Looking Back

by Diane Rockall

October is a time for crisp evenings, Friday night football, homecoming parades and dances, goblins and gremlins on Halloween, pumpkins and harvest time. It can also hold a variety of memories.

In October, 1937 the village of Stockbridge voted to establish a community calendar in order to avoid activity date conflicts. At the same time on the world’s stage Italian leader Mussolini visited German leader Hitler in Munich.

Also in October 1937 Dancer’s store joined the Red and White Food Stores, and a car crash in Stockbridge injured two Jackson residents.

In 1997 Plainfield United Methodist Church was listed as a State Historic spot, and a marker was to be placed on the site on November 2, 1997. The church’s history traces back to Plainfield Methodist Protestant Church, founded in 1863, which met first in a school house and then erected a church structure in 1868. That building was struck by lightning in 1906, and a new church was dedicated in 1907.

As Marilyn Katz celebrated 40 years of service at Farmers State Bank of Munith, the bank celebrated 75 years of existence.

Also in October 1997 the village of Stockbridge agreed to provide water and sewage assistance to the new Chelsea Hospital medical facility on M 52 and M 106 while progress continued on the new McDonalds restaurant close by.

A group of local artists met on October 20 to organize a Stockbridge Art Association, quickly renamed Stockbridge Area Artists. The group was active for about 10 years and was responsible for the paintings in the Alley Gallery off Main and Clinton. It also painted playground structures in Veterans’ Park with the help of local children. At the launch of a Ron Fillmore Memorial Art Show in January, the group restarted the area art shows and the Day in the Village Show in June. The group merged into the already existent Stockbridge Area Art Association about 10 years ago. The June Art shows continue under the SAAA’s supervision.

Also in that year Livingston County scheduled a November vote on 911 funding.

Now for a bit of pre-newspaper history which, as before, is from A Corner of Ingham County – Stockbridge. The village was originally called Pekin, but soon renamed Stockbridge. Elijah Smith was the first to purchase land in Section 26 (the village today), but before he did Silas Beebe arrived in the area by way of Sharon and Unadilla. He continued on to Mason but returned and attempted to barter land from Smith for $25 per acre (Feb. 1838). Information from Beebe’s diary indicates he was unsuccessful and returned home. The following spring Beebe partnered with Ira Wood on land west of Smith in Section 27. Land office records call it west 1/2 of NW1/4 of section 26 and east 20 rods of NE1/4 of section 27. This became the village of Stockbridge, but it was not incorporated until 1889. The plat was recorded September 14, 1843. The original village platted by Beebe and Wood extended from Morton Street (north), Rice Street (South), Wood Street (west) and Portage later Williams (East). Beebe eventually bought out Wood and obtained Wood’s log cabin, which was rumored to have been a tavern. Beebe converted it to lodging . It stood in the Southwest corner of Main and Clinton. The village site was selected because it is higher and dryer than many to the surrounding marshy and swampy areas. It had previously been a campsite for Native Americans and was lightly covered with Oak Trees. Beebe purchased the land because he believed the railroad would come through soon.

If anyone has pre newspaper or more recent history of our other communities please share it with me at drockall@mac.com – subject line SCN DATA. Please do not submit advertising.

Diane Rockall

Columnist Diane Rockall is a member of the board of directors of the non-profit, volunteer-run Stockbridge Community News.

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