Mason County History Companion
Old Places Familiar Faces
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Attracted by the fine lumber in the dense virgin forests that covered this territory and the excellent agricultural land for raising grain and fruit, the first white settler to receive a land title and settle here permanently was Harry Melson, in 1875.
Since about 1805 there were a great number of Indians, fur traders, hunters, trappers and fishermen who lived around this district, and also a very few white men who were granted title to land in 1870. They did not all stay to "prove it up" as the expression goes.
As yet there had been no timber felled for use in lumbering and no roads were built. There was just a clearing, cultivated in a primitive manner here and there by the Indians. In those days Indians living in this district had to make the most of its natural resources and made good use of the Pere Marquette river which they named Not-a-pe-ko-gan, meaning "a river with heads on sticks". Tradition has it that this name was given following the extermination of a tribe of Indians by the Pottowattomies from the south. Heads of the slain were said to have been severed and placed on sticks. In 1848 when many Indians went further away from advancing civilization, a few remained here. One of whom was called Naw-gone-ko-ung meaning Leading Thunder. He was called Good John by the whites who knew and loved him. The first lady who taught school near his home around Custer, would call on him to help settle any difficulties she may have had with other Indians, such as peeping into the windows of her school. Good John could always be relied on to discipline them. At this time there were about fifty Ottawa Indian wigwams forming a village near Custer, and many tales are told of the old Indian burial ground on the Caswell farm in that district. Later on log houses replaced these wigwams.
Permanent clearing began about 1860 when many came to take up homesteads from other states. At first they chose pine land, since it was more plentiful and easier to handle, and settled near the lakes and rivers. Later on they lumbered hardwood. Chicago was the coming market for shipping in Western Michigan and sailing vessels were used almost entirely for this purpose.
At this time there were a few saw mills being built in this locality, and Chauncey Record built the first blacksmith shop here. In 1861, Civil War days, about 40 men left from this section for the army. This meant leaving large families behind to carry on alone in the dense forests. In 1864 the population of Mason County was 845 and this particular district had less than 10 families.
In 1871 ties were being laid and the building of the first railroad was begun from Reed City to Ludington, going directly through this district from east to west. The only means of travel up to this time had been by foot, horseback, or by boat. Thus, the railroad was anxiously awaited. In 1875 when Harry Melsom received his grant of land from the Government, he built the first general store in Scottville. It was built south of the railroad track on Main street and near the top of the P.M. river hill, where he could get fresh water from the near-by springs, and could carry water for the stock from the creeks. He was a good farmer and later bought and sold butter and eggs through the country traveling by horse and wagon and in winter by horse and sleigh. One could hear the jingle of the sleigh bells as he came along through the snow to trade school supplies for produce, going from farm to farm.
Another first settler was David Falconer, coming in 1873, directly from Scotland. It took six weeks by water as far as Grand Haven, then by ox-cart to this district where an uncle had already taken a grant of land. He tells how lonely it seemed when he, with his mother and sister arrived here in the dense woods, with no one to meet them.
In attempting to record the very early history of Scottville, we must get an insight into the daily life and environment of the people in this locality. There were many street fights and gambling riots. Our sensational news of the day was merely a part of their pioneer life. Before Scottville had its first newspaper in 1884, the Ludington paper published short items of near-by community life and among these items we find such as this - - "A man was shot at 10:30 last night in the saloon (1879)." "City Marshall shot an Indian on Main street last night (1874)" "A fine time was had by a full house at Schusters Hotel in Ludington. Early in the evening music struck up and the ball opened. The dance went on merrily through the night and the boys took the girls home at broadday-light in the morning." (1873)
Tradition has it also that about 1880 little six-year-old Katie Flynn who lived with her mother and father in the woods near Custer followed her father to work one bright summer morning. After some time it was discovered that she must be lost and hunters and trappers searched the woods for two days and two nights until they finally found the child lying under some trees guarded by a great black bear, which she called "Doggy".
Another old tale told by Mrs. David Falconer of how she went to a neighbors to a party one day. Early evening came and the party was not over. Her father promptly came for her about dark with a lantern in his hand to guide them back home. Thus we see how youngsters of early days were trained to be at home when night came. Speaking of old tales again, Mrs. Nattie Clay told us how one morning she came down into her kitchen to get breakfast and found a kitchen full of Indians. Sometimes they were peaceful and other times they made demands aplenty.
Mrs. William Carter, a resident of the village of Jordan, located a half mile west of town, where the R.E.A. is now located, told of how one day she was alone and a group of Indians came walking into her house and demanded food. They were low on food at this particular time, her husband having walked to Ludington that day to get flour, sugar and other supplies which he carried home on his back. So when she could not furnish them with food, one squaw drew a knife from under her apron. Promptly Mrs. Salinda Carter stepped into her bedroom, reached for her gun which she kept hanging on the wall, and thus persuaded them to leave.
This occurred quite frequently in the locality. These pioneers always remembered the Indian calls to one another in the fall of the year to get them together for their annual powwow. The railroad was finally completed in 1874 and Governor Bradley came over the line on a tour of inspection on the first train to ever pass this way. It was in this same year Judge Haight came by train and fixed Branch township.
Victory and Pentwater were settled in 1876. These two places grew large and fast and were considered much more important than Ludington at this time. Victory was at one time, the largest settlement around here and there was talk of choosing it for a county seat. In 1890 the population of this section was around 519. In 1878 the first school district was organized and the first school meeting held on a lumber pile where the State Savings Bank Building now stands. (Old) The first session of school was held on a rented building on the Eaurbaugh farm one-half mile north of town on the east side of the road. Later a building was erected on the west side just across the road on Cranley corners. This building served until 1888 when a brick building was built on the present site of Scottville High School. The first teacher for the summer term was Miss Sara Turner (Mrs. Painter), and for the winter months C. W. Jones. The people thought they couldn't let a woman teach through the winter because all the big boys went to school then.
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 1880 this road was the only good one for a long time and was finally surveyed. This opened two highways, M-10 and US-31. At this time a construction engineer predicted a town would spring up at this point. So in 1882 this town was named Scottville. His prediction had come true. Mr. Scott who came in 1877 and Mr. Blaine who was a resident of Ludington decided to flip a coin to decide which one of them should name the town. This fell to Mr. Blaine who named the town after Mr. Scott and Mr. Scott named the streets. That is officially how Scottville got its name. Mr. George Reader, born in England, came here in 1873, secured the necessary papers when the village was incorporated.
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).
This year Ludington was incorporated as a city, 3,000 population. (1873) 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. Rivermen 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.
The first doctor to come to town was Dr. Thomas in 1882. tie 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.
Mrs. Frank Barclay has served as resident correspondent in this locality for the Ludington Daily News since 1921. Her office is now on Main Street. In 1885 the first Grist Mill was built on its present site by Mr. Seymoure. A roller skating rink was located where the Peoples State Bank Building now stands. It later was moved to a building located at the lumber yards owned by Mr. Briggs.
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.
This building was rebuilt after a fire which swept the full length of Main street in 1915. This fire burned from McPhersons Drug store to the Claveau store on the west side. In the same year C. F. Meads bought out Stones undertaking store and started another drug store, the second in town. The Brooke drug store occupies this building now.
Steve Darke ran the first meat market at this time later selling out to Mr. Henke. In 1887 John black 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.
The clothing store is still run by George Mack. Mrs. Catherine Mack was very active in civic affairs of the town and was in school office for many years. She will always be remembered not only for her kindness to those in need but as one who helped to promote the best in this community while it was growing. The present home of Art Smith of the Scottville Lumber Company was the site of the first church built in 1887. Built for an Evangelical Church, but later it became a Baptist Church. After a few years the congregation dwindled and it was rented to the American Legion for a recreational hall. In 1929 Mr. Smith bought this property and built his home there. Scottville had now two hotels, six stores, one meat market, two drug stores, two blacksmith shops, one bowl mill, one tin shop, one saw mill, and one cooper shop (where they made barrels for apples). There were two livery and sales stables on North Main Street which were operated by Newberry Gordon.
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.
About the year 1890 the lumbering industry declined somewhat. There were still a few camps and near here were some big mills at Stearns siding. Mr. Mears of Ludington also operated a camp. Some of the old timers who worked in these lumber camps tell us how they had to put in twelve hours a day and when noon came they were not allowed an hour for lunch but were told to take a sandwich in one hand and a saw in the other and work to keep warm.
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 1892 the new Methodist Church was built on East State street.
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.
Our librarian, Mrs. Fisher, recalls that about this time phonographs were coming into use, and as a side show attraction one could listen in on ear phones. They did not have discs as yet. The first jewelry store was opened by Mr. Parkhurst who later sold out to Henry Chinnery who still runs one. In 1896 the United Home Telephone was granted a franchise for putting up wires and poles within the village limits. Also in this year Mr. Mack built the State Savings Bank Building, and leased it to Mr. McPhail for the first bank to be opened here. Mr. McPhail was its first president. Water tanks were installed this same year. In 1899 Smyth's new three story elevator was burned, and Mr. Smyth and Partridge built a new storehouse for their fruit as soon as they could. Since this fire handicapped the business of shipping fruit, occurring as it did at the beginning of the season. (Added later in ink: Date of Incorp. of St. Savings. Bank.-1898. Scottville incorp. as a city in Feb. 26, 1907.)
About this time there was an appeal in the Enterprise for the building of two principal roads in the county between Ludington and Scottville, the money to be raised by taxes. Ludington had $200.00 on hand to Scottville joined in on the project. Scottville and vicinity at this time had more bicycles to the square mile than any other place in Western Michigan. The Council did itself proud and bought the Fair Grounds for a village park located in the eastern part of town. They bought fifteen acres where Roach and Co. and the County barn now stands.
During this year Mr. Kobe and Mr. Wagar came to our city and each opened a grocery store on Main street (1889). Mr. Kobe still has his grocery store in the same location. Mr. Wagar's store is rented to a beauty operator and a barber, he having passed away about six years ago. Mrs. Wagar still makes her home here. In 1919 Charles Blaine of Ludington who had bought up a lot of land around here, donated a site and cash for a building to be used for a city library.
This building remained unchanged until 1940 when it, being too old to be remodeled, was wrecked and a new one built in its place. It is now known as the Scottville Public Library, a two story building with the library on the second floor. The first floor is leased until 1944 to the Michigan Public Service as a means of income to help defray expenses. Mr. Blaine died in 1902 but he will always be remembered by Scottville citizens as a benefactor of this city.
He also gave this village a deed to some land south east of town for a park, across from the depot. In 1893 the Methodist parsonage was built. By 1900 this was a very busy little village and with lots of building and new farms being cleared there was work for all. Although Scottville had a number of big fires these buildings were nearly all rebuilt making the town all the better in appearance. The Grand Rapids Herald had an article in their paper as follows: "Not in years has there been such a demand for help anywhere as there is today in Mason County." Common labor at a $1.50 per day and not enough men to be had.
In this same year of 1900 the Post Office was moved to the Robinson block. Ludington had now grown to 1500. In 1901 Mr. Reader built an implement store on north Main street, which, having been remodeled several times is being managed since his death in 1941 by his son Fred. Scottville from now on became THE agriculture town of the county and sold more farm machinery than Ludington or any nearby towns. Ludington was now considered more of an industrial town catering to the tourist trade more than farming. It has been recorded that Scottville once had a normal school but not many here remember this. It is said that in 1902 Mrs. Nellie Watress ran a private school for a short time. It has also been said this was a flourishing institution but not very large.
The most far reaching of all events up to now was the installation of electric lights. The townspeople were so happy and proud to have this wonderful improvement. There were 25 (50 candle power) lights installed, with a light on every street, at a cost of $4.00 a year each. These street lights replaced the old lampposts with a lantern on top which one had to open up in order to light. The sewage and drainage system was finished in 1903 and Scottville was the envy of all her neighbors.
This year brought forth a need for a set of ordinances and a book was printed; one of these can be seen today at the Chinnery Jewelry store. These ordinances are interesting, some of which I will list here: Ordinance 3- To prevent the misuse of public watering troughs and fountains. (1907) Ordinance 15- Relative to running at large of horses, pigs, and cows in the village streets'. (1901) Ordinance 19- Relative to the tying of horses and oxen and not permit them to stand without being tied. Ordinance 13- Relative to minors being on the street and other public places after 8:00 p.m. from Oct. 1 till April 1 and from 9:00 from April 1 to Oct. 1. Ordinance 14- Prohibiting playing ball and other games upon the streets on Sunday Some of these first Ordinances were established in 1893.
The first eighth grade graduation occurred in 1893 as mentioned above, but the first twelfth grade exercises took place in 1903. Those graduating were as follows: Nora Cranley, Pearl Shelley, Ray Trucks, Julia Landon, and Sherman Clay.
This year our High School was placed on the University List. Mr. Keibler was our Superintendent then. He is now at Saginaw. There was much discussion on the street corners, in the barber shops, about building a city hall. It was finally voted and built in 1911. Also a water tank was installed at the cemetery. The second bank was built (The Peoples State Bank) and was incorporated with a capital of $30,000.00. F. J. Rader was the first President. At this time the State Savings Bank, which was incorporated in 1898 had a capital of $35,000.00 with Mr. McPhail as president.
In 1912 the Hotel Andre, a land mark of 1880 burned to the ground. A filling station was built in its place on that corner and is now the Shell Gas station. St. Jerome's Church was built in this same year, and an addition was made to the school, adding the North and South wings. Dr. Hunt and Mrs. Hunt moved here from Fountain and he was the town's fourth doctor, Dr. Foster having come several years before. In 1913 the Scottville Athletic Club was formed and built two tennis courts on East State St. South of the Gordon Houses.
One of the finest in this part of the state, it was the scene of many spirited tennis matches. Dr. Philides, a dentist, who now resides in Detroit was one of the star players. He sold out to Dr. Peters in 1924, and later when Dr. Peters went to Detroit, Dr. Holmes took over the dentist business in Scottville and is still in business. In this same year of 1913 Women Suffrage came into being and all of the women were learning how to vote.
In 1914 Tom Peterson built the first theatre and called it "A. Muz. U." It is now owned by Mr. Wallace and is called the Star Theatre. Many new homes were being built and some new stores. There were two saloons on Main St., one being run by Mr. Pearce. There was much talk of prohibition in the air and two years later it came to a vote. This year brought a disastrous fire to the east side of Main St., from Mr. Wagers' double store to the railroad tracks. The loss was estimated at $17,000.00. This part of town was rebuilt later.
Women workers began to be employed at the Evaporating Plant which had been built recently. They were now buying 300 to 400 bushels of apples daily. 1800 feet of water main was laid and a cluster of boulevard lights was donated to the City by the Dramatic club. In 1915 Michigan went dry and there were no more saloons here. In 1916 the Bell Telephone Exchange took over the Home Telephone Company making one Company in Scottville In this same year the P.T.A. of Scottville School was organized by Mrs. Hunt, mother of Dr. Hunt, now of our city. She was the first President and later Mrs. Dr. Martin took over the work which she carried on for many years. The opera burned in this year which was a big loss to Scottville in many ways, until the City Hall was built the next year and it furnished another place for amusement and plays. It was in 1917 that much pressure was brought to bear by groups and organizations working in urban and rural communities as well as in Washington and as a result on November 17, 1916 the whole nation went dry.
There was new fire equipment bought for the new station which was in the City Hall. The women were kept very busy these days since the Red Cross and city clinics offered courses in First Aid training and bandage making, and the knitting classes were crowded; the World War I had begun. There was a great flu epidemic to contend with but finally in 1918 the armistice was signed and there were many celebrations.
In 1919 free city mail delivery was started, with Postmaster Cox in charge. The Kraft Cheese Factory, a $30,000.00 Plant, coming from Chicago was now being built on what was called M.10, a quarter of a mile east of town. This factory employs about ten people and has a daily shipment of 2,900 pounds of cheese. This is the largest cheese factory of its kind and is now managed by 'Mr. Heike. During this period there was a definite trend of the men leaving the farms and going to the cities to work in the factories.
This decrease of population between 1920 and 1930 is shown in the population graph included in this history. During the next five years, there was very little building and Scottville as a city existed as did other cities all over the United States. The People State Bank closed its doors along with others around the country, but the State Savings Bank stayed on and is still doing business today with a capital of $30,000.00 During 1924 Hattie Baltzer was Postmistress here.
The Post Office hours were from seven a.m. to seven thirty p.m. Peter Eastman was proprietor of the only hotel in Scottville at this time. Mr. McPherson was President of the business men's association at this time. In 1934-35 petitions were circulated among the cities west-side property owners for the construction of a sewage system with a bond issue of $10,000.00 Construction was started in 1935 and was finished in two years with a cost to property owners of $65.00 each description. The next year the council decided to continue the sewage system to include residences on the east side of town. Financing was done out of the yearly budget without a bond issue and with a cost of $65.00 per description as before. This work was completed in 1940. The same year the council also installed a new book-keeping system with supervision by an auditor from the Municipal League in charge.
In 1937 a program of curbing the main traveled streets was begun. Eleven blocks of curbs and gutters were laid and in 1939 fourteen thousand feet had been laid. In 1938 5,538 feet of sidewalk was laid. Both blocks on Main street, beside resident districts, were all done as a W. P. A. project, charging owners for materials only, 7 cents, per square foot. This same year George Mack built the new Post Office building. In 1939 a new city well was drilled with an output of 950 gallons per minute. The well cost $3,000.00 and the city reservoir tanks were overhauled for the first time in thirteen years. Work was still going on at the McPhail park.
In 1940 the new Public Library building was erected at a cost of $4,500.00. This year saw the completion of the park project. The present plans were being laid for widening East State street. Also the city now has an automatic water level control on city water reservoir tanks and an automatic stoker was installed in the city heating plant. This same year brought a new Pere Marquette River bridge under the construction of George Drew.
S SUMMARY Thus in 1942 Scottville has become a city with a valuation of $ 686,540.00. Our town is geographically located in the center of the county. This is the junction of U.S.31 and U.S. 10. It is nine miles east of Ludington, the judicial seat, 40 miles west of Reed City, and 225 miles northwest of Detroit. It is supported by rich farming lands and fruit districts. Hungry Hollow serves as a boundary line on the north, between the north and south branches of the Lincoln river. Scottville didn't progress farther north than this boundary line because the land here becomes too poor for agriculture. The city has an Adventist, Evangelical, Free Methodist, Methodist Episcopal and Roman Catholic churches to take care of the religious needs of the community.
It has a city type of government with two wards and a mayor. Educational facilities are a good graded high school which has a 7-5 type organization in six of the elementary grades operated on a combination room plan. There are fourteen teachers and four buses. There are 475 pupils enrolled. We are drawing from 30 rural schools. Also we have a growing public library besides the one at the high school. Recreational facilities are met and provided for by the community through access to skating ponds, baseball games, annual festivals, contests and other activities. Facilities for the youngsters are provided for mostly by the school programs Such as: band concerts, plays, basketball, football, tennis and other such forms of sport. Natural recreational facilities afforded this community are: Fishing, hunting, and fishing through the ice.
Winter sports also have an active part in the program. Stock day every Tuesday often brings 400-500 farmers to town to dispose of cattle and hogs for shipment. These are sold at public auction, loaded and shipped by freight to city markets. The population graph will show an increase at this period and the future expectations is that it will continue. The $30,000,000.00 Dow Chemical plant is being constructed at Ludington and we are expecting to notice this influx of population in our housing problems as well as it being a business stimuli. It is also said the wage scales will see an adjustment. Ludington is the principal community center of Mason County, and Scottville rates second.
Ludington is advertised as being more highly industrialized than the other centers in this county because it is ideally located as a shipping center and it has tourist and resort accommodations. P.M. carferrys are located in Ludington and maintain a regular schedule between Ludington and other points. (Manitowoc, Milwaukee, and Chicago) Train service used to be 5-6 passenger trains daily and also freight train service.
Today we have one passenger train each way daily. Health facilities of the city are numerous; health unit, Red Cross, baby clinic: school health program (School nurse and doctor). All do their part. Home and family life is described as being about like other small towns of approximately eleven hundred. The average size of the family is five, but gradually growing smaller. About five per cent of the mothers are employed outside of the home.
The average rent paid is between $12.00 and $13.00 per month and that is without furnace and $20.00 with furnace. The highest rent paid here is $33.00. About 75% of the homes are owned and about 25% are rented. Cost of living is considered high compared to other areas in the state. Valuation of homes range from eight hundred dollars to six thousand. The average home here is valued at seventeen hundred dollars. Homes having electrical appliances are estimated at about 100%. Divorce rate here is about one-tenth of one per cent.
The residents here are proud of their community and are conscious of their dependence on the good will of the rural people. This is an agricultural town. This fact is manifested in the facts put forth by the business men. Also financed by them is an annual harvest festival every fall. The first one of its kind was held in 1933 and it is especially planned to entertain the rural people.
There is an united effort of the business men and townspeople to promote more social relationships, assuring them of our appreciation of their trade and contributions to the standards of living in our town and to our social culture.
Beatrice O'Hearn Scottville, Mich 2-26-1942
TABLE OF EARLY PIONEERS Date Kind Foreign State of of Born Came NAME Arrival Work From H. Quavilion 1848 Farmer R. Judge 1854 Farmer G.Haven Wm. Carter 1860 Farmer Ind. C. Barkley 1863 Farmer C.W. Towns 1863 Farmer S. Jensen 1865 Farmer S. Warner 1865 Farmer C. Record 1865 Blacksmith I. Chinnery 1865 Farmer W. C. Jones 1868 Store Wm. Robinson 1872 Farmer J. N. Mack 1872 Store David Falconer 1873 Farmer Scotland Wm. Allen 1873 Farmer George Reader 1873 Teacher England H. Melson 1875 Store C. B. Clay 1876 Farmer Canada W. Winters 1876 Sawmill H. Mustard Postmaster J. Sweetland H. Scott 1877 Store H. Schulte 1877 Carpenter F. Genson 1878 Farmer Loomis 1878 Blacksmith A. Prindle 1879 Farmer J. Crowley 1879 Store B. Schulte 1879 Carpenter Mrs. E. Bishop 1880 Teacher N.Y. Geo. 14. Andree 1882 Hotel Germany Dr. Thomas 1882 Doctor A. Welch 1884 Hdwe. Seymoure 1885 G. Briggs 1886 Lumber Yds. F. J. Reader 1886 Hdwe. C. F. Meads 1886 Drugs Mrs. Katherine Mack 1886 Secretary E. E. Kobe 1899 Store Wm. Wager 1899 Store T. D. Smith 1891 Hdwe. Louis Hunt 1891 Carpenter Mrs. Clare Kilbourne Martin 1892 Teacher Dr. Martin 1892 Doctor N. Sales 1899 Grocerer H. Chinnery 1896 Jeweler R. Stephens Furniture J. Crannley 1894 Farmer Canada Robert Nelson 1894 Vermt. Charles Blake 1894 Edward Surplice 1894 Canada J. Snell 1894 Canada William Allen 1894 Ohio William Brooks 1894 Livery N.Y. Avery Benedict 1894 Mechanic Mich. Walter Reader 1894 Hdwe. N.Y. John Griffin 1894 Farmer Mich. Sam Greenway 1894 Farmer Ireland Charles Larson 1894 Lumber Sweden
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Note to researchers, I do not maintain information on families outside of my own at this time, Your best chance to contact other family researchers and find information is going to be in posting some of your family information on the Mason County Boards. Volunteers and lookup materials can be found in the "lookups" category. -I routinely check the postings if I have information or can steer you in another direction I will contact you. I do not provide research services. Historic White Pine Village can help you in that area.
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