SAUGATUCK-DOUGLAS HISTORICAL SOCIETY
| BOX 617 | DOUGLAS, MI 49406 | 269-857-5751 |
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Again this year, the Society
Newsletters are being underwritten by a generous donation from
Frances Vorys, a Society Life member.
Here's a Great Way to Beat the January "Blahs"!
Plan now to brighten your Saturday afternoon on January 11,
enjoying a "Musical Chairs" progressive dinner at nearby
DollyBrook Family Resort. DollyBrook, a 2011 Heritage
Preservation Award winner, is reserving all nine of its unique
rental cottages specially for this event. Doors will open at
3pm. We'll enjoy drinks and a six-course meal in small-plate
fashion as we stroll from cottage to cottage, each one
differently designed and decorated featuring artifacts from
local antique shops.
This initiates the Society's fifth annual "Dine Around The
Village Table" series of dinner or cocktail party fundraisers.
With all food and beverages donated by event hosts, this
event's guest charge of $75 per person will fully support the
Historical Society's volunteer-based programs and activities
including exhibitions at its Pump House Museum in Saugatuck,
Old School House History Center and "Back-In-Time Garden
Pathway" in Douglas. For reservations, phone 269.857.5751 or
firstname.lastname@example.org. Seating is limited so
early reservations are recommended.
Each cottage will be hosted by and provisioned with
specialties of different SDHS members: Kathy and John
Mooradian; Sharon Kelly with Ken Carls; Janie and Jim Flemming;
Marsha and Loren Kontio; Renee Zita and Ed Ryan; Steve Mottram
and Jon Helmrich; Bill Underdown and David Geen; Judi and
Howard Vanderbeck; Sharon and Robin Bauer.
DollyBrook owners Kim and Jim Keag will be our special guests,
on hand to tell you more about their resort. Its cozy cottages
are beautifully situated in 40 acres of woodland countryside
in Ganges, less than 10 minutes drive from Saugatuck and
Douglas, on 66th Street just south of 121st
Ave. For more about DollyBrook cottages, grounds and history,
DON'T MISS THIS FUN
EVENING OF DINING.
Jack Sheridan, editor of "Family Tree Tales" and "History by
Camera' is a little out of sorts and will hopefully be back in
the saddle next month. Feel free to send him a cheery email at
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 & Barbara
Ludlow, Saugatuck, MI
Timothy Dring Visits Old School House
Timothy Dring, from New Jersey and President of the U.S.
Life-Saving Service Heritage Association, did a (casually
arranged) stop by the OSH on Tuesday, October 1 to see our
Francis life-saving boat (Gallinipper 1) and ended up staying
for over an hour inspecting and photographing the boat.
His specialty is technical and design history of all rescue
boats used by the United States Life-Saving Service and the
early United States Coast Guard from the 1800s to present day.
He noted that the restoration work done by our team is
excellent, the presentation of the boat in the boat-house
setting and lifesaving/shipwreck display is "stunning," and
confirms that this boat is indeed the
oldest life-saving craft in America. The other
one remaining Francis boat (in Ohio) does not equal this one
He noted that the Smithsonian would love to have it and took
quite a few photos of the boat. He said that most of this line
of boat was eaten up by war-time needs for iron scrap, hence
now so very rare.
I asked him if the boat should be placed on the National
Register and he said absolutely and he would write the
nomination for us. This would mean that we would have two
National Register listings on the OSH property. I will feed
him the data he needs. He was impressed by some of the early
photos we have of it pre-restoration.
Only known period photograph of a Francis type (modified
version) metallic surfboat, showing a crew located in the
Chicago, IL area (photograph courtesy of James Claflin)
Click on the photo above for a paper written by Timothy Dring
on the Francis Type Metallic Pulling Surfboats for Coastal
The theme of the Society's Year-End Campaign was
Oldest Life-saving Boat in America Lives Here.
HERE for a copy of the appeal letter that was recently
mailed to al members and prospective members. If you haven't
already done so, please consider a year-end contribution to
Keep History Alive Here. A copy of the Donor Reply
Card can be downloaded by clicking
News from the Archives
Recent gifts to the Saugatuck Douglas Historical Society
l Painting of Oval
Beach By Peggy Boyce donated by same
l Painting of the
Pumphouse Museum by Christa Wise donated by Peg Sanford
Click on the image for a higher resolution copy
l Two paintings of the
Harbor donated by Jill Pluger
l The script of the
Ghosts of Plummerville donated by Kit Lane
l A number of nautical
items donated by Ken and Nancy Brightwell
l A large collection of
items donated by Ron Jillson pertaining to the Saugatuck
Marina Vintage board games and cards donated by John Upton
l Two notebooks with a
list of Saugatuck High School alumni 1891-1960 donated by
Did you know that the books that have been published by the
Historical Society are available year around at the Blue Star
Antique Pavilion. The Historical Society has a booth there. We
also sell t-shirts, totes, postcards and notecards. These make
There are still a number of The Village Table
cookbooks available This unique award-winning cookbook
includes historical facts of the area as well as delicious
recipes from individuals and local establishments. If you
don't already have yours, make sure you get one before they
are all gone.
As part of our rent at the Antique Mall, we are required to
volunteer to be on the floor just keeping an eye on things 8
hours a month. The time is divided into two 4 hours slots.
This is actually a pleasant task as you meet so many nice
people. If you enjoy antiques and would be interested in
knowing more about volunteering your time occasionally,
contact Mary Voss at
email@example.com or Ken Kutzel at 269.857.4475.
submitted by Mary Voss
Have you sent in your reservation?
Don't delay - Space is limited
Click on the image above to download and print the invitation.
Sunday, December 15
at the Saugatuck Center for Arts
400 Culver Street, Saugatuck
Cocktails at 5:30 ~
Dinner at 6:30
Cash Bar ~ Fine Wines
Gifts for Holiday Giving
Cash, Checks, MasterCard & Visa
Credit Cards Accepted
the spirit of holidays past, this year's holiday celebration once
back the tradition of the community potluck.
entree & tableware will be provided.
What You Missed
Some photos from the Halloween Bash at the Old School House
Stephen Mottram and Jon Helmrich
Ken Carls and Janie Flemming
For flowers that bloom about our feet;
For tender grass, so fresh, so sweet;
For song of bird, and hum of bee;
For all things fair we hear or see,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee!
--- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Well it is time to put away all of our garden
tools and dream of next year. It was a very successful season with
the installation of Mt. Baldhead and the Architectural Station and
the celebration of our very own Jim Schmeichen. Thanks to Jim and
everyone on the landscape committee for putting in so much time
and talent towards our beautiful space. Your talents do not go
unnoticed! Although the planting has ceased, the planning has not.
The committee will continue to meet every 2nd Tuesday
of the month to brainstorm and dream about next year.
Ed Kelly has informed us that we will be moving
one Gerber bird house and one pillar. They are old and expensive
to move/restore, so thank you for making the effort to bring local
history into our garden.
A gentle reminder that Mike Economos needs help
next year at the museum. Contact him at
if you would like to be part of the maintenance team.
We are in need of a used bee hive. Please contact
Ruth Johnson at
firstname.lastname@example.org, if you have a hive to spare.
Tis the season to be thinking of giving. Why not
give a piece of our garden to your loved ones? It will keep your
hard- earned money local and will help to keep our garden green.
The landscape committee would like to wish you a
safe and Happy Thanksgiving.
See you next month, The Landscape Committee
1880 History of Allegan and Barry Counties On-Line
Click on the image for a higher resolution copy
Thanks to the efforts of James Faasen, we have
added a wonderful version of the Saugatuck-Douglas portion of the
1880 HISTORY OF ALLEGAN AND BARRY COUNTIES by Johnson Crisfield to
the SDHS On-Line Research web pages.
Working with the original text, James has added
photos from the Society archives, links to biographical data about
individuals, and various personal research notes.
Thanks again, James, for your scholarly
investigations and your wonderful creation! Find the links to this
valuable resource by clicking
submitted by Chris Yoder
Movies Come to Saugatuck, 1897
Photo from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
University Library Collection
An entertainment, new in the locality, the Magniscope "Living
Pictures" machine comes to Upham's Opera House, Saugatuck,
June 25, 1897. Described in the Lake Shore Commercial
as "an astonishing spectacle to those who view it for the
first time" and is being used combined by a graphophnoe
[sic.?] "a talking machine of the greatest power and
Probably an undertaking by local photographer Miller Robinson,
whose shop was on Butler Street at the village square. Upham's
Opera House was located on Hoffman Street, at Grand, on the
hill. [LSC, 6-25-1897]
submitted by Jim Schmiechen
The Korean Conflict
by Arnold H. Shafer, Douglas
In 1953 I graduated from Miami University in Oxford Ohio and was
drafted into the United States Navy. I reported to the Great Lakes
Training Center north of Chicago for basic training. From here I was
sent to Quarter Master school in Bainbridge, MD. This was to learn
celestial and dead reckoning navigation, Signal flags and
international Morse code which is a series of dots and dashes for
each letter in the alphabet sent by flashing lights or a telegraph
key. After this training, I was assigned to the destroyer U.S.
Gatling DD671 in Newport, RI. It was a WWII ship that had just
returned from around the world and was to get ready for combat. It
was named after the man who invented the automatic machine gun.
Newport was the home of the destroyers 6th Fleet North Atlantic
Patrol. Destroyers were designed as an anti-submarine ship to hunt
and destroy subs and protect larger ships, i. e. cruisers and
aircraft carriers. They were referred to as “tin cans”. They are
fast and maneuverable and heavily armed. They have two 5 inch shell
gun turrets fore and aft, five torpedoes, antiaircraft Pom Pom guns,
and depth charges for e and aft. They are very rough riding. Our
first exercises were operating with our submarines, based off the
coast of New London, CT, their home. This was mostly firing
torpedoes and sonar detection. We actually chased a Russian sub out
of there and we all laughed as they would not answer our calls. They
knew they were not supposed to be where they were. We continued to
train in the North Atlantic until they thought we were ready for
Korea. The hard part of the exercises was that we would have to
retrieve these fish (torpedoes) arm and refuel them and fire them
U.S.S. Gatling, complements of Wikipedia
As we were now ready to leave, hurricane Carol was tracking
toward Rhode Island. We were tied up with three other ships in
bay when it hit. The sky went dark, the wind ripped up the water
and the rain started. It sounded like a siren going off. Because
we were tied together, we were like an accordion. Four inch
hawsers (mooring cable) broke as fast as we could double them
up. We were banging back and forth, and even putting mattresses
between the ships. We were all trying to hang on and get below.
I was on the bridge when we broke loose. We started up the
engine and the gyro compass was spinning around and you could
not see to go anywhere, only tread water. It finally passed and
hit the town, causing considerable damage. We lost all the
outside rigging and life boats and had a large dent in the side.
It was a very frightening storm and we were thankful to survive.
The next day we were told to proceed to the Boston Navy Yard for
repairs. The only ship that went aground was the one used in the
movie the book "The
Caine Mutiny". They replaced the rigging, gave us new lifeboats
and took a look at the dent in the side and said "we do not have
to fix it, you will be ok, and now get out of here".
we went to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for gunnery practice. There is a
fueling station, a supply depot, and a target range at the end
of the island. They first day they flew a plane over towing a
sleeve and we were to fire our guns at it. We just got started
and the pilot radioed down to the bridge and said “Hey you guys,
I am pulling this not pushing it . I guess our guys were leading
a little too close for his comfort. Then on the next day we had
shore bombardment at land targets and they told us “we had
better leave before we hurt somebody. We were all glad of that
and could not wait to get the cotton out of our ears and hear
again. They never gave our scores, I guess they didn’t want to
offend us but in a way they already did. The next day we took on
more ammunition, fuel and stores. Because of the size of our
crew, most of the jobs require all hands to take part. The next
day we finally sailed off to meet up with the aircraft carrier
the U.S.S. Coral Sea to escort her to the Mediterranean Sea. We
practiced General Quarters (ready for battle) drills, our
different formations around the carrier, flight operations, and
getting us to operate together. About half way over we got word
that there was a possible treaty in the making but we did not
know if and when. We also knew that we would continue to have
day and night flight operations as protection during the
withdrawing of our troops.
Operating with aircraft carriers can be good and bad. First
the good. There is more security, daily mail, fresh stores,
current movies, and cigarettes at 80 cents a carton. However,
even the smoking light was only lit once a day outside for 20
minutes. The packs were good for tipping. The navy is smoke free
today. The bad, due to the size, weight and stabilizers, the
carrier can crash thru moderate to heavy seas with little
pitching or rolling. To launch the planes you travel between
30and 35 knots into the wind. The aircraft are down below with
their wings folded and come up to the brick by elevator. The
wings are then unfolded and placed in line behind a catapult.
The pilot salutes the deck when he is ready and is thrust into
the air at 150 mph and then he flies it. One destroyer is off
the fantail to rescue any man overboard or a launch failure
which does happen and the pilot ejects himself out. The others
are out front and on the sides, changing formations around the
carrier and guarding against submarines. Thus they must go
faster. Depending on the ocean, you are pitching and rolling and
trying to hang on. Then you slow down and wait for mission
accomplished and their return. There are many wave-offs if the
approach is not exactly right, they go around again. This is
always a tense moment and cheers and clapped hands always
accompany it when the hook on a cable catches them just before a
safety net out before the coning tower. We called these landings
Traveling at 20 knots as lot of fuel is used. We would burn
1000 gallons per hour. During WWII a number of destroyers rolled
over because they were low on fuel and lost their ballast.
Because of this we were required to maintain 80% fuel on board.
Even with this I saw our clinometer that measures the angle of a
roll go up to 42 degrees. The carrier supplys the refueling
while moving at sea. The captain gives the orders as you go
along side and two hoses are attached fore and aft. The
condition of the sea and the pressure changes between the two
ships makes it difficult to maintain the proper course and
distance. Too close and you are afraid of bouncing off the side,
and too far out and the hoses release and oil spills out on the
deck and crew. The helmsman is part of the QMs duties. You learn
this by doing it. It is a feel of the ships reaction to the
rudder and advising the captain. If the sea is a little choppy
it is a tense operation for all hands.
There is a Navy Regulation that states "when a small boy gets
along side a big boy he shall wear whites and the big boy shall
provide music". Can you imagine doing this in a white suit; what
was he smoking? In reality they get a stained white Tee shirt.
We however get a 4 piece band that played two stanzas of
"Anchors Away" as we cast off. The crew always had some colorful
language for this operation at night when we had to get out of
It took almost two weeks to cross the Atlantic. We made our
first good will stop at Lisboa Portugal and had a very friendly
and diplomatic visit and they were so glad we stopped. From
there we went to Barcelona Spain which was our first and last
docking for fuel. A full two tanks would be 156,000 gallons.
President Franco was their leader and he rolled out the red
carpet for us. The carrier crew and the destroyers were invited
to dinner at people’s homes, and afternoon bull fights were held
As a result of this the brass on the Coral Sea decided to put
on an air show for them. We had a rehearsal the day before on a
very nice day. After several formation flyovers Ensign Tucker
went into a high dive and never pulled out. We all saw where he
went down and went right to the area and found nothing. We
searched all over the rest of the day and until dark and never
found an oil slick. It was terrible to see and truly saddened
everyone and dampened our wonderful welcome. The show went on.
The next day we were told there was a big turnout. I don’t know
if they knew what happened that day but I am sure they were told
after we left. I could not imagine how the other pilots could
fly the next day.
As we continued into the Med Sea we were surrounded by
Communism. The break walls off the coast of France said "Go Home
Americans" in red. From here on we always anchored out and took
small boats ashore. While we were there we had joint operations
with our joint allies - England, Spain, Italy, France and
Greece. We had completed a flag signal drill with the British
and they sent to message "Splice the Main Brace". We could not
find this in our signal book, no one on the bridge knew, and the
radio shack did not know. So we answered "We don't have any".
The answered "Sorry". We finally found out from an "Old Salt" it
meant "break out a portion of rum to all hands". The Brits are
very good sailors and fun to operate with.
The differences in language made this the impossible dream.
Thankfully for all the right reasons, peace was declared and we
were to join up with the carrier U.S.S. Lake Champlain, and
cruiser U.S.S. Des Moines and provide protection of these ships
during the evacuations and return to the U.S.A. We were very
happy to hear this, it lifted our spirits and gave us a second
wind as we were all very tired, homesick, and sea sick in more
ways than one. Our operations were successful and we were coming
home. We had been gone for about 7 months. We all got some R&R
and there were some discharges. We brought back four pilots who
thought they would get home faster with us and they sat on deck
and were sea sick all the way back. They said they did not know
how we could stand it. We said "how can you stand your crash
landings on the carrier". They said it was better than being on
land. So hail to the Marines and the Army. This tells you that
no matter what branch of the service you are in, it's all about
war and war is insane.
After some leave and maintenance to the ship, the navy was
informed by Ecuador that Peruvian soldiers were massing on its
borders as they were preparing for their independence day
celebration and were asking for help. Because we were available
we were sent down to the Panama Canal to the Pacific Ocean. In
route we stopped on the equator for a customary mutiny by the
Pollywogs, those that never crossed, and the Shellbacks, those
who had crossed. It was about half and half. It is a Navy
customary crossing ceremony kept as a known secret and a story
in itself. It is a day long event. We then proceeded to
Guayaquil, Ecuador. We fired a 21 gun salute with our biggest
guns with blanks that echoed in the mountains and we piped their
officials on board. The carrier U.S.S. Roosevelt provided some
fly overs and the Peru rebels retreated in a hurry we were told.
We marched (walked) in their parade that day. We continued to
operate with the carrier there until they told us to return. I
did have the helm back through the canal at the captain's
request but with a Panama pilot. This is the only time the
captain releases his command. It takes about eight hours to go
through, including the locks at each end. This is a very
interesting thing to do and you are with other ships. In the
locks you can relax, but the rest of the passage you have to
concentrate. After this we returned straight home. After a few
days in port, I received my honorable discharge along with some
others. I saluted the quarter deck, walked down the gang plank,
and waved to my friends goodbye, as my two years were up. Some
kissed the ground.
I think we have the finest military in the world then and
now. I visited today's destroyers at Navy Pier in Chicago and
they are entirely different ships, with guided missiles,
unmanned aircraft, drones, and advances electrical equipment.
This November they christened a new state of the art aircraft
carrier the U.S.S. Gerald Ford. When fitted out it will go to
the South China Sea, the largest at 1,148,000 square miles.
A model of it will be at the Ford museum in Grand Rapids.
Contrary to what has been said, the navy does not need more
ships, just replacements. For those who would like to take a
Mediterranean cruise, go, you will enjoy it. The Navy will
always be in that Sea to protect you.
Top 10 Questions and Answers
1. Everyone gets sea sick, but not at the same time and it
2. Yes, the French Navy does have wine with dinner at sea.
3. Sometimes you don't eat, and sometimes you can't.
4. You sleep in triple bunks with three lockers under the first.
5. There is a movie every night, weather permitting. A gun
turret is turned sideways for a screen.
6. No pets allowed, only monkeys, parrots, mice and gerbils.
7. Salt water showers, when you run out of water, are not good.
8. Breakfast: Tang, green powdered scrambled eggs, spam,
powdered milk and sometimes fired rotten potatoes. Black coffee.
9. Fun: We stop and go swimming - clothes or now clothes - a
life boat is lowered with an M1 rifle in case of sharks.
10. Pay day every two weeks, cash or posted. Why?
Arnold Shafer, a member of the
Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society, worked in engineering
and sales for 44 years for the National Casting Co.
He and his wife lived in Chicago for over 30
years. They heard good things about Saugatuck and came up
one Thanksgiving weekend. They saw the downtown and thought
it was a movie set. They bought an Arts and Crafts cottage
on Elizabeth St. and worked on it until 1994 and then in
2000 bought the barn at 429 Union St., Douglas where he now
His wife Gretchen has passed on. Both of
their houses here have been on the Society’s historical
Editorial note: As we celebrate the 60th
anniversary of the ending of the Korean War, we would like to
collect the memories of those who served. If you have a story to
tell, contact Chris Yoder, 857-4327, email
ABOUT THE SOCIETY
To become a member or renew
your membership select from the following categories:
Send check payable to the Saugatuck-Douglas
Historical Society to: PO Box 617, Douglas, Michigan 49406. You can
for a Society Membership Application.
Send items for the newsletter to: Fred Schmidt, PO
Box 617, Douglas MI 49406 or email
HISTORY MUSEUM AND HISTORY CENTER
The Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society History
Museum is located in the historic Pump House at the foot of Mt.
Baldhead on the west bank of the Kalamazoo River.
is now closed until next Memorial Day weekend. Click
HERE to learn more about the Museum and
recent past exhibits.
The Old School House History
Center and Lifeboat Display, located at 130 Center Street in Douglas, is open
to visitors by appointment. Please contact Steve Hutchins at
616-801-3735 or by email at
The Society's Technology Center is located in the
lower level of the Old School House History Center at 130 Center
Street in downtown Douglas.
Society Phone: 269 857-5751
Museum Phone: 269 857-7900
Tech Center Phone 269 857-7901