Thursday, December 3, 2009


This past week-end was a busy one at the Lake Odessa Museum Complex. The 18th Annual Christmas 'Round The Town event was held throughout Lake Odessa and the museum was stop Number Twelve on the route! We hosted 8 crafters plus our annual Bake Sale and the Depot Gift Shop. Many enjoyed the Christmas Memory Trees with approximately 50 new ornaments added this year. The crowd was great and a wonderful time was had as we started the holiday season.

Friday, November 13, 2009


About fifty gathered at the Lake Odessa Museum on Thursday, November 12, to begin the holiday season. The annual "Christmas Memory Trees" were the feature with nine trees filled with over 500 ornaments in memory of loved ones. The list of each name was read as the ornaments were hung by volunteers, family members and friends. This beautiful program helps remind us of the memories of those passed on as we celebrate the greatest gift of LOVE at Christmas. The trees will remain on display throughout November and December and anyone is welcome to have an ornament placed on the 2009 tree. For more information contact the Society or come see the display at Christmas 'Round The Town...Nov. 27 and 28.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


The 18th Annual Christmas 'Round The Town craft event will be held Nov. 27 and 28 in Lake Odessa. The Lake Odessa Museum is stop number #12 on the list and will feature local crafters plus our own DEPOT GIFT SHOP, BAKE SALE, MEMORY TREE DISPLAY and other special features. This is a wonderful time to get into the holiday spirit plus spend time at the museum with lots to see. There are many other stops in the area and lots to see and do. Watch this blog for more updates soon!


A big thanks to Tony and Jodi for "creating" a great dessert for the recent Autumn Dinner at the Museum. Cannoli was the feature with the fillings including: almond, vanilla, chocolate and pumpkin. What a treat and a perfect way to end a perfect evening! was good!

A NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM! wasn't like the movie!! was a great time of dining, conversation and enjoyment at the Lake Odessa Museum. A good crowd was present for a five course meal that "filled" everyone to the top! It was great to see some new faces and many others who faithfully support the efforts of the Society. Thank you to all who worked to make this happen and thank you to all who supported this annual fund raiser.

Monday, November 2, 2009


A recent donation to the Lake Odessa Museum has sparked some interest in a direction that was not expected. The Medical Profession was honored at this year's Depot Day and a Society member brought in a large stack of prescriptions that local doctor's had signed over the years. The prescriptions were in an old cigar box which had been kept in excellent condition. After going through the prescriptions and studying the historical value of these...the empty cigar box was set down. Later, in picking the box up, a surprise was discovered. The cigar box itself was a product of an early Lake Odessa cigar maker! The "risque" label, as seen above, noted that the maker was A. J. DeVoe. Inspection of the Lake Odessa Centennial History did not reveal any information concerning this business or the cigar maker. At this time, there is very little information but records are being sought to help fill in the blanks. It is a great piece of Lake Odessa history and will be on display soon at the Museum....come and see it!!


These three photos were taken from the album of George Morse. They were taken in the early 1920's of the Lake Odessa Boy Scout Troop on a camping trip. There is no identification on these but depict a wonderful era of excitement. There are very few records concerning the early days of the Boy Scouts in Lake Odessa. Most history comes from reports in the newspaper. Perhaps with some research more on this trip could be found. Does anyone have any information of this group in the
1920's...or know of anyone who would have been a scout at that time? Let us know any information that may help out!


What a view! This picture was taken of the Grand Trunk caboose from the lift that was used in painting the cupola of the depot. It is rare that we see it from this angle and it the grounds look pretty impressive! The painting of the depot has slowed down considerably due to the weather. The cupola is finished and the coat of light green paint has been completed. The trim still waits its final coat. A lot of work has been accomplished and thank you to all who have put in so many hours!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Claimed to have been one of the only inland lighthouses in the State of Michigan, Ernest G. York completed it's construction in 1938. The Lighthouse on Jordan Lake was built with cement and was originally painted white. The actual lighthouse structure which originally stood alone is fifteen feet wide at the base and thirty feet high. The peak of the roof stands at thirty-seven feet. There are three levels within the lighthouse with the light and lens on yet another level. For many years a red blinker with Corning glass lens was operated each evening. A concession for the beach was operated on the first floor. A boat livery was maintained with the Yorks having twenty boats for rent. Mr. York died in 1942 and the lighthouse passed ownership over the years but remained a local landmark. Currently it is privately owned as a residence. The lighthouse has been declared a State Historical Site and holds many memories of Lake Odessa residents past and present.

Monday, September 28, 2009


This elk mount was one of the awesome displays that were part of the Hunting and Sports Show this past week-end at the Lake Odessa Museum. Many new faces were seen as a steady crowd enjoyed this annual show. Items included hunting trophies, mounts, pictures, equipment and related memorabilia. One interesting donation represented the "sports" idea with a golf club that was given to a local man by Frank A. Page. On Sunday there was even a live bobcat on display! You never know what you will find when visiting this museum! Thank you to all who worked hard to organize this event. This display is growing and many combined for a great success!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Displays such as the one shown above will be featured this week-end, September 26 and 27, at the Lake Odessa Museum Complex. A wide collection of various items ranging from deer hunting to a recent addition of a vintage golf club will be showcased as part of this event. On Sunday the Museum will be open from 2-5 p.m. and will host Bill Yoder as our special guest. Bill will bring a young live bobcat for the enjoyment of those interested. Stop by and see what other surprises you may find and check out the painting progress on the Depot too!


The Village Park in Lake Odessa was originally called Wagar's Grove. In the early years it became known as the Grove and was a gathering place for many events. The intention of this park was to preserve a natural piece of land so that many could enjoy the trees in their original setting. After some early disagreements as to the use of this property it was deeded to the Village in 1889 with the following agreement: "that the land should not be sold by second parties or their successors in office nor the timber removed from the same but should be held as a public park for the use and benefit of the citizens of the Village of Lake Odessa." Soon after this in 1889 a fine was established for anyone found with cattle pastured in the Village Park. Over the years this haven has witnessed countless picnics, reunions, social gatherings and events. It has hosted concerts, rallies, art festivals and political meetings. But most of all, it has given many a place to relax. The addition of Swifty's Place play ground has added a wonderful dimension for children. Many stop and enjoy our Village Park and many hold special memories of this focal point in the history of Lake Odessa.


The past two and a half weeks have seen a great deal of progress in the painting of the Lake Odessa Depot! Twenty-four different volunteers have scraped, primed, painted and worked on this project. Several have donated added monies, food and helped out in many ways. The work is coming along steadily and the results are super! The cupola is completed except for the windows which need some extra work. Even the copper ball on top of the cupola received a cleaning and some fresh protection against the weather! Work will continue as volunteers are able to work. Thank you to everyone who is helping out in any way! What a team and what a super job!!!

Friday, September 18, 2009


On December 1, 1939, Ford Goodemoot purchased the Standard Oil Station from George Barkdull. This station was located on the southwest corner of Fourth Avenue and Tupper Lake St. and had been built about 1923. Ford was in business here until 1942 when he sold it to Homer Bartlett. This picture was taken about 1941 and shows Leon Stearns, who was the Bulk Dealer for Standard Oil, and Ford Goodemoot. There were several stations in Lake Odessa during this era as the automobile was quickly becoming the popular form of transportation.


What a great picture showing Fred Smith in his barber shop about 1919. Fred puchased this business from Archie Thomas in 1914 and was a barber in Lake Odessa for many years. Delos Trowbridge shot this photo which shows Fred cutting a Mr. Darby's hair. It is a wonderful "moment in time" as the early barber shops were a gathering place for the local men.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


It was a great week-end as many gathered to scrape, prime and paint the Lake Odessa Depot! Lots of work was completed with the project about half completed. Painting will continue this coming week-end as the fresh look emerges! Thank you to all who have worked so hard to make this happen. Watch the blog for further pictures and updates!

Thursday, September 10, 2009


This photo shows the Lake Odessa Hunting Club about the year 1908. This local group of men traveled to Northern Michigan each year and spent weeks hunting deer and other game. This photo and many others of this club will be part of the display at the upcoming Hunting and Sports Show at the Lake Odessa Museum. This show will be held Sat. and Sun. Sept. 26 and 27. Plans continue for a great display and those with items to loan or share are still being sought. Contact the society for more information.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


This flyer dated Aug. 31, 1894, is a real treausre! The flyer was printed as a program for the Ladies Aid Society of the M.E. Church for a program they were sponsoring. The great value in this is the many advertisements that were used in the printing of the program. Listed as merchants in 1894 are: L. A. Hunter-millinery, Mrs. R. C. Blair-Milliner, G. A. Weed-furniture dealer, McKelvey and Townsend-hardware, H. C. Morse-jeweler, Wright and Friend-general merchandise, E. C. Tew and Sons-General Merchandise, Mrs. Miner-Milliner, McCartney Bros.-dry goods, I. M. Tolles-dry goods, J. A. Robbins-jeweler. Miss L. Friedly has an advertisement at the lower part of the page and if noted is quite involved in the program. Others are listed and represent some early businesses in our village.


A Hunting and Sports Show will be hosted at the Lake Odessa Museum on September 26 and 27. This annual show showcases our local interest in hunting and outdoor sports. The photo above shows a recent display and encourages everyone to submit recent and current items featuring hunting and sports. One of the goals of this display is to showcase current adventures and to share them with others. The society is currently seeking historical and current items and photos for display. If you are able to share anything please contact the society. Make plans to come and see this great display....there is something for everyone!!!

WHAT FUN IN 1913!!!

This photo was taken by Delos Trowbridge about 1913. The license plate on the car is dated 1913 and it is assumed to be current or possibly 1914. If there was a contest to see how many kids could be put into a car this may have been the winner!!! There is an inscription on the top of the photo that has faded over the years and only the first two words can be read...."A load...." Shown in the photograph and not necessarily in order are: Lawrence Howard (sitting in the background) Art Lake, Francis Dnham, Keith Lepard, Mr. Jackson (the driver), Trever Dunn (?), ____Englehart, Harriet Lake, Marjorie Coykendall, Milford Hoover, Keith Leak, ____Jackson (on fender), Jackson girl, Florence Urtel, Agnes Earl, Dorothy Leak, Pauline Strong, Lester Coykendall, _____Richards, Jackson boy, Wayne Shade. These are the names written on the back of the photo but it is difficult to determine which name goes with which face. If anyone can help identify these better please post a comment below or contact the society. The wooden building shown in the back was a Candy Store owned by McCoy's. Is it any wonder all these kids are in front of this store????


It's time to paint the Depot and we need everyone's help! We will begin the project on Thursday, September 10, with a pot luck supper at 6:30 p.m. There will be scraping, priming and painting throughout the entire week-end. Come out and help as much as your schedule will allow. We are hoping that many hands will make this project go quickly. How exciting it is as many have already expressed an interest. Watch the blog for pictures of this work effort to maintain the historic Lake Odessa Depot.

Monday, August 3, 2009


What a great picture of Main Street Lake Odessa! The picture was taken in 1914 and shows the Lake Odessa Booster Club and appears to be a parade of some sort. The band is in the background and there are banners across the street. It is a wonderful street scene and shows the corner of Fourth Avenue and Second Street. The Farmers and Merchants Bank is in the foreground with the Weed Undertaking and Furniture Store next north. The street is still dirt as it was not paved until
1916. It is amazing how much Lake Odessa has changed over the years but the landscape is still so familiar!

Monday, July 27, 2009


It was a privilege to be able to pay tribute to Medical Doctors, both past and present, at Depot Day this year. The Lake Odessa Area Historical Society selects a business or profession each year and honors them with the creation of a permanent display in the museum. Over twenty doctors have practiced medicine in Lake Odessa since 1887 and each one was given tribute as part of the celebration. It was a treat to have families and the doctors themselves to share this time with. Those present were: descendants of Doctor Henry Carpenter-Lynda Carpenter Warner and family; Mrs. Alice Hoffs and daughters, Louise and Jayne; Dr. Jack and Helen Tromp and children, Nancy, Terry, Kathy and Tim; and Dr. and Mrs. Lee O. Stuart. Shown above is Mrs. Alice Hoffs who traveled from Kalamazoo to spend the day in Lake Odessa. At the age of 107, it was a true honor to have her share in this time as we recognized her husband, Dr. M. A. Hoffs. Also pictured above is Dr. Jack L. Tromp. Dr. Tromp practiced medicine in Lake Odessa for forty-four years, having his business longer than any other doctor. The Lake Odessa Area Historical Society considers it an honor and it is with respect that we thank each Medical Doctor and their families for their gift of health, life and the improvement of Lake Odessa.


The 17th Annual Depot Day is now part of history and it was a great chapter! The morning tried to threaten bad weather but the sun came out and created a wonderful summer afternoon. The crowds remained steady throughout the day enjoying the entertainment, food and many historcial displays. It is always like old "hometown" week and many friends from days gone by reconnected. The primary goal of Depot Day is to celebrate the preservation of the Depot and the ongoing projects of the Museum. This was a success as we gathered and shared memories of the past and looked toward the future. Thank you to all who make this yearly event possible and we are already gearing up for Depot Day 2010!!! Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


The Depot is in need of a paint job and we are going to tackle the job this fall! The week-end of September 11-12 has been set aside as a time to scrape and paint and give a fresh new coat to this historical structure. This is aimed at being a community project and everyone's help is needed! A cost of $2,000.00 has been targeted with approximately $1,500.00 already donated. For those who are unable to be present this would be a great way to help out....your donations are tax deductable and will help preserve this unique building. Thank you for you continued support over the years and thank you for maintaining our past. Watch here for more details as we work together on this project.


The photo above shows Dr. Jack L. Tromp (far right) with his staff in 1985. Dr. Tromp retired from his practice in 1997 and will be one of the many doctors-Past and Present-who will be honored at Depot Day. This Saturday, July 25, will be the 17th Annual Depot Day and it promises to be a great time as many participate in celebrating our local heritage. The purpose of Depot Day is to focus our attention on the restoration of the Lake Odessa Depot and the expansion of the museum property to include the Freight Station Museum, the caboose and the Hosford House. The day will be filled with entertainment, food and many displays relating varied aspects of our hometown history. Come on out and enjoy this unique event and be a part of the growing interest in Lake Odessa's past, present and future!

Thursday, July 9, 2009


The recent LOHS Alumni Open House was a great success and many photos and items of interest always come to light. This photo is a great example and shows School Bus No. 3 on a trip taken to Bertha Brock Park in Ionia on May 31, 1946. Shown in the photo are left to right: Russel Fink, Grace Nicol, Mrs. Merlin Morgan and Mrs. Robert (Ruth) Clegy. Wouldn't it be great to have that school bus today.....well, maybe not to ride in but it would be fun to see!


This is a great photo taken by Delos Trowbridge on may 9, 1913. It is identified as "Scientific Farming on Tom Ainsworth's farm near Lake Odessa. I. H. C. 45 H. P. Tractor and 10 plows."
On the back of the photo is a lengthier description as follows: "A plowing demonstration on Tom Ainsworth's 1200 acre farm 6 miles north of Lake Odessa, Ionia County, Michigan. Plowing, dragging and rolling forty acres at this demonstration." What a wonderful picture and even better is that someone took the time to fully identify this event. Farming has changed over the years but this is still an agricultural area and this will be of interest to many.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Familiar faces from days gone by filled the Lake Odessa Museum during the LOHS Alumni Open House on June 27. The Class of 1959 were the honored guests and many showed up to view the displays of classes from 1888 to 1963. In addition displays featuring the Rural Country Schools, Woodland, Sunfield and the growing Lakewood School collection. It was a great time as old acquaintences were renewed. On Sunday, June 28, an ice cream social was held and many came out to reminisce once more the childhood days of LOHS.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


As part of the Annual LOHS Alumni Display all local country schools are included with a display of photos, documents, memorabilia and other items related to the one-room schools of this area. The exhibit will be at the Lake Odessa Museum Complex during the week-end of June 27-28 and will include all country schools within the present day Lakewood School District. The photo above depicts The Bippley School which was located in Odessa Twp. as District Number 7. There is no date with this photo with only a few of the students being identified. It is a wonderful visual of the early days of the one room school and will be a part of the upcoming display. If anyone has photos, historical items or anything related to the country schools the museum would be glad to display these as part of this annual event. Please contact the society for more information.


We've come a long way since this picture was taken in 1995! This shows the ribbon cutting and grand opening of the Depot Museum during Depot Day that year. This building has served us well and continues to be the focal point of the Lake Odessa Museum Complex. The restoration of this historic Pere Marquette Depot has been a successful venture for the Historical Society and the ongoing maintenance continues to give renewed life to this structure. Plans are underway to organize volunteers to give the Depot a new coat of paint. The week-end of September 11-13 has been set aside for scraping and painting. Cost for the project has been estimated at approximately $2,000.00 with over half of that amount donated already. If you are interested in helping out in any way please contact the Society. Your efforts and donations are what makes these projects possible. Thank you and watch for more details soon!

Friday, May 29, 2009


Ralph C. Lambert (pictured above with his father Lewis Lambert) was selected for the Veterans Hall of Fame to represent the era of World War I. Ralph was nominated by his daughter Nora Hallenback. Ralph enlisted in the U. S. Army and served in Battery D 57th Artillery CAC. Nora wrote that: "Private Lambert boarded the converted mercantile cruiser OTRANTO for a destination overseas with 780 troops and 380 crew members. On a Sunday morning, off the coast of Ireland, and during a horrendous North Atlantic storm, the OTRANTO was rammed by the S. S. KASHMIR also carrying troops. The KASHMIR, although disabled, made it to port. There was a loss of many, many lives. One of the lucky survivors was dad."


Wendell Bernard "Bud" Scheidt was nominated by his daughter, Wendy J. Barnum, for the Veterans Hall of Fame. He represents the World War II era. Wendy wrote that: "My father enlisted in the military on June 15, 1943, immediately following graduation from Lake Odessa High School. Originally trained as an air cadet at Case Western Reserve University, he was transferred to the infantry when the army's need for more infantrymen became increasingly evident.....My father's military career came to an end in Belgium, 1945, when the jeep he was driving hit a land mine. When he recovered consciousness, he was in a hospital in Paris. Later transferred to a hospital in England then Chicago, he finished his recuperation at Fort Custer, where after several months, he was released. He was awarded the Purple Heart, two Bronze Stars and the Good Conduct medal for his service."


Selected to represent the post World War II era for the Veterans Hall of Fame was Lyle Faulkner. His daughter, Terri Slade, wrote the letter of nomination. She stated that: "My dad was in high school at the time of World War II and his parents refused to give their permission for him to quit high school and join the military so when he turned 18 in August of 1945 he enlisted in the Navy. He was taken by bus to Detroit to leave for basic training from there the following day. When they got up in the morning and went outside preparing to leave there were all kinds of people in the streets cheering. He asked someone what was going on and they tol dhim that the Japanese had just surrendered. He always told us, as kids, that they heard he was coming so they surrendered!"


Jimmie Lee Reese was selected for the Veterans Hall of Fame to represent the Viet Nam era. Jimmie was nominated for this honor by his sister, Betty Soule. Jim went into the army and to Viet Nam in March of 1969. He served his country until November of 1970. When he returned home he suffered from severe diabetes. His health issues continued for many years. In 2006 Jimmie passed away as a result of a heart attack. Betty wrote in her nomination letter that: "Jim's many friends have many memories. He is missed by all who knew him."


Nyle Yates III was selected for the Veterans Hall of Fame representing the War in Iraq. The letter of nomination for Nyle was submitted by a friend Jessica Cazarez-Harmon. Corporal Nyle Yates died on March 16, 2006, while serving his country in Iraq. Nyle was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, KY. Nyle grew up in the Lake Odessa area and attended Lakewood Public Schools. In Jessica's letter of nomination she wrote: "There isn't a day that goes by that Nyle Yates isn't remembered in our hearts and minds and by honoring him at this military tribute, his legacy will continue on in our community forever."