The Village of Waldron was once home to a peppermint processing plant.
Gelzer's "Furniture" Store once sold corsets.
Years before the vile acts of Adolph Hitler and his Third Reich shocked the world, the swastika was considered a good luck charm. According to a jewelry ad for Abaugh & Son Jewelers (the forerunner to Kiess Jewelers, then Roger Locey Jewelers), which appears in an 1907 edition of the Hillsdale Democrat, the swastika was considered "a talisman, a charm to drive away evil and bring prosperity and long life to the wearer." The ad encouraged, "See our Window for Samples." Patterned ceramic tile entrances to several buildings in downtown Hillsdale once used the swastika symbol as decorations. Some remnants still remain.
Long before the weekly "Sale Barn" market, held each Saturday on the South end of the Fairgrounds, loads of wood, hay, dressed beef and port, among other items, were sold on Broad Street, between Bacon and McCollum. It was described as "quite a moving panorama of business activity."
In 1902, Reading became the home of a bowling alley, which had originated in Jonesville, then moved to the Baw Beese Park before its final move to Reading.
In the 1870s the City of Hillsdale boasted a prosperous extension table business, known as the Hillsdale Table Factory, located near Cold Springs. The tables were shipped to all parts of the United States and Canada, with their principal market being San Francisco.
Downtown Hillsdale's Broad Street was once known as "Saloon Row."
In 1899, the "Pride of Hillsdale" was a make of broom, manufactured by the Hillsdale Broom Company.
The May 10, 1907 Hillsdale Democrat reported a lawsuit in which F.W. Stock sued the City of Hillsdale over "Mr. Stock's right to the flow of the water from Baw Beese Lake by virtue of his title to the ownership of the water power." Those who testified—both for and against—included a who's who of Hillsdale. One of the issues was the removal of ice from the lake. The city later settled with Mr. Stock.
In 1880 the office of Stock's Mill was entered during the night and the wall safe blown open. The safe door was damaged and all the books were burned, except for the Ledger. The thief—or thieves—made off with a grand total of $38.33.
The painting of artful frescoes was the order of the day in the late 1800s. The Keefer and Smith Hotels, as well as the Henry Waldron home (the current Elks Club), Underwood Opera House (in a now-removed third floor above the current Gelzer's Hardware) and Presbyterian Church were among those adorned. Sadly, no known remnant exist today.
Jonesville was once home to one of the largest pickle industries in the country.
In 1941 rival union groups fought with clubs, stones and concrete blocks at the entrance to the Hillsdale Steel Products Company, resulting in one fractured skull and six other injuries.
In 1891 Bankers was said to be "booming" due to its "first class livery."
In 1891 a skunk farm was started in Camden, "said to be worth millions, but whew!"
The publishers of the Hillsdale Whig Standard, a local newspaper of the 1840s, would take payment in firewood.
In March 1869 a "most terrible calamity" occurred at the Steamburgh (sic.) saw mill, called Pettis Mill. Although the Hillsdale Standard reported "the boiler exploded, tearing the mill to atoms," no one was killed. The Hon. John Potter Cook of Hillsdale was part owner.
Carol A. Lackey