HISTORY INDEX>Jerome Village

Main Street Jerome [Click here to view full size picture]
The village of Jerome has a very interesting and busy history, however the written accounts are somewhat sketchy and void of any real timeline, We will attempt to gather some of the highlites and share with you here.

Did you know that some Jerome residents pronounce the name, "Drome" ?

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In 1871 the Village of Jerome was plotted in the NE quarter of section 19 near the west line of the Township of Somerset in the County of Hillsdale. The name Jerome came from Jerome Smith who was the proprietor of the land, The land was platted on April 18. 1871.

In the year 1874 Addison P. Cook and his wife offered the following pieces and parcels of land, namely lots (50, 51 and 52) in the village for use as a school, this transaction was taken for the large sum of one dollar and the "Love and effection" of the people of the district.

In 1874 there were 5 school house sites recorded in the Township and the population at the time was 539 males and 470 females.
At the same time the Township had 473 horses, 12 mules, 31 work oxen, and 523 milk cows.

The first white man to make his home in this area was James D. Van Hoevenberge who quickly moved on west to Jonesville.

The Brick Yard
In 1871 a Seth Aldrich whose ancestors came from Wales purchased 480 acres in Somerset Twp., In 1874 he commenced to manufacture earthenware.
His business was the first to manufacture drain tile in southern Michigan and his business later became Jerome Tile and Brick Co.

At this time Jerome had a populaton of 200 persons.
It was located on the D.T.& M and The L.S. & M Railroads. The two depots were 60 rods apart and were known as the "Upper and Lower" railroads.

The first Post Office was established in about 1871, the first Postmasters were Jerome Smith, Chas. Alley and Wm. P. Miner, who had it located in his store.
In this year Henry S. Walworth became Township Supervisor and R.A. Randoph became Twp. Superintendent of Schools.

The first Township school was taught by the daughter of Judge Herman Pratt, her name being Mrs. Clark, she taught a summer school , while the term was only 3 months it never the less had an enrollment of 4 or 6 pupils.

The tiny village of Jerome was not always a quiet little place, When State Representative Manser aided in getting the Jerome School consolidated where the Payne School was taken in by Jerome the people boycotted the town because of the consolidation, soon after most of the town mysteriously burned to the ground never to return to its once flourishing state. MORE INTERESTING PHOTO`S BELOW

Jerome Brick & Tile Co. [Click here to view full size picture]

  • Jerome had the first gas pump in Hillsdale County

  • All gasoline and oil arrived in barrels and drums via the railroads.

  • Jerome saw an average of 20 trains on the two lines that crossed just west of town.

  • Near the two depots there was a large stockyard

  • For a nickle a person could ride the train to Moscow

  • Jerome was one of the first three High Schools in the state to become consolidated.

  • Jerome was created because of the two railways crossing there.

  • Due to having the luxury of two rail depots there was a large amount of freight arrived and departed the area

  • In the early part of 1900s Jerome had several stores, a creamery, a 12 grade school, a Post Office,Two Rail Depots, seven factories and a fruit drying plant, said Keith and Donna Walworth both long time residents and descendants of the founders.

  • Keith`s father and uncle were in business together operating a store which became known as H.S.Walworth.

  • "Business in Jerome essentially stopped existing after two specific events took place, On June 5,1918 the east side of Main Street burned, and in 1929 the business buildings burned on the west side".

  • "Since it was in the middle of the depression and not long after the Stock market crash, there was not any money to rebuild any of the businesses", Keith said.

  • During the late 30s and throughout the 40s the only remaining two story building on the west side and owned by the Odd Fellows Lodge which maintained a large dance floor on the ground levle held Saturday night dances that drew dancers and revelers from afar and was regarded as "The place to go on Saturday night" The music was supplied by a live orchestra officiated by Wayne Miller of Jerome, the trombone player was Lewis aka Lewie McGee of then Jerome and later Moscow,(my Dad)

    Russell R. McGee
The Lakeshore crossover [Click here to view full size picture]
Its an old local story that tells of the trains on the lower track pouring on extra coal to smoke up the passenger trains passing overhead. The water on both sides of the tracks was caused by an artesion well that was struck when driving pilings for the bridge.
The two poles in the foreground had a cable across with ropes hanging down to warn anyone on top of the train to duck for the bridge.
main st. Jerome [Click here to view full size picture]
This photo must have been taken on Sunday (Main Street Jerome)
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