Montague West Michigan Stories

Posted at 4:55 PM, Feb 12, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-25 11:13:30-04

MONTAGUE, MI – Montague is a city rich in both history and tradition. In part two of our visit, we discovered the city has its own museum with thousands of donated artifacts. Some of these items date back to the 1800s including things like organs, pianos, clothes, and a large indian history. One of the more interesting facts we discovered is that Miss America 1961 hailed from Montague. Her name is Nancy Fleming. While she lives in California now, there is a complete display of her climb up the ladder to stardom from West Michigan. There is no charge for museum admission, but they do have specific hours. Click here for more.

In addition to Miss America, Montague was a city rich in lumberjacks and timbering in the 1800s. The museum in town also has several items (tools, photographs, etc.) highlighting that era. There are always several things going on around the city, make sure to visit the White Lake Chamber of Commerce site to get all the information.

In part one of our visit we introduced a hot spot in Montague where everyone gathers called the Book Nook and Java Shop. A little ways down Ferry Street, is another big draw for locals called Lipka’s Pharmacy. While the building was constructed in 1878 with its original Victorian soda fountain, an updated old-time fountain was installed in 1947 and the business was purchased locally in 1952. Lipka’s is a great sandwich and malt shop where sodas are still made the old-fashioned way by adding flavored syrup and carbonated water with a real air compressor in the basement adding the C02 or carbon dioxide. Lipka’s is technically no longer a pharmacy, but it remains a family business where the special of the day is still written by hand on a chalkboard. There is no tv, internet, or wi-fi here. Owner Patti Ream says that’s the way she wants it. “I don’t have all the new things just because I want people to talk to each other, not just sit at a table and stare at something.” While Lipka’s doesn’t have a website, they do have a Facebook page. This place is truly a blast from the past and is a must stop for those visiting Montague. The old-time serving bar stills remains along with the wooden plank floor and one of the last working soda fountains.

Patti Ream took over Lipka’s from her father who passed away in 2007…he was the original pharmacist from the 1950s! They bought the business in 1952 from the Ripley family. It is reminiscent of the TV show Happy Days or a scene from the Waltons.

If you have any suggestions for West Michigan stories like a person, place, or thing, drop us a line at Look for more great West Michigan Stories coming up on FOX 17 News at 5:00, 6:00, and 10:00 PM, as well as our live morning show from 5:00 to 9:00 AM.