs. Felt died before the home was completed and her husband died a few years later. Now, only two daughters and a son-in-law survive. Another daughter and her husband died in the Coconut Grove fire in Boston a few years ago.
The 550-acre estate has a frontage of 1.4 miles on Lake Michigan and includes 189 acres of virgin timber, a 50-acre orchard and 40 acres of farm land. Buildings include the 25-room main residence which will house students, priests of the faculty and a chapel; a large garage, and half a dozen service buildings.
The new seminary, to be known at St. Augustine’s, will be opened in September with an initial enrollment of 50 to 60 candidates for the priesthood. It will permit use of the Augustinians’ present facilities at Oconomowoc, Wis., as a novitiate house.
The living room of the Felt mansion will be transformed into the seminary’s chapel. The large garage with apartment above will be made into a classroom building.
July 1, 1949 CR
- Mr. and Mrs. Ray Stitt, Ronnie, Bobby and Raymond, Mr. and Mrs. I. Hajicek, Barbara and Kenny Vechera, Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Gotham, Sherry and Sandra, also Miss Dona Anderson and Mr. Walter Kurbs had a picnic lunch in the Allegan Forest Preserve on Sunday. The men also enjoyed some fishing.
- Mr. Ralph Baker has received an honorable discharge from the U.S. Army and is now home with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. George Baker.
- The annual school picnic was held at Gibson School Sat., June 25th. It was well attended.
July 8, 1949 CR
Miss Patricia Ann Boyce spent a few days in Lansing as a 4-H representative of Allegan County.
July 15, 1949 CR
At the school board meeting Monday night, Mr. Jim McCormick was reelected as director for three years.
July 22, 1949 CR
Gibson Birthday Club
The Club met at the home of Mrs. O. Smith on Thursday, July 14, to celebrate two birthdays, Marian Heney’s and Dorothy Smith’s. A dessert lunch, it being raspberry short cake with whipped cream, served and delicious coffee. Happy Birthday was sung to the two birthday ladies and each received many beautiful cards and a sum of money. …
Sept. 22, 1949 HCN
New Catholic Seminary Dedication Rites Held
Augustine seminary, formerly the D. E. Felt estate, was formally dedicated today.
Bishop Francis J. Haas of the Grand Rapids diocese blessed the buildings and grounds before a Mass with the Very Rev. Charles J. Melchior, O.S.A., as celebrant. Rev. Melchior is provincial of the Augustinian’s Midwest province.
The Very Rev. Joseph A. Hickey, prior general of the Augustinian order headquartered in Rome, attended the ceremonies. Fifty-five priests and laymen from the area, and from St. Augustine stations, attended the opening.
Bishop Haas, speaking briefly after Mass, said. “This Is a big day for the Grand Rapids diocese. We welcome you.”
Mass was celebrated in the new seminary chapel, located in the former living room of the 25- room mansion.
After the ceremonies, the clergymen were guests of the seminary at a dinner in the main building.
Fifty students will register Friday and Saturday for classes that begin Monday morning. The student body includes youths of high school age who have signified their intentions of becoming Augustinian priests.
The Rev. John Toomey is in charge of the school and the Rev. C. C. McGrath is superior of the house. The Rev. James P. Lyne is director of students.
Members of the facuity are the Revs H. A. Wierman, C. J. Hart, Leo J. Burke and John X. Gavin.
The former five-stalled garage has been converted into classrooms and a reference library. Students will live in the large house. Tables have been set up for eating in the huge dining room.
“Renovations aren’t completed but with minor adjustments, we’ll get along all right,” Rev, Toomey said.
The Rev. Joseph A. Coyne of Chicago, was in charge of converting the mansion and garage into a seminary to house faculty and students. He let all work contracts to many Holland and Saugatuck area firms.
April 5, 1956 HCN
Note: At least four tornadoes struck West Michigan on April 3, 1956, spreading death and destruction from Saugatuck to Traverse City. Western Allegan County was hit hard:
Property Losses High in Allegan County Areas
The tornado hop-scotched over Allegan County, leaving fallen barns and homes, countless trees and debris scattered over wide areas.
Most extensive damage probably occurred at the Rivulet Hurst Dairy on 61st St., a half mile west of Graafschap Rd. Mrs. Gerald Scholten, wife of one of the dairy co-owners, said damage was in the thousands of dollars. One new barn was demolished, another big barn has the south end torn off. Apparently there was little damage to the plant itself, the homes and the cattle. The Scholtens had hurried their family to the basement as the funnel approached. Venturing out later, they found the tool shed gone, tools buried under debris and 50 head of cattle scattered from the barns. All the cattle were safely returned later by neighbors.
In the same area, the home of Henry Van Kampen was reportedly demolished. According to J. Henry Gebben, operator of a Graafschap grocery store who surveyed the damage with the fire department, a number of homes and barns were destroyed. A house owned by Louis Ensing, occupied by the Jerry Genzinks, a half mile east of Graafschap on Castle Park road, was demolished. Right across the street, the Nick Spykerman home was badly damaged and the barn was demolished. The home of Gerrit Heetderks, a half mile south of Graafschap on Graafschap Rd., was badly damaged and the bam demolished. Across the road, the barn of George Oetman was a total loss and the home badly damaged. Oetman had minor injuries. No serious injuries were reported in this area.
Another hard-hit area was Gibson. James Boyce, Allegan county treasurer, is hospitalized, his wife received minor injuries and their daughter Patricia was unhurt as they were hurled out of their house by the tornado. The house and barn ate demolished and three cars were wrecked.
Mrs. Joseph Wolf was home with her young son, Tommy, while her husband was attending a dinner meeting. Their house “just disappeared” and both Mrs. Wolf and Tommy were hospitalized. Tommy was found in a field almost a block from where the house had stood.
The residence of L.H. Huyter was badly damaged and the garage was destroyed. The family survived by fleeing to the basement.
Raymond Fuder, two miles south and a mile west of Graafschap, lost his bam, and boards from a neighbor’s barn flew through the bedroom of his home. Henry Van Kampen, across the street, lost all his farm buildings including bam and chicken coops and the house was badly damaged. …
‘Stitch in Time’ Adage Proven for Gibson Couple
Speaking of a “stitch in time,” Mr. and Mrs. Jim Unwin of Gibson went to their new home from the Saugatuck Golf Club where he is acting pro, after the rain and hailstones that proceeded the tornado Tuesday night, half afraid at what they might find.
When they neared their road and saw cars pouring from it, they were sure their house was among those demolished. Most of their neighbors’ homes in the Gibson area were demolished, or severely damaged, but their home, which they built themselves, was intact. After checking to see everything was allright. Jim went to the mailbox. which miraculously was standing.
Taking an envelope from the box, Jim ran to the house to show his wife what to them, at that moment was a very precious piece of paper — their insurance policy — covering, wind, storm AND tornado coverage.
April 13, 1956 CR
The Greenish-Yellow Cloud Passed Almost a Fortnight Ago, but the Ruins Will Stay a Long, Long Time
It will be a long day before Allegan County forgets April 3, 1956.
It was on that day, at 7:45 p.m. that two tornados slashed almost parallel paths across the county. The first struck at Saugatuck, ranging northwest across Laketown and Fillmore. The second entered the county at the southwest corner, through Cheshire Township, striking at Trowbridge and Allegan before entering northwestward through Hopkins and Watson into Barry County.
In the wake of the twin twisters, Allegan County Red Cross disaster workers totaled up the damage. Nineteen homes totally destroyed and 12 damaged. Twenty-six barns demolished and six more in severe need of repair. Eleven cars and trucks totally lost, two more damaged. Eleven cottages destroyed, four more damaged. More than 6,000 chickens killed and a score of other livestock lost.
Money-wise, the damage was expected to top three quarters of a million dollars with incidental losses not included.
By townships, the losses stood as follows. …
Laketown Township: Two houses lost, three damaged. Five barns lost, one damaged. Three trucks lost and four other buildings demolished. …
Boyce Home a Pile of Rubble
The Boyce house itself is just wreckage strewn spot on the earth. Came the rushing wind and noise and the house was scattered over at least three acres.
Only a pile of broken boards remain to mark the spot where the home of James Boyce, Allegan County treasurer, once stood. Mr. Boyce’s house and barn were directly in the path of Tuesday’s tornado and both were completely destroyed. Mr. and Mrs. Boyce, who were in the house at the time the twister struck, were taken to Holland Hospital where they remained a few days for treatment. They have since been released. Theor daughter was unharmed.
The picture at left shows some of the debris from the Boyce house lodged in a nearby tree top.
July 16, 1956
Township board minutes
After discussing tornado damage at the Gibson Cemetery, a motion was made by Gerald Rutgers supported by Art Lubbers to have Bernard Ten Brink and Gerrit Gruppen rebuild and paint the tool house. John Scholten was instructed to carry this out.
It was decided to divide the tornado relief check from C.I.O. equally among those who suffered loss in Laketown Township.
Oct. 10, 1956
Township board minutes
Supervisor reports that the tool house at Gibson Cemetery is being rebuilt.
The old township hall seats were discussed. Moved by H. Den Uyl and supported by A. Lubbers to use the seats as lumber to repair the Gibson Cemetery tool house. Carried.
Jan. 27, 1961
Township board minutes
The minutes of the township board meeting held Jan. 27, 1961, at the town hall. …
Because the heater wouldn’t work, the meeting adjourned to Wm. Ash’s house. …
March 17, 1961 CR
Still Unidentified, Inter Lake Victim In Gibson Cemetery
The still-unidentified body of a man found washed ashore in Lake Michigan eight days ago near Holland was buried Monday in the Gibson Cemetery in Laketown Township.
Allegan County Prosecutor Irvin Andrews today granted permission to bury the body after effort to establish its identity failed.
The man’s body was found March 5, partially buried in the sand, about a mile south of Laketown Township park. Officials said the body was that of a man in his twenties, weighing about 180 to 190 pounds. The body had been in the water since last October or November, officials said.
Arrangements were made by the Ver Lee-Geenan Funeral Home of Holland.
Nov. 20, 1969 CR
Seminary has woman teacher
History was made at St. Augustine Seminary High School north of Saugatuck this year when the school hired the first woman lay teacher since it opened in 1949.
Mrs. Strom, a resident of Holland, teaches French to the freshmen. …
April 30, 1970 CR
Fire Hits Seminary
Fire gutted a room in the faculty wing at St. Augustine Seminary, north of Saugatuck, Saturday, doing about $50,000 damage to the building.
Firemen from Saugatuck and Graafschap fought the blaze. …
The fire believed to have been started by ashes from a pipe, according to school officials. The blaze was confined mostly to one second-floor room of the virtually fireproof building but intense heat and smoke damaged other rooms. …
After the fire was put out, the seminary students pitched in to clean the second floor.
March 14, 1977 CR
480-inmate prison, state park proposed for St. Augustine Seminary near Saugatuck
The state Department of Corrections has abandoned plans to build a minimum security prison for 100 inmates in the Allegan State Game Area. Instead, it now seeks to convert St. Augustine Seminary, about three miles north of Saugatuck, into a prison for 480 medium and minimum security prisoners …
The State of Michigan signed an option to buy the whole seminary property for not more than $4.2 million. …
(The) tentative plan is to acquire the whole property, to use about 50 acres surrounding the school building as the prison area, and to have the state Department of Natural Resources look at the other 500 acres, including Lake Michigan frontage, as a potential park. …