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In November the Centennial Celebration explores our community in 1914 

1914 was a remarkable year in the life of our community. The city adopted a new charter which called for the hiring of a city manager. Community leaders wrestled with the idea of permitting advertising billboards on Dewey Hill. (Drama over the hill even back then!) The face of the downtown was reshaped by a number of fires including Kiel’s Furniture Store and the grain elevator at the Grand Trunk depot. First Reformed Church reopened its doors after a fire had destroyed it the year before, and Second Christian Reformed Church voted to hold services in English, while First Christian Reformed Church welcomed worshippers who preferred the Dutch language. 

Among the notable crimes of 1914, an infamous domestic dispute ended in violence, a holdup at a grocery store was found to be “an inside job,” conflict between Turks and Syrians in the Fourth Ward was escalating, and a group of thieves were found to be targeting proprietors whose businesses began with the letter ‘b’. Tragically, two men were seriously burned when the steamer Manistee caught fire at the Johnston repair dock, and a Grand Trunk switch engine killed two men. And in December of that year, the Duncan Park Committee deemed it necessary to remind people not to cut down Christmas trees within the park. 

November Centennial Programs

Several programs are being offered this month to help us appreciate what life was like in our community one hundred years ago. 

  • Local author and historian Wally Ewing will offer a snapshot of Grand Haven in 1914 on Thursday, November 6 at 7:00 pm. 
  • Local business owner Margaret Michlitschwill share her family’s journey from Italy to Grand Haven where they began a business, Fortino's, that has been in operation for more than one hundred years on Thursday November 13 at 7:00 pm. 
  • Field Reichardt will recount stories from his family’s local enterprise on Thursday, November 20 at 7:00 pm.
  • Our Sunday Concert series will feature blues and jazz music of the day performed by David Rucks on Sunday, November 9 at 2:00 pm.

100 Years Ago in Grand Haven


3 – Election day with great Republican victories.  City charter measure carries with big majority.

7 – Grand Haven has its first Dollar Day and it is a grand success.  The movement originated by Tribune.  Ionia defeats G. H. 7 to 0.  Marriage in Chicago of Bessie Watkins and B. T. Olsen.

9 – Steamer Crosby suffers injury and is towed to Milwaukee.

11 – Shakespeare Club in Spring Lake opens season.

12 – Marriage of Jacob E. Dusterwinkle and Beca Swart.  Burning of the barn of Peter Roossien with live stock.  Death of John Baker, aged 81.  Marriage of Hazel Hunnel and John Behm.  Jury gives Jelle Veenstra judgment for nearly $5,000 in suit against insurance company.

13 – Thirty-first anniversary of loss of steamer Akeley.  Simon Jonkman sent to Ionia for six months for habitual drunkenness.  Kalamazoo Normal with Robert McKay, Will Killean and Neal Nyland in lineup defeats Yupsi Normal 10 to 0 and takes state championship among junior colleges.

14 – Holland defeats G. H. 28 to 0.  Capt. John Walker, aged 58, a native of Grand Haven, loses his life in terrific storm on Lake Superior in foundering of barbe Annie M. Peterson.  Capt. Jay J. Jennings of Holland, master of steamer Curtis, towing the Peterson, lost his life in same storm.

15 – Tigers defeat Pirates of Muskegon 20 to 0.

16 – Otawa bar adopts resolutions for the late George A. Farr.

17 – Fire destroys barn in down town section owned by Peerless Glove Co.  Winter here with a vengeance.  Thermometer at 19.  Death of Mrs. Cornelius Voshel.  Union High defeats G.. H. 66 to 0.

18 – Midwinter weather with mercury at 17.  Mothers’ Club organized in Ferrysburg.  Frank Kuite charged with chicken stealing, goes to Jackson for two years.  Marriage of Charlotte Bates and Clarence Wood.

19 – Michael Ruiter, former resident of Grand Haven and Ferrysburg, killed in Chicago.  Group 4 of Michigan Bankers’ Association in session in Big Rapids, decide to hold next meeting in Grand Haven.  Barn of Warren Sanders in Crockery burned.

20 – Sleighing in Grand Haven.  Eight and a half inches of snow falls, the heaviest first of winter snowfall with one exception in history of weather bureau here.

21 – Tigers and high school play 0 to 0 for city championship.  Dr. C. P. Brown honored with banquet by Medical association.  Death in Robinson of Joseph Stybruski.

23 – Marriage of Clyde E. Alger and Jessina Boyink.

24 – Death of Erastus Barden.  Death of Mrs. R. Uitermarkt.

25 – Jury in Tom Mahan mutilation case bring in verdict of “guilty.”  Great crowds attended trial.

26 – One of the most beautiful Thanksgiving Days in years.  G. H. Tigers defeat Montague 37 to 0 and win state independent football championship.  The armory theatre is opened with the play “Little Lost Sister.”  High school defeated at Kenosha 44 to 0.  Marriage in Racine of Frank Richardson and Henrietta Peters.

27 – Death in Pontiac of Mrs. Thaddeus Seeley, mother of MRs. Arthur Selden.

28 – Tigers bangquet at home of Fred Addison, Jr.

30 – Dr. W. S. Walkley and Orson VAnderhoef, two local survivors of Battle of Franklin, hold annual reunion on fiftieth anniversary.  Death of Bernart Moll.

--Research by Elizabeth Potter, Loutit District Library Local History Department




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