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Thursday, July 21, 2011

United Methodist Church damaged in Alden

On Thursday, Pastor Dan Biteman, of Alden’s United Methodist Church was busy at his desk in the church office. Some of the children from the Sprigs n Sprouts Day Care Center, were in the church play yard, cooling themselves off on a hot afternoon, by running through the sprinkler, while other children were in a classroom in the church basement. Suddenly, there was a loud boom, and the entire building began shaking violently. When the pastor went to investigate he discovered a Chevy Tahoe, which had been traveling down Alden Highway, when it neglected to make the turn onto Helena Road, and had driven straight into the side of the building, and into the church vestibule.

Pastor Dan said, “A person nearby, told me to be careful because there was blood everywhere.” Thinking someone was seriously injured, the pastor looked into the opening left in the side of the building and saw a man standing outside of the vehicle. At first, he appeared to be someone who might be trying to help the driver, but Pastor Dan soon realized, he was the driver, and the red substance that looked like blood, wasn’t blood at all, it was strawberry jam from the church’s now demolished food pantry.

The South Torch Lake Fire & Rescue responded to the scene and the driver, who reportedly “blacked out at the wheel” was transported by ambulance to the hospital, to be checked out. The church vestibule suffered significant damage to both stair cases leading to the basement and upstairs to the church itself, along with damage to the elevator. The children were evacuated out a side door, and thankfully no one in the church was hurt.

SUV crashes through the Alden United Methodist Church!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Things you probably never knew about Alden.

Some interesting information from my book, “Reflections at the Water’s Edge, an Illustrated History of the Alden Area.”

In 1854 Lumber Camp # 4 was established on the East side of Torch Lake, by a creek, which today bears the name of that lumber camp’s mananger, John Spencer. The settlement was originally called Lewis Town, and then named Noble, after the lumber baron, Henry Hobart Noble.

In 1870, Reuben Coy, rented a building at the mouth of Spencer Creek, and began operating the first general store in Helena Township. The proceeds from sales that first day, totaled $ 46.81 A pound of sugar back then, sold for 15 cents a lb. and ladies could choose from a selection of two shoe styles.

Bringing supplies from Elk Rapids, was dangerous since teams had to ford(swim) the Torch River. So Reuben purchased a two masted scooner, named the King Fisher, which brought supplies and passengers from Elk Rapids. The King Fisher was used until 1873 when the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad, was built through Kalkaska and Mancelona. This enabled him to haul supplies with teams and wagons.

Reuben, eventually built a stone burr grist mill, which was powered by the waters of Spencer Creek. Settlers used trucks, with wheels made from the ends of sawed off maple logs, and drawn by teams of oxen, to bring their grain to the mill. The mill closed in 1890, but the building still stands today. The Alden Bar, now occupies the spot where theCoy Store once stood.

In 1890, a railroad line traveling from TC following the Chain of Lakes, north to Bay View, above Petoskey, was built. The logical route would have been straight north through Elk Rapids, But instead, an expert in railroad law and finance, by the name of William Alden Smith, used his influence to establish a route, that brought the railroad through Spencer Creek. Grateful townspeople renamed the town, Alden in his honor. Later on, he is rumored to have said, that “Alden is the handsomest and biggest town of its size, in the U.S.”

The first train depot was built in approximately 1892 . In 1904 “The Resort Special” began operations, carrying “summer people” to camps and resorts, that had sprung up around the lake. Soon Alden was know as the “leading summer resort between Grand Rapids and Charlevoix”. In 1906, despite the efforts of a bucket brigade,the depot burned to the ground. The following year, the new Pier Marquette Train Depot, was built and today it is home to the Helena Township, Historical Museum.

With arrival of the railroad, more people and commerce arrived and before long The Coy store had some competition, when Foster and Company Store, opened across the street. When Coy put up a banner reading “Welcome Tourists” Ernest Foster, put up a sign that read “Welcome Everyone” Another time, Coy decide to start selling stoves and planned a big promotion. Foster had already been carrying stoves for sometime. On the day of Coy’s sale, he moved every stove in his store outside, and offered them at wholesale prices. Not one stove was sold at the Coy Store that day.

The Main Hotel was built in 1890. One evening, upon hearing that a dance was being held at the hotel, a group of working men gathered there. When no women showed up, the frustrated men began dancing with each other. When the piano player finally gave up and went home, a fist fight erupted and the sheriff had to be summoned.

In 1898 Dayton Higgins built Higgins Drug Store. Since doctors, were almost non existent in this area back then, he served as druggist, doctor and veterinarian. The Higgins family lived in the store building, and when Dayton passed away, his daughter Ethel took over. The soda fountain was a favorite place to gather and drink a cherry coke or so[ a soda. Today, people wait in line to get a hand dipped ice cream cone, from Higgins Store. Miss Higgins had two Great Danes, when one of the dogs bit someone the “George Smith vs Brutus” hearing, was held at the Township Hall (today’s 45th parallel.) Miss Higgins lawyer argued that the Smith, had caught his sleeve on a nail, causing the injury and Brutus won the case! Local folk lore insists, that Ethel still haunts the upper rooms of the old store.

During the Depression, Inez Hiatt took a job as switchboard operator, at the Grand Traverse Telephone Company Office, which was located in the building where the Red Eye Gallery is today. Most people could not afford the luxury of a telephone, so when someone wanted to contact them, they would call the telephone company and Inez’s young son Bud, acting as a “runner”, would hop on his scooter, and go to a home or cottage and inform the person, that they had a phone call. Then,they had to go to the phone company office, to receive their call. Bud saved all his earnings and tips, and by the age of 9 was able to afford a new bicycle. Today, well into his eighties, Bud still remembers that he paid $22.86 for that bike.

In 1963, Robert Studley Scott Jr. held up the Alden State Bank, at gunpoint. He stole $20,000. stuffed it into a paper bag, and might have made a clean get a way, had he used something stronger than kite string, to tie up the bank teller with! The teller was able to quickly break free, notified the police, and the culprit was caught in record time.

In 1984 Aden’s beloved and somewhat eccentric, Chef Geno, opened the Alden Mil House, as a chicken carry out restaurant, where he also did catering and sold his blend of spices. Geno was a creative, as well as a very messy cook, leaving his messes in the kitchen, for his family and employees, to clean up. His wife Joy, finally had enough, and convinced him to let her manage the Mill House, and sell his spices, while he did the marketing.

Geno loved nature and reptiles were his favorite. He once had a pet water dragon, named Lizzy. Whenever he went out of town on business, he left Lizzy in the care of his employees. He even taught them how to hunt for ant eggs, with which to feed her. One day, he decided to put Lizzy out in the yard, so she could sun herself. He tied her little harness to a rock, but Alas, a big bird appeared out of nowhere, swooped down and carried poor Lizzy away, never to be seen again!

At one time there were three gas stations in Alden, but no automobiles! And now you know the rest of the story!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

2011 Ride Around Torch

Michigan's Most ScenicBike Tour!

Sunday, July 17, 2011
Elk Rapids, MI

$1 per rider is donated to the
League of Michigan Bicyclists
 Tour Overview
The Ride Around Torch is an annual one-day 26, 63, or 100 mile bicycle tour primarily along the scenic shores of Torch Lake, Michigan's longest and one of its most beautiful inland lakes with unusually clear, bright turquoise hued waters. Several villages and hamlets lie along the lake's shore including Alden, Eastport, Clam River and Torch River. The ride is a recreational, social tour that is neither a race nor a test of strength although the very hilly 100 mile route can be a challenge.
The 26 mile ride is an out and back around the north end of Elk Lake through Torch River to the food stop at Crystal Beach Park. Same hills and flats of the other routes only less.
Our signature 63 mile ride circles Torch Lake passing through Eastport, Clam River, Alden and Torch River with hills, flats, scenic views and multiple food stops.
The 100 mile ride is a challenging century with the rolling shoreline of Torch Lake, extreme hills and then some. Racing clusters are not recommended. 
By June 30:
 Individual - $25
• Family - $55

(with minor children)
Adult non-rider: $10
Child non-rider: $8
A premium quality shirt:
    Short sleeve - $15
   • Long sleeve - $20
     (with entry by June 30)
Please Note: Ride fees will increase on July 1 and again on the day of ride.
Save $$$ by registering early!

EASY: Download mail-in registration form available here, complete and send to us.
EASIER: Register conveniently online using Active.com.
 Ride Details
• Well-marked roads for all routes.
• Detailed route maps provided.
• Roving SAG support.
• Great snacks at food stops.
• Scrumptious picnic lunch at the Elk Rapids Village Beach from noon to 4:00 p.m.
  featuring brats, hot dogs, Caesar, potato, pasta and three bean salads, coleslaw, baked
  beans, chips, iced tea and lemonade.
• Showers at Elk Rapids High School until 4:00 p.m.
• Swimming at the Village Beach on East Bay.
• Bike tech available morning of tour for last minute help at reasonable rates.
• Breakfast is available at T. J. Charlie’s, 135 River Street in downtown Elk Rapids
  beginning at 6:00 a.m.
SAFETY  • Helmets must be worn by all riders.
• Riders are to obey all traffic rules and laws and to ride in a courteous and safe manner.
  Michigan law requires cyclists to ride as near to the right as practicable and nor more
  than two abreast.
• Children 15 and under must be accompanied by a cycling adult.
• Register prior to tour by:
  1. Completing and mailing in the tour registration form by Monday, July11 or
  2. Going online to register using Active.com. A small fee will be added.
      Online registration closes at midnight, Thursday, July 14.
• Save by registering by July 1.• Day of ride registration is available.
• Packet pick-up/day of ride registration is 7 to 10:00 a.m. at the Elk Rapids HS.
• Century riders must start by 8:00 a.m.: 63 milers by 9:00 a.m. SAG support ends on
  all routes at 3:00 p.m. so gauge your ride time accordingly.
• Parents or guardians must sign a release for riders aged 17 or under.
• Your wristband is your admission to food stops, the picnic and for SAG support.

The Elk Rapids HS is located on the east side of Elk Rapids, MI about 17 miles north of Traverse City on US31. At the traffic light on US31, turn east on Ames Street and follow the signs to the high school
. For MapQuest directions from your location, click hereAll routes finish at the Elk Rapids Village Beach at the west end of River Street. Directionsback to the high school are on the route maps.
$1.00 per rider is donated to the League of Michigan Bicyclists to support safe cycling.
This is a rain or shine tour so no refunds after July 1.
Questions may be directed to ratdirector@cherrycapitalcyclingclub.org.
Information on hotels, motels and camping may be obtained from the Elk Rapids Chamber of Commerce and the Traverse City Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Need help with your new digital camera???

On Tuesday, August 9, from 6-8 pm local artist and photographer, Lisa Lirones will help you master that new digital camera.  Get to know important settings to get the most out of your picture taking and explore new ideas through lighting and perspective.   Taking location photos in the summer; bring your camera. Held at the Helena Township Public Library, 8751 Helena Road, Alden, MI 49612. You can call to register at 231-331-4318.

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