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Berrien County, Michigan


Page Contents for Bridgman, Michigan

Statistics & Facts

History & History-related items


Statistics & Facts

The Michigan state capital is Lansing.
The population of Bridgman is approximately 2291 (2010).
The approximate number of families is 968 (1990), 954 (2010).
The amount of land area in Bridgman is 7.583 sq. kilometers.
The amount of surface water is 0 sq kilometers.
The distance from Bridgman to Washington DC is 564 miles.
The distance to the Michigan state capital is 119 miles. (as the crow flies)
Bridgman is positioned 41.94 degrees north of the equator and 86.56 degrees west of the prime meridian.

History & History Related Items

Like any form of speech, Bridgmantawk is a result of influences brought by the people who came and settled here over the past 150 years. The first white settlers arrived in the 1850's and were mostly from Massachusetts and New York State, and they brought their mid-19th century colloquialisms with them; they were predominately of English ancestry. They came to harvest the vast timber reserves and set up a saw mill close to the present-day intersection of Red Arrow Highway and Lake Street. By about 1875 most of the good virgin-growth timber had been cut (a large portion was shipped to rebuild Chicago after the big fire) so the inhabitants were forced to turn to other means of livelihood. The swamps were drained, the land was cleared and farming became the principal occupation. In 1869 the railroad came through about 1/2 mile east of the original settlement and the business district grew up around it. In addition to the farmers, a merchant class began to evolve. The farmers were beginning to specialize in fruit trees and other nursery stock, which they were now able to ship by rail to other parts of the country, and several of the original old line families began to prosper: The Baldwins, Bridgmans, and later the Ackermans, Whittens, Westons and Chauncys pretty much dominated the farming and mercantile community. These families were still predominately first & second generation Massachusetts-New York Staters of English ancestry, and their manner of speech reflected it. Then, beginning about 1890 through about 1920, a huge wave of German settlers descended on the area: Hard-working, thrifty, church-going farmers - mostly Lutheran, and their first language was German. Some of the names, still prominent today: Krieger, Ott, Stelter, Nehring, Essig, Barfelz, Nemitz, Reck, Weber, Gitersonke, Heyn, Macholz, Keller... and many, many more. In any case, this influx of German-speaking people changed forever the way English would be spoken around here, not so much the words themselves, (though you'll still hear a lot more jah's than yes's) but the way the words and sentences are constructed and expressed. As a quick example, here's how a typical non-Bridgman midwesterner would articulate the following thought: "We are going to spend the Christmas Holiday at my mother's house." Now, here's how my wife, a Bridgmanite, would express the same thought: "We're goin' by mom's for Christmas." It cuts right to the chase; everybody knows exactly what she means, yet she expressed it in six rather than twelve words.

To see more "Bridgmantawk, click on Bridgman Miscellany.
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A Bridgman Dictionary
or Bridgmantawk

More "Why We Talk the Way We Do"
Kenya - Pronounced like the country in Africa example: Kenya loan me five bucks 'til payday
Variants: Kancha Kudah Wudah Shudah Didjah

Broda Broh-dah Baroda: The first 'a' is silent
A small town about three miles East of Bridgman

Bairyun Bear-yun Berrien: The county in which Bridgman is located

Upta Up-tah
Those Broda boys are upta no good or John drove upta St. Joe to see the Blossom Parade

Downta Down-tah
Sam went downta Three Oaks to get some Drier's Baloney Gardyun Gard-yun
That's who takes care of the kids if their parents get kilt

That's what can happen to you if you go round the railroad crossing gates
you could get kilt. Also, a plaid skirt that bagpipers wear

Edopshun Ed-op-shun
Joe and Sally were kilt in a car accident and their kids were put up for edopshun

Beedum Beed-um
The boys basketball team played New Troy last night and beedum 62 - 57

Boddla Bodd-lah
Dave went by Louie's Tavern and ordered a boddla beer
Variants: Quarta Pynta Galna

Brekfist Brek-fist
The first meal of the day

Resternt Res-ternt
You can go by Hyerdall's resternt to eat brekfist

Howja How-jah
Howjah do in that all-nite poker game?
Variants: related to Kenya Dijah Wudjah Kudjah, etc

A small river or stream.
One route between Bridgman and Broda is Lemon Krik Road
Also a minor pain in the upper back or neck:
she had a krik in her neck

Bytn Byt-n
When you go perch fishin they're either bytn or they're not bytn

To recall an event:
I member when Suzie left town

Fewnrull Few-nrull

That's where all your friends pay their last respects when you die

Obitchery O-bitch-er-ee
That's the section of the newspaper to look and see who died

Pladyum Plad-yum
That's the newspaper outa St. Joe. They print the obitcherys

Stedda Sted-dah
Stedda goin' home when the tavern closed, everybody went by Sawyer truckstop for brekfist

Keppit Kep-pit
Some guy found a wallet on the street. Stedda takinit by the police station, he keppit

Givvup Giv-vup
He'd awreddy lost forty dollars in the poker game. Stedda stayin enny longer he givvup and went home

Herb's daughter fell out of a tree'n broker arm; so he runner by Doc Rambo to have it set
Variants: Runnim Runnem

Vern lefta casa beer settin on the back of his truck 'n some sunuvabitch come by 'n stold it

Use this word where you would ordinarily use sit or sat; it works just fine: We looked all over town for him; then we went by Hyerdall's 'n there he set, eatin' fried chicken

Attractive: She was a priddy girl
Variants: Priddyer Priddyest

Describes a location by identifying the principal inhabitant, owner or operator
Judy went by Aunt Pearl for supper. Jim went by Doc Rambo for a flu shot

Are Ares
Denotes possession:
The size of are farm is forty acres. That dog sleepin' in front of the post office is ares

Used at the end of a sentence to emphasize amazement or consternation, similar to an exclamation mark:
After church every Sunday grampa would go by Louie's for a shot & beer yet

Fith Fifth:
The second "f" is silent: My daughter starts fith grade next fall. Jake brought a fith of whiskey to the party

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