1960s Edwardsburg chamber pamphlet looks back 60 years
Published 9:18 am Friday, April 15, 2016
In the early 1960s the Edwardsburg Chamber of Commerce published a pamphlet about Edwardsburg titled “Welcome to Edwardsburg the Hub of Michiana: Religion, Education, Industry, and Recreation.”
In the pamphlet were comments about Edwardsburg, which provides a view of what Edwardsburg was like more than 60 years ago. Here’s a look at Edwardsburg of long ago as reported by the Chamber: “Edwardsburg is the center of a trading area of approximately 5,000 persons residing at the various lakes in the area. The local newspaper has been in weekly publication since 1875.
Edwardsburg has an active chamber of commerce, industrial development association, service clubs, a local Library which also serves as a branch of the Cass County Library and thus has almost unlimited resources, five churches serve the community, a bank and the Grand Trunk Western R.R.
Two main highways meet at Edwardsburg and a network of improved secondary roads meet at this point which is situated on the original Chicago Trail.”
“Edwardsburg is located at the junction of Michigan 62 and US 12 providing good access from any direction. Edwardsburg has numerous tourist accommodations, two area motels, several restaurants and drive-ins, seasonal accommodations at nearby lake communities and established trail courts.”
The Edwardsburg Chamber of Commerce was “established in 1948 to encourage area growth, assist existing business and lists among its accomplishments the return of banking facilities to the community in 1956 after a period of 33 years without a bank and brought a doctor to the community after eight years without a resident doctor. It has long sponsored an annual fireworks display, which is known as the best in a 50-mile radius. (It was held on the school property) The chamber sponsors and presents the annual Miss Edwardsburg Contest in co-operation with Blossomtime Festival. A current chamber goal is properly zoning to assure orderly and efficient expansion of the community.
“The Edwardsburg Area Development Association was incorporated as a chamber of commerce subsidiary to actively promote industrial development of the area. The association has purchased and developed a 40-acre tract containing 1600 feet of frontage on the Grand Trunk Railroad. A paved access road and utilities are available at the site. The area is situated in an area of unlimited shallow well water resources. Factory sites of any size are available in the industrially zoned park.
Some of the industries located in Edwardsburg at the time were Superior Pattern Works, Nylon Tool, Querry Tool and Die, Planet Tool and Engineering, Edwardsburg Tool Products, Michiana Lumber and Supply Company, Eljon Plastics, Broom Factory and Snuff Factory.
Edwardsburg has been a center of Agriculture which has been an important part of the economy of the area. Edwardsburg is the site selected originally to handle grain in transit between Chicago and Toledo and dry the grain if necessary, the facilities have evolved into a large country elevator operation and today performs these services plus feed processing and manufacture for a prosperous grain and livestock industry.”
“Many nearby lakes with a full complement of water sports and swimming” provide recreation.
Among other recreations listed were the Four Lakes County Club, a membership course with 18 watered holes and greens. Two public courses are within nine miles of Edwardsburg. Eagle Lake is the home of the Eagle Lake Yacht Club, which has a large modern clubhouse and lake front facility.
The lake is famed as one of the best of racing courses and is frequently host to international sailing regattas. Life saving courses for children and adults were conducted annually.
Edwardsburg service clubs include the Lions Club, Business and Professional Women’s Club, American Legion, Masonic Lodge, Eastern Star and Edwardsburg Conservation Club.
This is what the brochure had to say about Edwardsburg Schools in the 60’s. “The Edwardsburg Public School system was originally organized in 1892 and serves the residents of the school district which covers an area of approximately 63 square miles, this large school district is the result of being one of the first Michigan school districts to consolidate.”
“Present facilities include two elementary schools: Edwardsburg Elementary with 20 class rooms of modern construction and design and another equally modern elementary school with 12 class rooms located in the Lake Residential area, a Junior High building (recently known as the Chicago Road School) and the most recently completed (1961) High School.”
“In the past year the Edwardsburg Public Schools received the highest rating (four years) given by the University of Michigan. School officials are now awaiting a visit from the North Central Accreditation Agency for their stamp of approval. A third or more of each year’s graduating class are attending institutions of higher learning. The latest methods of instruction are being realized by a well-informed facility with such innovations as airborne television, team teaching, microchemistry, and the latest concept of mathematics. Edwardsburg schools in Cass County are the first to have a National Merit Honor Winner.
The fine school system reflects the attitude of the residents of this area and their realization that there is no better investment in the future than leaders of their community.”
Interspersed in the pamphlet between the comments about Edwardsburg were ads of the thriving businesses of the day. Next week I will publish the names of the businesses that were viable in the 60s. Some you will recognize, some you never knew existed and some that may still be around today.
Jo-Ann Boepple works at the Edwardsburg Area History Museum.