Ida’s Backyard History Club

While I was looking for information to post about Ida.. I came across a wonderful article about a young teacher at Ida Middle School that shares his passion with his students about his lifelong interest in this community.

Ida Schools can be very proud to have a caring teacher such as Jeremy Potter. He took it upon himself to form a club to teach student about the history of the place they are growing up… Ida, Michigan.

Kudos to Jeremy Potter……. This is the article that was posted by the Toledo Blade. I am sure you will enjoy reading about what this young man is doing for his students as well as his community.

Students pass down Ida history to others
8th graders share lore with 2nd graders

IDA, Mich. — On a late spring day, Carl’s Hide-a-Way was not just a neighborhood Mexican restaurant, and an Ida Street house with a “Congratulations Connor!” banner on the porch was not just a home with something to celebrate.

Instead, Carl’s, founded in 1963, provided an example of a family-owned business passed down through generations, and the house was evidence of the doctor’s office and pharmacy that once occupied its left half.

Those two buildings were among the historic sites highlighted that morning last week on a 90-minute walking tour led by a group of Ida Middle School eighth graders and their teacher, Jeremy Potter, for second graders at Ida Elementary School.

The middle school students are members of the Backyard History Club, an elective class that studies the history of this town of about 4,900. Mr. Potter, a 1992 graduate of Ida, said the idea for the club grew out of his lifelong interest in the community. To recruit his first group of students more than a decade ago, he hung posters around the middle school, urging aspiring historians to bring their lunches to Room 11 to learn more about the club.

That inaugural session, which attracted 15 students, was held Sept. 11, 2001. “I couldn’t tell you a thing I said in that first meeting. Our kids didn’t even know what was going on yet,” Mr. Potter said, describing the meeting that day as “surreal.”

Since that day, the club has gained popularity at the middle school. It transformed from a club into a class in 2004, and Mr. Potter said he receives an average of 50 applications for the 24 spaces in the class each year. The two dozen accepted students — selected by the previous year’s members — research and archive Ida history, produce the middle-school yearbook to raise money for their class, and teach second graders about the community.

Emily Alexander, 14, said the course has opened her eyes to the story of Ida and its people. She attributes the success of the class to Mr. Potter’s passion for the subject.

Karen Labert, a second grade teacher chaperoning the 45 students on Tuesday’s tour, praised the class and its partnership with her class. The Michigan Department of Education’s Grade Level Content Expectations stipulate that second grade classes should cover community history.

Classes and tours at the elementary school led by the history class began two years ago and have become an integral part of Ida’s second grade curriculum.

“The kids get really excited when eighth graders come in,” Ms. Labert said. “It’s just so different when you have kids teaching kids.”

That excitement was evident as the younger students walked around Ida, waving their hands to answer questions about historic churches and shops and teetering on their toes to get a better view of the re-enactments performed by costumed eighth graders.

A stop in the middle of the tour, at a brick building one block from Carl’s, especially intrigued the second graders. The building is now home to a dentist’s office and apartments, but Ida Bank once occupied the ground floor, and the high school basketball team practiced on the second floor.

Alec Sobol, 8, was amazed that students had played ball in such a cramped space.

“It would have been bad times for me,” Alec said. “I’m pretty good at basketball, and I might have thrown the ball out a window and hurt someone.

This is the original article post from The Toledo Blade

A Brief History of Ida, Michigan

The town of Ida, located in the heart of Monroe County in Michigan’s southeast corner, actually began as a stop along a coach trail between Monroe and Adrian, one of many stops along the trail. These roads, which usually followed old Indian trails, were notoriously bad in the early 1800′s.

The roads were strewn with mud holes. Settlers along these roads took a monetary interest in the mud holes and had full rights to pull wagons and coaches out of the mud for a price. Travelers of this time period would only travel only about six miles a day along any of the trails in the region because of the harsh road conditions. An area with muddy, bumpy roads seemed like a good place to locate an inn. What traveler would not want to stay in a comfortable inn after riding the trails all day? It was around a particularly treacherous area of the trail that a small inn sprang up around the year of 1825. This inn, the Wayside Inn, was the first business in the area.

In 1837, a township measuring six square miles was formed and named Ida Township, in honor of Ida M. Taylor who had lived in the area with her family for many years. She had been active in community affairs and was among those who believed in the future for this part of Michigan.

This township was organized by taking a portion of Raisinville, Dundee and Summerfield, giving in geographical area a perfectly square form of thirty-six sections, there being, besides this, but six townships so arranged. It is watered by small streams flowing into and forming Otter Creek, which empties into Lake Erie in La Salle township.

The first settlers were mostly from the eastern and middle states, and all farmers. The names of these were in part George Willard, Chauncy Owen, Joseph Gregory, Anthony Briggs, Mathew Fredenburg, Alonzo Durrin, Wm. Richardson, Josiah Kellogg, David Brainard, John Campbell, John W. Talbot, the latter being of the family of the Talbots who were large manufacturers in New England, and all of them people of excellent character. Others followed rapidly and a fine community of practical agriculturists was built up.

By 1839, the Michigan Southern railroad line began running trains from Monroe, through this area, and onto points westward. Small log cabins and homesteads began to spring up around the Wayside Inn, the railroad and along the old road. As more people took advantage of the rail transportation system, more businesses located around the inn which was near the tracks in the area now the Village of Ida.

In 1868, Ida was platted as a village.

In the early days of the township it was reckoned by sportsmen and woodsmen of Monroe as one of the greatest deer hunting regions in the state, and the great woods were often the scene of many hunters’ cabins, through the late fall and winter, where parties from the city would resort for weeks at a time and pack out fine specimens of “antlered buck” and sometimes even a bear or wildcat.

The village of Ida is located in the extreme northwestern portion of the township and reported a population was 4,949 at the 2000 census.

More info can also be found at Wikipedia,_Michigan

This information was obtained from post that I found on the internet.