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Historic home razed after fire

By Judy Reed

A house that was probably more than 100 years old was razed last Thursday to make way for a new home.

The owners, Jared and Traci Randall, said their home at 193 W. Muskegon was deemed a complete loss after a fire February 7. “We plan to rebuild,” they said.

Post photo by Judy Reed

The couple was not home on Sunday, February 7, when the house, on the northeast corner of W. Muskegon and Fifth caught fire, about 4 p.m. Plumes of smoke were rolling out from the roof and windows of the single family slate-colored block home when the Cedar Springs Fire Department arrived at 4:03 p.m. They cleared the scene at 6:36 p.m.

According to a former owner, (who wished not to be named), the house dates back to at least 1900-1910. “There was something done on the property about that time that needed to be documented,” she explained, and said she remembered seeing it in the house’s papers, though she doesn’t remember what it was. She thought it might have been electricity. Electricity was brought into the town in 1913.

She said she also remembered something about the original down payment on the house being a farm animal.

The Randalls said the deed noted that the house was 75-plus years old, and that the actual date it was built is unknown.

The former owner said that she owned the property for about 20 years, and before her, Nora and Wallace Campbell owned it for many years.

According to Fred Gunnell, president of the Cedar Springs Historical Society, Ray Rynberg, a former Cedar Springs High School teacher and coach, also rented the home at one point. “I was at the house a few times when he lived there. He was our scout master and coach,” said Gunnell, noting that Rynberg coached football, basketball, and other sports.

Rynberg said that he and his wife and young son lived in the house in 1947, while they were building a home east of Cedar Springs. He said Mrs. Rector owned it at the time. “What we didn’t like about the house was that it was close to the railroad tracks, and the trains came through at all hours, including the middle of the night,” recalled Rynberg. “We didn’t like all the noise.”

Gunnell said that the home was constructed of handmade cement block, like what was used in the old coal storage building that was recently razed for the staging of the White Pine Trail. “It looked the same,” he said.

Tanya Eldred, co-director of the Cedar Springs Historical Society agreed. “My grandparents, who lived nearby, had the same cement blocks, although they are covered up now. They were locally made,” she explained.

There were also rumors of a bedroom being haunted. “Things would come up missing,” shared one woman.

If anyone knows anything about the history of this house, please give us a call at 696-3655, or email us at postnews@charter.net.

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