Below are articles or summaries of articles that have appeared in the Niles Daily Star as part of the "Silverbrook Legacies" series.

Horizons Magazine Out Thurs. Feb. 23

Each year at this time, the Niles Daily Star and other local newspapers publish a special insert, which features stories and pictures of the people and things to do in the area.

This year the new 114-page magazine has been redesigned with more graphics and photos.

"The publication features stories about people in southwest Michigan shaping the landscape of the region. Divided into six sections — agriculture, education, people helping people, business, trends and social networking — Horizons 2012 looks at everything from Zumba classes and healthy eating to the medical marijuana craze and boom of the craft beer industry in Michigan."

Several members from the Friends of Silverbrook were interviewed about local genealogy activities for the "Trends" section of the magazine.

Click here for the full article.  Better yet, pick up a copy of the Star on Thursday!

Your local library – Gateway to your history

Friends of Silverbrook Cemetery have some special reasons to honor our local Niles District Library. Next to the cemetery itself, it is our favorite place. We would not be able to bring you this column without it.

Niles’ earliest effort to bring a library to the community was undertaken by the Ladies Library Association in 1883, when they "fitted up" a reading room over Chapin and Son’s office on Second Street, south of Main. The Niles Republican reported the First National Bank presented carpeting. Other necessities such as a stove, a walnut and revolving cane seat for the librarian, and a "beautiful glass ink stand" were supplied by the ladies.

Click here for the full article on the Niles Daily Star website.

Published April 21, 2010

Friends of Silverbrook awarded American flag grant

Eleven local veterans’ organizations have received grants to purchase American flags to memorialize veterans’ graves. The grants, made possible by a partnership of Martin’s Super Markets and PepsiCo, will be used by the organizations to purchase grave holders and flags to mark the final resting place of service veterans currently without appropriate marking.

Groups receiving flag grants include St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners Veterans Service Office; Mishawaka American Legion Post 360; Elkhart County Veterans’ Service Office Memorial Fund (grants to Nappanee, Goshen and Elkhart); Logansport American Legion Post 60; Niles Friends of Silverbrook Cemetery; St. Joseph Riverview Cemetery; Plymouth VFW Memorial Day Parade Fund; Stevensville American Legion Post 568; and Warsaw American Legion Post 49.

Representatives of the veterans’ organizations have, in some cases, been unable to fund the purchase of memorial flags for the growing number of American service veterans who die each year. It’s expected that hundreds of these much-deserved flags will be purchased and installed before Memorial Day as a result of these grants.

Click here for the full article on the Niles Daily Star website.

Published April 1, 2010

Early communications were their specialty: The Hustons

In the 1800s communication was a big deal. Though we are privileged to have a potpourri of 21st century communications methods at our fingertips, during those early days of the Michigan Territories pioneers were basically limited to two: in-person and by mail.

The Huston family facilitated both of these.

Amanson Huston came to the area in 1828 as an Indian trader and peddler. He must have seen the potential of what he found here as by May 1829 he had opened the first hotel in Niles.

The tavern known as Council House, was originally a log house owned by William Justice. A framed addition was completed by Henry Drew in 1830 on the east part of the log cabin that was the bar room. The addition served as the first courtroom in Berrien County.

Many accounts exist attesting to the building serving the community as a great meeting place. A document outlining the historic significance of the building at 224 North Front St., which was eventually known as the John B. Reddick building, tells of a momentous community event held July 4, 1830.

Click here for the full article on the Niles Daily Star website.

Published March 31, 2010

We owe these historians: The Ballards

As we continue to do our small part in preserving our area’s history, we truly appreciate those who kept the records and passed on the stories before us.

Ralph and Mary Huston Ballard are two former Nilesites to whom we owe a tremendous debt of gratitude. Not only did they record a great deal of the written history of their day, but they respected those who preceded them enough to play a large role in the creation of the Fort St. Joseph Museum.

Ralph Ballard was born July 5, 1870 at the family home on Ballard Hill, M-60 west of Niles. He lived there until 1945 when he purchased their home at 742 Broadway St. in the city.

His wife was born Feb. 28, 1874 in the Huston family home at the corner of Elm Street and St. Joseph Avenue. They married in the fall of 1891. This was a union of two well-matched individuals who shared a love of the land and their community.

Click here for the full article on the Niles Daily Star website.

Published March 29, 2010