Longtime Arcadia Correspondent
Takes a Walk Down Memory Lane

by Paula Lamont
Reprinted from Society News, the newsletter of the Arcadia Area Historical Society
November 2021. Volume 27 Issue 2.

Paula Lamont was Arcadia’s long-time community correspondent for the Manistee County Pioneer Press. She seemed to know everything that was happening in town from who was visiting, perhaps what they planned to do, local club events, and other very local news. She wrote the following unedited oral history in 1962 at a time when M-22 was “a dirt road leading to old Burnham.” We added photos from the Museum’s collections. picture
Paula Lamont

I will take you down a little journey of memory lane, to when I was a young girl.

First we will start on Main St. (Lake St.) and M-22, the latter being a dirt road leading to old Burnham. The M-22 of that day was East (Glovers Lake Road) turning north past the L.L. Finch farm. The first place of business on the Main St. northside was the C.P. Matteson grocery store. Mr. Matteson opened at 7 a.m. daily with exception of Sunday. He stayed open until 10 p.m. Saturday night. Fred A. Wareham’s general store, the blacksmith shop, owned and operated by Mr. Mingus with living quarters upstairs, the Keebaugh residence, Ray Edwards’ Hardware (now the Town Hall), (my dad helped build this building), an ice cream parlor, pool room, and barber shop run by Frank Parker, and the Arcadia High School made up the N.E. portion of Main St.

The Charles Matteson Store

The Wareham Store beyond the Matteson Store

Arcadia High School
at Lake and 4th Streets

Crossing over what is now 4th Street, to the West, was Jim Oakes’ grocery store, later owned by Joe Werle, Mrs. Ethel Riley’s hat and craft shop which was later burned. Next was the Henry Meitz barber shop and home. On Saturday, you could see men going in, not only for hair cuts, but for a 25₵ bath. William Ebert owned the dry goods store which was on the corner of Main and 3rd St. Later his brother, Arthur Ebert took over that business with the Post Office in connection. On the next block, the Harold Wilsons lived in the large brown home and later the Roland Keillor family, that also burned. This house was located where the present Post Office is now.

The Meitz Barber Shop

“Next was the Henry Meitz barber shop and home. On Saturday, you could see men going in, not only for hair cuts, but for a 25₵ bath.”

The Akerman garage, the Kalebitzer [sic] Variety Store and the Lyons Bldg. was used for various shows and entertainments down stairs and apartments upstairs for the country girls attending high school. Later, Jim Schafer and father, Bill Schafer moved their meat market from 2nd Street into this building and where Lyle Schafer, following in his father’s footsteps, took over. picture
Schafer Storefront

Orville Akerman in front of his garage

Crossing, what we called the Pickertt [sic] House was on the corner where the Pickertt Park is today. Quite a number of dwellings with a saloon, filled in the rest of that side of Main Street.

At the west end was the famous old Company Store. Back of that was the Furniture Factory, which employed 200 people (men and women) or more, and the company’s office and freight shed. The company made a livelihood for many along with the Mirror Works, run by Bill Yunk and the outside mill. I can see the north end of Arcadia Lake filled with huge logs ready for the dry kiln and sawmills. I have a bedroom suite made of maple from the Factory, as I presume other residents might have. I can hear the factory whistle blow regularly at 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. This business was destroyed by fire in 1917.

Akerman Garage Workers

Company Store and Furniture Factory

Logs Ready for Making Furniture

I recall when some of the sidewalks were put in by Stephen Tondu Sr., prior to that there were wooden walks, the latter I don’t remember. I also remember when they first paved the Main St., covering it with tarvia construction.

In winter, prior to the county and state road plows, we had our electric meters read by Pep Snider of Frankfort who traveled by an old time car top on skiis. That was when the electric rates were $1.03 per month.

“That was when the electric rates were $1.03 per month.”

The old A.&B.R. was an important means of transportation in those days. It ran from Arcadia to Copemish and later, just to Henry, the latter known as Springdale now. Station stops enroute were Sorenson, Malcolm, Saile, and Henry.

The William Mattison [sic] Hotel was on the corner of Main and M-22 on the south side of the Main St. There many traveling salesmen, travelers and school teachers could find some very palatable food, made and served by Sena Matteson, as well as good lodging. In winter the salesmen came by horse and cutter, the driver, I remember was John Bradford with his beautiful bays. One salesman we children delighted in seeing come was Mr. Sheldon, as he had treats and pennies for us to try and see if we could get a pink filled chocolate at Jim Oakes. Then, if we were lucky, Jim had to give us a candy bar, much to his dislike. That tickled Mr. Sheldon and we kids.


William Matteson Hotel

We had great bands (Kalebitzer [sic] and Johnson) in those days. The Bandstand was located where the tennis courts are today. Next, to the East on the south side of Main St. was Farm Bureau. Oh yes! Some of you will say Beaver Store but I don’t remember that. The rest of the block comprised the Skinner building, the pool room and old saloon. All of these buildings were burned one night.

Crossing what is now 5th Street, on the same side of the Main Street, was Ted and Minnie Lang’s home and gas pumps, Keebaugh Delivery Barn and Jerry Bond’s Shoe Shop, the latter was taken over by Bill Montey. To the west of the Bandstand was the Chas. Boss residence, the Vern Strine home, the Lutheran parsonage, the John Weldt home, the Arcadia Post Office, the Arcadia Savings Bank and Martineau Drugstore. Not many vacancies on Main St. in those days.


Minnie Lang’s Gas Pumps

The Bandstand at the corner of Lake and 4th Streets

Bank and Drug Store

We had a faithful, hard working doctor in D. A. Jamieson. For years her had his office in a building near his home on 2nd St., later moving to the building known today as the Wes Hull residence. Dona Martineau was the pharmacist where our prescriptions were filled. I can see so well those white powders and pills prescribed. Our doctor was on the go night and day to save the flu victims and traveled many miles in the country to visit the sick. Sometimes he would exchange his horse for a farmer’s horse, as his was exhausted.

I recall the two churches, Trinity Lutheran and United Methodist were full on Sunday morning and the latter on Sunday evening. The Methodist having a Sunday School of at least 75. The Salvation Army came on Saturday afternoon in the summer and presented a service of preaching and song. Many came out to hear these people.


Methodist Church

Lutheran Church

When you went to the store or Post Office Saturday afternoon, (oh yes, the Post Office was open with Carl Pickerett as Post Master), all the farmers were in town with their beautiful teams tied to the hitching posts, which lined Main St. I was one frightened kid going past those animals. I can see Maggie Reed and her mother, Mrs. Mason, coming to the stores with their baskets of eggs and other farm produce. Mr. Mason, fittingly attired in his black suit, headed for the Arcadia State Savings Bank where he was president. Also another regular caller in town was Mr. Harry Peek Sr., coming in with smoked sturgeon to sell. My, was that delicious eating. Many times, to top Saturday, the Arcadia Band would assemble at the Bandstand and present a lively concert of favorite numbers.

I attended Arcadia High School which was built in 1910. It was an accredited school with a competent teaching staff in those days. When we had a blizzard outside, we came to school and sat by the old radiators to keep warm and brought our lunch. Our report cards were marked with letters, F – for failure. We had one teacher supervising 25 or 30 pupils in a room. School opened at 8:30 a.m. until 12 noon, then 12:30 until 4 p.m. There were many farm kids walking in to school.

I have pleasant memories going to the boat dock on the east side of Arcadia Lake to watch the boats come in. They brought in travelers and produce and took along with them other things the farmers produced in return. I can see Bob Lawson bringing in his lovely raspberries to be shipped to Chicago and Milwaukee.


Lake Arcadia Ships Docked

We had the Anderson Brothers, who were fishermen and lived on the southeast point of the Island, now known as Star Key point. You could hear their little fish tugs leave dock early on a summer morning and later come laden with many fish.

We were a happy little town when electricity came into our homes and street lights took the place of the old lantern and flashlight. I recall seeing Mr. and Mrs. Frank Overholt lighting their way to Prayer Meeting on Wednesday evenings by lantern.

I can’t forget our faithful milkman, Mr. Ed Schneider, who came in every day with his little panel wagon to make his deliveries. Many times we’d see his little daughter, Esther Behrens, accompanying him on his route. We got milk for 7₵ per qt.

Oh! Yes, this would not be complete without mentioning the good times we experienced at the ball diamond watching our excellent ball team play some very good games. They took home some good trophies.
And Oh! What happy times as we attended the annual German picnic held on Sundays in the summer. What fun, and the music was great as well as the food.

During the school year our basketball teams played other town teams in the old Macabee Hall up over Wareham’s store. Sometimes they would board the train and travel to Copemish for games. We had good teams, boys and girls, and in 1930 the fellows were champions!