Vogel Center School Started During Height of Timber Era
When John Vogel, from whom this community takes its name, first came here from Ottawa county, virgin timber covered all the land. Cadillac, at that time, did not exist. There were but two log homes there, built near the lake. Vogel's nearest source of supplies was at Big Rapids, to which he traveled twice a year by ox-cart. Soon more settlers came to homestead the land and Vogel Center became a lumbering center. Being near the Clam River, many log drives were seen. It is said that the hotel lobby floor was punched full of holes from the river men's spiked boots. At one time Vogel Center had a hotel, sawmill, cheese factory, post office and a doctor. Today, it consists of a general store, hardware store, a garage, two gas stations, barber shop, a large church, a two room school and houses of many retired farmers. The lumber has long since been taken off but the "old timers" eyes still sparkle when they tell stories of lumbering days. The oldest living resident "old timer" is Frank Hoekwater who is now 73 years old. He has lived here 71 years.
In the early 1870's the settlers began to feel a need for educating their children. In 1874 they together built a small log cabin, upon a piece of land given by John Vogel, to be used as a school house. John Vogel's hired girl, from Ottawa County, taught the children for a few months that winter. The following year the community was organized into a school district. The first board consisted of John Vogel, John Lutke, and Arrie Hoekwater. It is said that John Lutke served as a board member for almost 50 years. The first school house stood in the south east corner of the present school yard.
The community grew rapidly and the little schoolhouse soon became too small so a new one was built of hewn logs. Soon this became too small, so the south room of our present building was built. The old log building was used as a house for sometime. Our present moderator, Cornelius Koetje, was born there in the spring of 1894. The new building again became too small and as there were great numbers of pupils (at one time 110) it was decided to use two rooms and hire two teachers, so the little log school was again used until 1901 when the north room of the present building was added. The old log building was taken down and the hewn logs sold to H. H. Mulder who rebuilt it into a house in which he lives today.
About ten years ago Abe Luetke's house burned, destroying all the old school records.
The present board consists of Edward Laarman, director, Cornelius Koetje, moderator, and John Hoekwater, treasurer. Laarman and Hoekwater are grandnephews of John Vogel.
Following is a list of teachers:
1874 - name unknown
1875 - Anna Van Swolenburg
1876 - Peter I. Quick
1877, 1878, 1879, 1880, 1881 - John Hulst
1882, 1883, 1884, 1885, 1886 - John Kuiper
1887 - Tillie Roaney
1888, 1889 - John Cavanaugh
1890 - Anna Van Swolenburg
1891 - Hattie P. Vanderheide
1892 - Beulah Morseman
1893 - Joe Sleezer, Lydia Rhineburg, two rooms
1894 - Myron Skinner, Josie Lucas
1895 - O. F. Joslin, Josie Lucas
1896 - Minnie Van Dusen, Jacob Schepers
1897, 1898 - Jacob Schepers, Kate Lutke
1899 - Martin Wolverton, Kate Lutke
1900 - Kate Lutke, Rebecca Gray
1901 - Thersah Forbes, Kate Lutke
1902 - Jennie Schepers, Celia Bair
1903, 1904 - Jennie Schepers, Agnes Herweyer
1905 - Maggie Cavanaugh, Myrtle Shores
1906 - J. V. Gibson, Myrtle Shores, Agnes Herweyer
1907, 1908 - Maggie Cavanaugh, Agnes Herweyer
1909 - Sarah Lutke, Edna Coffey
1910 - George Tyson, Edna Coffey
1911 - Minnie Van Dusen, Edna Coffey
1912, 1913 - Minnie Van Dusen, Dina Bowner
1914 - John Elsing, Dina Bowner
1915 - Nina Wooley, Johanna De Vos
1916, 1917 - Marie Ver STrate, Johana De Vos
1918 - Margaret Koopman, Winnie Laarman
1919 - Margaret Koopman, Jessie McGee
1920, 1921 - Dina Bowner, Florence Lutke
1922 - Dina Bowner, Belle McGee
1923 - Ford Finkel, Christy Hoekwater
1924 - Ford Finkel, Christy Hoekwater
1925, 1926 - Cort DeZeeuw, Henrietta DeBree
1927 - Cora DeZeeuw, Leona Wood
1928 - Henrietta DeBree, Leona Wood
1929 - Milton Mollitor, Leona Wood
1930, 1931, 1932 - Milton Mollitor, Rose Van Houtin
1933, 1934 - Milton Mollitor, Pearl Andree
1935 - Clarence Veldsma, Pearl Andree Spoelma
1936, 1937 - Herman Hamming, Lauretta TeBos
1938 - Clarence Veldsma, Lauretta TeBos
1939 - Clarence Veldsma, Lauretta VandePol
1940 - Clarence Veldsma
This history was written by members of the seventh and eighth grades, Jay Brinks, Bert Danhoff, Henry Koetje, Harvey Lutke, Joan Boven, Margaret Hoekwater and Betty Winkel. All children in the upper room acted as reporters.
Ford Finkel who taught in 1923 and 1924 is now county school commissioner.
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