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Mason County Memories


"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus" ~ Mark Twain


History Columns are arranged by year of publication in the Ludington Daily News



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How Scottville Came to be part 2 History Column Dave Petersen Again this week we will feature parts of an article from February of 1942 about early Scottville entitled "HOW SCOTTVILLE CAME TO BE" by Beatrice O'Hearn We'll quote from sections of the article and include some images from early Scottville postcards from my collection. "Henry Chinnery, a jeweler now living here, claims to be the first kid there when school opened. Mr. Sweetland and family and Mr. Mustard both arrived here in 1876 from Victory and built a sawmill in 1879. The town got its first name from Mr. Sweetland who later left town and that time the name was changed to Mason Center. "Mr. Winters came a little later the same year to cut timber. This was the first real evidence of lumbering becoming an industry here. In 1879 the County Poor Farm was organized in Amber township. Its cost was $2,300.00 and accommodated 8 families. Mr. Scott coming in 1877 and Mr. Crowley in 1879 started a general store. "They set up the first post-offices in this store and the first postmaster was Mr. Record, and the succeeding one was J. C. Mustard. In those days riding the trains was quite an experience and also a noisy one. Many lumberjacks were drunk and wild while traveling on the trains. The train stopped only by being flagged and freight was thrown off to the side of the tracks, remaining there until the owners came for it. Nick Unger was the first Road Master. "The engine was fired with hardwood instead of coal. Thus we see that the railroad played an important part in both lumbering and agriculture. Amber was the first village to be born of the railroad, located two miles west of Scottville. Custer Township was formed in 1879, three miles east of Scottville. Scottville being located on the line between these two townships had a natural advantage, because it led north to Manistee and Northern Michigan and wound across the one team wide bridge of the P.M. River connecting us with Southern Michigan. "In 1877 Mr. Schulte and family came to Scottville and worked at the carpenter trade. He helped to build the first church (Baptist) and laid the first sidewalk in town. A son was born and his name is Bertram Schulte. He was the first white boy born here. At the present time he lives here and runs a barber shop. In 1879 the first hotel was built by Mr. Scott and managed by Mrs. Ray (Jim Kay's mother). "In 1880 the first jail was built near the railroad in Scottville. It was made of planks held with spikes and very crudely built. They tell how when Mr. Tift was deputy sheriff, he arrested a drunk and put him in this jail. His inmate escaped with the help of his associates, who replaced the prisoner with Mr. Tifts cow. Mr. Tift was also our first tinsmith. "His wife made puffs and wigs, also braids for the women. In this same year Mrs. Ruth Bishop (Loomis) came to teach school and was the first woman to teach a full term. In 1882 many stores were built. These consisted of a planing mill, wood bowl factory, flour mill, and was the center of a fine agricultural activities with climate just right for growing grains and fruit. "In 1881 Ivan Magoon built another general store, later selling out to George Reader and Mr. Baily. The store was then known as Baily and Reader General Store and was located where the Peoples State Bank Building now stands. This building burned in 1895. "In 1882 the second hotel was started by George W. Andre known as Uncle George. When talk of the railroad was spread they came to Scottville from Manistee. Upon arriving here they were disappointed in the lack of sidewalks on Main street and had to wade mud to get to the main corner where they had bought the home of Mr. Neil and the surrounding land. They remodeled this building and called it Hotel St. George. Later the town having changed its name, the name was changed to Mason Center Hotel. "Several months later, when the town was named Scottville, the hotel was re-named to Andre Hotel. River-men who worked on the river running logs, stayed here and kept the town lively. Mrs. Andre who was known as Aunt Kate to all who knew her, because of her services to the sick, along with Mrs. Schulte and Mrs. Neil helped to "lay out" those who had passed on until other facilities for this work were available. After the death of Mr. and Mrs. Andre their three children managed the hotel until it burned August 17, 1912. The Shell Gas Station is now erected on this corner. If you have any stories or photos you would like to share with our readers please feel free to contact me at 757-3240 or davep@blackcreekpress.com, mail should be sent in care of the Ludington Daily News PO box 340 Ludington Mi 49431.

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