Thursday, February 26, 2009


The Annual Doll and Toy Show is quickly approaching on March 28-29. This has become a popular event of the Lake Odessa Museum and attracts new interest each year. Two doll collections have been donated to the Museum in the past year and many vintage toys. Featured at this year's show will be the history of the Monopoly Game. There will also be an emphasis on showcasing toy trains in the Depot Museum. The Society is currently seeking those individuals who would like to loan or donate items for this upcoming event. Dolls and toys from any era are of interest and needed to continue to make this a great show. Please contact the Society by emailing if you are able to assist in this way. Watch this blog for updates and further details concerning the upcoming Doll and Toy Show.


Everyone is invited to join us for the next General Meeting of the Lake Odessa Area Historical Society on Thursday, March 12, at 7 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Lake Odessa Freight Station Museum and will feature Don Eckman. Don will be sharing about his military experience during World War II and his service with Audie Murphy. This is a legendary story as Don shares from this momentous time in our history. Be sure to make plans to attend and bring a friend too! Refreshments will follow the meeting and time included for updates and information of Society projects.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


The photo above, taken during World War I, shows Ray Morrow one of thousands from the Lakewood area that have served our country in the military. For the fourth year the Lake Odessa Area Historical Society will be honoring all deceased veterans with the selection of one veteran for the Veterans Hall of Fame. The first veteran chosen for the Veterans Hall of Fame was Gerald J. Haskins in 2006. In 2007 Jack Lambert was selected followed by Viverne G. Pierce in 2008. Each year one deceased veteran is chosen to be honored and given tribute for their service to our country. It is the hope of the Society that in this honor we not only pay tribute to one but to all those who have sacrificed for our country. This year the honor will be expanded to include one veteran from each era which covers from the Revolutionary War up to the present crisis in Iraq (this allows for the inclusion of more veterans and better representation). Nominations for this honor for 2009 are being sought and if interested guidelines for this may be obtained by emailing the society at The deadline for nominations is May 1, 2009. All previously submitted nominations are kept and will be included in this year's considerations. In addition to the Veterans Hall of Fame the Lake Odessa Museum Complex will host a Military Tribute and Display throught the Memorial Day Week-end. Any items related to individuals who have served in any branch of the military are being sought for this display. Photographs, uniforms, medals and other related memorabilia help interpret our military history. If you have any items of interest for this display please contact the society.

Monday, February 23, 2009


This past week-end witnessed the first Book Show to be held at the Lake Odessa Museum Complex. Snowy and blowy conditions did not boost the attendance but a good number showed up despite the weather. Approximately 200 historic and unique books were on display with many from the community sharing their treasures. The response to this show was very positive and resulted in some new interest! Books were displayed in categories such as religious, children's and poetry. Shown above is a sampling of the children's books which covered many eras and topics. Some of the rare books included: an autographed copy of Poetry by Nixon Waterman, a first edition of Dr. Seuss' "Horton Hatches an Egg," and an excellent edition of Uncle Tom's Cabin. The oldest book displayed was a German New Testament printed in 1785. Thank you to everyone who participated in this venture! It is always refreshing to hear the many comments when new displays are shared.


The Village of Bonanza, located at the corner of Bonanza Road and Jordan Lake Road in Odessa Township, started to flourish in the 1870's. This small hamelt holds the beginnings of present day Lake Odessa and provided the foundation which this area built upon. It's first business was a blacksmith shop operated by Hugh L. Hunt. In 1872 Samuel O. Hosford started a mercantile business which led to other businesses locating here in the 1870's. The village grew to include a church, school, hotel and several other stores. The photo above was taken by Lorenzo K. Showman about 1886-87. It was taken from the west looking east and shows many of the prominent buildings of that day. The largest building visible was the hotel which was later moved into Lake Odessa. The church structure sat to the east of the hotel and only the rear section can be seen. Bonanza met its fate with the laying of the railroad to the south in 1887-88. Buildings, businesses and the general population were eventually moved to the new town of Lake Odessa. Bonanza had provided the roots for this community to grow and with its demise made the way for Lake Odessa to bloom.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


It's time for spring fever to start settling in! Maybe a baseball photo will help our thoughts turn to warmer temperatures!! Pictured above are the Lake Odessa Independants in 1913-14. This was one of many teams in Lake Odessa over the years and pictured are: Rear row, left to right-William Tietz (coach), Merlin Morgan, Rex Steadman (manager), Voight Figg, Harold Braden. Front row, left to right-Ermal Garlinger, Orvin Pickens, Clair Tasker, Hazen Figg, Harold Ritter, Glendon Scheidt

Friday, February 13, 2009


Darwin Bennett presented an outstanding program at the Feb. 12 meeting of the Lake Odessa Area Historical Society on the history of the Tamarac area. As part of his presentation Darwin presented all of his research in a book form. This will be placed in the School Room at the Freight Station Museum and is available for further research. Included in the book are many documents, photos and related items concerning the Tamarac school, church and neighborhood. One photo, shown above, is of the Tamarac School in 1922. Identification is need for most of the students. Only three individuals have been identified. In the back row, fourth from the left, is Edna B. Decker-teacher. The last two boys in the front row, to the right, are Kenneth Rush and Leslie Rush. If anyone can identify others please leave a comment here or contact the Society.

Monday, February 9, 2009


In the early days of Lake Odessa it was necessary to have a hotel available to railroad passengers. The most conveniently located hotel from the Depot was the structure which was located on the northwest corner of Fourth Ave. and Tupper Lake Street. This grand building was originally constructed at Bonanza, which was about three quarters of a mile to the north, at the corners of Bonanza Rd. and Jordan Lake Street. The building had been moved into Lake Odessa in 1888. Over the years the name of this business changed with each owner and was known as the Bonanza Hotel, the Eureka Hotel, the Franklin House, the Lake Odessa Inn, the Odessa House, the Hotel Odessa, the Anchor Inn and the Senters Hotel. In 1889-1890 the rates were advertised at $1.50 per day with a "colored porter." This was a rarity in this locality and was used as a drawing card to attract customers. In the 1920's it is related that Henry Ford dined at the hotel and left a tip of one dollar which was a large sum for a tip in those days. In 1963 the building was damaged by fire and was later torn down during the summer of 1964.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


The General Meeting of the Lake Odessa Area Historical Society will be held on Thursday, Feb. 12, at 7 p.m. The meeting is open to the public and will be held at the Freight Station Museum. The speaker for this month will be Darwin Bennett who will be sharing his research concerning the Tamarac School and the history of that area. The Tamarac vicinity is in Barry County and located at the corners of Martin and Brown Roads. The photo above is of the Tamarac United Brethren in Christ Church as photographed by Edward Cunningham in the early 1900's. Come and learn about our local history!!

Monday, February 2, 2009


The Lake Odessa Wave was the official "news publication" in Lake Odessa for almost one hundred years. The newspaper was established on March 1, 1888, by Harry F. Walker, of Portland, Michigan. It quickly became quite successful and covered local news concerning both the village and surrounding rural areas. The newspaper passed through several hands until August 1, 1905, when it was purchased by Albert J. and Lena Dann. The Dann family with son, Stanley W. Dann, and daughter, Frances Dann Tietz, steered this business through the next forty plus years. The Lake Odessa Wave became the unofficial chronicle of Lake Odessa's history. What a treasure remains as the events of this locality were reported each week. Microfilmed copies of this newspaper are available at the Michigan State Library in Lansing, Michigan, and at the Lake Odessa Library. The volumes are not entirely complete but pretty well cover from 1889 through the 1970's. Anyone interested in a particular historical event from this area would find the best resource here in this publication. The photo above shows the interior of the office of the Lake Odessa Wave ca. 1915. Left to right is: Albert J. Dann, Lena Dann, Orpha Gilliland, Maurice Armstrong, ? , ? .