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CS Museum to feature bridal gowns in annual tour


Spring Into the Past Tour of Museums May 5 and 6

This 1940s style wedding dress, worn by Arlene (Shick) Wesche on her wedding day in 1950, will be on display at the Cedar Springs Historical Museum May 5 and 6. Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

Beachwear, bustles, and bridal gowns! A variety of timeless “Fashions Through the Ages” will be visible in the museums of the Tri-River Historical Museum Network during their annual “Spring Into the Past” tour May 5 and 6. 

The Cedar Springs Historical Museum, which is part of the Tri-River network, will feature bridal gowns and wedding attire from 1890, 1910, the 1940s, and the 1970s.

“Last year we featured clothing from different time periods,” said Museum Director Sharon Jett. “But when this new wedding dress came in, we thought it might be a good time to feature the wedding dresses we have.”

The dress Jett referred to is a beautiful 1940s era wedding dress donated by the Wesche family. It was worn by Arlene (Shick) Wesche when she said, “I do!” to the love her life, August (Bud) Wesche, on June 23, 1950, at the First Baptist Church in Cedar Springs. They resided in Cedar Springs for 64 years, where they raised four children, Daniel, Linda, Gregg, and Sandra. The dress became a family heirloom, and was worn by both of Arlene’s daughters and a sister-in-law as well.

This 1890s era wedding attire doubled as a dress that could also be worn to church. Post photo by J. Reed.

The museum will also be showing two wedding dresses from 1890, both black. One was worn by the grandmother of Mike Race, and the other is a simple dress which could also be worn to church. “If a family wasn’t especially wealthy, they often bought a dress that was dark so they could also wear it as their Sunday best,” noted Jett.

The 1910 dress being featured is white. “It is reminiscent of the type often wore at graduation, and they also often got married in it,” explained Jett.

A 1910 wedding dress (hanging) and a 1970s wedding dress are also part of the display. Post photo by J. Reed.

A wedding dress from the 1970s will also be on display.

The museums on the tour are as versatile as the fashions, located in former vintage meeting halls, homes, stores and depots in small communities throughout the Tri-River Network in Barry, Eaton, Ionia, Kent and Montcalm counties. All are eager to share the history of their community both past and present. 

During this annual event, all museums are open the same days and hours for visitor convenience. Scheduled tour hours are Saturday, May 5, from 11 am to 5 p.m., and Sunday, May 6, from 12 to 5 p.m. 

Informational booklets are available at any museum or download from commoncorners.com. A handy map is included so you can pick an area and tour several museums on the same day. (Ada’s Averill museum is closed in 2018 for expansion and renovations.) 

Museums are free, but donations are always welcome! Visit TriRiver on Facebook, too.

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In the early morning hours of Monday, July 11, 2016, Mildred Wesche Robertson, age 94, died surrounded by those who loved her and cared for her during her long battle with dementia. She had played her last game of Solitaire and written her last letter to her grandchildren. Mildred prepared her children for life by her example. She loved her family unconditionally and supported them during the challenges in their lives and celebrated all of their accomplishments. Mildred was born to Raymond and Gladys McIntyre on Monday, May 8, 1922, in West Olive, Michigan. She graduated valedictorian from Cedar Springs High School in 1940, and just one year later, married Raymond Wesche. Together, they owned a farm on 18 Mile Road, just east of Algoma Avenue. It was there she raised her family, taught them the value of a good education, and to put in a day’s work for a day’s pay. Those values are now being honored by her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Every week they were in college, she would handwrite each of them a letter with encouragement and immeasurable love. Mildred worked for Rockford State Bank and for Wolverine Worldwide. She loved her community and was very active in it. When time allowed, she loved to read, crochet, and was an avid crafter and puzzler. Mildred was also an adventurous woman. She traveled often with her second husband, Earl Robertson, and even went whitewater rafting with her family at the young age of 81. Mildred is survived by her children, Ronald (Marcella) Wesche, Joyce (John) Hansen, Kenneth Wesche, and Nancy (Tim) Gerlich; daughter-in-law, Alice Wesche; grandchildren Brian Wesche, Krista (Jason) Noel, Andy (Tonya) Wesche, Aaron (Agnes) Wesche, Amy Marie Lovall, Alissa Wesche, Randy Wesche, Amy Michelle (Greg) Tribe, James Hansen, and Jeff (Sara) Hansen; great grandchildren, Jacob, Shane, Harleigh, Karissa, Alex, Logan, Ava, Kai, Zane, Pierce, Faith, Kimberly, Brittany, and Candice; one great-great granddaughter, Izabellah; and numerous nieces, nephews, and other beloved members of the Wesche family. In addition, she is survived by her special caregiver, Marlene Downes; and her faithful visitors, Michael Barwacz, and Keira and Kayla Painter, who will love and remember their “Pinkie” forever. She was preceded in death by her parents; husbands, Raymond Wesche on January 30, 1967, and Earl Robertson on August 16, 1994; son Milford “Mick” Wesche; brothers and sister, Lawrence (Ardath) McIntyre, Bob (Marie) McIntyre, Don (Doris) McIntyre, Jim (Kletis) McIntyre, Edna (Harvey) Hyde; sister-in-law Ida (Ralph) Hineline; and brother-in-law Gus Wesche. There will be a time of visitation from 2:00 until 4:00 p.m. and from 6:00 until 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 14, 2016, at Pederson Funeral Home, 127 N. Monroe Street NE, Rockford, MI 49341. The funeral service for Mildred will be celebrated by Pastor Steve Lindeman at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, July 15, 2016, at Pederson Funeral Home. There will be an additional time of visitation, one hour prior to the service. Mildred will be laid to rest in Solon Township Cemetery. Those wishing to offer expressions of sympathy are encouraged to make a memorial contribution to the American Cancer Society, 129 Jefferson Avenue SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503; or to the American Lung Association, P.O. Box 966, Grand Blanc, MI 48480.

Arrangements by Pederson Funeral Home, Rockford


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Calls pour in on LIFE photos

By Judy Reed

Last week we ran a partial photo sent to us by Steve Hegedus, which showed two girls hitchhiking in Red Flannels, with one of the girls partially cut off. We asked readers to identify the girls, and they were happy to oblige!

The photo was one of several photos taken by LIFE Magazine in 1949, for a special spread on Red Flannel Day. It was published in December of that year.

Sue Harrison sent us a complete copy of the photo we ran last week, along with two other photos taken that day.

According to Dorothy Bishop (as told to Sue Harrison), they just gathered a group of high school girls together to take photos around town that day. The photo with the girls hitchhiking in Red Flannels was taken on Northland Drive, which was then US131. It’s unknown to us whether it was the north or south end of town.

Sue and several others identified the girl sitting with her thumb out as Marlene Heiss, (later Sipple). She was Red Flannel Queen the following year, 1950.

Shari Wesche (and a few others) positively identified the second girl (standing by the sign) as Shari’s mother, Janet (Call) Olmsted, who is now 79 years old. Shari talked with her mom about that day.  “She said that when they (LIFE) came to town, they wanted the 16 and 17-year-olds to drop the flaps on the Red Flannels, and they were just in tears,” related Shari. “So the Clipper girls stepped in and said ‘No way!’”

The same two girls can be seen in the photos with the car. They appear to have been taken from the parking lot of what is now Cedar Chest, facing the east. You can see the building that is now Car Quest and the building on the corner of Main and Maple in the background.

In the car photos, Janet is on the left and Marlene is on the right. The man driving has not yet been positively identified. Sue noted that the girl standing at the left behind Janet is Suzanne (Wheeler) Anderson, and the girl standing at the right behind Marlene is Joyce (Bremmer) Empie.

Thanks to all of you that called on this photo, and to all of you that have been bringing in old photos and postcards. It sure is fun looking at old photos of what Cedar Springs used to look like and the people that lived here!

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