Fire Makes Way for Library

Hotel Fire made way for township library



From the Colon Community Historical Society Museum Archives; newspaper clipping, date unknown: “COLON – In the summer of 1912, the Lakeview Hotel – or as many knew it, “Pond Lily House” – burned to the ground.

Dale Baad, a resident of Colon, remembered the fire. “I was working on a farm north of Colon,” he said. “We were eating dinner when the phone rang telling us about the fire.”

“Some people who were at the farm lived right across the street from the fire where the King Pharmacy is now located. When we got there, there was a lot of confusion,” continued Baad. “People were hastily taking things out of the hotel.” Baad was 14 years old at the time. “No one was hurt,” said Baad, “but the building burned to the ground.”

Mr. and Mrs. Oliver B. Culver, who lived on a farm 2 ½ miles east of Colon, gave the money to build the Colon Township Library. It was built in 1914 where the Lakeview burned.

In the files of the Township Library is the contract between O. B. Culver and the Township board, issued Sept. 12, 1912. By decree of the St. Joseph County Circuit Court, O. B. Culver willed $15,000 to be paid to the Township board at his death to erect a township library.

On Sept. 15, 1912, 60 Colon taxpayers petitioned the township board to bond the township for $3,000 to purchase, clear and beautify the specified site.

The library was built in 1914, by architect C. A. Fairchild, of Kalamazoo. General contractor was Byers Brothers of Kalamazoo. Cost. $10,700.50. Electrical contractor was S. G. Hill of Colon, cost $298.50. Plumbing and heating contractor was R. R. Bramer, Kalamazoo, cost $1,543. Window shades were purchased at cost of $98.

After the incidental bills were paid, the township had $1,000 left over which was spent on books.”