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Archive for the ‘Kalamazoo mid 20th century’ Category

I was doing a little research for a post I want to write about my grandfather when I discovered this link to a historical photography project in Kalamazoo.

Students are taking old photos from the Kalamazoo Public Library collection and photographing the same scene from the same angle. Very interesting. It’s still a work in progress, and I can’t wait to see more.

Check it out here: KALAMAZOO THEN & NOW

Although I am so disappointed that Western Michigan University’s old campus was allowed to be destroyed for the most part, I do think Kalamazoo has a strong voice for history–in part because of the university and an active library and in part because so many people love Kalamazoo.

How about your community? How does it take care of its history?

downtown Kalamazoo, photo by Joseph DeKorn

 

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As usual, the more I’ve learned, the more questions I have! Realizing that all the newspaper articles have not been properly entered into the Genealogy Bank database, I know I am probably missing more articles about Frank. Although it’s easy to always assume this with data entry of genealogical information, I can tell from the Gazette’s own files that this is true. There is an article where they repeat choice nuggets from the Gazette from 10-20 years previously and Frank shows up there, but the original article does not show up.

What seems to be great omissions are obituaries for both Frank and Genevieve (Remine) Tazelaar. Since Frank was so involved in the community, as the sheer number of articles attests, why wouldn’t there be an obituary for his wife in 1930 and for himself in 1950?

I don’t even have a death certificate for Frank and when I tried to order one, a website tried to steal take $60 from me!

Let’s see what I discovered through what I did find, though.

  • Frank was extremely involved in the Knights of Pythias and the Elks. He may have had a connection to the Masons.
  • He was not only involved in these organizations, but was frequently elected to the boards and organized dances and other activities. In 1916, Frank was made Master of Exchequer of the Pythias lodge. As chairman of the Pythias festivities for New Year’s Eve 1915/1916, Frank commissioned a streetcar to remain for the party stragglers so they would have a way to get home. For a party in 1916, Frank even made sure the ladies were presented with a “delicate” box of chocolates.
  • Frank was a sportsman who raced his mare Gas Light in the 1905-1906 period, which would have been just before his marriage. There was talk about the possibility of Gaslight being entered into the bigger races in Detroit and Chicago. Now I understand why the photograph of Frank with the horse and dog is marked “GASLIGHT.” That was the same horse!
  • Frank hunted for small game and birds.
  • Frank was a men’s clothing salesman of some repute.
  • Before his marriage, when Frank went on vacation, the Kalamazoo Gazette noted it.
  • When Frank changed places of employment, he was mentioned in the paper. In August 5, 1894, he worked for That Thomas clothing house. In 1896 (March 19)  he went to work at the brand new and elegant clothing house of Mr. Yesner as one of his three salesmen. In 1907, Frank went to work for Hershfield’s. See article below.
  • In March 1906, Frank bought a lot on Ranney Street from Mrs. Blanche Henderson and “is having a fine residence erected on it.” That house would be ready for his bride Genevieve less than 4 months later. Ranney is a small street off South Westnedge Ave.
  • On April 30, 1911, Frank was building an “elegant new home” at 122 North West Street (West Street later became Westnedge Avenue, according to Sharon Ferraro). The property is “for sale,” but of course when Frank had influenza in 1918, that is the house he and Genevieve lived at.
  • His “wife” is only mentioned once in the newspaper, related to the transfer of a piece of real estate to someone else for $1.

I also discovered another photograph of Frank. Are these riding goggles he is wearing?

Here are a sampling of newspaper articles with a couple of surprises.What does this theatre ad mean? Was Frank an actor? How could the entire cast be as presented at the Chicago Auditorium (read this link about this marvelous performance venue!), which was a 4,000 seat theatre?

I have to say that if Frank was an actor it would not surprise me at all. He had to have been a larger-than-life man, full of humor (2 or 3 times he’s quoted in a humor column), and loving a good time. He was quite young at the time this ad was placed. The date of 10 November 1901 is five years before his marriage. He was about 25.

A curious item was in the Society and Personal column two months after Frank’s marriage to Genevieve:

Was Frank the only non-Jew in this party to attend synagogue services? And who was Mose Dunstin and how did Frank know him? All I have learned so far (of value to me for my curiosity) about Mose was that he was Moses Dunstin, born in “Russian Poland,” and his father’s surname was Danskin. He died 4 April 1910 in Kalamazoo at the age of 52. Cause of death was Angina Pectoris (chest pain) and contributing factors were influenza and albuminaria. Notice that for Moses I was able to get a free death certificate. So unfair . . . . Anyway, when Moses invited Frank to attend services, Moses was only 48.

Because the date of the article was 21 September 1906 I wondered if the event involved the High Holidays, but it seems that Sukkot began on September 21 (probably evening of September 20), so maybe it had to do with that holiday instead.

In 1907, Frank went to yet another clothier:

Notice it says Frank was with “That Thompson Clothing House” for 9 years. If he went with Yesner in 1896, that would mean he had been had the previous one since 1887. Since he was born in 1876, that would be impossible. What makes sense to me is that he left That Thomas for Yesner, left Yesner, and went back to That Thomas. Or the paper has the nine years wrong, which is also very possible. Note: I don’t yet know what year the Tazelaars immigrated to the U.S.

On January 29, 1914, the 80th birthday of Frank’s mother, Adriana Bek Tazelaar, was noticed. I prefer to post the whole Society column for this one. The mention is on the right side, the sixth paragraph down. In this paragraph there are mention of Adriana’s descendants, which is useful for locating Frank within his own family tree.

Later that year, on June 25, there is a somewhat humorous article about the fishing teams of the Knights of Pythias lodge. Frank is one of the team captains.  This article is notable for sharing Frank’s photo. He was about 39 here . . . .

This article is ALSO notable for mentioning my great-grandfather’s fish market! Referring to the fish caught in the contest, the article says, “All fish must be delivered at Zuideweg’s [SIC: should be Zuidweg’s] market in Eleanor Street by Monday noon . . . .” So you know the connection, Genevieve Remine Tazelaar was the first cousin of my great-great-grandfather Richard DeKorn whose son-in-law was my great-grandfather Adrian Zuidweg who owned the fish market. Now the most important part: Richard DeKorn built the Pythian building known as Pythian Castle and, earlier, as the Telegraph Building. The link explains about the building.

I’ve posted a photo of the fish market in the past.

Fish Market on Eleanor Street with Adrian Zuidweg and helper

Seven years later, there is a notice that Frank needs to have a frame house moved from a lot.

April 3, 1921
Kalamazoo Gazette

When Genevieve died in September 1930, the couple were living at 423 S. Westnedge Avenue, so it stands to reason that Frank wanted to sell a frame house on new property so he could build a new house. It would be at least the third house he built for himself and his wife. Her parents probably lived there with them, as well. It might sound funny to move a house, but when I was little I watched a house being moved down the street while I was holding my grandmother’s hand. I never forgot that first image of a house on wheels, although I did see a similar scene much later in life.

The last article of any note I could find was on 29 September 1922.

From being the toast of the town to an arrest! For shooting ducks after sunrise yet, which is very unsportsmanlike. Maybe it was his companions who steered him wrong ;). At least he didn’t catch undersized bass like Mr. Denner!

All kidding aside, while I loved getting to know Frank, I am really ticked off that Genevieve’s life is completely erased, as if she never existed. This could be because it is so difficult to research the lives of women and also because Frank was so outgoing. I hope that she had a pleasant life.

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Frank Tazelaar was married to one of the daughters of my great-great-grandmother’s sister. He’s the husband of my first cousin 3x removed. Yup, that is easy to remember, right? Remember the Paak/Peek sisters and brother? Mary Peek (the spelling she used) married Richard Remine. For decades I thought there were four Remine children: Jenny, Genevieve, Therese (Tracy), and Harold. I had information for all four. But after more work, I finally found a very important divorce record and now know that Jenny and Genevieve were the same person.

This is Jenny (when she was younger) or Genevieve (once she was married to Frank Tazelaar). My grandfather identified her as Jane, so she might have used that name when she was young also. Her grandmother’s name had been Jana. I will refer to her as Genevieve because that is the name she ended up using for decades.

Here is Frank:

But why am I writing about Frank Tazelaar now? Because Sharon Ferraro is researching the effects of the influenza pandemic in 1918 in Kalamazoo. And Frank’s name is on the list as someone who contracted the illness and survived. It does not appear that he was treated at a hospital. He was ill and off work for ten days and then was able to go back to “his store.” In the 1920 census he was listed as a salesman/buyer in a clothing shop (same entry in the 1930 census). On the influenza document, his wife is listed as Genevieve and they lived at 124 N. West. Although I have verified that this information is correct, I have never heard of that street in Kalamazoo.

Genevieve was born 24 June 1881 in Kalamazoo, the first child of her parents, Richard and Mary. She was first married to a man she might have met in Chicago. His name was Harry Cohn. They were married in Paw Paw, Michigan, on 29 January 1903, when she was 21 years old. Three years later, on 23 June, 1906, they were divorced. The grounds were listed as “desertion,” but who deserted whom? If that was really what happened. Apparently, though, they had not been together for quite some time because about two weeks later, on 9 July 1906, Genevieve and Frank married in Chicago.

Frank was born in Wissenkerke, Netherlands, on 18 January 1876, to Peter Tazelaar and Adriana Bek Tazelaar. When he was a boy, his family moved from Holland to Kalamazoo, Michigan. He was a few years older than Genevieve. His native tongue was Dutch, whereas Genevieve was American-born. It’s hard to imagine what happened with Genevieve’s first marriage or how she happened to marry Frank–and what the Chicago connection was between Genevieve, Frank, and Harry. In fact, unless she went away to Chicago to school, I can’t imagine her leaving her parents’ home by the age of 21. Was she sent away for some reason? Since she never had any children, it’s less likely that she was pregnant, although always possible. 

Genevieve did not have children with either Harry or with Frank. When Genevieve passed away on 17 September 1930 of appendicitis (leading to gangrene and peritonitis), the couple was living at 423 S. Westnedge with her parents, Mary and Richard. That must have been awkward because on 21 March 1932 he married Bernice Dayton, the manager of “Lerner Shop.” Could this be the same Lerner store (part of the nationwide chain) that I grew up with? It’s likely because the Lerner Shops were first opened in 1918. (As a cool aside, the uncle of lyricist Alan Jay Lerner was one of the two founders).

Here is another photo of Frank Tazelaar, at the Whistle Stop in Kalamazoo, on 15 February 2014, four years before he contracted the flu.

Frank Tazelaar
near Whistle Stop
Kalamazoo

As with most of my other blog posts, this story is ripe for more research. In particular, I’d like to search City Directories for addresses and businesses, as well as the local newspaper for articles about the couple and, possibly, “his” store.

OK, I peeked. There are many Kalamazoo Gazette articles about Frank. In fact, there are over 50 articles! Let’s see what we can find . . . next time.

But it won’t be ready until after my son’s wedding, so I will post Frank’s shenanigans on May 1!

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In “honor” of the weather some of the United States has been having this week, I am posting photographs from the Burdick and Balch neighborhood in Kalamazoo during the blizzard of 1978.The yellow house was my grandparents’ house at the corner of Burdick and Emerson.The white building was my grandfather’s Sunoco station.The other houses are from the neighborhood. As befitting a 1970s camera and film, the color is poor–yellowy and faded.

I’ve posted the house and gas station in the past. Here is the house from 1947:

Grandma and Grandpa’s house on Burdick Street

You can find the station at Down at the Station.

Meanwhile, Phoenix was about 90 degrees yesterday :).

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When I was a kid growing up in Kalamazoo, it was known as “The Paper City.” Our fifth grade teacher–a very eccentric personality–told us about the way paper was made and emphasized that the reason we were not to eat paper (a common habit in elementary school) was that the workers in the paper mills would chew tobacco and spit it at random into the vats of liquid paper. That was why we would occasionally see a little burst of tan, like a star or partial star, on a sheet of white paper.

Kalamazoo was home to several paper mills and companies. Here is a little info I found online:

Taking advantage of the area’s bountiful water resources, in 1867 the Kalamazoo Paper Company opened its first mill. According to historian Larry Massie, the company provided a training ground for paper makers and “was one reason for the amazing proliferation of paper mills throughout the Kalamazoo Valley.” The area’s proximity to Chicago, its excellent railroad network and its large labor force further aided the industry’s development. By the early twentieth century, Kalamazoo County was the state’s dominant paper producer. According to 1904 state census figures, its five paper and wood pulp mills (one-sixth of the state’s total) represented 25 percent of the industry’s capital value. By World War I, Kalamazoo was the center of the largest paper-producing area in the United States. The industry employed one-half of the city’s labor force.

My mother-in-law, Diana Dale Castle, painted one of the mills in 1970. This is the Monarch Paper Mill, owned by Allied Paper Company.

 

The Kalamazoo Library has a terrible image of the Monarch mill from 1910 here. And this one slightly better.

Here is a photo of the machine room and of the male workers in 1915. There is also a photo of one John Bushouse at the mill in 1915. All this is left now of the Monarch Mill is the pond. In a Facebook group for old Kalamazoo, people talked about swimming at the mill pond. I can’t imagine this because I remember driving past the pond and thinking ICK and SCARY.

A quick search on Ancestry for John Bushouse reveals that it is a somewhat common name in Kalamazoo and that the owners of the name are immigrants from the Netherlands or their children. I could not find the John Bushouse that worked at the mill in 1915.

I found an unidentified photograph made from one of Joseph DeKorn’s glass negatives that seems to be from the heyday of paper manufacturing in Kalamazoo. Since it was one of the DeKorn negatives that means that the photograph was probably taken between 1903 and 1918. I suspect that it is an image of a paper mill. If you agree that it is probably a paper mill, do you think it is the Monarch mill or a different one? Before you answer that, you should check the photo in the second library link so that you have enough information.

According to one source, at one time, paper mills were the 5th largest employer in Kalamazoo. According to the source I quoted above, HALF the labor population worked in the paper industry! But that business dried up in the 80s. Obviously, paper is still being made, so why not in Kalamazoo?

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In the 1970s, Grandpa identified some of the old photographs as members of the Ebelink family–from Kalamazoo, of course. He didn’t mention just who they were, but I wrote down the names on the back of the photos. I’ve labelled the photos as my grandfather told them to me and corrected them if I found an error.

Anna Ebelink Fisher Fletcher 1891

Ann Ebelink Myers

John Ebelink: 1891

The father (Benjamin Ebelink) and stepmother (Van de Giessen) of John Ebelink

So who were these people? According to the 1880 census, Benjamin and Wilhelmina, both born in Holland (the Netherlands), had three children: Frederich (age 6), John (age 5), and Joanna (age 2).  Since there is no existing 1890 census for Michigan, I had to skip ahead to 1900, where I found John married for four years to Jennie, with one child, Wilhelmina, age 3. A quick search for the death of John’s father Benjamin and I find the year 1916 in Ottawa, Michigan. He was a widower, so he must have already buried at least two wives.

But who were Anna and Ann? I can see Joanna being one of them. Are these two different sisters? And were they really married to Fisher and Myers?

It appears Anna married a Fletcher, not a Fisher. Could have been Grandpa’s memory–or my hearing.

Name: Anna Ebelink
Gender: Female
Race: White
Birth Year: abt 1878
Birth Place: Kalamazoo, Michigan
Marriage Date: 12 Jul 1900
Marriage Place: Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA
Age: 22
Residence Place: Kalamazoo, Michigan
Father: Barend Ebelink
Mother: Wilhelmina Stroup
Spouse: Claude H Fletcher
Record Number: 5305
Film: 68
Film Description: 1900 Delta – 1900 Mackinac

Benjamin was also Barend, a Dutch male given name, and it looks like John and Anna’s mother’s maiden name was Stroup. A bit curious about Anna’s photo is she appears to be in mourning, doesn’t she? I wonder when their mother died.

I can’t find Ann Ebelink Myers. Was she Anna or a different child?

I didn’t want to go too far down this tangent without knowing how these people are connected to my family. I found it by looking at the 1940 census. John and his family lived on Balch Street, right near my family. I would think that my mother and uncle must have known the family.

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Aunt Jen and Uncle Lou’s (Jennie DeKorn Leeuwenhoek and Lambertus Leeuwenhoek) only child, Alice, married Clarence Moerdyk (Dutch spelling Moerdijk).

 

Clarence Dewey Moerdyk

1898–1985

BIRTH 24 MAY 1898 Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo Co., MI

DEATH 18 DEC 1985 Winter Park, FL

Clarence’s parents were Peter (Pieter) and Cora. His father immigrated from Biervliet, Zeeland, the Netherlands, when he was 2 years old, in 1867.

I once posted a photo of Clarence as a kid, but at the time I wasn’t sure who he was. Blog readers helped me discover that this is Clarence who lived at 120 W. Ransom in Kalamazoo. That address is directly north of Arcadia Creek, five blocks north of East Michigan Avenue. Would you say he is in his mid-teens?

Alice and Clarence were married in Kalamazoo on 12 September 1923 by The Reverend Benjamin Laman of Bethany Reformed Church.

Here is information about the church at that time from their website:

 

On June 5, 1905, in a tiny chapel near Burdick and Maple, the mission Sunday School that was to become Bethany held its first service. . . .

Growth under the leadership of these men was so great that less than two years later it was apparent that a larger building was needed. In 1907, a new church was built on the site of the original chapel. At this time the church had grown to include fifty-two families and seventy-seven communicant members. By the time that Reverend Kooiker left the church in 1910, Bethany had grown to sixty-nine families and one hundred eighteen communicant members.


Here is Clarence as I knew him in the early 60s:

 

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