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                        Fennville's 20th Century Postoffice 
                                              was below the
                  OLD
         OPERA
HOUSE
This
IMAGE LINKS
to a list of all
Post Masters
in Fennville!

                                                                                                      I remember this building well.
                                                       In 1947, I picked up papers every morning at the Post Office.
The Restaurant was my 1st delivery.  My name is LaVerne Bouwman. Then I lived on Walter Street.

 Fennville Opera House

In the fall of 1901, Leonard S. Dickinson started having foundation stone hauled to build a 40-foot by 80-foot brick building at the North-East corner of Main and Maple streets in Fennville. It was to be a fine addition to Fennville's business area.

The second story has an 18 feet ceiling made of steel. with three offices located in the front part of the building, under the opera house gallery.

The building opened in October of 1902. The Opera House seated 150 but by close seating could accommodate 500 persons. The ground floor displayed Mr. Dickinson's vehicles, machinery, etc.

The Opera house operated for many years, until 1917 when movie theaters cut into the business. In 1920 the local American Legion took a long lease and the house became the Legion Hall.  Boxing and Wrestling was featured for raising funds. Shortly though the hall was closed for lack of Fire Exits. The fan-shaped window was boarded up in 1977 because of wood damage. 
                                                  From the Book "Fennville, Village to City" by Kit Lane


Leonard S. Dickinson arrived in Fennville in 1876. My grandfather would tell the story that Leonard carried a dresser into town on his back, and set up shop. In addition to the dresser he purchased some common hardware items, and started the business. He took on a business partner, F. S. Raymond, and in 1882, the partners moved into a new brick block which was three stores wide, beginning
with the bank at the southeast corner of Maple and Main. The brick block burned in 1885 and was replaced with a similar structure.  Before 1900 Leonard took brother Charles A. Dickinson into the partnership, dissolving the partnership with Mr. Raymond, creating. the firm of Dickinson Brother's Hardware. In 1901 Leonard built the opera house block on the north side of Main Street. Implements occupied the main floor, and vaudeville shows were 'all the go' onthe Opera House floor. The Main floor would become many different businesses over the years, including dry goods, Post Office, beauty salon, restaurant (more than once), and a children's clothing store. Next to the Opera House building, L. S. Dickinson built a double store for Dickinson Brothers that housed buggies and implements with a new structure above built for the Oddfellows.
From: Fennville News Letter
My "CAN DO MOM" started to work at the Post Office in 1946
after she was no longer needed in the WWII Plane Making Factories. 
George DuVall hired her where she worked
along side Evelyn Hanson at the Lobby windows.

The OLD
STAGE
is still there!

A 1982 view of the opera house stage taken from the balcony.  The frame of the fan-shaped window is at right.  The painted cupid was located in the dark area, just below the beam in the center of the arch.
The Original
      Dickinson's
                 HARDWARE

It appears Leonard lived on the Dickinson properties North of town on the New Richmond Road. He was breading livestock.
"SEE MAP"

I drew this building plan
by memory.
I hope it's not too far off.

The mail was taken from the trains, put onto hand held mail carts and pulled to the Post Office. The man I remember pulling the one cart Fennville had, lived across from the Consumers Power Office. He pulled it right along the sidewalk in front of Tabor's Drugstore, past Dickinson's Hardware, around the corner, unloaded at Post office back door and parked the cart, on the side walk, by the back door.