Skip to content

NEws & Updates


Life in America’s small towns conjures up baseball games and other team sports, board games, jacks and marbles, apple pie, bubble gum, bobbers, hot dogs, denim, t-shirts, and bicycles. There will be no shortage of those items and many others when the Edwardsburg Area Historical Museum’s first exhibit of 2024, Small Town Americana, debuts on May 14.

Drawing upon both the museum’s inventory and items loaned by museum members, the spirited display, which celebrates small-town life, will run through July 13.

It will be followed by two other exhibits, Edwardsburg 1900-1920, which opens July 16 and closes on Halloween (Oct.31), and Christmas in Toyland, from Nov. 5 through Dec. 14.

The last two are still in the early planning stages, but display chairs Laura Jamrog and Judy Montgomery will pull items from the museum inventory for Edwardsburg 1900-1920. That exhibit will showcase the collection of Edwardsburg photos taken by George Andrus of The Edwardsburg Argus in the first two decades of the 20th Century. George and Charles Andrus, along with their grandfather, Henry Andrus owned the Argus. The collection of about 350 photographs, was donated in four large binders by Charles Andrus’ son, Dean, soon after the museum was founded. They are images of people, buildings, streets, animals, and businesses, mostly in the Village of Edwardsburg. They will be complemented by various documents and items such as sheet music, and utensils, as well as mannequins outfitted in popular clothing styles from those decades.

The last exhibit, Christmas in Toyland, will be a colorful exhibit that will be, as Jamrog said, “all about being a kid again.” All Christmas trees will be decorated, with toys everywhere throughout the museum rooms.

The museum will close on Dec. 14, and re-open in mid-May, 2025.



7 p.m., June 20

Farmer. Grocer. Landscaper. Mark Dussel of Cassopolis wears all three hats and he will speak at the museum on general gardening and floral landscaping practices on June 20.

Most of what he knows stems from hands-on experiences contact and with the grower network he has developed over the years.

Dussel grew up in Penn Township on the 250-acre family hog farm on Quaker Street, which he still farms along with his own 140 acres on Dutch Settlement Street and additional leased crop land.

A 1985 graduate of Ross Beatty High School, Cassopolis, he started farming as a young boy. After graduation, he worked in a van conversion factory until he was 21, then married and began farming full-time. In 1997, he purchased the market and greenhouses in Cassopolis that today bear his name and in which he sells his own beef and several produce items he grows. He employs five farm and greenhouse workers, although the number can swell to 20 during the summer months.  His landscaper, Gloria Chavez of Decatur, has been with him for 30 years and oversees the greenhouse operations.

Dussel is a supporter of the museum’s perennial plant sale. His wife, Kristy, the company bookkeeper, is a teacher at Horizon Elementary School in Granger. The couple has three sons and two young granddaughters.


7 p.m., Aug. 22

She has been an adventurer in search of experiences for many years.

And Starla DeMoss, a recent transplant to Edwardsburg, will talk about the many aspects of Dutch oven cooking and its place in American history-particularly pioneers–when she speaks on Aug. 22

A native of Casper, Wyoming, DeMoss grew up in Cheyenne, and initially left there after high school in 1973. She met her first husband in high school and they had four children. He was in the United States Air Force and they lived in Arizona. After the marriage ended, she returned to Cheyenne where she married Ed DeMoss, who also was in the U.S. Air Force. After he left the military, they moved to Pender, Nebraska, where Ed was a refrigeration supervisor for Tyson Foods. They remodeled a house and Starla became a seasoned gardener and mastered food preservation practices. She later returned to school to become a licensed practical nurse (LPN), and worked in the medical field for several years. After her husband died in 2017, she traveled extensively to visit her children.  She moved to Edwardsburg in 2022 to continue to be near her daughter and family, who relocated from San Diego, California, to Elkhart.

But in the 1990s, DeMoss attended Being an Outdoors Woman (BOW) camps, where she studied a variety of subjects, including canoeing, archery, native plants, and Dutch oven cooking. She cooks with several stackable cast iron pots over fires of hot coals, and has several recipes that she will share during her presentation. (but no, she will not cook over hot coals in the museum).


7 p.m., Sept. 19

World travelers Nancy Clase and her husband, Joe Piane, will share their adventures during a presentation on Sept. 19.

Clase, a 2021-2022 inductee into the Edwardsburg Public Schools Hall of Fame, taught French at the high school for 46. She was hired in 1972 after graduating from the University of Evansville (IN), studying abroad, and having been an Au Pair with a French family.

Over the years, Clase led 22 groups of Edwardsburg students, parents and community members on trips to France and other European countries. In 2005, she was named Michigan World Language Teacher of the Year. Her husband, Bob, also an Edwardsburg teacher and coach, whom she married in 1975, died in 2008.

Joe Piane is retired from the University of Notre Dame, where he was the cross-country and track and field coach. A four-year letter winner in sports at Loras College, Dubuque, Iowa, he was inducted into that school’s Hall of Fame in 2003.

Piane went to Notre Dame in 1975 as an assistant track coast and instructor in 1975, and became head coach in 1976. His teams won 26 conference championships and he was the recipient of numerous Coach of the Year awards, including at least six Midwestern Collegiate Conference Coach of the Year honors. After retirement, he volunteered his coaching expertise with the Edwardsburg High School track and cross-country teams. Through the years, he traveled extensively with his wife, Mimi, who tragically died in an accident in 2016. Piane met Clase in 2017 and they married in 2020. As transcontinental travelers, the two have many stories to tell.

Gary Sanders

7 p.m., Oct. 17

Edwardsburg Native Gary Sanders will speak about his life in Edwardsburg at his Oct. 17 presentation. Born on Leet Road, Sanders graduated from Edwardsburg High School in 1959. He worked in the tool and die trade until his mid-30s, then started and operated the Trading Post with Scott Quimby of Edwardsburg for 10 years. He was a dealer’s representative for several years, then became a licensed real estate agent. He has been with Cressy and Everett Real Estate for 23 years.

Sanders and Carla Jones of Edwardsburg were married in 1963, and have a son, Tim, who is a retired carpenter and lives in Lansing. The couple has two grandchildren who live in Lexington, KY, and Edinburgh, IN, respectively.


A plethora of events will populate the 2024 museum season with three fundraisers, a kids’ carnival, a band concert, another tour of the Edwardsburg Cemetery, and the annual Christmas tree lighting.

Plants, Plants, and More Plants

On May 17, the first of three fundraising events begins when the perennial plant sale gets underway. Dussel’s Market and Greenhouses of Cassopolis is a supporter of the event and this year’s floral offerings will include a much wider selection. From ground covers to designer lilies and peonies, butterfly bushes, and miniature hydrangeas, various prices and colors will be offered. The sale will include not only clematis vines but also peony trees. A selection of annuals, featuring hanging baskets, and patio and cemetery pots again will complement the sale.

Several large plants will be available, including the popular gallon size, as well as ‘fresh starts’ of hens and chicks. Prices will start at $1.

Kiddies Needed for the Carnival

On Memorial Day, May 27, the activities committee again will staff a kids’ carnival in the museum’s backyard. Games will include Go Fishing, Duck Pond, Pick-A-Pop, Velcro Target, and a Bean Bag Toss. The carnival is for all ages and tickets will be 5 for $1. The event begins immediately following the parade and concludes at 2 p.m.

The Hacienda Beckons

The museum will hold its annual Hacienda Fundraiser on June 19 at the Mishawaka location on Grape Road. Participants must produce a coupon, available at the museum or from members, before ordering a meal. The restaurant then donates 20 percent of the proceeds to the museum. Coupons also can be presented that day for gift cards for later use.

The Historical Society Visits

The Cass County Historical Society will hold its meeting at the museum at 6:30 p.m., on July 16. It is open to the public.

Chill Once Again to Music in the Museum Backyard

For the second consecutive year, the VanDyke Revue Band will play. The performance will be at 7 p.m., Sat., July 27, on the museum’s back deck. There is no admission charge and music lovers can enjoy the show from their lawn chairs or on blankets they spread on the ground. The band is from Buchanan and was founded in 1999 by Dave VanDyke and his father, John. Sensational Scoops of Edwardsburg again will sell ice cream during the evening.

Remember the U.S. 12 Garage Sale!

The second full weekend in August is always the U.S. 12 Garage Sale and this has been the museum’s largest of its three fundraising events. The sale takes up all of the side yard and at least half of the backyard of the museum property, and planning takes nearly all year. It runs this year from Fri., August 9th through Sun, Aug.  12th, but the museum always opens a day early, which, this year, is Thurs., Aug. 8.

The sale is fully staffed by volunteers with hours from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and 9 a.m. through 4 p.m. on Sunday.

See the Schoolroom After the All-School Reunion

The museum is always open immediately after the Edwardsburg Public Schools All-School Reunion, the third Sunday in August. This year, it falls on Aug. 18. The museum building opens at 3:30 p.m. for those who want to reminisce about school years, look at yearbooks, and see newly-mounted displays.

Calling All Cemetery Tour Enthusiasts

The tour of the Edwardsburg Village Cemetery was so popular in 2023 that the activities committee has another one scheduled for Sept. 28. It again will be a walking tour and there will be a golf cart on site for participants to ride if needed. Transportation will be provided from the museum. Times are to be determined. A morning tour may be added since last year’s tour was sold out. There will again be re-enactments of historical figures buried in the cemetery, but those are yet to be selected. Tickets are $5 each.

Let’s Light the Christmas Tree

The annual Christmas Tree Lighting will be at 5:30 p.m., Thurs., Dec. 5, in the museum side yard. It is sponsored by the Uptown Improvement Association (UIA) in concert with the museum. The museum will be open and activities are in the planning stages.