The Almont Community Historical Society (ACHS) homecoming book, “Remembrances of Almont 2020” is the eighth in a series of books written for the Homecoming celebrations. Hildamae Waltz Bowman wrote the first four books for the 1970, 1976, 1985 and 1990 “Community” Homecomings. Carol Gertrude “Gertie” Park Brooks wrote the book for the 1995 event. My wife, Cindie and her mother, Betty Walton, prepared “Almont, The Story Continues” for the 2010 Homecoming and Cindie and I wrote “Remembrances of Almont 2015” for the 2015 event.
We began writing “Remembrances of Almont 2020” in October 2019 with the intent to have it completed by June of 2020. The emphasis for this book was to be the middle of the 1900s-1940 to 1980. We also intended to include stories from times prior to that time period which were not included in the prior books.
In March 2020, the shutting down of the library and access to the Tri-City Times archive interrupted progress on the book. A number of stories could not be completed without access to these resources. We began writing additional stories for which resources in the museum or online were available. It was originally expected that the book would be 150 to 200 pages. However, it ballooned to 356 pages, including the index. There is not one page that I would remove.
When the 2020 “Community” Homecoming was delayed, the decision was made to still complete the book in 2020. With the off again/on again opening of the library and newspaper archive, it took until the middle of November to complete writing the book and the end of November to complete the book’s index. The book was ordered on December 2 with the expectation of delivery by the 12th; however, COVID-19 issues at the publisher delayed the publication so delivery did not occur until the 24th.
The book is dedicated to Hildamae Waltz Bowman and Carol Gertrude “Gertie” Park Brooks for their efforts in writing and preserving the history and heritage of Almont. The book’s first stories are about their families.
The book includes a photo gallery of the businesses and people of Almont in the 1950s and 1960s. This is followed by the historic stories of early Almont: stories on the earliest pioneers— Oliver Bristol, the Bannisters, Wallaces, and Hoyts; the story of Norvell Churchill saving the life of General George Armstrong Custer at Gettysburg; Benjamin Johnston surviving the explosion of the Sultana—America’s worst maritime disaster; Mr. Peepers and Underdog lived here; and W. K. Bristol’s clock collection.
The next section of the book covers stories of Almont businesses. This section starts with the stories of the Detroit Urban Railway and Hurd Lock leaving. There are stories on Troias, the Hart brothers, Juhl’s, Burke’s, Terry’s, Bates’, Buell’s, Weaver’s and the Almonte Restaurant. There are stories on the beginnings of Charlie Browns, the Lumber Store, Almont Lock Company and L & L Products. A story on the history and heritage of the Tri-City Times is also included.
The “Community” section covers stories on the “Old Town Hall,” Almont’s water towers, the West St. Clair Historic District, and the Lapeer County Sheriff’s Posse. This section includes the story of Almont’s boy band—The Preludes, the Dryden Road drag strip, and sledding at Foe’s hill. It includes the story of the Post Office being held up.
The Almont Community Historical Society section covers stories on the beginnings of the historical society, saving the museum building, Kay Hurd’s remarkable line drawings and the Society’s endowment fund.
The next section covers the development, construction, operation, and sale of Community Hospital, the formation of the Four County Community Foundation and the Almont Downtown Development Authority.
The “Homecoming” section covers stories on the 1909, 1914, 1930, 1946, 1955, 1976, and 2005 homecomings and includes a photo gallery from 1909 to 2015.
The “Parks” section covers stories on each of the community’s remarkable collection of parks.
The “School” section includes the story of the 1927 school’s burning, the beginnings of the bus system, and the formation of the Athletic Hall of Fame.
Great games and teams are covered in the “Sports” section. It includes the story of the 1922 football team, Buck Bannister’s no-hitter, Floyd Wells’ winning consecutive baseball championships, the 1995 track teams, and the 1996 homecoming football game.
There are “Updates” on the Post Office, Fire Department, School, and Boy Scouts.
The last section is a number of biographical sketches. Included is the story of the Bacholzky’s, which includes how Barbara got the name “Boots.” Another story details how Village Marshall Ed D’Arcy lost his arm. Included are stories on the Farleys, Halseys, Heims, Howes, Juhls, Liblongs, Messers, Terrys, Wades, Walborns and Smiths. Also included are stories on Norm Hamilton, Art Hunt, Jack Lasslett, General Robert Shoemaker, and Paul Wilcox.
To utilize all the space in the book, historic photos of Almont are included along with factoids, “Glimpses of Almont’s Past,” which detail interesting facts of Almont, are included. The book includes a detailed index of the people in the book.
The Historical Society will be holding a “Book Signing” on Saturday, January 16 from 12 to 6 p.m. and on Sunday, January 17 from 1 to 5 p.m. at the museum, 149 S. Main Street. “Remembrances of Almont 2020” will be available at a cost of $40, cash or check. Unfortunately, the Historical Society does not have the ability to accept credit cards.
The book will also be available during normal museum hours on Saturdays from 1 to 4 p.m. For out-of-towners who wish to purchase the book, the shipping cost is an additional $8. Also available are a few copies of the 2010 book, “Almont, A Story Continues” and the 2015 book, “Remembrances of Almont 2015” at a cost of $30.00 each.
I can be contacted by phone at 810-796-3355 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.