Allegan County Historical Society

Allegan County Historical Society "Your link to Allegan's Past." This is the Allegan County Historical Society's museum, housed in the old jail. We also have a complex at the Allegan Co Fairgrounds open during the Allegan County Fair.
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If you wish to become a member, give us a call.

Operating as usual

"It's Artifact Friday!" Someone in Allegan County has broken the law! Well, they did over 90 years ago. Today's artifact...
09/11/2020

"It's Artifact Friday!" Someone in Allegan County has broken the law! Well, they did over 90 years ago. Today's artifact out of our attic is this bourbon whiskey bottle from the late 1920's. During the prohibition era, a lot of Michiganders obtained their alcohol illegally from Canada. Here is an example of that. If this bottle could talk, what would it say about it's adventure? Make sure to stop and see us at the fairgrounds main gate this weekend (11, 12, 13 September) on your way to the food festival. #localhistory.

"It's Artifact Friday!" Ah, the artifacts I find hidden in corners. Today's artifact is a bottle of elderberry wine that...
09/04/2020

"It's Artifact Friday!" Ah, the artifacts I find hidden in corners. Today's artifact is a bottle of elderberry wine that was made and bottled by Stella Pratt Haynes in the year 1900! The bottle was stored in the cellar until it was donated by her 93 year old daughter to the Allegan County Historical Society. I wonder how it taste? #localhistory

"All Aboard for the Allegan County Fair!" As the Allegan County Historical Society highlights the history of the Allegan...
09/01/2020

"All Aboard for the Allegan County Fair!" As the Allegan County Historical Society highlights the history of the Allegan County Fair, today we are going to look at the horse racing during the fair. So grab your racing program; 1945 (photo 1), fill out the races (photo 2), find your seat in the Grandstand; c1935 (photo 3), and standby for the official starter Dr. B. F. C. McCoy to start the races; c1935 (photo 4). "And here they come!" c1970 (photo 5). Photo 6 is a picture of Dr. Thomas and one of his prize horses. Photo 7 is the famous race horse "Onward" wh raced at the fair in the late 1880's. #localhistory

It's "Artifact Friday!" Ladies is your dance card full? If so, you are really busy! Today's artifacts are dance cards fr...
08/28/2020

It's "Artifact Friday!" Ladies is your dance card full? If so, you are really busy! Today's artifacts are dance cards from the late 1800's. Dance cards became widespread in 19th century Vienna and quickly spread throughout the Western world. Proper etiquette had a man reserving a particular dance with a young lady. As you can see in the last photo, each type of dance is listed. Additionally, a true gentleman danced with a different lady every dance. Our dance cards in the photos are from a few dances and dance clubs in Allegan. #localhistory

08/25/2020

"All Aboard for the Allegan County Fair!" As the Allegan County Historical Society continues to highlight the history of the Allegan County Fair, we hope you enjoy today's installment on Rocky the Rooster with Greg Hipps. #localhistory

It's "Artifact Friday!" Today, we are looking at our courting candle stand. What is a courting candle you ask? In the 16...
08/21/2020

It's "Artifact Friday!" Today, we are looking at our courting candle stand. What is a courting candle you ask? In the 1600's to the 1800's, courting candles were used by the man of the home to set boundaries for his daughter. When the daughter's suitor came calling, the father lit the candle in a sitting room where the couple conversed. The candles served as a quiet, yet firm reminder to the suitor to end his date when the candle burned down. The suitor knew if the girl's father liked him or not by the size of the candle. Our candle stand is from the mid-1800's

It's "Artifact Friday!" 51 years ago tomorrow, an estimated 400,000 people gathered in Woodstock, N.Y. to celebrate peac...
08/14/2020

It's "Artifact Friday!" 51 years ago tomorrow, an estimated 400,000 people gathered in Woodstock, N.Y. to celebrate peace and music. In Allegan County, young people celebrated, too. This poster hung in Allegan County during this era. This weekend, break out your old vinyl records, black light and tie dye shirt and come tour the Old Jail Museum
Fri/Sat 10 am to 4 pm. #localhistory

"All Aboard for the Allegan County Fair!" In honor of the history of Allegan County Fair,  in today's installment, we wi...
08/11/2020

"All Aboard for the Allegan County Fair!" In honor of the history of Allegan County Fair, in today's installment, we will focus on the fair parade. The nicest county fair parade in the country. As we watch our historical parade come down the street and by your favorite spot, the parade is being led by the Hamilton High School marching band (photo 1) c1980. Close behind the band is the Miner Lake School float (photo 2) c1915. Our third float (photo 3), had a band playing on it as in drove through downtown Allegan in 1898. Our next two floats are from the cities of Hamilton (photo 4) and Allegan (photo 5) c1955. Following the city floats, is a Model T (photo 6) from the 1957 parade. Next in line is a tribute to our county's early settlers (photo 7). Bringing up the rear of the parade, as always, is our famous clean up crew "Miss Manure" (Photo 8). Join us next Tuesday for our next installment. #localhistory

It's "Artifact Friday!" Today, we are highlighting the clock from the 1889 Allegan County Courthouse. The clock was adde...
08/07/2020

It's "Artifact Friday!" Today, we are highlighting the clock from the 1889 Allegan County Courthouse. The clock was added in 1903 because there was no money left to put it in after construction in 1889. We have all four clock faces and a lot of the clock internals at the Old Jail Museum. If you look closely at photo number 3, you can see children signed their names on the back of the clock face. All four faces have signatures. These names were grandchildren of the clock keeper and school children on class trips. It's been said that you never looked at the courthouse clock to know the time, because there were times of the day all four faces had a different time! Stop in to the Old Jail Museum Fri/Sar 10 am to 4 pm and see our clock display. #localhistory

"All Aboard for the Allegan County Fair!" Today's Allegan County Fair (photo 1) brings out the kid in all of us. Looking...
08/04/2020

"All Aboard for the Allegan County Fair!" Today's Allegan County Fair (photo 1) brings out the kid in all of us. Looking at the picture, we can hear the sounds, smell the smells and taste the varieties of food on the midway. It propels us back in time to when we were young. Some of us might remember this view of the Allegan County Fair from 1963 (photo 2). Today's fair has fancy high speed rides like the Supernova360 or Top Gun. Who remembers Bart Miller's pony rides? (photo 3) They were at the fair for 37 years! In 1915 (photo 4), a circus with acrobats dazzled the fair goers. But the food smells on the midway make us all smile. Elephant ears, French fries, corn dogs and shrimp tacos. In 1878 (photo5), L.Y Cady had the first food booth at the fair. People stood in line for hours to purchase his famous taffy. Join us next Tuesday for another installment of "All Aboard for the Allegan County Fair!"

It's "Artifact Friday!" If you have an illness, we have the cure. With Diathermy! Around the turn of the 20th Century, t...
07/31/2020

It's "Artifact Friday!" If you have an illness, we have the cure. With Diathermy! Around the turn of the 20th Century, the use of electricity in medicine was being experimented with by doctors. At one point, it was thought almost any bodily issue could be treated with diathermy. Pads would be placed over the body part and different types of electricity would run into the body. The first photo is a diathermy machine from c1910. The second photo is c1925. Diathermy is still used today by Physical Therapist. #localhistory

07/28/2020

All Aboard for the Allegan County Fair! Over the next couple of months, we will be posting pictures and videos looking at the history of the Allegan County Fair. Join us every Tuesday.

It's "Artifact Friday!" Today's artifact is from one of our county's ghost towns. Pier Cove faded away in the late 1800'...
07/24/2020

It's "Artifact Friday!" Today's artifact is from one of our county's ghost towns. Pier Cove faded away in the late 1800's and this wheel is off of a rail cart that was used to load fruit on to ships on a pier that burned in the 1880's. It was retrieved from Lake Michigan in 1991 by the sheriff's department. Come see this wheel and learn about Pier Cove and other ghost towns in Allegan County at the Old Jail Museum. #localhistory

It's "Artifact Friday!" Ah, the heat. How about cooling off with a few of the advertising fans out of our archives? Here...
07/17/2020

It's "Artifact Friday!" Ah, the heat. How about cooling off with a few of the advertising fans out of our archives? Here are some advertising fans from Moline Roller Mills producer of Superlative Flour (c1900). Make sure to stop in to the Old Jail Museum Fridays and Saturdays from 10 am to 4pm. #localhistory

It's "Artifact Friday!" Our artifact in photo number one was a major technology advancement in the county. This artifact...
07/10/2020

It's "Artifact Friday!" Our artifact in photo number one was a major technology advancement in the county. This artifact was used in a ceremony in Dorr Township on February 11, 1941. It was the ceremonial switch switching Dorr Township phones to dial tone phones. Photo number two shows the type of phones used once communities switched to dial tones. Stop in to the Old Jail Museum and see our old phones. #localhistory

The Leisure Store when Riley Overhiser owned it.
07/10/2020

The Leisure Store when Riley Overhiser owned it.

It's "Artifact Friday!" This Friday's artifact is a desk but not just any desk. This desk belonged to Judge Williams (se...
07/03/2020

It's "Artifact Friday!" This Friday's artifact is a desk but not just any desk. This desk belonged to Judge Williams (second photo). In 1889, when the county courthouse was being built, Swedish immigrant, Len Solendine of Saugatuck, was contracted to build much of the new furniture for the new courthouse. After building everything requested, he still had one desk to build. He had no supplies left for the job of building the last desk, this desk, so he used his own money and supplies to build the desk. Why? Judge Williams was the immigration judge for the area, and Mr. Solendine was so grateful to be able to immigrate to the U.S. and live the American Dream that he made this desk as a gift to the American People. Stop in and see this desk and learn about Judge Williams at the Old Jail Museum. #localhistory.

06/30/2020

The Allegan County Historical Society would like to inform all of our membership that the 2020 Allegan County Fair has been cancelled. What this means to us as a society is the John C. Pahl Village will remain closed up until next years activities. We would like to thank Jim Horwath, Eric Schweikert, and all of the volunteers who were standing by to bring the village to life. If you have any further questions about the John C. Pahl Village, please contact the society at 269-673-8292.

06/26/2020
Wheelwrights Shop

not Allegan history, just thought you folks might like to see how they put the tires (metal band ) on the wooden wagon wheels enjoy

A hot summer day at the Wheelwright's Shop in Banks, Lancashire.
Master wheelwright Phill, his father Paul and son Aaron are fitting the iron tyres to a set of recently repaired traditional wooden wheels.
this process involves heating the tyre up in a bonfire until it expands then placing it over the wooden wheel and cooling it rapidly so it shrinks and compresses the wooden components together.

It's "Artifact Friday!" Can you guess what the round object is in photo #1? It is stone and weights about two pounds. If...
06/26/2020

It's "Artifact Friday!" Can you guess what the round object is in photo #1? It is stone and weights about two pounds. If you look in photo #2, you can see it in the end of the Firefighter's nozzle. It fogs the water when it comes out of the hose! The third photo is the Allegan Fire Department c1900. Stop in to the Old Jail Museum and see all of our artifacts Fridays and Saturdays 10 am to 4 pm. #localhistory

Address

113 N Walnut St
Allegan, MI
49010

Opening Hours

Saturday 10:00 - 16:00

Telephone

(269) 673-8292

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Comments

I recently found this vintage post card with a picture of the Ithaca, MI. Fire Dept. with their horse drawn fire wagon. It is dated April 19, 1909 and it is addressed to the Allegan Fire Dept. where they are talking about getting together for a By Laws and Rules Meeting up in Grand Rapids, MI. on June 8-9-10, 1909. I thought you might like to see it.
Looking for a photograph of the Neeley mill, on the far east side of the county. My great-grandfather was a miller there.
Hi Scott and members of the A.C.H.S. During this pandemic, I have had lots of time to sort through STUFF. I found some old photos of your 1905 Gale that is housed at the Historical Village. After this stay at home period passes, I will get them over to you.
There is a cemetery in New York called North Greece Cemetery which is located in Monroe County, NY. In that cemetery there is a grave for a child, Julia Whitacre (1845-1852), and a restoration expert there is seeking permission to restore/clean her stone. Julia's parents were John (1803-1875) and Eleanor Carmer Whitacre (1802-1885) who later settled in Allegan County. They are seeking a descendant to give permission. If anyone is related, no matter how distant, please comment below and I can put you in touch with appropriate person. Any help is most appreciated. Thanks.
I saw a book entitled Readin', 'Ritin, and 'Rithmetic by James Green. Does anyone know where I could find a copy of that?
Metal detecting in Hamilton and I came across this. On the back it says "Waterbury Manufacturing Co" and the front is an eagle with three arrows in the right talon. If I did my research correctly, this button dates back to civil War era, 1890s. Members of the North Army, General Service. Completely intact! Thought you would enjoy this piece of history found right here in Allegan County.
I have always enjoyed walking through Oakwood Cemetery, trying to find the oldest tombstone. Thanks to the cleaning efforts of the historical society, this is much easier to do. Great job, volunteers!! Looking beautiful. 👍🤗
are we getting the info sheets like from last year? if so, can Greg get that to me please.
need to get a history study group to go on here in Allegan.
My mom’s first teaching job, at Hillcrest (country school) in Allegan, 1958 and 1959. Names of students (and their grade) provided.