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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.  

Feb 23, 2022 - Beautify Pullman Awarded $100,000 Grant

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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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Updated: Oct 30, 2020



Welcome to Beautify Pullman! Over the last few months as this project began to expand and develop, we brainstormed ideas for a logo. We were looking to find an image clearly identifiable as Pullman as well as to represent the concept of beautification.

The “station” built in 1925 is a classic and is recognizable to everyone who lives or passes through Pullman. After the station stopped pumping gas in 1990, it continued as a body shop until 1995 on the northeast corner of 109th and 56th. Later it was moved across the street to its current location. Its presence reminds us of an earlier time and makes us wonder what things were like back then. It already contains a collection of many photos and artifacts from Pullman’s past. Sharing its history and supporting its preservation as a landmark were already a priority for Beautify Pullman, so it was a natural to become the centerpiece of our logo.

When it came to representing “beautify”, it was one of our local historians, Debbie Laraway, who began talking about the pickle processing plant that was active in Pullman for many years until in the 1950s. While it was owned by a man from Dorr, it was run by Gunnar Berg from Pullman. The pickle processing plant was located on what had been the lumber yard behind where the Pullman Supply/McNamara’s building is now. Debbie’s dad told her stories about how local farmers got their seed from the plant, grew the pickles, and brought them back for processing. There was a sidearm to the track so that train cars could come right next to the plant and deliver seed and pick up pickles. The plant was elevated and the pickles were made in huge vats and then literally moved by wheelbarrows and loaded right into the train car.

The “pickle flower” represented in the logo is found on the vines where pickles get their start. The role of hard-working local farmers, pickle processing, and of course, the train in Pullman’s development over the years can all be remembered in the beauty of this flower.


Thank you to Bill Pyke and Picture This, LLC of Grand Rapids for creating our logo.

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