In February 1862
Reverend J. Rice Taylor braved the bitter cold journeying to Saugatuck by
sleigh from Allegan to give a "lecture" to the village citizens. Later he
ventured on to nearby Singapore to baptize the Annesley and Wheeler
children in a cabin near one of the sawmills. "It was with difficulty," he
wrote about the crowded and overheated service, but "I congratulated
myself when it ended."
This was the first Episcopal service in the area. He returned in 1868, to
establish a new church with money from the local mill owner, F. B.
Stockbridge, and the people of nearby Holland - which he did with only
Reverend Taylor was from New York State and, with his daughters, exhibited
the most refined architectural taste yet in the life of the wild mill town
of Saugatuck. For his new Saugatuck church, "All Saints," he commissioned
the famous Detroit architect, Gordon Lloyd, to build what has since been
called the most beautiful "Carpenter Gothic" church in Michigan. For his
own house on Pleasant Street he used plans by one of America's best known
architects, Andrew Jackson Downing.
The Taylors were known for their hospitality, and their house on Pleasant
Street became known as Saugatuck's "House of the Seven Gables."
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