Midland Remembers: Sanford The very best little city by a dam website Half I


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Within the 1940s, the village of Sanford, Michigan, had one major avenue referred to as Railway. Companies stretched out on each side.

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As you drove into city, on the left, there was the publish workplace with Barbara Miller in cost. (Her husband Ed constructed it.) Then a espresso store owned by Bob Hildebrandt, the place all of the enterprise males went for his or her morning espresso. There was a constructing with a part of it being Maticka Development owned by Tom Maticka, Jr. The opposite half of the constructing was Sanford Plumbing & Heating owned by Invoice Schweitzer and Floyd Nilles. Allen Cole’s Storage and Wrecker Service got here subsequent. There was an empty area after which Dick Marcy’s barbershop and Bigelow’s Drug Retailer, a few garages. One owned by Clarence Tigner and one owned by Bye Gordon.



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On the suitable of Railway, as you drove into city, there was a Chemical Financial institution, Invoice Meyer’s Insurance coverage workplace, then a home, a avenue after which a constructing that later turned J & D Plumbing. There was a ironmongery shop owned by Judd Keppel and a younger girl named Jean Sorg labored there. Later, they married and had a profitable enterprise in Midland (Judds Rental). Then Dancer’s Division Retailer and a grocery retailer on the nook of Railway and Middle Avenue.


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A home on the suitable hand aspect of Middle Avenue was the phone firm operated by Johnny Bacon. The switchboard for the phone firm was on the porch of the home. A cot was reverse the switchboard for the comfort of the phone operator who ran the switchboard at evening. Vera Sullivan was one of many operators. I typed up the cellphone payments every month for Johnny Bacon who gave me a greenback for my work. (Later it turned The Wolverine Phone Firm.)


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Middle Avenue adopted the curve of Sanford Lake with homes on each side of Middle Avenue till you bought to the Sanford Dam after which personal properties dwindled off for awhile earlier than Tom Maticka’s residence on the left got here into view on the lake aspect. Tom had a Chris Craft boat, drove a convertible and was a type of legend in Sanford. Then homes have been on each side of Middle Avenue all the way in which to M-30. Duff Hubbard lived in a single and Bud Melchi lived in a single shut by. I knew them each as a result of they got here into Tom’s workplace the place I saved books, wrote receipts, answered the cellphone and tried to look busy.


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Coming into Sanford was an indication with massive letters proclaiming: Sanford The Finest Little City by A Dam Website.

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Emily Smith had a magnificence store on the fringe of city. George Pontious had a enterprise. Harold Homosexual was the proprietor of the Sanford Coal and Lumber Firm. His father-in-law Tom Maticka, Sr. had began the enterprise. However an accident which just about severed his arm gave him an early retirement.

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Francis Grove was a favourite spot for swimming. On the opposite aspect of Sanford Lake was Flanders Seashore. Cottages dotted the world round Flanders Seashore and there was a small grocery retailer catering to the individuals who got here to swim and to the individuals who lived across the space.

How Francis Grove started is a narrative that would solely occur in a small city blessed with benefactors just like the Francis household. The unique Francis farm stood on what was referred to as The Flats. In 1924 Frank Wixom efficiently accomplished the Sanford Dam forming a man-made lake that will finally make Sanford a preferred leisure space. The Francis household needed to transfer their residence to greater floor. The barns that have been on the property have been torn down.

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Billy Francis and his spouse, Mary, determined to open up three acres of their lake entrance property for public swimming in 1929. There was a sandy seashore, The water was shallow sufficient that an grownup may stroll out 150 ft earlier than moving into deep water. There was room for a car parking zone dotted with 50-year-old shade bushes. The Purple Cross supplied lifeguards and finally swimming and boating classes got by the younger males employed to work at Francis Grove.

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Bob Bowland was one of many younger males employed as a lifeguard and he saved the log books that painstakingly recorded the climate, how many individuals used the power every day and who the lifeguards have been. Lifeguards over a time period included Invoice Dixon, the Haney brothers, Warren Phemister, Rex Inman, John Smallwood, Invoice Shepherd. Ken and Fred Sovia, Artwork Sauve, Jim Pontious, Darl Pochert, Dick Betron and Bob Bowland.

Parking was casual with automobiles parking wherever there was room. Amazingly sufficient, there have been few issues. Blankets have been unfold on the grass for picnics. A complete of 40,387 individuals loved swimming at Francis Grove in 1946. At the moment, a home stands the place Francis Grove was positioned. Nothing of the seashore space or the car parking zone or the picnic space stays.

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Martha Thomas held church providers in her residence for these of the Lutheran religion till St. Paul’s Lutheran Church was constructed throughout the road from the Conservation District Workplace the place Carl Hermann was the Conservation Workplace for years. The attractive residence as soon as owned by the Adams household turned the Lutheran parsonage.

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There was a Catholic church, a Baptist church, a Seventh Day Adventist church, a Church of God and a Methodist church.

Small in measurement, the village of Sanford nonetheless had two native “sons” serve within the Michigan Senate in Lansing, Michigan: William Allswede was elected in 1912 and Lynn O. Francis served within the 1950s.

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The Despair of the Thirties and World Battle II within the Forties discovered Sanford on the cusp of a spurt of nice progress. Lynn Francis and his sister, Detta, fashioned the Dean-Francis Subdivision in Sanford, creating three new streets: Birchview, Lynn and Crescent. New properties have been being constructed round Sanford Lake. Lake heaps have been promoting for the remarkable value of $10,00zero for a lakefront piece of property at Francis Shores. Companies have been thriving. And in 1958, the Meridian College District got here into existence with Charles Mayer employed as superintendent of the brand new faculty district.

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The Previous Guard, the women and men who had settled the village of Sanford had handed on the reins to their kids and grandchildren. Women and men who may hint their lineage again to the 1870’s when Sanford was included, left descendants to hold the household title on. New names have been added as an inflow of property homeowners stretched the boundary strains of the village.

Sanford was dwelling as much as the signal proclaiming: Sanford The Finest Little City by a Dam Website.

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Editor’s be aware: Half II will seem in two weeks.

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