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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



david k petersen

How Scottville came to be Part 3 of 4 History Column This week we will again 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. "The first doctor to come to town was Dr. Thomas in 1882. He built the first drug store on the present site of the McPherson Drug Store. (Pinkerton) Another hardware store was built in 1884 by Mr. Welch and Son. This building burned and in its place a bakery was built, with an opera house on the second floor. "The bakery was owned by Joe Poirier. For a piano, they moved the only available one at that time, from the Andre Hotel, taking it up and down stairs each time they had a play or entertainment. This proves how great was the need for music and entertainment in those days. "This old opera house served as an amusement center for all in the community and much talent was developed through its use. Later when this building burned it proved a great loss to the community which was not replaced until the community hall became a place of recreation. "John Rogers now operates the bakery where this building stood. In the spring of the same year the first newspaper was printed by Mr. Bryant and called Mason County Advocate. Later it was edited by Mr. Chamberlain. This paper existed for one year under this name, then it was called Scottville Enterprise and edited by Ed. Pace, then W. E. Blake. "After several years it was dissolved into a Ludington Daily and was known as Mason County Enterprise, later returning to Scottville as a weekly (it was) called Mason County Enterprise. This paper is now edited by Harry E. Kruse under the name of Mason County Press. "Roller skating was one of the biggest amusements of the times. Mr. Briggs, who came to town in 1886 from New York State proved to be one of Scottville's most progressive merchants. He owned and operated the lumber yards and later sold to T. D. Smith who ran the Ford Garage and hardware for many years. Mr. Briggs and Sons still operated a hardware store on Main Street. Mr. Reader, also coming from New York State in the same year, built the Reader Hardware store where the Kroger store is now standing. "Steve Darke ran the first meat market at this time later selling out to Mr. Henke. In 1887 John Mack came into town, bought a building from Stearns and started a clothing and grocery store. He married Mrs. Mack who was keeping books for Mr. Stearns. The business continued to grow for many years. Mr. Mack having passed away several years ago, Mrs. Mack and son George continued the business until about a year ago when the grocery part was closed because of the ill health of Mrs. Mack, having been in the business for 55 years. "Scottville was the business center of nearly all Western Michigan in horse dealing. Mr. Gordon came to Scottville in 1889 and lived here many years, building houses and helping to do his part to build up the town until his death in 1931. His son Earl and wife still reside here. The population of Scottville at this time was 519. "Business had grown so fast that there was a housing problem and the two hotels were doing a flourishing business. The Relief Corps was Scottville's first organization in 1890. About 1915 there were so few members left that the membership was dissolved. The Relief Corp was the Women's Auxillary of the G. A. R. which was a group of old Civil War Soldiers who every Decoration Day could be heard coming down Main street playing their piccolos, fifes, and drums to the tune of Yankee Doodle. "The writer has a lasting mental picture of that annual celebration and the march to the river. This custom is carried on until this generation celebrates Decoration Day also by the march to the river. "The school children form the line of march and after a ceremony at the river and dropping flowers on the water, in honor of those who died by water go to the cemetery (by truck or car) where the American Legion sounds Taps and brings back to us the memory of those who died for freedom. "However, they were furnished with three big meals each day and every one seemed to be contented to work hard, have plenty of good eats, good clothes, and some recreation. The best dressed men in town wore spring bottom trousers. In 1891 T. D. Smith arrived, bought the lumber yards from Mr. Briggs, and started the first garage and oil station. In 1893 the first eighth grade graduation occurred. This was really a big event in Scottville School affairs. The class members were: Myron Tracy, John Greenway, J. Snell, Fannie Green, Effie Tracy, Jesse Falconer, and W. C. Freedy. Ruth Bishop Loomis was the first teacher. In 1896, while they were still having the county fair in Ludington, the last Scottville fair was held. These fairs at Scottville were real celebrations. " 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 LudingtonMi 49431.

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