Thursday, September 29, 2016

In the Muskegon River Valley, Some People Spend Their Life at the Courthouse. Some People Spend Their Nights at the Frauenthal. It's a Choice.

Sep 20, 2016 6:12 PM

The news has camped out on the corner of Pine and Apple near the Muskegon County Courthouse. I counted several news vans and at least three broadcast antennas. The papers already have announced that Jeffrey Willis has been charged with the murder of Jessica Heeringa. Now if Willis will confess and tell us what exactly transpired outside that lonely gas station on Sternberg Road, south of the bustle of Muskegon and Norton Shores. We have all tried to imagine how a mother and good employee vanished from her post, leaving a single drop of blood that could be traced to her. I saw the prosecutor about to go on camera and he looked fine in his grey worsted wool suit, definitely looking in charge and worthy of being elected to higher office. We have numerous mysteries in Muskegon County and hopefully, the disappearance of Jessica Heeringa is one we can take off the books. Add it to the case studies for detectives learning their craft. 

Over in the heart of town, the community has begun arriving for an open house at the great Frauenthal Theater. The evening promises a concert on the Barton Pipe Organ that once accompanied silent films during the early years of cinema. Inside, at least five chambers cam host performances, the Frauenthal Stage and the Beardsley stages equipped as well as any stage located in New York City or Los Angeles. The open house has placed entertainment at all of these venues, and I am looking forward to another beautiful evening inside this house of song. A friend houses guests for AirB&B, and her guest from Germany was given pause when she saw the name "Frauenthal" in flashing lights of a marquee. The German guest shared, "That means valley of married women in my language". I know the name honors the Frauenthal family, who started a local company by inventing a remarkable new metal grinder. I came to town to work for that company, a stroke of good luck that lasted nine years. Then a company in Sweden bought the Frauenthal's company and globalization happened. At least the town got to keep the theater and the money Mister and Missus Frauenthal donated to the community chest.

Got a guy picking through the trash container outside the theater complex, proving that there's something for everybody in downtown Muskegon tonight.

A picture from the Muskegon County Museum showing Muskegon's first court house in 1885. The courthouse burned down in 1891.
Photographer Brandon Bartoszek from Muskegon, MI USA
 — at Muskegon County Michael E Kobza Hall of Justice.

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