new 2010 calendars
Wednesday, February 10, Tell Your
Story ---You Are The Program, 7:00 PM, Old School House
Wednesday, March 10, Other Female
Artists of the Saugatuck-Douglas Area, 7:00 PM, Old
A list of possible artists to discuss could include: Olive
Williams, Mabel Wheelock, Minnie Harms Neebe, Elva Albrecht,
Dorothy Helmuth and Christiana Ackermann Hoerman. If you have
any information or images of works by the above mentioned
women artists, please contact Ken Kutzel evenings at
269.857.4475 or by email at
Wednesday, April 14, Annual
Heritage Preservation Awards, 7:00 PM, Old School House
Have you sent in your reservation for
2009 Holiday Party??
The invitation all members received in early November provides all
the details about this year's "new look" party on Sunday, December 6
Saugatuck Center for the Arts.
There are a limited number of seats and they are filling up quickly.
Be sure to mail your Reservation Card no later than December 1 or if
you have misplaced it, call Fred Schmidt at 269.857.5751
At the Old School House
The Society will open its Holiday Gift Shop during the first three
Saturdays and Sundays in December from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Old School
House, 130 Center Street in Douglas.
The shop's gift selection reflects pride in its community's heritage
with such items as the Society's popular books on area history,
framed prints of historical photos and maps from the Society's
archives, commemorative art notecard sets and coffee mugs, plus a
return of the unique Saugatuck-Douglas afghan throw in both blue and
multicolor formats. Some items will be available in colorful holiday
Proceeds will benefit the Society's many volunteer-driven programs.
Volunteers to help staff the shop are welcome; contact Jon Helmrich
at 857-3574 or email@example.com
Judy Anthrop, Jon Helmrich, Stephen Mottram and Sharon Bauer look at
some of the items for sale at the Society's Holiday Gift Shop.
369 KIDS (AND A FEW ADULTS) DID IT
One of the winning post cards.
Coming Soon -- "My Summertime" Post Card Winners As you recall, the
2009 museum exhibition "Summertime" included a "Summertime
Post Office" for kids (and some adults) to create their own
"My vacation in the Saugatuck area" post-card.
369 post cards were created and posted -- and an independent group
of teachers has selected the top dozen entries. These will soon be
shown on the Society's web site --check it out shortly. It is
interesting to see what kids found most attractive about their
SOCIETY'S LIFESAVING BOAT PROPOSED FOR MAJOR EXHIBIT
The Society's restored 1854 life boat, the Gallinipper, is
one of two known remaining of its kind in the United States and is
to be the centerpiece of a display to be built on the new
'Back-In-Time' garden site at the Society's Old Schoolhouse "History
Center" in Douglas.
Designed by the famous inventor, Joseph Francis and built by the
same ironworks that built the Civil War era ironclad, the Merrimack,
the boat was one of 48 such boats placed along the Great Lakes
The 26 foot boat will be the centerpiece of a display titled
"Rowing Them Safely Home: Shipwrecks and Lifesaving On the Great
Lakes" with concept by Jim Schmiechen and design by Brian
Alexander. The exhibit will include images, text, the story of its
restoration, an interactive video and a special 'voices from the
past' component developed by Mr. Mike Shaw's Saugatuck High School
Advanced Placement English classes. Funding is needed and the
Society offers it as an opportunity for individual or corporate
sponsorship. Contact the Society's development team leader, Nancy
WHAT YOU MISSED
November 11, 2009 SDHS Meeting at the OSH, 55 present
President Harold Thieda called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. VP
Jon Helmrich announced that each RSVP is due for the December
Holiday Party at the SCA, there are three open positions on the
board and that the OSH will have its Holiday Gift Shop open the
first three weekends in December, Saturdays and Sundays, from 1-5
p.m. Volunteers are needed.
Jane Van Dis stated that she has collected $4,000.00 of her hopeful
$5,000.00 for the annual sleep out November 14. Checks can be made
out to CRS.
Ken Kutzel revealed two paintings, an oil of ferry boatman Jay
Meyers and a cottage watercolor, received from Penne Laingen,
granddaughter of the Shippers of Saugatuck.
The report on the survey of the Saugatuck Historic District should
be available November 24 and Jim Schmiechen's timely reminder was
that our own historical heritage group, the SDHS, enhances the
community via awards, tours and lots of educational opportunities.
Jane Underwood introduced our speaker, Nan Taylor, field
representative for the Michigan Historic Preservation Network. After
an afternoon tour of the area and a restorative dinner, Nan
responded aptly to the invitation, enlightening us on THE
VALUE OF HISTORIC PRESERVATION. She answered questions on
why and how to preserve, defined contributing structures and
preservation easements, listed criteria for eligibility
expenditures, tax credits and refunds, plus shared many other
economic benefits of preservation. Click
HERE to check out the
Preservation Network's web site.
MAKING IT EASY!
We may bemoan the challenges of the digital age, but we also love
the connections and conveniences it has brought us. One such
convenience is the ability to make financial transactions over the
internet. And the Society is not behind the times in this regard! On
the front page, upper left hand corner, of the Society's
web site home
page is a “Donate” button.
Click on this button and you will be able to donate either by
credit card or, if you're really with the times, through PayPal.
Yes, it has been tried and it does work. Our thanks go to Erin
Wilkinson for researching and suggesting this feature, and to Fred
Schmidt for making it a reality. We love preserving the past, but we
are also in line with today’s technology.
NATIONAL DAY OF LISTENING
The National Day
of Listening is Friday, November 27, 2009. On the day after
Thanksgiving, set aside one hour to record a conversation with
someone important to you.
Or, how about using this opportunity to write up one or more
of your favorite memories of Saugatuck and Douglas by contributing
your story to the Society's on-line archives. You can post your
story by clicking
The easiest way to do that is to write up and edit your tale in the
normal word processing program you regularly use, and when you are
satisfied with the result use "copy and paste" to place the text
into the guestbook. If that is a problem for anyone, you can just
email your story to me at
firstname.lastname@example.org and I will post it for you or you can mail it
to SDHS, Box 617, Douglas, MI 49406.
submitted by Chris Yoder
TREASURE IN THE SINGAPORE SANDS?
The Lake Shore Commercial (Commercial Record) of March 4, 1887
"Last Wednesday a son of John Hirner found an old coin bearing
the date 1682, in the sand hills near the old ruins of Singapore.
One side of the coin bears the inscription "Patronahun Gaviae 1682".
On the other side is "Leopoldus" "Schab Rex". There is a difference
of opinion as to what nation the coin belongs to. Mr. Hirner calls
it a Spanish coin, but others acquainted with the Spanish language
and money say it does not belong to that country. The problem is
whether or not there are more of the coins in the hills. The
discovery re-awakens all the old stories of hidden Spanish treasures
of which every town in the state claims an inexhaustible supply."
Michigan was under the government of the French from 1634 until
1760. The year of this old coin was the year that Rene-Robert
Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle (1643-1687) discovered the headwaters of
the Mississippi River. In his sketch of St. Joseph, Michigan, Robert
C. Myers writes that the French Crown wanted to strengthen French
ties with the Miami Indians and granted the Jesuits a tract of land
along the St. Joseph River to establish a mission about 1684. In the
fall of 1691 Ensign Augustin Legardeur de Courtemanche, apparently
with a small force of soldiers, built a military post near the
This outpost, became known as Fort St. Joseph, and was located near
present day Niles, Michigan. "Fort St. Joseph became the keystone of
French control of the southern Lake Michigan region --- served as a
military, commercial and diplomatic center to influence and develop
trade with the French-allied Indians." Today Niles maintains a small
museum to the Fort which is open several days each week to visitors.
Certainly a coin minted in 1682 could have found its way into the
"New World" with the Jesuits by 1684, or the decades thereafter. But
was the coin found by that Saugatuck youngster a French coin? The
wonders of the internet tell us it was a silver Hungarian coin,
minted under the rein of King Leopold from 1661 to 1686, with
Leopold's bust surrounded by a laurel wreath on one side and the
Madonna and Christ child on the other. "Patronahun Gaviae" was
really "PATRONA HVNGARIAE (Hungary)".
Was it part of a yet unfound treasure hoard lying in the sands of
Singapore, or just a single coin dropped by an early French
explorer, Jesuit priest, or Indian ally? Perhaps as construction
crews put in the future condos and horse trails they will unearth a
"pot of gold"? (silver?)
Herman Hirner enjoys picnic lunch, Osa Welch in the background
And what became of the young boy who found the coin? Six year old
Herman Hirner was to live out his life in Saugatuck. He served in
WWI and worked for the Saugatuck Lumber and Coal Company. In 1940,
he married Idessa Annable, daughter of summer resorters from Chicago
who had come to Saugatuck beginning in 1893. At the time of his
death in 1966, he was serving as Saugatuck Village Assessor. Herman
passed away at his residence, 642 Lake St, and was interred in
submitted by Chris Yoder