With the help of ChoiceOne Bank, Sparta Area Schools teacher Larry Carter and the Sparta Township Historical Commission (STHC) have made substantial progress in their efforts to open a museum that displays various artifacts from Sparta’s history in a downtown Sparta building.

Originally named the House of Flavors, the building was built in 1963 and holds special significance for Carter, a community leader of this effort, who used to spend time at the store as a teen. The STHC is currently renting the building from ChoiceOne Bank. Thanks to ChoiceOne’s generosity, the STHC is in the process of purchasing the building for a great price.

“Sparta has a rich and interesting history that I am proud to be a part of,” said Carter.

The town is currently using another historical building to house its current museum, which represents a one-room schoolhouse. As more artifacts were donated, the STHC realized that they were going to need much more display space.

“We’ve had a building fund for about five years now. There are some generous donors who got our fundraising started with very large cash contributions. We also have published and sold books, plays, and held other fundraising events to raise the money. Because of the generosity of Jim Bosserd and ChoiceOne Bank, we are able to purchase the building, repair the basement and remodel the space,” said Carter.

ChoiceOne is proud to call itself a community bank that focuses on the needs of its town and responds eagerly to the people of Sparta. When Bosserd, president and CEO of ChoiceOne Bank, was called upon to help with this project, he didn’t hesitate to lend a hand.

“I immediately recognized the importance and value of this project,” said Bosserd. “Celebrating Sparta’s history and putting it on display for everyone to see is a great way to boost community moral. I wanted ChoiceOne to help in any way possible to make this museum great.”

With a large, wide open space for displays, a bank of computers for research, and greater visibility in Sparta’s downtown, this building is a great space to expand the museum and educate Sparta’s citizens about the history of their town.

Carter said, “We are moving full steam ahead with our renovation. It’s too soon to put a timeline on it, but our goal is to be up and running and ready for the public as soon as possible. Next year for sure… we will be ready to go!”

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