GREENVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) – The Flat River Historical Society and Museum is celebrating its 50th anniversary and looks forward to continuing to tell the stories of Greenville for another 50 years.
Opened October 10, 1972 at the Flat River Historical Museum 213 N. Franklin St. near Montcalm Street, has spent the last five decades inviting guests to take a stroll down memory lane.
“The museum is located where our first white settler, John Green, settled. He built a lumber mill right where the museum is,” said Keith Hudson, president of the Flat River Historical Society. “A horse stable was built on the site to supply horses to a sawmill just across the road.”
Years later, TJ Ridley bought the building and used it for cold storage — mostly eggs, Hudson said. After the building was destroyed by fire in 1904, it was rebuilt a year later on the existing foundations, believed to have been laid in the 1870s.
Inside today’s museum, visitors learn about the history of Greenville.
“We have a great Native American heritage, fur trade, logging – we were actually a logging town, that’s how we started. Manufacturing and farming moved in, pretty much straight away,” Hudson said.
From the “potato capital” of the United States to the “fridge capital,” Greenville’s history and nicknames span a wide spectrum of industries.
“We’re just a very diverse community and we’re trying to show all of that,” Hudson said.
On the main level, the museum is presented in chronological order with visually stimulating and hands-on exhibits.
The museum even has an exhibition about Meijer that was Founded 1934 in Greenville.
“We celebrated Sandy’s (Meijer’s Mechanical Penny Horses) 60th birthday here. We had over 70 people participating,” he said.
On the upper level, guests can walk down a replica main street and peer into historic rooms such as a general store and a barber shop, which have two of Hendrik Meijer’s barber chairs and tools on display.
“We also have three original shopping carts that Meijer used when they opened,” Hudson said.
On the lower level, guests get an insight into the work of crockery makers, carpenters and blacksmiths in their workshops.
Outside the museum there is a Victorian garden with information boards.
“We have a cobbled path that winds around and the bricks are from the original streets. They were laid down in Greenville in 1910,” Hudson said.
The museum is open from mid-April to November on Saturdays and Sundays from 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. In the summer, there is a concert series across the street and the museum opens an hour earlier. Hudson said private tours are also an option.
On Monday 10th October the museum will celebrate its 50th anniversary with a rededication at 6.30pm – the same time the museum opened. The event includes dignitaries, presentations, a time capsule, refreshments and museum tours.
For more information, see Museum website.
*Editor’s note: This article is the beginning of a series on woodtv.com spotlighting small museums in West Michigan. The following articles will be published in the coming weeks.
https://www.woodtv.com/news/montcalm-county/museum-tour-flat-river-historical-museum-in-greenville/ Flat River Historical Museum in Greenville