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Eau Claire Basket Factory
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Eau Claire Basket Factory 1909
Located on Basket Factory Road, now called Old Pipestone Rd was a factory, which manufactured packages for the fruit area.  It was built adjacent to the railroad, which provided necessary freight facilities.  Local timber was plentififul and was easily accessible as raw material.  Among the early owners were George Tatman and Gail Handy, a Great Uncle of state reprsentative Gail Handy.  Also Frank Deaner, Sr. was a major stockholder.   Early in the century the basket factory burned.  When it was rebuilt it was reorganized and under new management.  Later the controlling interest was secured by Ivan Minderhout and Harry Lane.  During their supervision the factory was moved to Grand Crossing at Benton Harbor.  During the 20s Clayton Hogue, now deceased, had a patent on the EZ Pak, which was in demand all over the fruit area.   During the height of the production season  200 persons were often employed for "peace" work. 
Barn Raising
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Train Lines
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Interurban Pictures
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Interurban Railway Information

Sometime between the turn of the century and 1912 an Interurban Railway was built and put into operation between Benton Harbor and Dowagiac.  This railway ran through the Village of Eau Claire and many people now living can clearly remember the familiar voice of its whistle as it approached and traveled through the village.  It was built and operated by the Benton Harbor -- Saint Joseph Railway and Light Company which later was absorbed by the Indiana and Michigan Electric Company.
Prior to this however, Ben Purrell, leader of the HOuse of David, became the largest single stockholder in the Benton Harbor -- St. Joseph Railway and Light Co.  This, it is alleged, resulted in the use of the bearded members of the colony as conductors and motormen on the street cars of the twin cities.  "Flying Rollers" they were sometimes called.  However, these men were never used on the Interurban line through the village.  This railway operation was soon doomed by the advance of the Semi Trailer trucks and the millions of individual cars.  
Nevertheless, it was a colorful and efficient era of transportation.  On its daily schedule thru the village seven stops were often made.  First, as it approached the village just east of the Fuller Rest Home, was the "Nursery Stop"  then it continued to the "Five Corners" stop; then on into the village with the first stop at the school; continuing, on to the sub-station or interurban depot, which was across the street from the present Eau Claire Fruit Exchange.  After crossing the New Your Central Railroad track, it would make short stop to close the switch.  Then it proceeded to the center of town and made a stop before turning southeast as it left the village.  This was approximately in front of the present post office.  This also was the farthest east that it traveled on the Main Street.  It then turned south through the present site of the Huddleston Standard Service Station and continued on to the Lynn Street stop just south and east of the John Schadt residence.  From here it continued to Dowagiac.  
Some of the right of way can still be seen especially east and west of Lynn Street.  The railway grade is still there, although the ties and rails have been long since removed.  
The last interurban passed through Eau Claire sometime in June or July 1928, marking the end of an era, and leaving many memories for those who can recall the big voice of the interurban.  
Economically it served a very real and important part in the transportation of fruit and farm produce to the boat docks in Benton Harbor and Saint Joe.  From here most of the farm produce was shipped across the lake by boat to the markets of Chicago.  

Information taken from the Eau Claire Centennial Book, 1861-1961

Doc's Rexall Drug Store Boys & Girls Contest
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Maple Grove School Picture
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Maple Grove School

Maple Grove School

Teacher - Lawerance Peachey

Top Row - Betty Jane Enders, Dean Hewitt, Robert Robinson, Dick Enders, Ida Jane Little, Eva Mae Enders.

Third Row - Nathan Waldrop, Carlton Rodell, Franklin Prillwitz, Howard Short, Wallace Short.

Second Row - Helen Sherwood, Phillis Enders, Lois Short, Dorothy Jeanne Layman, Joan Enders, Marion Bennett, Virginia Michael, Mary Bennett.

Front Row - Francis Kerstetter, Robert Enders, Albert Michael, LaVern Ferney, Lester Short, Arden Layman. 

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