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Early days in Climax : reminiscences. Francis Hodgman. Page 44-45.
The following is a really interesting excerpt about a building that stood in Climax, Michigan. The building was called the Ide Building.
"THE building which for many years has been known as the Ide Building was built by Wm. E. Sawyer, in 1856, and was, at that time, the finest building anywhere near Clinmx Corners. It was built for both a store and a dwelling, with a hall for public uses over the store. This hall, known as Union Hall, was used for all sorts of gatherings - religious meetings and dances, singing school, political meetings, and schoolroom. The Good Templars, Masons, Odd Fellows, and Grangers each in turn used it for a lodge room. Sawyer lived in the building and kept the store until just before the Civil War, when he moved to California, leaving his property in the hands of his son-in-law, M. S. Bowen, who had there wooed and won his bride.. Bowen was a lawyer, but he ran the store for a year or two, when it was sold to D. H. Daniels, who kept the store until about the close of the war. Then it came into the possession of John B. Ide, in whose family it remained for a great many years, until finally transferred to T. B. Eldred. It would take a pretty long article to chronicle even briefly all the occupants and the varied uses to which the building has been put since Sawyer built it. Some of them are referred to in the verses.
How many a tale this old building could tell
Of strange things it has known in its day,
Of things that have happened within its old shell,
And now passed from our knowledge away.
Of the folks who have dwelt in its sheltering fold;
Of the artisans plying their trades;
Of the orgies and rites and the creepy things told
At the lodge in its mystical shades.
Here the merchant hath measured his yards of cloth,
The cobbler hath cobbled his shoes;
The lover hath plighted his solemn troth,
And the printer hath printed the news.
The doctor hath dealt out his doses of pills;
The milliner fashioned her hats;
The druggist hath furnished the poison that kills,
And the housekeeper poisoned the rats.
The fiddler hath fiddled while others have danced;
The singer hath sung his best tune;
The boy on his broomstick hath capered and pranced,
And the baby has cried for the moon.
Good Templars have told of the curses of rum,
And the rumseller sold by the drinks;
The Free Mason here to his lodgeroom hath come,
And the Odd Fellow put up his links.
The soldier hath gone from its halls to the wars,
And the women have cheered him away;
The Granger led blindfolded men o'er the bars,
And the preacher hath taught men to pray.
The teacher hath taught and the pupil hath learned,
And the butcher hath handled his beef;
At midnight his candle the lawyer has burned,
As he studied the points of his brief.
The builder who built it, he builded it well;
A mansion it seemed in a way;
Now, nobody living its story can tell,
Or of all it has seen in its day.
Its walls are now battered and spotted and worn:
No longer we view it with pride,
As we did in the days ere its glory was shorn -
Days of Sawyer and Bowen and Daniels and Ide. "
Early days in Climax : reminiscences. Francis Hodgman. Page 24.
In an interesting connection with the Ide building in Kalamazoo, here is an account of a log house that was apparently built on that location prior to the Ide building and which also was a source of dancing and fiddling. What is also interesting is the existence of a dancing school in Climax in the first half of the 1800s. Dancing schools were a common aspect of life, as dancing was central to social activities and interaction in many communities. There would generally be a dancemaster, in this case the tavern keeper and fiddler Reuben L. Coe, who taught people the socially important dances of the day.
"More than half a century ago John J. Rice, a tailor, built a house on the corner now occupied by the Ide building. After living in it and keeping shop in it for several years he sold it, if the writer remembers aright, to Reuben L. Coe, who kept tavern in it and taught dancing school and fiddled for dances. Later John Clermont kept hotel in it. He had three sons, the youngest one of whom was at one time one of the most noted swindlers and forgers in the United States. The building came into possession of Wm. E. Sawyer about 1854. He lived in it and kept a small stock of general merchandise. A year or two later it burned down and Sawyer erected the present building in its stead."
History of Kalamazoo county, Michigan. Samuel W. Durant. Page 371.
Here is a humorous excerpt, no doubt a situation familiar to many family members, roommates, neighbors, and other associates of fiddlers, today. In this case, the situation was turned into an amusing poem.
"The school-teacher, James Allen Knight, was passionately fond of taking down the fiddle and the bow,' and regaling his leisure hours with the sweet Cremonan strains that he knew how to make from the sensitive strings. But into the adjoining room of his friend Avery, the Shaker, these strains did not come in such sweet measure. What was pleasure to the fiddler was becoming torture to him who was compelled to listen to the fiddling. We give a verse of a poem that appeared in the T'ocsin at this time, entitled 'The Fiddler's Lament':
"' Oh, Allen! oh, Allen! how you do torture me;
Surely you'll kill me as dead as a stone;
All the while sawing, and rasping, and scraping me,
Surely you'll scrape all the flesh from my bones.' "