Archived Story

2007 city calendar

Published 11:04pm Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Recently, a nice lady reader of my column asked me if I would like an old Dowagiac city calendar. Of course, I said yes.
It was the year 2007 and it contained “Post Cards” from the past.
It has quite a few old scenes of Dowagiac. Some I remember.
January: one was a presidential train that stopped here, but no date.
I wonder who the president was (a hint is a sign on a building across the tracks from the depot says Spring Lake Ice).
Also, a picture of a train wreck here in Dowagiac with the engine on its side. I once wrote of a train wreck on May 17, 1929, in Dowagiac and at the time I found a picture of the overturned engine in the Daily News. The little boy standing there looking at it was James Gallagher (Class of 1941), who is now Dr. James Gallagher, a retired college professor who has come to see me a couple of times.
There is another picture of a theater fire scene. (I wonder what theater this was? The Beckwith?)
March: A picture of an old three-chair barber shop, one of the old large waiting room and benches at the depot and one of the old library basement.
April: There is a picture of Charlie Belsito standing in front of his store (The Dowagiac Fruit Co.). Also in the picture were two of his three daughters (Jane, Lena or Dorothy). There was a picture of The Chicago Candy Kitchen (now Caruso’s) and a picture of the Lindsley Lumber Co. and, in the background, across the tracks, is the Franklin junk yard.
May: There is a nice picture of the World War Memorial (I remember climbing up the steps to get a nice, cold drink).
I was intrigued by a picture of Commercial Street looking west from Front Street. Next to the curb near the corner near the Oppenheim building was a small shed that looked like maybe someone selling papers near it. Across the street was another wooden shed near the corner of Front Street.
June has four Dowagiac schools — the old high school (Oak Street), McKinley two-story, the real old Central and the two-story Lincoln School.
July, a picture of the interior of the old Caruso store and one of the two men looks like old Antonio.
Plus, three other old businesses.
August: a nice picture of the old Pure Oil gas station and Indian Trail bus depot at the far end of downtown Front.
September: a picture of the old library with no iron railing up the steps, a pic of the Century Theatre and one of the Dine Hotel (Champs and Gaslight).
October had pictures of Beckwith Theatre and its stage. Also, one of the Elks Temple with the balcony across the front.
November: a picture of the Interurban station and cars. A picture of a horse-drawn milk wagon and one of a team pulling a beverage delivery wagon.
December: There were pictures of Lee Mansion and Gardner Mansion, plus two other old Dowagiac residences, but it didn’t say to whom they belonged.
One card had a picture of old Frank Beyers’ two cars, one a Model T and one a Model A dated 1905.
“Cardinal Charlie” Gill writes a nostalgic weekly column about growing up in the Grand Old City. E-mail him at

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