Saturday, August 22, 2009

Married in the woods - and in the rain!

Les deux écureuils sont mariés dans la forêt. J'espère que la pluie apporte leur bonne chance!

Friday, August 21, 2009


An unusual weathervane tops a restored Queen Anne Victorian on East Street.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


The setting sun lights up another historical marker in the city, for an 1830 "plat" called Moab. There is something oddly ominous about the stone.

"Moab" was laid out in July of 1830 by Christopher Shinnaman; the location is now part of the Third Ward of the city of Three Rivers. By 1834, though, there were still only three houses in Three Rivers. Shinnaman purchased the land from Molly Richert, who had built a home there in 1829.

Another community called St. Joseph (the Second Ward of the city of Three Rivers) was also laid out later in 1830 by George Buck and Jacob McInterfer. Late in life George Buck recounted running a tavern and hotel on what is now Fourth Street and the "three camps of Indians" that lived in Three Rivers. Perhaps what makes the Moab stone seem ominous is the 1830 date -- knowing that the real estate speculators were getting busy while the original Potawatomi residents still lived nearby.

A third community was laid out by John H. Bowman "on the north shore of the St. Joseph River" in 1836 and called Three Rivers. Bowman owned several mills and in 1837 was elected to the Michigan State Legislature. (Information is from "St. Joseph in Homespun" by Sue Stillman.)

The Moab area also seems to have been called "Canada". The three areas became the city of Three Rivers in 1855.

The marker says "MOAB, Pioneer village platted 1836" and that it was erected in Oct. 1925 by the Abiel Fellows Chapter of the DAR.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Heimbach Road

Heimbach Road runs just north of town, named for a farming family that built this home sometime in the 1850s. Long buried in a dense and tangled woods by the side of the road, the house is now visible for the first time in many years as the land is being cleared for a farm equipment dealer. Heimbachs still live in the area, and a very elderly Heimbach pointed out to me a similar house just down the road as having been built by his great-grandfather.

The curved "eyebrow" windows at the top of the house are a very unusual feature.

The Three Rivers Commericial newspaper has an article ("Heimbach home to pass into memory", by Rick Cordes, 18 August 2009) about the house. In the article, nearby residents of a similar house speculate that the land on which the house sits may have been "part of the 1832 land grant that parceled property in Southwest Michigan to early European-ancestry settlers."

The Homestead Act was not passed until 1862; before that there was the Preemption Act of 1841, which encouraged farmers from the eastern United States to move onto government-owned land in the west, including Michigan. The Treaty of St. Joseph in 1827 ceded most Potawatomi land in Michigan to the Federal Government, but reserved several large areas near Three Rivers. Treaties after the Blackhawk War (1832) led to general "removal" of Indians, but local Potawatomi held onto their land until the late 1830s, and a few managed to resist removal entirely. Their descendants still live in southwest Michigan.

As do the descendants of the Heimbach family!


A spectacular sunset tonight, seen across the fields at the edge of town. Radiating out from the spot behind the horizon trees where the sun went down were bars of light, a yellow one leaping straight up and red ones - which the camera didn't catch - fanning out at the sides.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Stained Glass

Window made of chunks of stained glass by Three Rivers glass artist Joan Hector. Located in the church hall of the Trinity Episcopalian Church on Main Street in Three Rivers. Another series of stained glass church windows by Joan Hector may be seen in South Bend, Indiana, photos are online here:

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Marker for the Carnegie Library

Historical marker for the Carnegie Library building, attached to the local pink granite wall.

Old Three Rivers Library
Built in 1904, this structure served as a public library for seventy-five years. Financed by an Andrew Carnegie grant, it was designed by A.W. Rush & Co. and built by H.V. Snyder & Son. Warren J. Willits donated the site. The exterior pink granite and the interior wood came from the local area. A mosaic skylight and four Grecian columns adorn the entrance room. The building is part of the Downtown Three Rivers Commercial Historic District.

Underneat it says, "Michigan History Division, Department of State Registered Local Site No. 1044
Property of the State of Michigan, 1984