State of the Society
It is the beginning of a new year and the President
gives a State of the Union and the Governor gives his State of the
State and I will give you a State of the Society!
Have you driven by the History Center (OSH)
recently?? The new drive is almost completed -- beautiful new pavers
-- and indeed there is still some work to be done, but it is
We are pleased to let you know that the Society
received a MCACA grant (thanks to Sharon Kelly). This grant totals
$12,000.00 and while it needs a matching fund, it is certainly a
reason to cheer for all of the efforts – you will hear more about
this at a later date, but for now; CHEER!
The end of the year appeal letter brought in over
$10,000. To those who spent their time and effort in creating this
memorable and savable letter (I encourage you to put yours in a
shoebox under your bed -- it is worth saving) Valerie Atkin, Jim
Schmiechen, Ken Carls, and Fred Schmidt -- a huge Thank You for
making this possible. To those of you who responded to this
beautifully created letter, an even bigger Thank You (if that is
I feel the Society is experiencing a beautiful
soaring in possibilities -- look at the garden and the volunteers
interested in its success, look at our programs (there are fabulous
programs scheduled for 2013). Enjoy the new web site which will be
launching soon -- you will be amazed at all of the new visions
surrounding your Historical Society. As you enjoy the new web site,
remember to thank Jim Cook -- he has spent many hours making this
Speaking of NEW -- you must look forward to the
opening of the new Pump House Museum exhibit. I understand it is the
MOST fabulous to date and will leave you speechless! The exhibit is
on the Dunelands and we all know how special that area is to
Saugatuck and Douglas. This exhibit will be reflective and special
to everyone who views it but, you must wait until the end of May!!
Enjoy the anticipation!
FYI The year of 2013 matches the year 1963 day and
date! I remember it well. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his "I Have a
Dream" speech at the end of August, the assassination of John F.
Kennedy and watching on a black and white, small screen TV the
shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald. Fifty years ago it felt that life
might be ending. While it was a change, life has not ended and we
are here to remember and reflect on the effects of that time. Only
when you are seventy, can you look behind with reverence and ahead
with optimism and joy!
submitted by Marsha Kontio
2013 Society Monthly Programs Announced
All programs at the Old School House History
February 13: 6.30 pm. Michigan's Hottest Town. Procol Harem,
Alice Cooper and Others Invade Saugatuck. by Mike Sweeney who
introduces the new Historical Society music history project.
Refreshments. Program sponsored by Laird &
March 13: Finding Your Lost Relatives by Jack Sheridan who
brings you to the Society's Genealogy Program with some surprises
about people you know and news about how the program works.
April 10: The Amazing Azalea & Rhododendron Show. Join with
chief gardener, John Migas as he talks, walks and explains all about
growing azaleas and rhododendrons at History Center Azalea Garden.
Program sponsored by the Michigan Azalea
Society. Bright refreshments.
May 8: How the Wow? Your Insiders Preview of the upcoming
Dunelands exhibition by Jim Schmiechen, exhibit curator. And the
Society's Annual Meeting & Awards Night. Wine & Cheese.
June 12: Our Local Farmland Forecast: A 2013 Crop Report and Some
Ideas for Your Table by David Geen of Hungry Village Tours who
talks us through the country with local growers about farm
conditions and what to expect at this fall's markets.
July 10: Low-Key Genius: O.C. Simonds and his Pier Cove
Simonds was one of America's most important landscapers - and had an
enormous impact on our West Michigan. Meet the author, Barbara
Gieger. Wine & cheese social time.
August 14: Eat Your Way to the Top Annual Picnic at the
History Center. Celebrating the Garden's Mt. Baldhead Viewing
Station. Note early starting time: 6:00
September 11: Now and Then: Great Lakes - Hot Topics Long
time Great Lakes observer Patty Birkholz brings past and present
views of our greatest local asset - the water. Swimmingly delicious
October 9: Tales from the Crypt: Visitors from the Ghostown of
Plummerville (Ganges Township) Led by Kit Lane and Marsha
Kontio, a virtual tour by the Cemetery Actors Group. Refreshments to
November 13: Painting: the Town: Landscape, the Artist, and
People by Ken Kutzel who brings stories from the Society's art
December 1: Annual Society Holiday Dinner 6:00 pm. At the
Saugatuck Center for the Arts. Kick off the Holiday Season. Good
cheer, Great Food, Good Friends.
If you would like to sponsor one of the Monthly Programs, please
REPLY to this email. Sponsorships are $150.
Look for the 2013 Tuesday Talks weekly summer programs in an
upcoming Newsletter. Sponsorships for the Tuesday Talks will also be
Welcome from Jack Sheridan and Chris Yoder leaders of the Society
Family History Group. The Group meeting schedule is the first and
third Thursday of every month. Next month meetings are Thursday
February 7th and 21st, 3:30 in the Old
School House. Please join us to see what we are all about and most
importantly, share "lessons learned" about the many tools
available for family research.
In this column I talk about family history discoveries. Such a
discovery is called a EUREKA! moment. This past
month Chris Yoder and I researched family histories for nine of
our fellow Saugatuck-Douglas Rotarians. It was a fun project and
enjoyed by the participants. We spent a limited amount of time
doing the research but managed to expand each of the family trees
by 30-100 folks.
Among many other things, we verified that John B. Carey, who owned
the luxurious Carey House Hotel in Wicheta, Kansas in the late
1800s, was the 2nd great grandfather of Jacqueline
Carey. In 1900 the bar of this hotel was invaded by the
hatchet-wielding temperance leader Carrie Nation one evening, who
smashed mirrors and other mayhem such as throwing billiard balls
at a suggestive painting on the wall.
We discovered that Pattie Rickett's ancestor was the sister of
Edward Winslow, who was the second husband of my 10th
great grandmother Sussana White in Plymouth, Massachusetts in
For the March 13 SDHS regular meeting I will be presenting a
program entitled "Family Trees Have Deep Roots"
about how to research family history. It will include the results
of research we will do for three Society members.
We are looking for families where relatively little is known about
the family tree. The family history does not have to be local. How
about it? All you have to do is supply enough information to get
us started. Please contact Jack Sheridan or Chris Yoder if you are
interested in participating.
If you have always wanted to learn more about your family history,
but have not known where and how to begin, here is a suggestion.
Our SDHS Family History group wants to help you. A starting point
is to record what you know about your parents, grandparents, and
great grandparents and send it along for a review by our
If you are reading this newsletter on-line, you can print off
these blank family history data forms. Click on one for your
mother and another for your
Next fill out what you know and snail-mail the forms to SDHS
Family History, Box 617, Douglas, Michigan 49406, or scan and
email a copy to either
Give us time for an initial assessment. We will soon be back to
you with whatever can be readily found and with suggestions on the
next steps to take to learn more. Future further help is always
available from the Family History group. Your family history does
not have to have any connection to the Saugatuck-Douglas area.
If you aren't on the internet, call Chris Yoder [269 857-4327] or
Jack Sheridan [269 857-1744] and we'll get a work sheet to you.
In April 2012
the 1940 United States census data was released. Ancestry.com has
now completed indexing the entire census. They are offering free
access to the census. Just click
prefer, you may easily browse the local 1940 census results. We
have placed a copy of the census for Douglas (11 pages), Saugatuck
(16 pages) and Saugatuck Twp (19 pages) on the SDHS web site. Take
a look by clicking
Contact me at:
or (269) 857-7144.
Click on the picture for a higher resolution copy.
In my opinion, this photo is number one in the SDHS collection. The
site is historical, the details are magnificent, the year 1869,
making the photo likely the earliest in our collection. The image
comes from a first generation print [made from the original glass
plate] which was given to Kit Lane by the Johnson family. The
Johnson family is descended from Otis Russell Johnson owner of the
mill in the foreground. O. R. Johnson, along with Francis Brown
Stockbridge owned the mills in Singapore near the mouth of the
The photo presents the only known detailed view of Singapore, the
mills and the milling operation. Some observations are:
The brick wall in the foreground was probably the site of an earlier
mill. The mill in operation looks to be fairly new. We know that at
least two Singapore mills burned. Note the barrels lined up on the
roof and the ladder making them accessible should the roof of this
mill building catch afire. The mill machinery was steam powered as
you might guess from the adjacent smokestack. Kit Lane believes the
small building, center front, was a blacksmith shop. Next to it and
beneath the building is a family posing [identity unknown].
Check out the lumber schooner O R Johnson at the wharf. She was a
sleek, fast, three masted lumber schooner, owned by Johnson and
Stockbridge, and running lumber to Chicago and bringing hides back.
The shute between the mill and the wharf had to be for bringing out
sawed lumber. So the log on a wheeled cart was probably for the
photo shoot only. But it does raise the question of how logs got
from the river into the mill, hmmm? Maybe with this set up the logs
were hauled over land after being cut to the north in the
Note the inactive mill building and the elevated skidways in the
background. I am impressed by the high stacks of drying sawed
lumber. How did the workers stack and unstack them?
Next month - lumber barons.
Click on the picture for a higher resolution copy.
Welcome New Members
We would like to welcome the new members who have joined the
Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society since the last newsletter.
l John & Vicki Mayer,
Saugatuck, MI & West Dundee, IL
l Joan Donaldson & John
Van Voorhees, Fennville, MI
Ca. 1945 - provided by Ken Kutzel
Click on the picture for a slightly higher resolution copy
of the original photo
The Saugatuck-Douglas Historical
Society became the recipient of a reminder of our tourist
destination status when longtime resident Henry Gleason recently
donated an old sign shaped like a totem pole. Many of the old
timers remember when it stood about 15 feet tall at the south
entrance to Saugatuck on Lake Street. Word has it that it was
built by Deb Hoffman, daughter of Dick Hoffman, the original owner
of the Queen of Saugatuck, in the mid-50s. Thanks Henry!
The Society is seeking more
information and any photos of the totem pole for its archives.
Please REPLY to this email or contact Mary Voss at
(269) 543-4858 if you can help. submitted by Vic Bella