Zeeland Historical Society dedication ceremonies Thursday - August 26, 2010

The Zeeland Historical Society will hold dedication ceremonies for two State of Michigan Historical Markers at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 2.


The first dedication will be at the pedestrian bridge near the corner of 104th Avenue and Paw Paw Drive. The second ceremony will follow at Vande Luyster Square at the corner of Church Street and Central Avenue in Zeeland.


The two markers, dubbed the Brick/Chick duo, will commemorate two historic industries which fueled Zeeland's economic engine for decades. Zeeland’s hatchery business flourished in the 1930’s and 40’s. More than 60 hatcheries in the greater Zeeland area produced 13 million chicks a year.


Today two pioneer families, the Geerlings and the Janssens represent the many families once involved in the industry.


The brick company, known first as the Veneklasen Brick Company and later the Zeeland Brick Company, started in 1848 and prospered for more than 75 years. The manufacture of bricks started by hand and developed with the aid of technology, rising from thousands of hand make bricks to millions of manufactured bricks. Owning brickyards all over the state, the company became one of the largest brick makers in Michigan. The legacy of the company is evident in the hundreds of buildings, especially residential, made of Veneklasen red and buff brick that dot the west Michigan countryside.