The Village of Onekama in 1888

In the fall of 1888 the village of Onekama was drawing the attention of Manistee residents because the Manistee & Northeastern Railroad had just completed the connecting link between the two communities.

The store of the Onekama Lumber Company which later was purchased by Barstow’s.

The store of the Onekama Lumber Company which later was purchased by Barstow’s.

Although regular trains had not commenced running between the two points, several construction cars were covered for passenger use and special excursions were running frequently. With all the interest created in Onekama the editors of the Times-Sentinel published the following description around Portage Lake in their October 12th issue:

“We wended our way down to the little burg and were surprised to find things in such a flourishing condition. The first to meet our view was the Thomas House, where they keep a good livery stable, and the best of food for man and beast. Next door we saw the new Excelsior Restaurant, owned and occupied by Mrs. T. Robinson, who will do all she can oblige her patrons.

“The barber pole greeted our eyes, and we found J.T. Richardson, the barber, the neat, clean and obliging fellow. The City Bakery next came into view, and to this we went. It is owned and run by A.J. Jenkins, who delivers bread, confectionary, groceries and provisions, both in Onekama and its vicinity.

“The neighboring store is the Onekama Lumber Co.’s, and is general in its dealing. The Onekama Lumber Co. manufactures lumber of all kinds, and sells farming and fruit lands cheap, and on easy terms. They are the proprietors of the Glen House and the famous Onekama mineral springs. The officers live in Onekama, and are as follows: A.W. Farr, President; George A. Barstow, Secretary; Charles Secor, Treasurer. At the back was found the famous livery known to men on the road as Buckner & Bond’s.

“Then looking about us we saw the schoolhouse, and found that it was a graded school with two teachers, Mrs. and Miss Smith, and that soon more room would be required for the children of this flourishing village. Situated by its side is the Congregational Church building, the pastor of which is Rev. C.H. Ticknor, who preaches twice each Lord’s Day.

“Retracing our steps we passed by Sheriff Zosel’s residence, who homesteaded the land on which the present village is located. The sound of hammer and anvil fell on our ears, and we found Carr & Boss, general blacksmiths and wagon makers, busy at work. Nearby is the Grund House, kept by Sam Fowler, who knows how to attend to the requirements of his guest’s appetites. Connected with the house is one of the best stables in the district. Next in order came the millinery and dressmaking establishment of Mrs. Carr, where the wishes of ladies are attended to at the shortest notice.

“We passed the cobbler of the village, F. Dickman, who was busy with hammer and lap-stone, converting old shoes, as far as he was able, into new ones. The drug store is owned and occupied by C.D. Stanley, who knows his business and keeps a large stock of fancy articles of every variety. He is Postmaster and Notary Public, and conveyancer.

“A new brick bank and exchange building, which presents a very pleasing and attractive appearance, is very nearly completed for Dailey & Hale, and ere long we expect to see a good business being done therein.

“The Skating Rink, which is now used politics, is open to all comers for every kind of public entertainment. The butchers come in at this point with their meat market. Here you can obtain from Shaw & Wexstaff fresh salt and smoked meats, as well as canned fruits and fish of every kind, which will be delivered anywhere upon short notice. Their neighbor, George Upton, makes the most durable and the cheapest harness in the county and his repairing, which is neatly and promptly done, can be depended upon.

“On our ways to the other half of the village we pass by Gilbert Bros. saw-mill, which is being fitted up for good work during the coming winter. Away on the hill rises the tower of the Roman Catholic church and nearly opposite the church building owned by the German Lutherans, which is not yet fully completed. A little further back we see the house and barn of H. Brandt, one of the Executive Board of the Manistee County Agricultural Society.

“Williams, the blacksmith and general repairman, is located beside the street on which we stand. And Hiram James, the owner of the sawmill on the opposite side of the lake, keeps a store and resides at the top of the same street.

“We are in Brookfield, a busy part of the village, as will be seen. Here James Hopwood keeps a store, which falls into the shade beside B. Burmeister’s, who keeps all kinds of groceries and gents’ furnishing goods, flour, feed, hay, etc. He does a good business and owns the schooner MISHICOTT, which is employed carrying lumber and provisions to and fro across Lake Michigan. Hansen & Kirsh are his rival competitors, who always have on hand a complete stock of dry goods, clothing and general wear of every description. F. Wendel, the Onekama hardware man, keeps company with two last named, and you can obtain from his store mill supplies and farming implements of every kind.

“C.D. Stanley has a branch establishment at this end of the burg, where you can get all kinds of drugs and form the acquaintance of the village doctor – Dr. A.F. Richmond – who has charge of the store. A boarding house is at the corner, under the management of C. Julen.

“Schroeder, manufacturer of brick and tile, is at work on the opposite side of the road. Here we find clay of the best quality, which can be utilized in making good brick, or in polishing articles of various kinds. Strange to say, the name of Jones appears next, whose owner is a butcher and meat dealer. At the end of the lake we see the fairgrounds, belonging to the Manistee Co. Agricultural Society.”

 

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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