Archived Story

Take a stroll back in time

Published 7:05pm Thursday, August 2, 2012

In honor of the 100th birthday celebration of Edwardsburg, let’s explore the years before Edwardsburg became an official village. Each week we will discover what Edwardsburg was like.
One hundred thirty years ago, in the 1880s, we will take a trip to town and see what there was to see.
The first settlers came to town in 1823, and by the 1880s, the town was thriving.
First, we have to hitch our horse to our wagon — no cars and no paved roads. Our ride into town was a little drafty and bumpy. Our first stop was at Dyer Dunning’s new hardware store. My husband wanted to see the new McCormick Harvesting Machine. Mr. Dunning was showing off all of his new equipment for sale.
Next, we stopped to see the new awning W. M. Walter put on the front of his store. Mr. Walter had a general store with competition from Reese’s Double Store and the Corner Brick Store. We really prefer Mr. Walter’s store for his variety of goods.
While my husband stopped off at W.W. Waterman’s barbershop for a shave and a haircut, I walked on down the street to visit with Mr. S. J. Coffin. He is the music teacher that is teaching my children the piano.
My husband came along as we finished our conversation, and we walked to the Truitt House near the depot. They have the best meals and we were hungry for lunch. While we were there, we heard that the cases of small pox are increasing and we thought our next stop would be at the doctor’s office to see if our family and us needed immunizations. The doctors are numerous in this town: Levi Aldrich, Frank Sweetland, M. Holland,W.A. Williams. We settled on Dr. Holland because he also has his office in his drug store.
We walked past the J. F. Clark New Harness shop and I told my husband that if he was going to buy another harness, than maybe we ought to stop at the D. Straton jewelry store or maybe Will Bovee’s and see the new and improved White Sewing Machine.
We walked on past Edwin Case’s undertaker establishment and had some papers notarized at Moses Lee’s house. He is the village notary.
Before we went on, we stopped to order some fencing, shingles and timber at C. P. Soverhill and B.F. Wilkinson’s garage. Next-door was A. R. Griffin, the windmill dealer. We needed a new part for ours.
I stopped at Charles Smith’s boot shop while my husband continued to talk over the windmill situation. There, he heard that a new company was coming to town. The Burlingame Furnace Company has purchased two lots for a warehouse. In the meantime, while the building is being raised, the furnace parts are being made at the Novelty Works.
It is getting near dinnertime. We plan to go to the Pleasant Lake house for an oyster supper and some dancing before we head home. We had a busy day and we don’t go to town often.
As you can see, Edwardsburg was quite a thriving town. Location of most of these businesses can be seen in the pictures at the museum.
As a footnote, Waterman, Watkins & Co. printed a history of Cass County in Chicago in 1882.
Most of the information in this article came from copies of the 1880 Argus, which are on microfilm.

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