The Not-So-Promised Land: The Dutch in Amelia County, Virginia, 1868-1880

Albertus C. Van Raalte (painting)

Tuesday, September 8, 2015 – 7:30 p.m.
Maas Center Auditorium, Hope College
264 Columbia Avenue, Holland

After establishing a successful Dutch colony in Holland, Michigan in 1847, Albertus C. Van Raalte turned his attention to the warmer climes of Amelia County, Virginia, where he attempted to establish a second colony. Join Janet Sheeres as she presents the first major study of the Amelia settlement, a carefully researched account of that colonization attempt, with a thorough analysis of why it failed.

New Online Tutorial for Researchers Launched

The first of a planned five tutorials about the Joint Archives of Holland at Hope College has been launched on our website under About the Archives link. The first tutorial is a simple introduction to the Archives, its mission, collections, our location and hours of we are open to the public. We look forward to launching more as they are created and giving our researches from around the world a better idea of who we are and how we can assist them with their research projects.

RCA Missionaries to China

Rev. Henry Veenschoten conducting a funeral service with his wife, Stella, at the organ, ca. 1940s.
Rev. Henry Veenschoten conducting a funeral service with his wife, Stella, at the organ, ca. 1940s.

Our latest issue of the Joint Archives Quarterly contains articles written by recent Hope College graduates as part of the history department research grant to study the role of RCA missionaries to eastern China:

  • The Dual Calling of Missionary Wives: A Look at the Reformed Church of America in China, 1917-1951, by Victoria Henry
  • Hope and Wilhelmina Hospital School of Nursing: The Role of Missionary Nurses in Xiamen, China, by Katelyn Dickerson
  • Faith and Humanitarian Aid in Wartime China, 1937-1941


Howard Avenue Before the Flagstar Bank

If you pass over the Unity Bridge from Holland’s south side to the north side you will see that a new Flagstar Bank is being built on the east side of River Avenue. This site was once a triangle formed by Howard Avenue, River Avenue, and Douglas Avenue. At the turn of the 20th century this area was largely untouched and the roads were made of sand and maybe some gravel. This image was taken near that site and farther east (D&W store site), looking southwest over the old steel bridge and into Holland between 1901 and 1904.Black River and Bridge #1

Local Man Served as Guard for the Body of President Abraham Lincoln

John Douma

Johannes “John” Douma (1847-1939) from Holland, Michigan was a veteran of the U.S. Civil War serving with the 24th Michigan Infantry. He also served as a guard for President Abraham Lincoln’s body, along with Graafschap native Mattheus Notier, before it was interred at Springfield, Illinois in May1865. After returning to Holland he farmed a plot of land near M-40, married in 1872, and fathered ten children. He passed away in 1939, the last Civil War veteran living in Holland.

If you would like to learn more about Douma his archival collection is held at the Joint Archives of Holland at Hope College. The collection (H12-1814) contains his scrapbook and military papers dating from 1897-1932.


Holland Area Historical Society Will Present “Elzinga & Volkers: A Unique Experience”

Elizinga & Volkers Employees copy

The Holland Area Historical Society will present “Elzinga & Volkers: A Unique Experience” on Tuesday, April 14, 2015, at 7:30 p.m., at the Maas Auditorium, Hope College, 264 Columbia Avenue, Holland. This event is free to the public.

Elzinga & Volkers is a locally owned and operated Michigan corporation with headquarters in Holland, Michigan. Since its establishment in 1945, Elzinga & Volkers has been committed to creating lifelong clients through the simple principles of their mission statement: Listen, Solve, Satisfy. Join Paul and Marshall Elzinga, the company’s past presidents, for a look back at the rich history of this company.

Remarkable Ramona Park

ramona park

On Tuesday, March 10 at 7:30 p.m., the Holland Area Historical Society will host a program titled “Remarkable Ramona Park.”  The presentation will be held in the Maas Auditorium, located at 264 Columbia Avenue on the Hope College campus in Holland.  The public is invited, and admission is free.

Situated on the shores of Reeds Lake in East Grand Rapids, from 1903 through 1954, Ramona Park resembled Holland’s Jenison Electric Park. Join author Mrs. Gail Snow as she tells the story of this west Michigan amusement park through narrative, photographs, newspaper clippings, and stories. Signed books will be available for purchase.


World War II Life in the “Old Home Town” – Part Two

On Tuesday, February 10 at 7:30, the Holland Area Historical Society will host a program titled “World War II Life in the ‘Old Home Town’ – Part Two.”  The presentation will be held in the Maas Auditorium, Maas Conference Auditorium, Hope College, 264 College Ave., Holland, Michigan.  (PLEASE NOTE CHANGE OF LOCATION)

In observance of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, local historian and author Randy Vande Water concludes his presentation of Holland’s civilian and military participation in World War II. Topics will include Selective Service (Draft), civil defense and bonds, Tulip Time, National Guard and Pearl Harbor.