DAYS GONE BY: Star-lights

By Jill Engelman

Lake County Historical Society

The following is a reprint of an article written by Lake County Star editor Herbert W. Davis for the January 1, 1926 edition of the newspaper, just 90 years ago.

Little Talks about Little Things that Count. What We Need for 1926:

  • A municipal skating rink
  • A moving picture house
  • An airplane landing field
  • A community building
  • Electric power
  • A hospital

Baldwin needs many things, and is getting many things, because the demands of the times require them. It is not amiss, however, to select a few future possibilities of special emphasis.

We need a skating rink as badly as anything. We have plenty of lakes, it is true, but parents worry when their children are on the lakes, for there are air holes and the possibility of accidents along the way. Besides, it is a fair hike to the lake, with no light except on moonlight nights, and much pleasant playtime is lost in preparation and travel. The railroad common opposite this office (Lake County Star) is an ideal place for a skating rink. It is central in location, well lighted from three quarters, level, and with a hydrant at its very edge. Fifty dollars would maintain a splendid rink, 100 x 150 feet, all winter long, including construction.

The kids have got to have a playground! How can you expect boys and girls to make their own amusements and have them always clean? Put in a rink and I will tell you where your boy or girl is every night – and maybe you will be there yourself.

A moving picture house is along the same line – somewhere for the young folks to find amusement and wholesome pleasure. But not only that, a movie brings a lot of trade to a town. Many hundreds of dollars are spent annually in Reed City that would come to Baldwin if we had a movie here – and bring other dollars with them. There is a good location to be had and a twice-a-week show in winter and nightly in summer would pay well.

A community building is not a new appeal. We have been saving for it for four years and will have in the neighborhood of $5,000 in the sinking fund by next April. Why not begin building? With this for a start, we can bond for the rest, or make arrangements with the bank to advance the remainder of the fund and be paid as taxes accrue. Let’s THINK about it anyway and get something started so we may have the use of part of it the coming summer. We need it for public meetings, for the convenience of tourists and for winter amusement for the young people, basket ball and entertainments. We have the plans. Let us get an estimate and START SOMETHING.

A lot of folks will say "What in the world do we need of an airplane landing field?" A few years ago there were no autourban stations, no comfort stations, no gas stations, and only a few years before that no railroad stations. The airplane is rapidly developing into a commercial factor. Five companies are making commercial planes in Detroit, including the Ford Motor Company, and planes are a common sight wherever there are fields. Last year, two planes landed here but many more went over. There is virtually no expense to making a landing field. A few bags of cement will lay out a white cross visible for miles to airmen, and the field will be charted in flying circles. Establishment of air mail for northern Michigan is under consideration and Baldwin is on the air line from Grand Rapids north as well as across state from Detroit to Manistee. The old Cashion place on the hill above the court house is plenty large and clear save for a few trees. Why not get the use of it?

Electric power adequate to our future needs has long been recognized as a necessity. The local power plant can light our streets and our homes, but it could not supply power for any industry of size. Baldwin is too well located physically to be without industries. Its railroad facilities are the superior of any other town of anywhere near its size in Michigan. It is not only served by two main lines of the Pere Marquette railway with direct shipping facilities, but it is the junction of two splendid trunk lines, and has any quantity of convenient land cheap and considerable raw material. With a line from the Consumers Power Company here it would be a matter only of a brief time to locate a concern to employ a small force, and others as they come and housing meets conditions. The factories want the well-situated small towns because of cheaper living conditions and freedom from labor troubles. And home employment will keep our boys and girls with us instead of sending them away to the cities where later their families join them and are lost to us.

We need a home hospital, too, but we are going to have that. Dr. Dan H. Williams, before he returned to Chicago, left us two hospital beds and the necessary equipment will be added so a two bed hospital will be in operation next spring. Unofficially the Pere Marquette (railroad) has consented to endow a bed as soon as there is room for it. We need this for the summer population.