Cardinal Charlie: Clippings from the Dowagiac Daily News

Published 9:07 am Thursday, January 30, 2014

Here are a few things I’ve picked up in some of my old Dowagiac Daily News papers that I was looking at recently. Something I don’t remember is that in 1938 three Cass County deer hunters were found asphyxiated in their cabin a half-mile south of Watersweet, a community in the Upper Peninsula. They were identified by the State Police as Fred Knapp, 52, of Marcellus, Manly C. Welcher, 70, of Marcellus and Keith M. Bowlby, 63 of Three Rivers.

Three Oaks Village President announced that part of a Christmas movie was to be released in Nov. 1989, will be filmed over a three-week period in January and February.

The film, known as ‘Prancer’ is about a 9 year-old girl who discovers a wounded deer-like animal that turns out to be Prancer, one of Santa Claus’ reindeer. All of the actors in the movie spent a lot of time in Ron Stainer’s bar in Three Oaks. I went to the bar and Ron had a lot of the actors’ pictures and their autographs on the walls. My wife seems to find this movie every year on TV during Christmas week. So this movie made little Three Oaks quite famous when most of the movie was filmed in its vicinity in 1988.

I wonder how many folks recall the bad snows we had in 1977. After three days of moderate weather, the snow fighting crews were able to make progress against the mountainous drifts. They now have punched at least single lanes on most secondary roads. The schools in Cass, Van Buren, Berrien and Allegan Counties remained closed for the seventh and eighth day in a row. This was back in 1977.

The plastic and foam rubber fire that destroyed the Great Lakes Recycling Inc. center in Dowagiac was set deliberately according to t Dowagiac Fire Chief Wayne Mattix. He said traces of an unidentified flammable liquid were found inside the center near the back of the building at the site where the fire apparently started. This was in 1988.

On April 2nd in 198, it must have hailed like heck. At least 11 families in Van Buren and Berrien Counties, including the John Urban family of Sister Lakes, put big hailstones in freezers, not knowing at the time the National Weather Service wanted to take a look at them. The Herald Palladium is sending 11 pictures of hailstones to U.S. Weather Service in Grand Rapids.

It seems like 50 years ago we did have a lot of bad winters where schools were closed for several days in a row. This old 84 year-old man can even remember the bad winters we used to have in the 1930s.

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