Holland City News, August 19, 1937

First Band of Holland

Holland's First Band about 1872

The above picture was taken immediately after the fire of ’71 on 8th Street, then commonly called Main. The little shack in the rear is Peter Brown’s saloon, quickly erected to replace the wooden structure burned. The man way in the rear with arms akimbo is John R. Kleyn, a contractor, father of Simon Kleyn of Holland, for a long time a member of the Board of Public Works. In the early days, Mr. Kleyn built many Holland buildings, and had his mill just across from where the standpipe is now on 6th St. The building was recently torn down.

The leader of the band with the flowing beard is Mr. William J. Scott, hotel keeper. Next to him is John Grootenhuis, a Civil War veteran, whose business it was to paint houses. The tall man is John Roost, son of Jan Roost, one time Holland’s mayor and a state legislator. Next is Al Huntly, who for many years conducted a machine shop here. He is one of the founders of the Wolverine Electric Light Plant, which was later merged into our Board of Public Works. The man with the big horn is Otto Breyman, local jeweler for many years. He also conducted the American Express. The man with the goatee, like a southern Colonel, is Guy Labarb, who left Holland shortly after the fire, moving to Roseland, Illinois. He was an uncle of Mrs. Ben Mulder. The man at the end, with the largest horn in the band, is John Kramer, also a veteran of the Civil War, and father of Otto P. Kramer and John Kramer of this city. Mr. Kramer was one of the Partners of Boot and Kramer, grocers, who built the block in which the Holland City News is located. The man with the big bass drum is Peter Gunst, of whom you saw an interesting article in our Sixty Years Ago column last week. The snare-drummer is Walter Heald, son of an implement dealer, whose business was located in a frame building on the site of the Colonial Theatre. The old Heald home and sunken gardens stood for years on the site of the new Peter Mass building on River Avenue and Tenth Street. The whole Heald family was musically inclined and some of them became band and orchestra leaders after they left Holland. Not one of these men is living today. The picture indicates that fire had recently swept through the area. Heaps of ruins are shown everywhere, and the streets are still littered and covered with ashes.

We are giving this introduction to the band in order that it may dovetail with the poetical contribution of Mr. Schepers, who remembers vividly the fire of ’71, and the musical organization of that time, which he describes in verse.


Transcriber: Joan Van Spronsen
Created: 8 Sep 2007
URL: http://ottawa.migenweb.net/holland/1872band.html