Historical Landmarks Rounding Board

Historical Landmarks

Two Carnegie libraries serve as bookends on this rounding board. Steel magnate Andrew Carnegie’s foundation funded the building of the St. Joseph (far left) and Benton Harbor (far right) libraries. The St. Joseph Library was built for $13,500 and opened on November 10, 1904. The Maude Preston Palenske Library replaced it in the spring of 1966. The original library now houses an architectural firm.

The Benton Harbor Library was built for $20,000 and began operation on August 4, 1903. The library was razed to build the current facility, completed in 1968.

Planks Tavern once stood near St. Joseph’s Tiscornia Beach. The young entrepreneur John Oliver Plank designed it and the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. The Planks Tavern was much larger than the Grand and its dining room could serve up to 5,000 guests per day. It was renamed Hotel St. Joseph in 1893. Sadly, this fabled establishment burned to the ground in July 1898.

The Berrien County Courthouse was completed in 1896. Urban renewal claimed the building after the present courthouse in St. Joseph replaced it.

When St. Joseph High School opened in 1916, the classrooms, gymnasium and auditorium were considered among the best in the state. Twenty years later, a building addition allowed the student body to grow to 900 students. When the new high school was built on Stadium Drive, the old building was renamed Milton Junior High School. The building was razed in 1977.

Perched high on a hill in what would become Benton Harbor, Eleazar Morton built this house in 1849. Morton’s son, Henry, married Josephine Stanley and they lived in this homestead for the rest of their lives. Henry Morton was one of the founders of the City of Benton Harbor and headed the well known Graham and Morton Steamship Co. The Josephine Morton Memorial House now preserves the memories of the many illustrious pioneers of Benton Harbor.

The Historical Landmarks Rounding Board is made possible by a donation from Bruce C. Conybeare in honor of his children and grandchildren.