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Author: The County Journal

Getting to know … Mike Ranville

Douglas M. Hoy Contributing Writer Each of us in our lifetime come in contact with a vast cadre of people, swaying us, influencing our ways, enriching the fabric of our existence. Many have come, gone and possibly been forgotten. A smaller portion may have made a lasting impact upon us, either positive or negative. Then there are those precious few, who upon meeting, you instinctively know your life has just been made better by a simple conversation.  I would like to introduce you to such a man. Meet local resident, speechwriter extraordinaire and author, Michael Ranville. Decades ago a...

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ERFD Marks 18th Anniversary of 9-11

Deb Malewski Contributing Writer September 11, 2001 is still fresh in the minds of the members of the Eaton Rapids Fire Department. With each anniversary of that date they remember their brotherhood of 343 firefighters, 60 law enforcement officers, eight EMT’s and paramedics and almost 3,000 civilians who were lost, using their fire equipment as a symbolic gesture of respect and remembrance. The ERFD aerial platform ladder truck sits in front of the department building on Line Street with its ladder extended 30 feet or so, holding the American flag. In front of it stands a flagpole with a...

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Bateman Gypsy Wagons blends passion, craftsmanship

Deb Malewski Contributing Writer   Ryan Perritt started a Gypsy wagon business in Eaton Rapids in 2016. He builds these colorful wagons both for decorative use and for actual camping, using house construction standards. The workshop for this business, Bateman Gypsy Wagons, is located on his family’s Centennial Farm on Barnes Road in Aurelius Township. What is a gypsy wagon? Also known as a vardo, it is a traditional horse-drawn wagon used by British Romani people as their home. Online sources say that, “the British Romani tradition of the vardo is seen as a high cultural point of both...

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Historic Miller Barn needs roof

Deb Malewski Contributing Writer Located just a few blocks from downtown Eaton Rapids, on State Street, is the Miller Farm. It is a local landmark and an important historic feature of the town. The Miller House was built by Joel Latson in 1864 and purchased by John and Rebecca Miller in 1874. You may have heard the story of Dennis Miller, the son of John and Rebecca, and his wife Edith “Minnie” Miller. Wanting to increase the profit on their milk, they started making ice cream at the farm in 1896. Their efforts paid off and Miller Dairy made...

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New owners relish opportunity at Hotel Tavern

Deb Malewski Contributing Writer It’s been a dream for Dana Hatt and her sisters for years to own a bar. About a month ago that dream came true. Dana and her husband, Mark, purchased the Hotel Tavern in Springport. The Tavern is about 11 miles south of Eaton Rapids in the heart of downtown Springport.  “Who wouldn’t want to own a bar?” said Dana, with excitement in her voice. “Owning it has lived up to my expectations — and so much more!” The Hotel Tavern building has been here since the early days of Springport. The town was known as Oyers Corners up until 1882 when it became Springport. At one time the hotel operated as a stagecoach stop, other times as a brothel, and also as The Hotel Oyer — named after one of the town’s founders. Some of the furnishings in the bar are original to the building, including the walk-in refrigerator with a wooden door, the bar itself, and a large wooden display case. The building is believed to have been built around 1886 and remained as a hotel up until the 1950s. The upstairs, which was the Hotel part of the building, has not been restored yet, but the Hatts are hoping to do so someday. The Hatts admit that they have no experience in owning or running a bar. Dana has managed an apartment complex for a...

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