Did you know: the Curtis family

By Richard Karns

Special to the Herald Review

In talking with Ruth Burgy-Crockett, the granddaughter of Burton and Minnie Curtis, there was a lot of information she had at her fingertips about her grandparents and the Curtis family.

Did you know there used to be a restaurant in the old Reed City Depot? That is where Burton Curtis and Minnie Haradine first met, and the rest is history. It was obvious Ruth was proud of her connection with the Curtis family and the impacts they had on the city they helped build.

From the information given me, it was apparent the Curtis brothers were a family of entrepreneurs that took advantage of the opportunities that came their way. They had the vision to see the possibilities of what was needed and had the will and energy to risk to make those possibilities a reality.

Burton Curtis had the opportunity to purchase the King Hotel in January 1903. In February of that same year, Burton and Minnie gave the citizens of Reed City a night of entertainment that hadn't been seen before. This gave the impression they wanted to show off their new investment. This tradition of fine dining carried on for the rest of that century. Burton felt there needed to be a place for fun, so he had a bowling ally built in the basement of the hotel.

There was a need in the area for an elevator to process the grain and corn harvest, and for farmers to purchase goods they needed to improve their crops. In 1907, Will and Burton Curtis bought land and built the Curtis Brothers Elevator, which, when I was growing up in Reed City, was the Kent Elevator, which is now the Clementshaw Feed and Elevator.

Albert Curtis was able to purchase a building across from the King Hotel, and Reed City had its first and only cigar making company of that time. This would become the pool hall many of us remember.