Club Updates

We will not be meeting for lunch for the next 2 weeks. On the 12th we will be marching in the Tulip Time parade as grand Marshalls. Meet on Columbia Ave between 8th and 10th streets around noon to get lined up for the parade.
On the 17th we will be having a dinner that will take the place of our Thursday lunch meeting. You will be getting an invitation in the mail. Carol Swart is looking for people to volunteer experiences to be raffled off.
David Steenwyk and Charlie Soria are planning a Rotary Golf outing for June 3rd at Clearbrook Country Club.
Signup for Tulip Time Grandstand Greeters is still open. If you're not marching in the parade Thursday with the area Rotarians, you can be in the stands having fun with the visitors.

Steve VanderVeen, Local Business Historian

Steve has taught business at the college level for 32 years and will be retiring this year from Hope College. He has always been interested in the history of businesses and the entrepreneurs in the area.
Over the years Steve has written two continuing columns for the Holland Sentinel. The first was about currently operating local businesses. The one that he is still writing traces the history since Van Raalte.
Before Van Raalte arrived, there were two areas where indigenous people lived in the area. One group was along Macatawa Lake and the other was near the Old Wing Mission. The federal government gave Chief Waukazoo a choice of being relocated to the west or to settle down and farm land that would be given to them. The Chief choose farming.
Steve uses the large body of historical information that Bob Swierenga has collected about the Holland area. Steve's Great Grandfather traveled from the Netherlands to New York City intending to continue on to Michigan. However, the size and activity of the city made him get back on the same ship and sail directly back to the Netherlands. His family did make it to Holland and joined a group headed by Marten Ypma.
Engbertus VanderVeen (no relation to Steve) ran a hardware store on the corner of River Ave and Eighth St. He was commissioned to build the Rooster for the top of Pillar church. He tried many materials to get the rooster mounted so it could pivot in the wind. He finally found that a wine bottle worked the best. Ironically Pillar church was becoming active in the temperance movement at the time.
James Huntley was a master builder from England who built many houses and factories around Holland. Reindert Werkman arrived in Holland when he was 12 years old. His father died soon after they arrived. Reindert was active in many lumber related businesses. He went bankrupt multiple times, travelled widely, and ended his career as a real estate agent in the western US.
Chester van Tongeren founded the Wooden Shoe Factory on the corner of River and Sixth St. He later purchased the tract of land from 16th to 24th streets by Waverly and moved the factory there. The Wooden Shoe Factory no longer exists, but his descendant Dave Geer runs the Holland Bowl Mill and even has some of the original tools.