ALLEGAN, Mich. (WOOD) — Within the Allegan County Fairgrounds sit several historical buildings and homes that are open to the public for only a few days during the year.
In the 1970s, Weldon Rumery, a member of the fair board, decided that some of the buildings that were going to be razed needed to be preserved and worked to move them to the village now known as the John Pahl Historical Village.
“What his original vision was, I’m not sure,” Mark Lovett, president of the Allegan County Historical Society, said. “But once the historical society got on board … it became a program of preserving the buildings, preserving what they looked like, what they did, and being able to show people a peek at the past.”
Today, the village includes 13 buildings.
“The old log house, the church, the (Jewett) school, the Indian store, the blacksmith shop, the train station and the caboose, the carriage barn — most of them are a display,” Lovett said.
While most of the buildings were from surrounding areas, the log church was brought down from the Upper Peninsula and reassembled on the fairground’s property.
The 1840s house was owned by the Borne family, who were wagon makers.
“(During the fair), we have a couple of gals who dress in period clothes and it’s (set up) pretty much the way the house was at the time,” Lovett said.
The village also includes an old-time doctor’s office, the Cook Oil gasoline station, a fire barn with a 1929 REO Fire Truck and the old Allegan Township Hall. In the township hall, visitors to the fair can purchase books and gifts. The funds raised go toward supporting the museum.
The property also includes two barns full of artifacts. Lovett said the barns were already on the grounds and were given to the historical society to add to the village when the fairgrounds built new barns. The first barn showcases antique farming equipment like hand tools and equipment. The second houses artifacts from historical buildings around town like business signs.
In the back of one of the barns is an old printing press, and in the front of the other barn is a cider shop. During the fair, volunteers sell cider and donuts to visitors.
The village is open during Allegan County Fair. This year, it is happening from Sept. 8 to 16. Any groups that would like to tour the village outside the fair are asked to contact 269.673.8292.
During the fair, volunteers are given free parking and admittance if they sit at one of the buildings for four hours. No prior experience is necessary. Anyone interested in volunteering is asked to contact 269.673.8292.
For more information on the village, click here.