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NEws & Updates


I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” the theme of the holiday display at the Edwardsburg Area Historical Museum, runs through Dec. 16, when the museum will close for the winter months.

Display Volunteers Judy Montgomery and Laura Jamrog have decorated the museum’s tall tree with tinsel, tinsel garland, old-style ornaments and lights. They also are staging a small scene from the museum’s Eastlake parlor set with a military family. Toys adorn the tree skirt and trimmings of pine are included.

As part of the display, the museum received several hundred poinsettia cards with envelopes. The poinsettia painting from which the cards were printed, was done in 1990 by the late Jill Boepple, a museum, member, volunteer, artist, and daughter of the museum’s founder, JoAnn Boepple. These are being sold in packages of five.’

The museum is open from 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesdays though Fridays, and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays.


The scope of local architectural design, both in homes and other buildings, will be the main focus of the 2023 season at the Edwardsburg Area Historical Museum. Cap that with a traditional “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” display, and this year’s exhibits promise eclectic photographic images and special touches by the museum’s volunteers.

“Edwardsburg Architecture Throughout the Years” will include structures from the museum’s entire geographic area, and will be captured in two parts. The first, focused on houses, will run from May 16 through Aug. 20. The second will highlight special buildings, including structures on the state and/or National Registry of Historic Places.  Dates for that exhibit will be Aug. 22 through Oct. 31.

The third and final exhibit will be compiled by the museum’s advisory design committee, headed by Laura Jamrog and Judy Montgomery. “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” will include pieces from the museum’s collection. It will run from Nov. 3 through Dec. 16.

Local architectural photography by Bonnie Elder and Maureen Barnosky will capture special features of up to 20 homes in the museum’s coverage area in the first exhibit. Included will be both homes that are historic in nature, and homes more recently constructed. The exhibit will target everything from rural homes in the 1800s to homes in neighborhoods outside of the Village of Edwardsburg, including lake houses. Emphasis will be on architectural styles and information on the owners and builders, all put into a timeline.

Additional pieces associated with the homes throughout the district will be presented.

The architectural exhibits will be complemented by an evening lecture on June 15 by Edwardsburg Native and Architect Tony Leininger.

The museum is open from 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays from mid-May to mid-December each year.


Tony Leininger

7 p.m.

Thurs., June 15

Architecture in rural areas often has been labeled ‘vernacular,’ meaning that it combined defined architectural styles with what was functional and locally available in terms of materials. That will be the focal point of a June presentation by Tony Leininger, who grew up in Edwardsburg and, because of needed additional space, recently based his business in Niles.

Leininger was reared on Eagle Lake, where he watched the construction of his family’s home, and which, he says, instilled in him ‘my love for architecture.’

An Edwardsburg High School graduate, he received his bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Cincinnati in 1985.

He founded the CARMI Design Group and has decades of architectural and engineering experience. He has designed and managed the construction of various projects throughout the Midwest. Those include educational and healthcare facilities, and religious, office, retail, industrial, and residential buildings. Leininger also has been extensively involved with professional associations and local organizations, and has volunteered locally for the museum, the Barnswallow Theatre, and the Edwardsburg Food Pantry.

He has received numerous awards for his work.

His lecture will complement the museum’s two architectural exhibits this summer and fall. He will focus on the works that are on display and encourage those in attendance to be part of the dialogue. Because he says that he ‘loves porches,’ they will be included in his presentation.

Bill and Julie Stack

7 p.m.,

Thurs., Aug. 17

Longtime Resident Bill Stack and his daughter, Julie, will speak about their lives in Edwardsburg when they speak at the museum in August. Bill, who moved from Niles to Edwardsburg when he was six, graduated from Edwardsburg High School in 1952. He served in the United States Air Force, and married his wife, Genevieve (Genny), in 1954. She died in 2016. After his discharge, he worked part-time for his father, George Stack, in his local auto repair business, and full-time for Williams Products and Belvedere Corporation, both in Elkhart.

Stack is past commander of the American Legion, belongs to the Edwardsburg St. Peter’s Masonic Lodge, serves on the Mason Township Fire Board, and continues to volunteer for the Edwardsburg Fire Department, on which his son, Bruce, is fire chief and his grandson, Kevin, is a captain.

Julie Stack, who resides with her dad as his caregiver, graduated from Edwardsburg High School in 1979 and Western Michigan University with a bachelor’s degree in history. She has been an active member of the Edwardsburg Fire Auxiliary since its creation.

Tom and Marje Rea

7 p.m.

Thurs., Sept. 21

Tom and Marje Rea have been Edwardsburg residents since 1959. And they have a lot of stories to tell about their lives in the community.

 He is a retired doctor and she, a retired nurse practitioner. They met when she was a nursing student at Indianapolis General Hospital and he was working there to earn money for medical school. They married and lived in a mobile home park until he finished medical school.

Dr. Rea practiced with Dr. Hansel Foley in Edwardsburg and then had his own medical office built on Gateway Drive in Edwardsburg in 1963. They lived at Eagle Lake where they reared their four children. In 1978, he coaxed Marj away from their home to spend the winter in the 1882-three-story Victorian brick house that needed repairs on Section Street. They purchased the house and, over the years, they did extensive renovations as well as conduct Halloween tours, welcome Christmas carolers, host bridge club meetings, and numerous social gatherings and celebratory parties. They sold the house in 2006 after they moved to a new home in Woodfield Hills at Dailey Road and Pine Lake Street.

Dr. Rea sold his practice to Elkhart General Hospital in 1985 and, after five years, moved to the hospital’s Bristol office. Marj worked first for Cass County Health Department, then became a nationally certified women’s health nurse practitioner, working for the merged Cass-Van Buren Health Department.

Both have been extensively involved with community—with the Miss Edwardsburg Pageant, and the youth group at the former Edwardsburg Methodist Church. Marje Rea served on the Edwardsburg Public Schools Board of Trustees for nearly eight years and has been involved with the Monday Evening Club and the Edwardsburg Book Club.

As a physician, Dr. Rea ‘helped out’ with the Edwardsburg sports teams, sang in the community choir, sang in a barbershop group, and was an associate medical examiner with Dr. Robert Knox for Cass County. He was president of the Edwardsburg Methodist Church Board, and as well as the Cass County Mental Health Foundation. Both he and his wife were instrumental in working with the Barn Swallow Theatre where he was board president for 13 years, and both continue their involvement with that group.

Jack and Sue Rinehart

7 p.m.

Thurs., Oct. 19

Jack Rinehart, who as a former teacher and coach at Edwardsburg Public Schools, is an inductee into the EPS Hall of Fame, will be joined by his wife, Sue, to talk about their work and service to the community when they speak in October.

Well known for their community projects, including the Hope with Feet home repairs program through the Hope United Methodist Church, the Rineharts were reared here. She is a native, the former Susan Higley, and he was born in Mishawaka but grew up in Edwardsburg, He was a 1964 graduate of EHS, where he was a class officer, played football, and was a member of the first Eddies wrestling team. Sue graduated in 1971 and she and Jack met at Southwestern Michigan College after his service in the U.S. Navy.

With a bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University, he taught at Hanover-Horton High School, then Union City High School. He returned to Edwardsburg in 1985 where he taught lifelong skills to students, and was a coach for varsity wrestling, football, track and middle school level sports. He coached the Eddies to two state runner-up wrestling titles, the first year as an assistant, the second, as head coach. The second year, he was named regional wrestling coach of the year.

He has been actively involved in mission work for Hope Church, serving in the states, as well as in the Caribbean Sea. He and Susan have reared six children and will share stories and recollections of their lives here.


The museum is packing its season this year with several new events, including ‘kiddy’ activities for Memorial Day, the Van Dyke Band performance in July, and a cemetery tour in September. That is in addition to its displays and speaker series (see separate stories) and three annual fundraisers—the plant sale in May and June, Hacienda Day in June, and the U.S. 12 Garage Sale the second full weekend in August.

First up: PLANTS

This season’s perennial plant sale will add new plants and color when it runs from May 19 through June 10. Several reblooming daylilies and multi-colored peonies will be featured this year along with traditional perennials, patio and cemetery pots, and more flowers, including hostas, from the grounds of the Italianate-style Barber house on Section Street. Several community residents again will contribute plants. The museum also thinned out its transfer garden in the fall and will have more than 100 pots of zebra grass and daylilies for sale.  

The sale is open during museum hours and runs over two weekends prior to Memorial Day, and then for an additional 11 days.


The museum’s new activities committee, headed by Volunteer Judy Wetter, is teaming up with the Edwardsburg Area Chamber of Commerce and the Uptown Improvement Association to offer a children’s carnival for children on the museum grounds from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Memorial Day. This will complement the annual festival at Gunn Park. Activities will include ‘Gone Fishing,’ a Duck Pond, Pick-A-Pop, Velcro Target, and a Bean Bag Toss. There also will be photo opportunities for children and adults. Tickets will be 4 for $1.


This will be the third year for the Hacienda Day fundraiser which will be June 21 at the Mishawaka Hacienda on Grape Road. Participants must produce a coupon (available at the museum) in advance of 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.


Then, on July 15, a performance by the Van Dyke Band will be featured on the museum’s back deck. The performance is part of the band’s 2023 Nicest Place in America tour. The band’s rhythm guitarist and songwriter, Dave Van Dyke, nominated his hometown of Buchanan for Reader’s Digest’s “Nicest Place in America,” in 2020.  Buchanan won and Van Dyke was featured on national media, including the Today Show. The band was founded in 1999 by Dave and his father, John Van Dyke. Edwardsburg will be the ninth of 16 stops on the tour.


The third and most prolific annual fundraiser, the U.S. 12 garage sale, will be held on museum grounds, from Thurs., Aug. 10 through Sun., Aug. 13. Booth space will be available with details provided on the museum’s Facebook page.


The final additional activity will be a tour of the Edwardsburg Cemetery on Sept. 30. Transportation will be provided from the museum. Tickets will be available in advance.