Mason Township Historical Data
The MASON TOWNSHIP HALL, located on the corner of Kessington Road and US 12, was built in 1874-75. The Victorian-style building of yellow and red brick was built at an original cost of $3,000. The mixture of brick is unique of structures in the area and all of the brick was made locally within a four to five mile radius.
The two-room school accomodated up to 110 students and employed two full-time teachers. It was at one time known as the Sailor School and later as the Kessington School. It was used for classes until 1959 when it was purchased by the Constantine School District.
The building has retained its original intent as a place of learning, having served as a public building throughout its 125+year history. It was purchased in 1964 by the Mason Township Board for use as a township hall.
In February 1973 the Cass County Library established the Mason-Union Branch Library in the Township Hall. The library became a branch of the Cass District Library in 1993.
The building is listed on the Michigan Register and also on the National Register of Historical Places under its original name, "District Number 5 Schoolhouse".
In 1987 a building project restored the building's interior to its original decor. In 1993 the Township Board established an office in the building that currently houses all Township public records and the Mason-Union Branch of the Cass District Library.
The original bell that once was seated in a bell tower atop the District No. 5 Schoolhouse was brought back to the Township Hall in the fall of 1996 by Bill Hoffman, a resident and former student of School District No. 5.
The steel amalgam bell was cast in the 1870's by The Gould Mfg. Co. of Seneca Falls, New York. A page from the company's catalogue lists the No. 6 bell as being 28" in diameter and weighing 390 pounds. It came with a tolling attachment, all for the cost of $40.00.
It is believed that the bell was removed from the Schoolhouse in the 1960's, when the building was made into a Township Hall. It was thrown from the roof and damaged. A former supervisor of the Township is said to have housed the bell in his barn for some time, until a resident took ownership of the bell. It then traveled to Witchita, Kansas with that owner. It remained there for some time.
In 1995 the owner came to Mason Township and asked if the Board was interested in purchasing back the bell. Board members wished to preserve this piece of District No. 5 Schoolhouse and persued the return of the bell. Attempts to contact the owner proved futile. Bill and Jean Hoffman chose to take a vacation to Witchita in 1996 to retrieve the bell. They came back with it, had it repaired, and donated it to the Township.
A structure, donated by residents, houses the bell, preserving some of Mason Township's history for future generations.
A Special Thank You to:
Bill and Jean Hoffman - for purchasing the Bell and bringing it back to Mason Township. They are longtime residents of the Township, and Bill is a 1940 graduate of District No. 5 School.
Melvin and Shirley Stewart and Family - for their generous monitary gift to have the structure completed. The Stewarts, at that time, owned and operated Best Plastics, Inc., the largest employer in the community. They are longtime residents of Mason Township.
Mike Hibshman - for repairing the Bell. Mike is owner of Hibshman Screw Machine Products in Union, MI.
Larry Sharp - for all the concrete work and the roof construction. Larry is the owner of Larry Sharp Construction in Edwardsburg, MI.
Bill Johnson, Buck Jeru, and Tom Dull - for their labor to construct the structure. These men are area residents and contractors.
Mast Construction Company - for the drawings of the structure.
Fidler Concrete, Tom Harman, Homan Lumber, Fryman Construction - for construction materials.
Barbara Harman, Judy Hughes, Arlene Chew, Patrick Featherston, Joe Gibbs, Linda Gibbs, and Pam Wiedenmannott (the previous Township Board) - for taking the initiative to see that a piece of history be returned.
The Herman Bishop Family - for their support in the initial pursuit to purchase the Bell. They are lifetime residents of Mason Township.
Owen Wright, Linda Gibbs, Arlene Chew, Joe Gibbs, Dennis Thompson, Irene Thompson, and Pam Wiedenmannott (the current Township Board) - for supporting the decision to "Bring back the Bell".
The COPS Committee - for their support in making the celebration a memorable event.
Community Policing strives to bring safety to the community; they also partake in many other projects for the betterment of Mason Township and its beauty.
Those who brought pictures and stories to share in this historic moment.
Saumbera Wiedenmannott for helping Grandma prepare newsletters and invitations for mailing.
Information & Pictures of the 2001 Mason Township Hall Addition
from the groundbreaking on Thursday, 06/28/01
thru the Grand Opening on Thursday, 12/13/01