NEWS

We're Incorporated

Beautify Pullman became incorporated in the State of Michigan on October 13, 2020. Charitable Solicitation Approval was received from the Office of the Attorney General on October 16, 2020.

We're a 501(c)(3)

Beautify Pullman received 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status from the IRS on December 12, 2020.

Community Beautification Lifts Spirits and More

Did you know that beauty is among the top three most influential factors in community attachment? Beautify Pullman is working hard inspire community spirit through beautification. You can read more about the benefits of community beautification and some interesting opportunities for beautification in this article.

Beautify Pullman featured in the Holland Sentinel, March 18, 2021

 

 

 

Beautify Pullman presents to the Lee Township Board April 12, 2021

On Monday, April 12th, Beautify Pullman made a presentation of its accomplishments and Plans to the Lee Township Board and community.  

Pullman Parks Initiative 

On Monday, September 13, 2021, Beautify Pullman made a presented a plan to improve Pullman's parks to the Lee Township Board and community.  

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10,000 years ago Southwest Michigan, including Pullman, was completely covered by glaciers; glaciers which are thought to have been up to a mile thick. The Great Lakes were carved out by glaciers and so were the 11,000 inland lakes in Michigan, 6 of which are located within Lee Township. Our soil was enriched by deposits left behind the glaciers, resulting in the rich farmland we see all around us and in which the most delicious fruit and vegetables are grown.


During this period huge creatures roamed our area including Castorides, a 250 pound beaver, the Jefferson mammoth and the American Mastodon. Over 300 Mastodon fossils have been found in Michigan.


In just the blink of an eye in geologic time we fast forward to the time of the Hopewell people, a confederation of tribes that utilized a vast trading system, stretching from Lee Township to Florida. The Hopewell, specifically a tribe called the Goodall, lived in our area between 2 and 3 thousand years ago and were responsible for the mounds that still exist in our township.

Blink your eyes again and we have arrived in the nineteenth century. The Potawatomi were residing in our community but being pushed West under the Indian Removal Act. Leopold and Simon Pokagon, father and son, lived part of their lives in Lee Township, they were very well known and well educated members of the St. Joseph Tribe.

In 1844 Thomas Scott was the original and lone settler of Lee Township. Both Upper and Lower Scott Lakes are named after him. He farmed and hunted here between 1844 and 1849. He left our area to join the forty-niners and headed west to California where he was reported to have made a fortune gold mining on the Pacific Slope.


The lumber companies arrived in 1858 and the Township was organized in 1859. Thomas Raplee was the first Supervisor and the Township was named for a portion of his last name. 4 sawmills were operating in Lee Township by 1872 and the town center was called Hoppertown. On July 15, 1901 the citizens renamed Hoppertown "Pullman."

In 1898 George K. Taylor purchased a grocery store from Richard Blanchard. He threw himself into a variety of business interests; he was instrumental in having the pickle factory moved from Bravo to Pullman in 1901, He was renown for his "spot cash"system, his expanded grocery stock and his lumberyard. He was a produce broker and also purchased 14 acres on Lower Scott Lake, developing it into a summer resort. In addition to all of his other enterprises he was also a farmer. In 1912 Taylor, Hunziger and Seymour went into business together and developed the H.T.S. store. It took up most of a city block, had a 2nd story of goods and operated an ice cream parlour in the summers. A portion of the original building remains and is still selling groceries as Preferred Market.

A history as rich and varied as ours requires several blog posts--more to follow!

Beautify Pullman, with the cooperation of Frontier Communications,is very excited to have engaged the talents of muralist Conrad Kauffman. He will be featuring Pullman history on the Frontier building. Mr. Kauffman, who grew up in nearby Bangor, will be depicting significant events in our timeline, from the Mound Builders to the logging industry and settlers, the railroad and much more. He will be working with several high school artists and photographing residents, who will have their faces added to the mural. Mr. Kauffman has done a number of murals in downtown Kalamazoo and we are delighted he will be painting ours. We are also planning a number of "selfie walls" on local businesses, some for fun and some depicting endangered local flora and fauna. Selfie walls are just what they sound like--you take a photo of your selfie in front of them!


Deborah Laraway

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Updated: Jan 17


Pullman, in Lee Township Michigan, has some unique history predating European settlement. This story begins with the Hopewell Indian tradition. The Hopewell were not a single tribe or culture, but instead a grouping of Native Americans that lived a similar lifestyle. Their range extended from Ontario, Canada down to Florida and from the Atlantic coast westward to the Great Plains. This culture thrived from approximately 100 B.C. to 400 A.D.


The Hopewell Indian tradition included building ceremonial and burial mounds. Some of these mounds contained the remains of leaders, but the mounds were more often ceremonial centers. Only a small number of intact mounds remain in Michigan. Many were built upon by European settlers. Two large groups of interest exist in Michigan, one close to Detroit and the other close to Grand Rapids. Mounds have been found to contain not only skeletons, but also hunting tools, pottery, and copper artifacts that were sometimes sourced hundreds of miles away. Some experts believe that a few of the mounds may be lunar calendars. Most scholars agree that the building was done by separate communities and tribes working together. Mysteriously, the Hopewell abandoned mound building and their trade routes that connected the Northeast and Midwest to the South were forgotten.


How does this all relate to Pullman? Located within the Allegan State Game Area are hidden mounds! The location has been kept secret by authorities to keep them protected. Allowing public access would threaten these cultural treasures. You may have stumbled upon them unknowingly as they are overgrown with vegetation. There are no plans to ever research or excavate these sites.


Centuries after the Hopewell, southwest Michigan became home to the Potawatomi tribe. During European settlement in Michigan, a local Native born to the Ojibwe tribe but raised as Potawatomi, Leopold Pokagon, worked with the settlers to protect his people’s heritage and lands. He and his wife Elizabeth converted to Catholicism believing that working with the church in an alliance would spare his tribe. He was correct. While other Native American communities were forced to move west of the Mississippi River, the conversion to Catholicism saved the Potawatomi of the St. Joseph River Valley. They became the Pokagon Band of the Potawatomi and Leopold Pokagon became their chief. All of the Potawatomi tribes of Northern Indiana and Southwest Michigan were united under one leader. Today, the Pokagon tribe remains unified in Michigan and Indiana.


The mission of Beautify Pullman includes supporting the preservation of Pullman’s history. There are stories of artifacts such as arrowheads found throughout Pullman and Lee Township. When the clinic was built on 109th Avenue, Native American artifacts were found and were moved into storage with the state’s archeologist at the Michigan Historic Preservation Office in Lansing. Perhaps in the future, those artifacts and more can be on display right here in Pullman.


We can honor the early Native Americans residents of Pullman by honoring their plants. As we continue to work in Lee Township and Pullman, our landscaping plans will use as many native plant species as possible. Knowing that hidden deep in the game area is a special piece of history right here at home inspires us to tie together the past and the future. There is an ongoing discussion about creating a mural on the Frontier building at 56th and 109th. Our vision is to create a mural which celebrates the diverse history and cultures of Pullman, from the Hopewell to today. Perhaps a future landscape design will have a serpent shaped berm signifying a ceremonial mound. The possibilities are endless when we work together as a community to preserve and celebrate our history.

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Beautify Pullman began as a small group of motivated people brainstorming ways to give Pullman a much needed makeover at the corner of 56th and 109th. Luck brought Beautify Pullman and me together one day in 2018 when I stopped in at Pullman for a pizza. I was asked if I was interested in creating a landscape design, and that was the beginning of a three-year creative collaboration.


My name is Christopher Hart and I am a landscape designer and MSU alumni in horticulture. I am currently the Head Horticulturalist and Landscape Supervisor at Inisfree Farm in Pullman, which dates back to 1893. I am working to restore native Michigan plant species to the historic property. I also work with the Allegan Conservation District.


The prominent southeast corner of 56th street & 109th avenue where the Frontier building is located was my first design. A new, expanded walkway was designed to create a small patio as a gathering place for community events. A formal design was chosen here using straight lines of shrubs and perennials, symbolic of a train track. Pullman was an important train stop for local industry in its earlier days, and incorporating the history of Pullman in the designs was requested by the Beautify Pullman group. Lack of irrigation at this corner was the major factor in plant selection. Therefore, drought tolerant species were chosen. Ornamental onion, blue fescue grass, and Lavender require no irrigation. They are planted formally but they have enough wild appeal that they will still give a country feel. Creating a low-maintenance area was important to the design also. The perennials need one quick fall clean-up and that is all. The shrubs chosen are not tall enough to hinder visibility of traffic, and need little, if any, pruning. The red/purple leaves on the Ginger Wine Ninebark ground the area with their rich color. Shrubs can be used as an excellent lighting scaffold for winter decorating. Small stone was chosen as the base for the planting because it is permanent. A bench, trash receptacle, and a large concrete planter embossed with the words “Welcome to Pullman” will complete the landscape.


The next space designed was the original gas station building across the intersection, which is now a small history museum. The goal was to make the space feel more welcoming. The guard rail will be partially or completely removed to allow easier access for pedestrians. The same factors for plant selection at the Frontier property were applied here. Some of the same species are in this design as well to create cohesiveness. A small paver walkway is planned. Hot pink, fragrant butterfly bush will add sweet scent along with Lavender. A small ornamental dogwood tree will bring spring flowers, purple summer fruit, and red fall color. Whimsical, yellow/green hostas, with corkscrew leaves, enhance the dogwood. Again, there are some formal elements to this design but the plants are bouncy and have wild characteristics. The shrubs and trees can be used for holiday decorating in this location as well.


Lastly, a landscape design for the Pullman Post Office was conceived. It is a very simple design with hedges on the north and south side of the building. On the south side, Fothergilla offers fragrant, white bottlebrush flowers in spring before leaves emerge, followed by orange/red/purple fall color. As a groundcover beneath, Sweet Alyssum gives white, pink, and purple color all season. It is a sweetly fragrant plant to enjoy for pedestrians as they walk by. On the north side of the building, Oakleaf Hydrangea was selected for summer blooms after Fothergilla has stopped flowering. The large cone-shaped flowers open white and transform into dark pink by late summer. They can remain dried and brown all winter for interest. Burgundy leaves in autumn really shine on this species. The hedges will make excellent additional lighting to the large Spruce nearby during the holiday season.


Altogether, these designs work in unison to provide a new feel to Pullman while maintaining a rural aesthetic. If all the shrubs were decorated for winter, downtown Pullman would glow. Planters have been chosen to line 109th where there is no greenspace. This is only the beginning for this group’s intentions. The empty lot across from Frontier is a blank palette at this time. What would you like to see there? A sidewalk? Some modern businesses? A park? With your help, it can be anything!


More information on these designs and plants can be found at www.beautifypullman.org/projects.




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