Posts Tagged ‘Michigan history’

In a post called “Who Was Hank Waruf, Kalamazoo Gunsmith?” I wrote about the husband of my great-great-grandmother’s sister, Carrie (Paak) Waruf. The couple owned the resort Ramona Palace and Ramona Park, as well as many cottages and their own home, at Long Lake in Portage, Michigan.

In my files I found the brochure for Henry Waruf’s (Walraven) funeral.

Henry Waruf’s wife Carrie and my GGGrandmother Alice Paak DeKorn had a sister named Mary. One of Mary’s daughters was Genevieve. She was married to Frank Tazalaar. Here are Henry and Frank together (with a little dog).

I get the impression from some of our photos that Hank Waruf was a man other men wanted to hang around .

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You might remember that, in the past, I have written about Jennie DeKorn Culver’s daughters Lela and Rhea being at the Children’s Home in Kalamazoo during the divorce proceedings of their parents. A few years later, Jennie moved with the girls to Seattle. I went back through the newspaper articles relating to the divorce, the children, and Jennie and her ex-husband John the other day and something struck me that I hadn’t noticed before.

In 1895, either right before or during her divorce, a dozen of Jennie’s friends gave her an EASEL. What does someone use an easel for?  I wrote this prose poem based on the newspaper articles and imagined how the easel could have figured into Jennie’s situation.


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While I’m working on the 30/30 Poetry Project through Tupelo Press this month, I am not doing any work on the genealogy project!

But I found something yesterday that I wanted to share.

About 2 1/2 years ago, I mentioned that my father, and later my husband and I, owned Stanwoods Luggage and Leather in Kalamazoo.

These photos are from the 60s and 70s.

In that first post, I included this photo. There was a bell hanging from the front door so we could hear it open and close if we were in the back.

You see Why Shoe Works next door? Dad was the last owner of that business.

Every July the Downtown Kalamazoo Association would organize a sidewalk sale that most merchants would participate in. We always did, marking down items and putting them out in the heat for customers to pick over.

Here’s a photo of the sidewalk sale. I used to love working those for the excitement. Dad would stand out in front with a megaphone, addressing people across the wide main street. Our routine was broken, I was out of the confining store, and I could people watch as they rummaged through our merchandise.

Notice the round suitcases on the luggage display rack. Do you know what those are? Hatboxes!! We were still selling those in the 60s. Train cases, too. Those were boxlike suitcases where all your cosmetics and toiletries could stand upright. Today we use BAGGIES to carry our liquids. Yes, we’re definitely more civilized today.

Eventually we had T-shirts made with a new Stanwoods logo and wore the T-shirts on sidewalk days. That’s what I found yesterday! The last Stanwoods T-shirt.

Here’s a photo of the block of E. Michigan Avenue where Stanwoods existed.

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I like to talk about Grandpa Adrian Zuidweg’s Sunoco gas station because it seemed a little magical when I was a kid. Here is how it looked 20 years before my time–in 1939:

I don’t know who lived in the house on each side in 1939, but I did 20 years later. Maybe it was the same people. The man who lived in the house on the left of the photo (to the right of the station) was Willie Dunn. When I was newly married and he was moving, he let me have an antique oak library desk from the house. I’m looking at it right now. Simple Queen Anne legs and two drawers without pulls.

Here’s a photo I’ve posted before–the view is different, so here you can see a sampling of the houses across the street on Balch Street. Any ideas on the date of this photo? The pump looks different than the ones in the 1939 photo, and then there is the car to help. I bet Uncle Don would know!

Grandpa by the pump at his Sunoco station

Grandpa by the pump at his Sunoco station

The pumps in the first photo have globes on the top of them. Does anybody know if the globes lit up like lighted signs? I found a photo of a vintage pump that looks like that type:

There is something to be said for such a fancy model, but it was probably more expensive to build and to maintain. In case you’re wondering, yes, people collect old gas station memorabilia–anything with a brand name and a logo!

Here is what Grandpa’s gas station looks like today. Or shall I say the site of the station. You see that white house? You can see all the way to that house because Willie Dunn’s house is gone.

When you were a kid, did you enjoy visiting or playing at or working at a small business in your family?

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I wrote about my great-grandfather, Charles Mulder, and his farm in Caledonia, Michigan here. That post also lists other links that pertain to Great Grandpa and the Mulders.

At the time I didn’t have a good photograph of the farm, but now I have discovered a good one of the farmhouse, just as I remember it. Facing this way, the apple tree the swing hung from was to the left. The fields were also to the left, the road to the right. Because of the porch, you can see that the front of the house is on the right side.

Look at that! Is it the same swing I swung on or a different one? This is Mom’s cousin Elaine playing at the farm.

Do you have any fond farm memories?

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As a high school student at Caledonia High School in Michigan in the 1920s, my grandmother, Lucille Edna Mulder, was a good student. As I have written about before, she was Class Historian at graduation–and kept a beautiful graduation scrapbook.

She also kept a meticulous notebook for botany class. Here is a slideshow of the entire book. I will post a few still images below the slideshow.

Did you ever record precise information like this for a homework assignment? If so, do you think you learned from it?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

These dried flowers look like nature prints! I wish I had been required or encouraged to keep a notebook like this.

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Last week I mentioned that both Lambertus and Gerrit Leeuwenhoek were at the orphanage together after their parents died.

I wanted to share with you information that Adriaan Leeuwenhoek discovered and shared with me about Gerrit’s stay. Gerrit was living in an orphanage located in Neerbosch in 1893. Here is the photo I posted last week of the campus.

Various newspaper records show that Gerrit was beaten by teacher Cornelis de Bruin.

Unlike the Dickens’ stories about the abuse of orphans in 19th century England, in this real life 19th century Dutch story, Gerrit went to the police station to report this crime!

gerrit article


The articles indicate that the court prosecuted four cases of the mistreatment of children at Neerbosch. Superintendent Leendert Sies abused 9-year-old Willem van Deth, teacher Frans van Geelen assaulted 11-year-old Marie van Deth. Another child was abused, as well, but the Google translation gets murky there.

The 3rd victim listed is our Gerrit. Teacher Cornelis de Bruin was given a 14 day jail sentence for assaulting Gerrit. I hope he fulfilled his time!

With so many teachers abusing children, it appears that abuse was rampant at the orphanage, but that they were prosecuted shows, to me, a determination to try to improve the situation for the children.

Adriaan has informed me that within a half year of registration one child died, as well. I wonder what the statistics were for the entire run of the orphanage regarding child “mortality.” I am sure abuse was rampant in orphanages around the world at that time.

The case was important enough that even De Volksvriend, one of the various Dutch speaking newspaper in the U.S., reported about the lawsuit. Adrian says to refer to page 7 of the attached PDF. Note that this is not the Michigan paper that my relatives worked on, but a paper out of Iowa!

Leeuwenhoek, Gerrit [De Volksvriend (Orange City, Sioux County, Iowa) 1894-03-03 – Pagina 7]

Thanks for Adriaan for this wonderful information (which I would not have found since I don’t read Dutch).

I’ll conclude this 3 part story of Gerrit and Lambertus Leeuwenhoek with a photograph of one of Adriaan Leeuwenhoek’s handsome ancestors, his grandfather Adriaan Leeuwenhoek, born 1896. I love the straw boater hat.



I’ve tried to stick to the punctuation rule of not capitalizing “van” and “de,” but the sources list them both capitalized and not, which REALLY confuses me because I had thought that they were not capitalized in the Netherlands and then were capitalized in the United States. Apparently not true!

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