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Mason County Memories

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david k petersen

Fountain Michigan History Column Dave Petersen It's been 125 years since a post office was approved in 1882 and in order to have a post office one must have a name for it. Fountain Michigan, and where did this name come from? Well you might (or might not of) have guessed that it was derived from the fact that there was a bubbling spring located near the Pere Marquette Railroad water tank. Fountain is located in present day Sherman Township, originally a part of the original Freesoil town-ship. In October of 1867 the application was presented to the Mason County Board of Commissioners and after it was approved the new Township held it's first election in April of 1868 in the home of Fred Wiedmer. A few years later in 1889 the township was split again with the eastern portion being named Sheridan. In those years after the civil war names of Union Generals and others associated with the Victory over the "southern aggressors" found their names attached to roads, schools, towns and townships. This happened in part because of the 1863 homestead act which gave veterans up to 160 acres of land. Many settled in Northern Michigan, following the railroads as they opened up new territory, the railroads were also gifted large tracts of land in order to provide and incentive for construction. The Flint and Pere Marquette arrived in Ludington in 1874 and in Fountain in 1881. The railroad did much to open up the interior of the County to settlement and commerce. logging of course played an important early role with logs at first floated down the river to the mills at Lincoln, followed by farming and the building of villages. The railroad came north from the spur at Walhalla ( Manistee Junction) towards Manistee, and Sugar Grove Road was carved from the swamps and wilderness to become the first road that crossed the township from east to west. In 1873 the population of the township was 290, by 1880 it had risen to 409. The community of Fountain was christened so to say by the approval of the post office in 1882 and for 30 years was governed by the township officers, that changed in 1913 when a charter was approved and the Village was incorporated. Unlike many other locations in the County such as Buttersville, Seatonville, Taylorsville, and Finn Town that faded away Fountain has held on after the lumbering stopped and continued to provide an important role in the development of the interior of Mason County. Fountain celebrates it's birthday this year, at 125 years and certainly has many more in the making. As we progress through the year I would ask that anyone who has photographs or stories they would like to share with our readers about Fountain and Sherman Township contact me at davep@blackcreekpress.com or call 757-3240. Pictures 001 Stones Garage and later Zugutis Pool Hall 002 John Swelnis's Blacksmith Shop. John came from Lithuania to the Fountain area where he opened his blacksmith shop about 1920. 003 Herman Hanson's Saloon 004 Henry Eoff's Hardware, Grocery and Ice Cream Parlor across from Letson's Boarding House. Henry was the son of Marshall Eoff. Marshall operated the Little Red General Store in Fountain until his death in 1882. Henry built a General Store in 1893, added on in 1898 and built the grain elevator in 1900. Our photo shows two great examples of early gasoline pumps circa 1920 in front of the store. 005 Pere Marquette Pumping Station looking north circa 1900

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