Jo-Ann Boepple: Edwardsburg’s field of dreams

Published 9:23 pm Thursday, May 26, 2011

While looking through the vast collection of newspaper clippings at the Edwardsburg Area Historical Museum, an interesting one caught my attention.

boeppleThe picture from another newspaper was of Joseph Herremans and Rose Gordon. Herremans was the senior vice president of the First Commercial Saving Bank in Edwardsburg. It was located in the building that is now the G.W. Jones Bank. Rose Gordon was the secretary in the high school.

The caption under the picture says:”Edwardsburg Fund Drive…Joseph M. Herremans, senior vice president of the First Commercial Savings Bank, Edwardsburg, receives a promissory note for a loan he has made to the Edwardsburg Athletic Boosters Club. Handling him the note is Rose Gordon, club treasurer.“

It goes on to say: ”the loaned help raise $32,000 for the construction of a new football field at Edwardsburg High School this year.”

The year was 1966 and football games were played in the field where the intermediate school now stands.

It further stated that “the club is selling a number of bonds to the public in the area to help pay for the project. The notes bear four percent interest and will be paid off in 15 years through money raised by the club. No tax money will be used to pay off the bonds. The improvements at the school include growing grass for the playing field, buying bleachers and lighting facilities and installing a well for watering the field.”

It is the same football field that is used today. Well, not really. The field has been upgraded and renovated many times over the last 45 years, but it is still in the same location behind the high school.

Getting a loan in those days was easy. You went to the bank and Joe Herremans knew you, he knew everybody and being the only bank in town everyone knew him. He would ask you how much money you needed and when were you planning to pay it back and you put your name on the line on one piece of paper and he would give you the money.

Have you tried to get a loan recently? It takes more than one piece of paper!

Now the question that came to my mind after reading this clipping was, “did it get paid back?” Did investors get their 4 percent interest?  Are there any of those bonds around yet?

The 15-year loan would have been due in 1981. Did anyone get their money back? Did the bank get their money?

The museum would be interested to know if anyone has any of those bonds or if anyone remembers investing in the football field.

There are two community projects today that are trying to raise money, the sports complex and the Barn Swallow Theatre. Maybe they are selling bonds also. It’s is one way to finance a project and if you have been to the football field lately, you know that it must work.