Kochville Hall History 1880-1984


Kochville Township was originally a municipality twice as large as the township is today. In 1881, the State Legislature drew the Saginaw-Bay county line directly through the center of Kochville. The area north of the line became Frankenlust Township, Bay County. Most of the land was not very appealing to prospective settlers. Land in the eastern end of the township is low and in the mid 1800s it was swampy and wild with only scattered clearings in the forest. Kochville was so rugged it was an unwritten law that if a farmer heard a cry in the woods he had to answer it immediately and help whoever was lost. There were few trails and fewer roads.

The Knights of the Maccabees(KOTM), a fraternal benefit organization that started in Michigan in 1881, originally built the Kochville Township Hall. KOTM had 182,000 members in 1896 and more than a third of them were in Michigan, most of them employed as farmers. KOTM originally operated on an assessment basis. Whenever a member died, each living member was assessed 10 cents to provide the widow with a windfall not to exceed $1000. Acceptable members were all white persons of sound bodily health and good moral character, socially acceptable, between eighteen and fifty-two years of age. Coal Miners, aeronauts and other dangerous professions excluded. Manufacturers, sellers and drinkers of liquor also excluded. Groups like the KOTM provided a safety net for pioneer families along with pleasant social meetings and other gatherings. KOTM became a mutual insurance company in the mid 1900s as interest in fraternalism declined. The Kochville Township Hall does not appear on maps of Saginaw County in 1877 and not until 1896 is there a designation of K.O.T.M. on the corner where the Hall stood for years. The Saginaw County map of 1916 still shows the K.O.T.M. symbol so it became township property sometime post 1916.

Oral histories from long time Kochville residents document voting and township meetings at the Kochville Township Hall beginning in the 1920s. In those days ballot boxes were sealed with a tamper resistant wax seal and sent to the State Capital in Lansing. The Kochville Township Hall was also a community meeting place. A dance was held there once per month and the community crowd was typically entertained by an accordion or concertina. As the 20th century drew to a close, the Kochville Township Hall had fallen into disrepair and was poorly maintained. The Kochville Town Hall had inadequate heat and insulation, no bathrooms and became too small for the growth needs of the community. In 1966, Kochville Township purchased land to build a new Hall and finally completed the new Kochville Township Hall in November 1983. Kochville Township officials deemed the Kochville Town Hall obsolete and condemned it in 1983 citing the fact that it had no bathrooms or kitchen facilities and therefore was in violation of Kochville Township building code. After more than 100 years of service to the community, the Kochville Township Hall was scheduled for demolition.