Celebrate centennial with mePublished 10:32am Thursday, August 30, 2012
Edwardsburg has always been a party town. Not really a party town, but a town that appreciates a gathering of residents for the purpose of a celebration.
This weekend Edwardsburg will be celebrating its 100th anniversary of the village becoming incorporated. Until 1912, no village government existed. Any improvements within the village were made either by the township or individual property owners. Law enforcement was the responsibility of the township constable or the county sheriff’s department.
By the early 1900s, it was apparent the future growth of the village would require more centralized control over public improvements than could be obtained by volunteer means.
After is was incorporated, in 1915 a Commercial Club was formed “to add to the prosperity of the community and make it a better place to live.” At the first meeting of the club (maybe the first Chamber of Commerce), the main topics for discussion were the need for a creamery and better transportation services. The club also discussed the need of a water system, a lighting system and road improvements.
The creamery in operation in 1902 burned in 1911, and there was a decision not to rebuild.
Since there was no village government; sidewalks were the responsibility of the individual property owner. After the incorporation, streetlights were installed, a volunteer fire department was organized and nine cents a square-foot was assessed for the installation of a sidewalk.
With the increased traffic in 1916, a traffic cop was hired to direct traffic at the intersection of Main and Cass streets on Sundays.
But the big event occurred in August 1915, when Edwardsburg celebrated a homecoming. More than 3,000 people came to the grove near Dr. May’s property near Pleasant Lake. After a dinner was served, Governor Ferris was the featured speaker. The grove was on the lake near the big white house on the hill next to Gunn Park.
Another homecoming was held in July 1938. This was a three-day event. It advertised free acts, concessions, rides, fireworks, racing and swimming. There was a pie-eating contest, nail driving for the ladies — even a turtle race.
Contests included an amateur contest, horse pulling, men’s cigar smoking contest, and a Balloon Ascension.
Marie’s Marvel Dogs and Marie’s Animal Circus performed. Marie’s Circus was housed on Davis Street in the village. She had dogs, goats, monkeys and a bear that performed on a tight wire.
The homecoming was supported by more than 25 local businesses with prizes and sponsorship.
This year’s celebration may not be as big, but it is a genuine opportunity to celebrate our community and meet our neighbors, and it is supported by many local businesses.
Even though it is a potluck, there will be hot dogs and water supplied by local merchants. There will be live music and games for children. This will be a big end to the summer for the Village of Edwardsburg.
Will there be 3,000 people in attendance? I don’t think so, but it will be the 2012 homecoming for Edwardsburg of 100 years.
Come and join in the fun and look for me. I’ll be looking out for all of you on Saturday, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Gunn Park.
For all of you are who are location-challenged, it is on Lake Street on the shore of Pleasant Lake. Handicap parking will be provided behind the Edwardsburg Historical Museum.
Tags: Jo-Ann Boepple