Saturday, May 16, 2009

Great River Road Kiosk: Akker/Balk

Den Besten Park next to de Immigrant windmill is the site of the new Great River Road Kiosk in Fulton. One side focuses on the Great River Road and the other on the history of Fulton.
A large picture of farmers working a field is featured on the local history side. No identification of the people is indicated. However, the photograph was given by Mrs. Paul (Evelyn) Sterenberg taken at the Sebe Akker farm and worked by her grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Peter Balk. The farm was located at Blind Charlie’s Corner on what is now Penrose Road. Their descendents are numerous in Whiteside County.
Mrs. Peter Balk was born Kate Akker on December 7, 1867, the daughter of John and Abeltje Akker. She lived until August 13, 1943. Her obituary states that “older residents well remember that she was in charge of a milk route in town and regardless of weather conditions was faithful to her duties, a trait characteristic of her in anything she ever undertook to do.” She had one brother, Sebe Akker, and sisters, Ellen Akker Tillema (Albert), Josie Akker Flikkema (Henry), Maggie Akker Dykema (George) and two half brothers, John and George Kolk.
On February 6, 1887 she married Peter Balk who lived until December 6, 1935. They had five daughters, Mrs. Clarence Bielema, Mrs. Dick (Jennie) Tichler, Mrs. John (Margaret) Klimstra, Mrs. Peter (Abbie) Wiersema and Mrs. Ren (Ella) Dykstra; four sons, John, Roy, Clarence and George.
Peter Balk was born in the Netherlands in 1863 and came to the U.S. at age 17. His sisters were Mrs. Louis Pyse and Mrs. Jake Sikkema and a brother, Corneil.
Fulton is proud of its opportunity to be a selected city for the placement of this kiosk. Its location in the riverfront park beckons for picnics or relaxing in the beautiful setting.