The Coopersville Area Historical Society has undergone several transitions over the years. Currently the City of Coopersville (owner of the museum building) is proposing a third expansion that will protect the electric interurban railcar, Merlin, by providing a totally enclosed structure and also provide space for geneology and historical research.
The first addition to the original musuem campus provided an open sided structure to protect the interurban railcar..
On August 14, 2000 the Coopersville City Council
paved the way for the second expansion to the museum. With Planning Commission
approval, the museum commenced construction of an L-shaped structure, deemed, the Sawmill Project , on the
north side of the existing interurban depot building. This 2,076 sq. ft.
addition partially covers the area where a freight warehouse was located behind the interurban depot. This addition called, the Sawmill & Early Settlers Exhibit, now houses a sawmill, print shop exhibit, early schoolroom exhibit, a work area and
additional storage space. Construction began in September 2000 with
enclosure completed in December 2000.
Planning Commission approval came with a few
surprises. To meet the state requirements mandated by the Americans with
Disabilities Act (ADA) two 7' x 7' handicap accessible restrooms, a drinking
fountain, and a utility sink had to be added to the plans. This also required
heating and plumbing to be installed before the building could be opened to the public.
The photos above were taken in October 2000 and shows the addition
framed and roofing materials in place waiting for installation by museum
volunteers. A wonderful group of volunteers collaborated to move this
project along (see below). These include licensed builders, Historical Society members,
and other volunteers from the community.
The building expansion, known as the "Sawmill
and Early Settlers Exhibit " protected a
century old "portable" sawmill (right) donated to the museum by the Ottawa County
Parks and Recreation Commission. The sawmill is surrounded by a G-gauge model logging train pulled by a Shay locomotive. The expansion also provided additional storage space.
The Historical Society would like
to acknowledge some of the major contributors. A lead donor gift by Howard
Dykhouse, owner of Best Packaging provided seed money to re-energize
fundraising efforts following the initial fundraising auction held at the local VFW
Post on April 27, 2000. Society member, Jim Bursma, of Homestead Timbers
in Marne gave the Society an exceptional price to side the addition
with wood instead of metal. MEIJER® stores of Grand Rapids provided an
additional grant. Donations were received by other members and friends
of the museum and are very much appreciated. Donor names are recognized
in the finished Sawmill Building.
Below are photos documenting the construction
progress. Click on the images to see larger photos and additional
In addition to the building expansion fund a campaign has been initiated for a museum endowment fund.
There are some very good tax credits for donations made to these
funds. The Museum is a qualified 501(c)(3) non-profit organization so
there are tax benefits for donations made to the Historical Society Museum.
Call the City of Coopersville (616) 997-9731 or the museum (616) 997-6978 for details.
courtesy of Jim Budzynksi, Budzynski
Photography, Coopersville, MI 49404.