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Cardinal Charlie: 4,000 turned out to see new high school

Published 6:55pm Wednesday, May 1, 2013

I was surprised recently when in the mail we got a letter from state Sen. John Proos.
Enclosed in his nice letter was a laminated picture of me and my wife’s 50th anniversary taken by John Eby and published in the Daily News
It is nice to get things in the mail. I enjoy all things sent to me.
Here are some things from my collection of looking back.
In March 1962, 51 years ago, an estimated 4,000 persons turned out to inspect the new $1.5 million Dowagiac high school.
George Romney was the principal speaker.
Dowagiac in 1962 took top honors in Class B, and dashmen Mose Easley of Dowagiac and Tom Reid of Lakeshore waged a rugged battle for first-place medals.
Lakeshore came in fourth. It was DHS’s first team crown since 1934.
In April 1977, city officials and residents boarded the Amtrak passenger train in Dowagiac for a ride into Chicago.
Amtrak began a two-year trial of making Dowagiac a stop-off point on Chicago to Detroit runs each day.
It was to be the first rail passenger service in Dowagiac since 1965.
Amtrak plans to raise the train’s speed eventually to 110 mph (as I see the speed after leaving Dowagiac, I think they must be close to that now, huh?).
All kids should eat their green beans. A lot of those green beans came from Joe Hassle’s Berrybrook Farms in 1987, when they grew 4,000 acres, which made them the largest grower in Michigan and maybe one of the largest in the United States.
In 1992, Dowagiac had a nice, new clock on the corner of South Front and Commercial streets. It is a large beauty to be enjoyed by everyone, thanks to Wolverine Mutual Insurance Co. It cost $16,000.
In 1903, Miss Emily Foster, who lives with her brother, Capt. Charles Foster (a former Dowagiac man) in Fort Russell, Wyoming, wrote to her sister, Mrs. H.S. Bigelow, that she and her brother had the pleasure of entertaining President Roosevelt on Saturday.
Capt. Foster was in the Sixth U.S. Artillery.
In 1945, Dowagiac had one of the best basketball teams in its history.
In the tournament held in St. Joseph, Dowagiac defeated Niles, 37-34, and St. Joe, 37-35.
In the finals, Dowagiac’s flu-ridden team couldn’t quite make it and lost to Sturgis in a 42-39 heartbreaker. Andy Moses had been in bed all week with the flu. Even playing sick, he made 17 points.
Joe Winchester played with a swollen knee. The complete roster of the 1945 team coached by Homer Smull and Lee Neidlinger: Jack Bryant, Ed Fester, Joe Winchester, Andy Moses, Tom Belton, Dave Cargo (future New Mexico governor), Lowell Hartsell, Billy Stasiak and Roger Staley.
I’m writing today’s column on a sunny Thursday and a memory of a Thursday some time ago was the wafted smell of salt-rising bread coming down South Front Street from the Dowagiac bakery. Do any readers remember that smell?
Also, I’ve found out that being a victim of identity theft sure ain’t no fun.

“Cardinal Charlie” Gill writes a nostalgic weekly column about growing up in the Grand Old City.
Email him at

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