Historic Dennison


Bush Vault Company

Observer Observations by Lill & Jim Budzynski


The Coopersville Observer – October 5, 2015


The landscape all around us can hold interesting unexpected stories about the area’s past.  The garage type of building shown here, on the SW corner of State Road and 80th Avenue, is an example of this.  After more than 35 years of driving by this unassuming structure west of Coopersville, we discovered it had an important connection to a Muskegon company whose products are found throughout the United States and even as far away as China.


In 1928, Benjamin H. Bush, who was born and raised on a nearby farm, started the Bush Vault Company in the building.  Since that long ago time, the business experienced much growth and many changes,  It is now known as Bush Concrete Products, Inc. at 3584 Airline Road, Muskegon,  Now, the company sells a wide range of concrete products that include septic tanks, architectural products, parking lot bumper blocks, utility vaults, catch basins and manholes and other precast items.


When the company started operations in the outbuilding pictured, its Coopersville location was more commonly referred to as being in Dennison, a small community that once existed west of town.  As its name suggests, the Bush Vault Company began there as a maker of concrete burial vaults.  At the time, the use of concrete vaults was a relatively new and radical idea.  Gradually burial vaults became widely used and business increased.  As the company grew, it purchased and absorbed other vault businesses.


After completing school around 1950, Benjamin’s sons Harold and Harrison “Ben” both Coopersville High School alumni, joined their father full time assisting with company operations.  Besides the two boys, Benjamin and his wife had four daughters.  Some of the girls also helped with the business.  The family lived for many years in the two story home just south of the building, but not shown in the photograph.


As it acquired additional concrete product operations, the Bush Vault Company moved to 2708 Ninth Street in Muskegon Heights.  Its product line expanded to the manufacture of septic tanks, dry well covers, chimney caps and other building products.  For a number of years, the Bush Company provided complete septic service including installation and pumping.


In 1967, Benjamin Bush retired due to illness, leaving company operations to his sons Harold and Harrison.  In 1969, the company’s name was changed to Bush Concrete Products, Inc. to better describe its broad product line.  Needing much more space, the company relocated in 1969 to its present site on Airline Road.  During years that followed, the company sold some of its septic services.  It then expanded into the manufacturing of steps and rails, sign bases, parking lot bumper blocks and other precast concrete products.  In the 1990’s, other architectural products such as trash receptacles, planters and snuffers were added.


In 2001, Harold and Harrison retired and sold their interest in the company.  In 2004 the company’s burial vault operations were sold to the Wilbert Burial Vault Company of Muskegon, Michigan.


Harold Bush passed away earlier this year.  His brother Harrison “Ben” is planning to attend the 2015 Coopersville All Class Reunion on October 2.


(The photograph and research material for this article are courtesy of Shirley Cunningham)