L-R: Barbara Martin, Dawn Kelley, Connie Fales at Hackley Library looking at their notes on digitizing the Montague Observer.
By Fran Schattenberg and Robyn Goodman
One would think that the sheer boxed mass of 100 years of the Montague Observer newspaper (1889-1981) might have been beyond anyone’s scope, but the late Henry Roesler, former Mayor of Montague, took on the challenge.
Garry Olson, president of Lakeshore Document Services (that accomplished the digitization of the newspapers) recounts the initial discovery as “Henry told me that he found them in a garage about to be thrown out, so he took them home and put them in the Montague Museum.”
Just as the initial discovery was serendipity, the Lakeshore Document Services involvement in the Observer newspapers is in the same category. The Muskegon County Genealogical Society, whose primary sleuth, Dawn Kelley could give Sherlock Holmes a run for his money, contacted Garry Olson because the Society had heard about film of the Observer at the Montague Library. Kelley also mentioned there was a “rumor” about the originals being at the Montague Museum.
Olson continues that he “contacted Henry, and met him at the Museum. I could not believe my eyes! There they were, nearly 100 years of a newspaper that had been mostly gone and forgotten.”
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