Myers School Museum Open House
16 West 13 Mile Road
The Myers School Museum is open quarterly, May - November; also by appointment.
History of Sparta Football
If you enjoy local football history, get your copy of “The History of Sparta Football, 1903-2010”. You can pick up your copy at Sparta Township Office,Village Office, the Sparta Township Library, Creative One Gallery or by calling (616)887-1257. This is a great opportunity to read about local football talent & details. All proceeds from this book will benefit the Building Fund of the Sparta Township Historical Commission.
Purchase Price: $10.00
Images of America
Known for small-town charm and a beautiful countryside, the area known as Sparta Township was first settled in 1844, and over the next two years it would become home to those pursuing dreams in the logging industry. Rich in a variety of forests, and with the Rogue River and Nash Creek running through it, Sparta first developed saw and flour mills. In the late 1800s, the"Ridge" would develop along the western edge of town, where the land was prime for growing a variety of fruits. When the Pere Marquette Railroad passed through town, it brought opportunity for thriving industry, including the Welch Folding Bed Company, Carnation Creamery, and Sparta Foundry. Spartans enjoyed community picnics, apple smorgasbords, and The Lady of the Lake cruise ship that famously sank to the bottom of Camp Lake. A sense of close-knit community thrives in the area today.
Author Bio: Author Kathryn Paasch earned a bachelor of arts degree from Grand Valley State University, and this is her first book. The Sparta Township Historical Commission is dedicated to preserving the rich heritage of the Sparta area. Together, Paasch and the Sparta Township Historical Commission are proud to be able to share the history of their hometown.
Purchase Price: $21.99
Vintage Christmas Note Cards
“Preserving History for Future Generations"
There are 8 cards per package and the cards are blank inside with a description of each of the photos on the back of the card.
The pictures are from the following locations: Main Street Sparta, Sparta Theatre, Loomis Street Skating Pond and Harper Drive Luminaries.
Proceeds to benefit the Sparta Township Historical Commission
Historical Commission Coffee Hour
Join us for coffee on Monday mornings, from 9am-11am at the Historical Commission Research Center (71 N. Union), sharing memories, old photos, and fellowship in addition to access to Sparta's history records that have been collected and cataloged.
Sparta High School Class of 1957
Larry enjoyed dinner and some SHS Class of '57 history at their 55th reunion at Moss Ridge Friday night.
Sparta High School Class of 1955
It was a treat to be invited (backing up my graduation date 16 years!) as a “young” member to the SHS Class of ‘55 Reunion out at Grose Park on Crockery Lake in early August. Such a cohesive, caring group! They keep close tabs on fellow classmates, Excel spreadsheet and all. Lots of back-in-the-day stories with our little burg being the common catalyst. Thanks for a day of catching up with old friends and meeting new ones.
A Photographic Memory ~ Frank Berger
Frank and Nancy Berger are my neighbors. He passed away a number of weeks ago after a fall in his garage, the last straw for a body weakened by illness over the last few years.
I knew Nancy first. She was Miss Wright, the elementary music teacher who gave hundreds of kids in Sparta their first formal introduction to notes, harmony, sharps, and flats. When her name came up recently at school, my teaching partner credited Nancy with being a patient mentor when she needed one. Nancy was the one who put Shelly on a path to teaching, for which I am grateful.
Though I knew Frank’s parents first, he didn’t become a friend until we moved into the neighborhood in 1977. Before that he was the guy with the cool sailboat in the back yard who married my music teacher.
Frank and his ever-present pipe were out often during the three walk-able seasons on Harper Circle. Its sweet aroma let you know who was around the corner long before his easy smile caught up with you. He was always ready to stop and share what the current real estate looked like thirty years prior, when this or that house was built, who lived where, and when paved roads became a part of our neighborhood. He was all about local history, which is why we hit it off so well.
When I asked him to participate as a ‘model’ on my 5th grade walking tour, he was more than willing to put on his apron and loiter at the southeast corner of Union and Division, swapping stories out front of the Reunion Café with Sharkey and Wild Bill. As my students would check out these modern-day ghosts from times past, Frank always had a hearty laugh and a ready story for them.
My favorite was about Frank’s mother, Bea, as a little girl, going to King & Rinehart’s grocery store-we think of it as Wolf’s Drugs-with her dad. Dad told her to stay away from the all-glass, floor-to-ceiling window at the front of the store (because those were his marching orders from Bea’s mom before leaving home). Sure enough, Bea got too close, fell against the glass, breaking it into a thousand pieces, but was inexplicably and miraculously not injured. Fearing the wrath of his wife, Frank’s grandpa told young Bea that there was no need to tell mother of her mishap, that it would be “our little secret.”
Well, the secret’s out, Frank, though I think it will remain safe with us. I can still recall the delight in his eyes as he shared the incident. He had me hanging on every word as he always did when we visited downtown or on the street corner near home. Thank you for that glimpse of your mom and grandpa and for the slice of small town life from dozens of other stories. And thank you for letting a new neighbor into your life in a way that made me feel included.
Frank Berger was kind enough to consider me, engage me in quiet conversation at the end of a day, to let me know he was a friend, my friend. I will miss the man.
Courtesy Larry Carter
A Photographic Memory ~ Main Street Sparta
Driving east on East Division a few weeks ago, I spotted Luke Vincent clearing ice and snow in front of the Eagles Club. My mind was instantly taken back to an earlier time. Orley Brown was doing the same thing 72 years ago in the same spot, at that time known as Brown’s Opera House.
Consider the many changes in this town and this world from the date of Orley’s assigned task to Luke’s. Yet parts of cleaning up after a Michigan snow event demand the same shoulder-to-the-wheel effort now as it did back in the day. Think of the conversation Luke and Orley could have just about the building to which they were providing access (more about that later).
Your Historical Commission seeks to provide a venue for such conversations in 2011, as well as to infinity and beyond (with apologies to Buzz Lightyear). No, we haven’t borrowed Steve Urkel’s time machine nor figured out how Scotty could “beam me up”, but we do have photos and artifacts that might spur some interest in mining Sparta’s past.
And we have some folks on board who even remember Orley. Why, on that very day he was out chopping ice…
Courtesy Larry Carter