Page 21 - Scene Magazine 42-07 July 2017
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responsibility for the organization and the building. They paid the dues, conducted correspondence, held the charter, cared for the hall and rented it out to other veterans and community groups. William R. Howland, 97, 1st Michigan Sharpshooters, Company D, the last local G.A.R. member, died in 1943.
In 1951 the G.A.R. hall was returned to the BCPS to start its third life. Our old friend became a maintenance and repair shop for the schools. However, another purpose was stirring in the community. Interested citizens saw another use for the building. In 1956, the hall was renovated to begin its fourth life as Battle Creek Community College, forerunner of Kellogg Community College. Local architect, Lewis Sarvis, was hired. Events moved rapidly and by 1959, it was renamed Kellogg Community College with plans to move to a new site on North Avenue. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation funded much of the new construction.
The fifth life of the building began in 1962 as it became the home of the BCCHS Bearcats Band. It served the students for 10 years. In the summer of 1972, it was torn down. To honor our old friend, the memorial tablet on the boulder* was moved into the BCCHS music wing. It is still there at the entrance with another plaque detailing the building’s history.
October 14, 2012, a Michigan Historical Marker was dedicated at this site noting the beginnings of Kellogg Community College. This marker is due to the diligent efforts of KCC staff: Marty Stilwell, Director of Library Services, Lauren Arnsman, Archivist/ Adjunct Librarian, and former Archivist/ Adjunct Librarian, Marianne Swierenga. I thank them for sharing research.
So our old friend passed away, after giving five lives to the Battle Creek community: its walls reverberating with the clang of fire bells, the sound of veterans’ stories, the whine of machinery, the shouts of college students and the music of the Bearcats. This “veteran” too gave service to our community. This article is a reprint from 2012 as I am working on a history of Kellogg Community College. This article will give some of the background to Battle Creek Community College.
* I am still trying to discover where the boulder went. If anyone knows or has an idea, please e-mail me at Neumeyere@ kellogg.edu.
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