On Display at the Museum
Plan a visit to the Coopersville Area Historical Society Museum to see the large and impressive model of the County Poor Farm barn that was built in the early 1930s.
The Poor Farm, on Leonard Road, was later known as the Infirmary, County Farm and then Ottawa County Community Haven.
The Poor Farm, established in 1866, served those who could not take care of themselves and had no where else to turn for help. Each Poor Farm resident worked there in whatever capacity they could. The Farm became not just a facility but a place where everyone had a particular task and belonged.
Although the residence is gone, the barn still stands as a reminder of this special place. The barn model was built in 2010 by Mr. Sharon Schut. It is interesting how he was able to replicate with such care the architectural detail of the historic building.
Tuesday: 2:00 pm~5:30 pm, Wednesday: 10:00 am~2:00 pm,
Friday 1:00 pm~4:00 pm, Saturday: 10:00 am~4:00 pm.
Other times and group tours by appointment.
A Coopersville Film Premiere!
On the evening of June 29, 2017, the Coopersville Area Historical Society will present “A Documentary Film: The Poor Farm,” with activities beginning at 6:30 p.m. This special event takes place in the new Community Room of the Coopersville Area District Library, 333 Ottawa Street. Note: The entrance to the Library’s main parking is off Center Street behind the library building.
This movie premiere and social event begins with light refreshments, a silent auction of some unique items and musical entertainment by Dick Holman. Special guests include Grand Haven residents Karl and Barb Rowe who have been among a group of re-enactors portraying some of the residents and staff once at the Poor Farm. Karl and Barb will again be in costume and character. They will come as Tom and Doris Modderman. The Moddermans are fondly remembered as Keepers (or directors) of the Farm.
Tickets for the occasion are $10 each and are now available at the Coopersville Area Historical Society Museum, Daniels Hair Salon and Budzynski Photography – all on Main Street in Coopersville. Go to eventbrite.com/e/a-documentary-the-poor-farm-tickets-35187562948 to purchase online. Some tickets will also be sold at the door but since seating is limited, advance tickets are encouraged.
Portions of the evening’s proceeds will benefit the Coopersville Area Historical Society Museum and the Ottawa County Parks Foundation. The Foundation helps fund some wonderful park projects. The Poor Farm property is now part of the Ottawa County system of parks.
The film itself was the result of the extensive planning and research that went into last fall’s 150th Anniversary of the Poor Farm of Ottawa County (Michigan). The October 1 celebration was at the former facility’s site on Leonard Road, just west of Eastmanville. The Poor Farm was established in 1866 to care for those who had no resources and/or nowhere else to go.
The documentary film was done by Ferris State University in partnership with the Ottawa County Parks Foundation. Its co-producers were Assistant Professor Joshua Pardon and local historian Marjie Viveen. Marjie has been very involved in researching and preserving Poor Farm history.