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Stories
Last Week's Speaker 
It was this reporters Good fortune to sub in for Randy, who will cover my duties this coming Friday. Happy Dollars were flowing fast and furious into the collection mug as good events were noted by many. A reminder was provided for the memorial service Friday evening at the Spring Lake chapel for member Dave Stocking, and a family service at the Presbyterian Church on Sat. morning. Members wishing to honor Dave may attend and it is a Rotary tradition for as many members to gather on Friday evening as can, to remember our fellow member. 
 
Our program was introduced by Chaz Fisher, who presented Wally Ewing to speak about the historical markers and places around NLy and Wly Ottawa County. Wally is the descendent of a family which has been third generation counting him, pioneer settlers of northern Ottawa County. Wally is by avocation and professional recognition a Historian. He holds advanced degrees, and experience in teaching, publishing treatises, and having tenured professor status at some universities. He is a wonderful man from various perspectives, and presented today, with his wife Jane present also, on the topic of historic marker sites in the mostly Northerly portion of Ottawa County.
 
As of this report there are officially 79 historic sites which are marked, either by the County of Ottawa, State of Michigan or the US Government, in Ottawa County. Soon 2 more sites will be added to the Register so there will be 81 by this time next year. As background on how Wally developed his interest in History, both his grandmother Carlotta Ewing, who initiated farming of vineyards and orchards on Rosy Mound just south of Grand Haven in the late 1800’s with her family, and his father Burke, a self trained land surveyor, spent a lot of time explaining to Wally the history of the local area. Wally was a good listener as his grandmother and father had a love of the local area seldom seen today. I knew both and they influenced some of the land use decisions I was able to make over the past 50 years. Wally then starting reviewing the sites:
 
1. The Khardomah Lodge on upper Lake Avenue in Grand Haven. It is a State of Michigan designated site, with a 2 post plaque unique to state sites. As many know the Khardomah Lodge has more recently been a bed and breakfast. In 1998 or so one of the State Bar of Michigan Committees I chaired was able to use it for a meeting and overnight venue. The City folks thought they were in Heaven. This facility is now owned by the local Hub Grub owner who is no longer a young man that graduated from SL HS, with my daughter. The DeWitt School on Taft St in Wly SL Twp is another state historical site which is owned by Spring Lake Township. School children are visitors there annually to explain the functioning of the one room school. The federal historic sites have a slightly more reserved placard from the larger state sites.
 
2. The Aloys Bilz home on South Division Street in Spring Lake Village. This home was built after Aloys Bilz arrived in Mill Point in the early 1850s. Aloys was the first elected county clerk of Ottawa County and his descendant Bilz family members continued to serve the community through Pres Bilz’ tenure as Village Council member in the early 1970’s. Isabel Bilz was well known for her steadfastness and resoluteness through her lifetime. The home is now a bed and breakfast, and dwelling for its owner.
 
3. Hezekeial Smith plague on the NEly end of the Smiths Bayou Bridge along what is now West Spring Lake Road. Mr. Smith settled in the northerly side of this land and farmed it and helped others establish their own homesteads. He was a black man and probably experienced a lot of the same things many black folks do today from a discrimination and racism perspective. His plague was recently erected by efforts of Ferrysburg citizens who recognized his contributions to the community.
 
4. Zenas Windsor McKay was born in SL in 1869. As he grew up he wrote some novels. He changed his name to Windsor McCay and in 1905 began drawing and scripting a cartoon comic strip, more than 20 years before Walt Disney launched his mouse and duck characters. The Nearo in Slumberland series was published until 2015 and carried by hundreds of newspapers. He also published in 1913 Gertie the Dinosaur which still can be found on line.
 
5. Carl Bowen designed and supervised the construction of what has been called Bowens Bridge along the Bayou adjoining the northerly side of the Country Club. At time is was a 420 foot fixed piling bridge. The cost in 1948 was $250,000 and was owned by the OCRC. This bridge was rebuilt in 2008 at a cost of $2.4 Million. 
 
6. The Interurban Rail station was built in 1895 In Coopersville. It still exists as a modified addition to the Farm Museum in Coopersville. The interurban came into existence with the help of electric overhead lines which facilitated lighter weight carriages, with no heavy engine. The former ticket office where Huntington Bank now is in Spring Lake was also moved to Coopersville. Used to be Fred Brye’s Real Estate Office….and part of Verplanks Ice House.
This rail system connected to Grand Rapids and points in between to the Grand Haven Beach. It was a popular mode of travel until the highway system became more developed when the need greatly diminished in 1930, along with the onslaught of the depression.
 
7. The Hotel at Blendon Landing was a noted lumber area for grading logs, and the marker is on the GVSU campus.
 
8. Jenison Museum, built by a Mrs. Husband, who was left a sum of money be a couple brothers who lived in that area and she had beeb their housekeeper. 
 
9. Zeeland Modern style Home which was owned in 1906 by an association of the world’s largest growers of Chix. There is a plaque at the corners of Church and Central Ave in Zeeland. If you look around those street corners you will see today churches from 1847, 1848, and up to the 20th century.
 
10. The Brickyard in Zeeland is displayed in a distinctive design for a school on PawPaw Drive and at the 9th Street CRC Church.
 
11. The Channel into Lake Michigan built by hand by locals from Lake Macatawa {then Black Lake} to make a navigable channel for shipping.
 
12. The Lakewood Farm area along the northerly side of Lake Macatawa, which was a large zoo with exotic animals. This was a zoo from 1926 to 1938 and the animals that could be transferred were sent to the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago.
 
13. There were Native Indian villages along the North side of Lake Macatawa until 1805 when Marigold Lodge was founded and the compound took over the land which exists today as a subdivision.
 
14. The area of Cutler House in Grand Haven opened as a 5 star rated hotel in 1872, where the Oakes agency and Paul Winter’s office is today. The original Cutler House burned in 1899 and has been rebuilt for commercial and residential uses.
 
15. Sheldon Magenetic Springs is the location of the former 5th/3rd Bank in downtown Grand Haven. Was used as a cure all for mostly arthritic conditions. The groundwater does come up close to the surface as it continues to kill the landscaping along the former bank building and its parking lot.
 
16. Mulligans Hollow is the ski bowl area around the YMCA in Grand Haven. It was a meeting place for Indians for many years in the early 1819 going forward, A family named Bennet occupied the property in the later 1800’s and the Mulligans bought the property and it was used as a military training and parade ground, and a Coast Guard rifle range until after WW-2. 
 
17. The area along the base of Dewey Hill has the fish town fleet for Grand Haven before 1855 along with the terminus of the Detroit, Grand Haven and Milwaukee RR. In 1856 the City electors agreed to pay to build a new bridge into the Sly side of the Grand River to extend the terminus of the RR to near where Bi-Centennial Park now is, just upriver from Pronto Pub. The use of this Wly side of the River slowly faded from use as the fish fleet diminished, so now there are only a few pilings exposed along the river bank when the water in the River is lower.
There are historic markers associated with the above mentioned sites. It was a great travel log thru the area and a reminder that there was a history of use of our area existing well before we were here, and there is a need to continually keep plagues being placed to remind us of where we have been , and those that helped us. The list is less than 20% of those that can be looked at. Also there is always a story behind the plague. The Hezeikial Smith plague was researched by Rebecca Hopp, former Ferrysburg Mayor, and she worked diligently with her group to have this plague placed along Smith’s Bayou, so time did not erase history…Thanks Dave for your diligence I in researching and presenting the reason
and location for historical plagues. 
 
Your Scribe, Tom Boven
 
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Upcoming Speaker
 
Speaker DateTopic
No Meeting - Enjoy your Holiday WeekendMay 27, 2002Memorial Day Weekend
Officer Jeremy OsbunMay 20, 2022K-9 Unit SLPS
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Rotary Merchandise 
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Interact / Herman Miller Pop-Can Sign Up
The following is a link to sign up to volunteer to help pick the pop cans up from Herman Miller and drop them off for our interact kids. 
 
 
If you can help, please click the link and sign up!  Thank you!! 
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Author's Bulletin Extra!
This week I'd like to take a minute to TRY and share the Rotary Fundraiser page I've created - hopefully it works for everyone.  This page is the Jump4Polio page where you'll all get a chance to pay to have someone push me out of a plane.  I'm also very hopeful that Gordon will decide to jump with me - just having someone awesome to share in my pain would be wonderful!  https://raise.rotary.org/Jacques-Labo/fundraiser 
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Birthdays & Anniversaries
Member Birthdays
Douglas Heins
May 6
 
Philip King
May 6
 
Paul Winter
May 7
 
James Humphrey
May 15
 
Spouse Birthdays
Linda Bos
May 10
 
Josh Herder
May 16
 
Anniversaries
David Rhem
Lori
May 14
 
Dave Stocking
Lori Zellers
May 28
 
Tim Kval
Tanya Kval
May 31
 
Join Date
Brad MacLachlan
May 31, 2013
9 years
 
Lisa Ashcraft
May 31, 1996
26 years
 
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