Community Services

‘Class’ learns about Titanic Exhibit at Community College

March 1, 2013 // 0 Comments

New program has exciting 2013 schedule By BETH ALTENA No artifacts have been removed from the actual ship, which is considered at tomb. Many of the dead included the staff aboard the Titanic, who worked to save passenger lives during the sinking. The cork lifejackets on board, which many people wore as they left the sinking Titanic, was actually a hard material not unlike wood and had the unfortunate tendency to pop upward if the wearer jumped into water, hitting the wearer in the head and causing unconsciousness followed by drowning. These are among the facts students at Rockford Community Education’s Community College learned Monday, February 18. The second in the series for 2013 for the new program took place at the Rockford Community Cabin at noon and included a lunch provided by the Corner Bar. Presenter Rob Schuitema, who is the Grand Rapids Museum Education Manager, spoke about the Titanic exhibit which is currently on display. “The museum is a true collaboration, from the set-up of displays to funding, to collections and the procurement of artifacts to create the stories you learn about,” he stated. “The Titanic is a fascinating story.” Schuitema said the Titanic display was planned to come to the museum in 2012 as part of the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic on April 15, 1912, but the Detroit Museum garnered that honor. He also noted that the Grand Rapids Museum Display is one of eight world-wide offered in different locations. The displays are matched to venues by the size available and the Titanic exhibit at GR is one designed to fit into the 8,000 square feet the GRM has available for such exhibits. “Four semis came in on a Sunday, and with our crew and the company’s crew we created the exhibit in about four days,” said Schuitema. He said the same company that owns Bodies Revealed—the traveling exhibit offered last year at the museum—owns the Titanic shipwreck rights. Since opening on February 9, the exhibit has been sold out on weekends. Tickets are by appointment, not on a walk-in basis, so that visitors are limited to an appropriate number at a time. Schuitema said he is very impressed with the exhibit and is confident visitors of all […]

From Laphamville to Rockford and more mysteries

March 1, 2013 // 0 Comments

Part III on Rockford history in plain sight By BETH ALTENA Motorists heading north from Rockford on Edgerton Avenue and travelers on the White Pine Trail between Rockford and Cedar Springs will be familiar with the historic Trestle Bridge. The bridge was built as part of the railroad line of the Grand Rapids Indiana Railroad Company in 1885 as a crossing over Stegman Creek. Homer Burch’s grandfather was a workman on the project. Another remnant of the railroad line is the original depot, which is still in existence in downtown Rockford. Most recently housing the second-hand store Double Take, the center section of that building was the train depot. It was since added on to the north and south to form the existing building. A significant tidbit of history for the town is related to that building. Known when the depot was built as Laphamville, the train officials asked the village to come up with a shorter name, as Laphamville (after founder Smith Lapham) was too long to go on the depot sign. Village fathers came up with Rockford because of the Rogue River fording place, which was a shallow, rocky place to ford the river. This was in June of 1866. A historic Grand Rapids book shows the Grand Rapids Union Station for the Grand Rapids/Indiana Railroad in 1910. All around the same time in the late 1800s, the Hirth-Krause Company in Grand Rapids had their “tannery row” at 16 to 18 Ionia Street. The Hirth-Krause leather company sold leather supplies (see image of the catalogue). G.A. Hirth and his uncle, Frederick Hirth, founded the business in 1883. The Frederick Hirth House can still be seen at 230 College Street in Grand Rapids and the G.A. Krause house can be viewed at 401 Crescent Street in Grand Rapids. G.A. and wife Henrietta came to Rockford in 1924, and when G.A. died in 1941 his daughter Henrietta VanWiltenberg moved into the family home. The shoe factory in Rockford had opened in 1902 and 1903. About this time nationally Teddy Roosevelt was president and there was no vice president. The Wright brothers were experimenting with the first powered flight at Kitty Hawk. DeMaagd’s final topic is a serious mystery to which no answer is ever likely […]

Rockford Area Historical Society News & Update

March 1, 2013 // 0 Comments

Terry Konkle – President I have talked to many in the last two weeks about “Big Bud” Lindemann. They not only knew that he operated a “Record Shop” in Rockford, but they also had memories of the business and the man who owned it. The shop was located on Main Street in a very small building whose entrance would have been where the southernmost door of “Sam’s Joint” is today. Several readers not only commented on the fact that the store was packed with music merchandise but also said that they often made purchases from the shop. Current Rockford resident, Billie Hunt, called to tell me that she worked at the store. “I opened for business around 11:00 o’clock in the morning. I would work until school got out and then Ginny Mills, a Rockford student, would come in to replace me. Bud also had a store in Sparta, and perhaps another in Lowell. His wife, Kay, also worked and I remember that Bud drove a big convertible car.” Billie mentioned that Mr. Lindemann had a radio show on WGRD and also made television appearances. “He had a boat on Lake Michigan” she said. Internet research showed that Mr. Lindemann was a well known figure in the auto racing area, and produced material on it. Readers knew that he was an announcer at the “Speedrome” in Comstock Park, and Bob Mellema, a driver at that racetrack, called to say “Big Bud” was a popular announcer. One reader thought he might have announced races at Berlin Raceway and Kalamazoo Speedway. His internet biography confirms that he did. In the mid 1960’s “Big Bud” formed a company called Car and Track Productions. He had a television show on CBS entitled “Car and Track” (1968-1975). He continued in the production area by making racing features for “Wide World of Sports” and “CBS Sports Spectacular”. He died in 1983 and was inducted into the Michigan Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1991. How long was the record shop in business? Most recollections recall it being around in the late 1950’s, and the 1957 and 1958 Rockford High School yearbooks have an advertisement for the business on one of its pages. Perhaps a reader can fill in when the shop was […]

Thoughts from Cannon Township

March 1, 2013 // 0 Comments

Cannon Township raises sewer rates beginning in April   On February 11, 2013, the Township Board voted to increase sewer rates from $120.00 per quarter to $123.50 beginning in April. This increase had been unanimously recommended by the Sewer Committee, made up of three Board members, residents, the Township engineer and the Director of the North Kent Sewer Authority, who is a Cannon resident. The increase will help raise needed capital so that in the event of a catastrophic failure, Cannon Township will have the funds to handle it. It will also allow us to increase the fund balance and pay for needed televising of the system so we can develop a plan of preventative maintenance to greatly lessen the risk of failure. By comparison, Courtland Township’s quarterly rates are $150.00.

Heroes Behind The Badge, law enforcement documentary comes to Rockford

March 1, 2013 // 0 Comments

A documentary film that takes an in-depth look at law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line and survived, and those who made the ultimate sacrifice, is coming to West Michigan. The 90-minute film by Modern City Entertainment was produced in partnership with the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and was filmed throughout the United States, Heroes Behind the Badge highlights the lives of our fallen officers and the enormous impact their passing has had on their family members, colleagues, and community. The film also features the stories of three officers who narrowly escaped their assailants. These living legends share their personal insights about how their near-fatal encounters have affected their lives. Heroes Behind the Badge also highlights National Police Week events held in Washington, DC, including the annual May 13th Candlelight Vigil and the annual National Peace Officers Memorial Day service held at the U.S. Capitol on May 15. Heroes Behind The Badge will be shown on Saturday, March 2nd, at the Rockford High School Auditorium Performing Arts Center at 3:00pm and 7:00pm. Tickets are $8.00 for adults and $5.00 for students and can be purchased at the door. All proceeds go to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. The Rockford screening is sponsored by Rockford Public Schools, Choice One Bank, the West Michigan Law Enforcement Community and the Grand Rapids Community College Police Academy.  

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