Archived Story

Sept. 29 ‘Niles History Day’ at LMC

Published 8:57pm Monday, September 24, 2012


Niles History Day, a free Lake Michigan College community education lifelong learning class Sept. 29 at Bertrand Crossing, could be an annual offering.

Caryn Adler, coordinating the four-part Saturday course accommodating 80 students, said it takes place from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Participants can take in all four workshops or gravitate to topics of particular interest.

Anita Frucci-Rodgers leads off on the influence of Italian immigrants on early Niles. Families such as the Fruccis and Marazitas operated Frankie’s Restaurant famed for shaved ham sandwiches on Lake Street and Veni’s Sweet Shop downtown, respectively.

Frucci-Rodgers, of Elkhart, lived in Niles from 1935-65.

The ethnic neighborhood around Lake and 12th and 13th streets was known as “Dickareel.”

The second workshop, instructed by Ric Ladonski, highlights the button industry, which grew up around harvesting oyster shells from the St. Joseph River.

Adler, a 1976 Niles graduate who lives in Kalamazoo, where she is admissions coordinator for the nine-county Heartland Hospice, teaches the third topic, the 1,700-member Niles Facebook social networking group, which was instrumental in Community Gardens’ grant win.

Adler was in Niles Tuesday talking to Optimists about hospice.

While Niles History Day is free, lunch can be included for $6.50 (register for CRN 50740 without lunch or CRN 50756 with the meal).

During lunch, Adler said, Niles authors will be selling books.

After lunch, local historian Donna Ochenryder will be speaking on Niles’ status as a bustling transportation hub — and not just for the railroad.

Adler returns to Niles Oct. 20 as a resource for the district library’s Family History Day.

“I’m hoping there’s enough interest to do (Niles History Day) on an annual basis with other pieces of Niles history,” Adler said, such as privies and the Riverfront Park restoration.

To register, call (800) 252-1562 ext. 7502.

Visit to learn more.



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