History of Village Organizations and the Community Center
Marjorie Royce was a great source of information for our history. With her I researched the beginnings of our Village culture.
When the Cole family moved here in 1936 much of Lake Shore Drive was developed. The main association was the Michiana Shores Community Organization. It was composed of residents from Michiana, Michigan and Michiana Shores, Indiana. They were joined together because the developer for both areas was the Long Beach Development Company. A realtor by the name of Robert Bartlett was selling small cottages in the area. The members of the association were concerned about the rapid building and the escalation of the cottages. Harry Cohen, Maurice Glass, Nat Rue and Irving Siegel realized the great potential of the area and did not want the cottages on top of each other. They realized that the only way to control this was to incorporate. A Mr. Brown was hired as the attorney and the work of incorporating began. Maurice Glass was head of the Charter Commission. In 1945 the Village of Michigan became a corporation in the State of Michigan. The Cole's house was the Village Office after the first year. It became apparent that the Village needed a Community Center.
Under the Michiana Shores Community Association there was a division called the Women' Club. They began to run fund raisers to build a Community Center. Mr. C.L. Mathias donated a site for the proposed Center to the Michiana Shores Community Association. They in turn called on the Women's Division to raise funds.
By September 3, 1950 they had raised $7000.00 They needed $5000.00 more for the project. Between this time and March 1951, the property that was given to the Michiana Shores Community Association became the property of the Village, specifically Lots 4, 5, 6, and 7 in Block 38, in Subdivision 7, of the Village of Michiana. The Village and the Women's Club entered into an agreement for the construction of the Community Center March 24th, 1951. Following is an except from the Resolution passed:
BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that the Village of Michiana, a municipal corporation of the State of Michigan, enter into a ground lease with the Michiana Women's Club, a Michigan corporation not-for-profit, to lease the following described premises for a period of twenty-five years, commencing February 1, 1951, at an annual rental of One Dollar ($1.00) per year, payable in the first day of August in each year.
The Women's Club also agreed to rent out basement floor space for Village vehicles for $850.00 a year for 10 years. The resolution was signed by Rita A. Cole, Marjories mother. A rental agreement is still in place with the Village.
When I became the President of the Michiana Women's' Club, I realized that they had let the Incorporation lapse. Pauline Pinckus, Blossom Hollander and I went to Louis Desenberg the Village attorney. He assisted us with a new incorporation and made the address of the corporation 4000 Cherokee. That incorporation is still in effect.
Minutes of the First Official Meeting of the Village Council
April 29, 1946
The first meeting of the Village Council of the Village of Michiana was held in the home of Harry Cohen in said Village on the 29th of April, 1948, at 1:00 a.m. o'clock; pursuant to Article XI, Sections 5 of the Village Charter.
Absent: One, Barry Coleman
A quorum being present, the meeting was called to order by Maurice F. Glass, Chairman of the Charter Commission. Charles L. Matz acted as Clerk of the meeting.
The report of the Board of Canvassers appointed by the Charter Commission to canvas the results of the election of April 27th, 1946 was read, showing the proposed charter of the Village to have been adopted by a vote as follows:
Yeas: Forty-Seven Nays: None
and further showing the following persons to have been elected to the Village Council by the vote set after their respective names, to-wit:
For term of one year;
LeRoy Cole 44 votes Nat Rue 40 votes
For term of two years:
Charles L. Matz 43 votes George B. Bernstein 41 votes
For term of three years:
Maurice F. Glass 42 votes Harry Cohen 43 votes Harry J. Coleman 42 votes
A copy of said canvas was ordered inserted in the Minute Book immediately following the minutes of this meeting:
The members of the Village Council so elected took the constitutional oath of office, as required by the Village Charter, and the same was ordered inserted in the Minute Book immediately following the minutes of this meeting.
The Chairman announced that the nest business before the meeting would be the nomination of candidates for President of the Village for the ensuing year. Mr. M.F. Glass was supported by Mr. George Perlstein, nominated Mr. Harry Cohen as President. There being no further nominations roll was called, resulting in the election of Mr. Harry Cohen as President of the Village upon roll call as follows:
Yeas: Six Nays: None absent: One
The minutes continued to reflect the elections. Here are the officers as elected in that first meeting:
Mr. George Perlstein , President Pro-Temp Isadore J. Shure, Village Clerk/Treasurer Harry Shlaes, Village Assessor John Pierce, Village Superintendent
Then they voted to have the regular meetings at the residence of Harry Cohen; use of Three Oaks Bank for the Village funds;appointed Philip Beck, Abraham H. Robinson and Irving Siegel to the Village Board of Review.
I chose this family to be the first featured because of their long history with the Village. No family has ever been so connected to the history of our Village than the Cole/Royce Family.
Rita and Leroy Cole moved into their home at 3884 Michiana Drive in 1936. They had five children including Marjorie , who was born in 1922. LeRoy sold land and homes for the Long beach Development Company. He bought the cottage and winterized it and it stands in the same place. His daughter and grandson still reside in the home.
The Village incorporated in 1945. There was no community center at that time, so the Village Office was the Cole home. Rita Cole served as one of the first clerk/treasurers for the Village. LeRoy Cole was on the first Council and later served as the Building Inspector. In 1955 Rita was still Clerk/Treasurer but wanted to give up the treasurers position. The Council hired her daughter Marjorie, who lived in Lakeside with her husband Robert Royce, and their children, Robin and Robert.
The Royce family moved into the Coles home in later years and Marjorie came back to work as clerk in the 80's and 90's. Her son Robert was a life guard under Roy Soll. Robert Royce and his wife Marjorie held offices in New Buffalo and in the Township. Bob Royce succumbed to cancer a few years ago. His wife Marjorie and his son Robert still live at 3884 Michiana Drive. Marjorie now serves as the treasurer for Grand Beach.
Village of Michiana, 4000 Cherokee Drive, Michiana, MI 49117 269-469-4600