LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT
Dear SDHS Members,
Happy New Year. I hope that you enjoyed your holidays. We have a lot
going on over the forthcoming months and as mentioned in this issue
of the E-News. The Pub Party, the grant money we have received and
events that you will want to put on your calendars.
We have received funds from the Michigan Council for Arts and
Cultural Affairs and the Preserve America grants so that we can move
forward, when the weather improves to begin work on the Back-In-Time
project and the HADLab. Both are important aspects of the entire Old
School House Discovery Center. We continue to move forward to bring
many projects and programs of value to our community.
One of the steps toward completion is the elevator. The elevator was
delivered the end of December and we hope to have it fully
operational over the coming weeks. We will keep you posted on the
progress and completion of these projects.
I would like to take a moment here and thank each and every member
of the SDHS Board and staff for their endless dedication during this
time of restructure. Much was asked of these individuals and all
have gone above and beyond to ensure the continued success of the
Society. I would also like to thank the many volunteers and members
who support SDHS. Our success and value to the community is owed to
all of you.
I wish to share with all of you that I will not be able to consider
a new two year term as President. The role and responsibility as
President of this Society and my duties as a full-time employee with
the Society of Architectural Historians does not allow me the time
necessary, in my opinion, to devote to both successfully. It has
been a privilege to serve and thank all of you for your guidance,
support and friendship.
As Carol Burnett used to sing at the end of her show, I too would
like to convey that “I’m so glad we had this time together, to
have a laugh and sing a song. Seems we just get started and before
you know it; comes the time we have to say, so long.”
I look forward to seeing all of you soon.
Best regards, Kathy Sturm
Family History, Wednesday, February 11, 7
PM at The Old School House - come and learn how to get
started (or continue) researching your family history using
information available on the internet.
This session is both for the beginner and the accomplished family
historian. You’ll receive an overview of some of the tools available
on the internet, such as the Society's "On-Line Research Center".
Volunteers will work with you on a computer. Bring any material you
have found already, and a laptop ,if you have one.
Celebrate the life of Cora
Bliss Taylor, Wednesday, March 11, 7 PM at The Old School
Awards, Wednesday, April , 7 PM at The Old School House
the past few months the Board has been wrestling
putting mechanisms in place for overseeing the Society’s many
projects and financial resources while preserving and nurturing
the passion of its dedicated
Ken Carls and Fred Schmidt have established a set of
Guidelines and a Project Proposal Form which
are available on the Society’s website. These will be
used for all new projects proposed within the Society.
However there are close
to 50 projects that are underway and need to be better understood by the
Board so that appropriate financial oversight
and priority setting can
be clarified. A first cut at the current Society Project Inventory
is currently being evaluated by the Working Team Lead Volunteers. Stay
|Over the past month, we have
received $5,000 of our $12,500 grant from the Michigan Council
for Arts and Cultural Affairs for the Historical Archives
Digital Lab (HADLab) at the Old School House. These funds
will have to be matched by the Society.
We also received a $13,900 partial payment for our Preserve
America grant. The total award is $23,265. These funds will be
used for the Back-In-Time: Tales of the Village Pathway
Project to create six “story stops” along an outdoor walk on
the Old School House “yard” (six city lots), with views of the
historic Lake Michigan harbor. The tour continues indoors as a
virtual tour with an additional 3 story stops.
Oval Beach Parking Lot - 1959
Also this month, we will submitting a Michigan Council for
Arts and Cultural affairs mini-grant to support this year's
museum exhibit tentatively titled
Summertime: One Hundred Years of Leisure at the Lake
Michigan Shore as well as the publication of a book on
The Big Pavilion.
We have had a really good start to our 2009
membership drive. Nearly 50% of our membership letters have been
answered with 2009 membership fees paid. Many members have
contributed more than the required amount - THANK YOU! Also, several
"life members" made additional contributions - thank you for your
continued support and guidance.
Now for those who have not yet joined for 2009;
please renew. This is going to be an outstanding year for your
Society. Activities at the Old school House will continue to
increase and the museum exhibit for this year will be fabulous. Join
the fun and socialization at the many events we have planned. Look
forward to seeing you this season.
Ed Kelly, Membership Development Team member
Thanks to John Shack and Jack Sheridan, on
9/23/08 & 10/29/08, Mary Ann (Johnson) Curtis was interviewed in
her home overlooking Lake Michigan in Pier Cove. A video
recording was made
when a deeper look at her life was documented.
Her home is
filled with family photos, albums, scrapbooks, and years of
diverse Curtis and Johnson family artifacts. Mary Ann’s warmth,
humor and vivaciousness seasoned the fascinating story she so
readily shared. Click
HERE for more.
ANNUAL PUB PARTY, SATURDAY, MARCH
Each year the Society’s annual Pub Party
marks the first fun event of the new year. The party will be
held at Coral Gables on Saturday, March 14 from 6:30 to 9:30
pm - 6:30 cash bar and viewing of auction items and 7:30
dinner and live auction follows dinner.
The menu will feature a traditional corned beef dinner or a
vegetarian option. The highlight of the evening will again be the
trip raffle. This year the raffle winner will be able to try the
luck of the Irish in fabulous Las Vegas! Airfare, three nights of
hotel accommodations on The Strip and airport transfers for two are
included in the trip. (The trip must be completed by December 15,
2009 and other rules and restrictions will apply.) One raffle ticket
is included with each Pub Party ticket. Additional tickets are $10
or 3 for $25.
Also, as before, there will be a vast array of items available in
both the silent and live auctions. New this year is a “50/50 raffle”
in which the winner and the Society share in the prize. Fifty-fifty
tickets will be $1 each or 6 for $5.
Tickets to the Pub Party are $25 per person. The last date to
purchase Pub Party tickets is March 6. Raffle tickets can be
purchased up to March 14. You can purchase Pub Party and raffle
tickets now by calling (269) 857-5751. (Credit Cards accepted for
phone orders.) Tickets will be available at Uncommon Grounds in
Saugatuck or the Respite Coffee Shop in Douglas at a later date.
Hope to see you there.
VOLUNTEER PROFILE: JACK SHERIDAN
Did anyone find a shiny new camera in their
Christmas stocking this year? Chances are it’s a digital camera
that can take amazing pictures that you can save, print, or
email to friends.
If anyone has a film camera today it’s probably forgotten somewhere
in the attic or buried in a closet. Today it’s a virtual antique - a
relic of bygone days.
But there was a day when film was king and played an important role
in Saugatuck’s history - capturing and preserving early days and
memories for succeeding generations.
Many of those early pictures have been preserved, itemized, and
digitally stored in the Society's Tech Center. The person
responsible for supervising the film archives is Society volunteer
Jack Sheridan, who has worn many hats as a volunteer.
Jack’s early experience in working with film began in Saugatuck in
the 1950’s. Jack was a teenage high school student in Calumet,
Michigan where his father was the high school principal - putting an
extra burden on Jack to behave in school. The Sheridan family spent
summers in Saugatuck where Jack found employment at Carlton
Simonson’s Photo Studio on Culver street - in the building that
later housed "The Loaf & Mug."
Jack recalls the photo business as catering to locals and tourists
alike. People would bring their film in to be developed - the
Simonson studio only handled B&W film; color film or slides needed
to be sent to Kodak for processing. Customers dropping off film
would receive their prints and negatives the following day.
The Simonson studio consisted of a customer reception area where
film was dropped off and prints picked up, a photo studio where
portraits were taken, and a darkroom in the basement where film was
developed and prints made.
These days Jack Sheridan and his tech staff store and preserve
photos - both black and white and color. Those who bring photo
prints to be preserved will receive their originals back along with
a CD of their images for safe keeping and viewing on their computer
or TV. Stop in the Tech Center and ask Jack about his early days in
the photo business at the Simonson Studio. by
Simonson Studio ca 1954
A BUSY YEAR AT THE SOCIETY'S
The year 2008 has been a very fruitful and rewarding year at the
SDHS archives. In spite of our cramped work space in the lower level
of the Dutcher Lodge much has been accomplished.
Chris Yoder finished scanning all the available (to us)
Commercial Record Newspapers from 1868 to 1959 (36,000 pages,
all on-line). In
addition, he has assembled over 15,000 files (about 3.5 gigabytes)
of local history information and made them available in the "SDHS
On-Line Research Center" at the SDHS web site. Thanks go to
Howard Vanderbeck for scanning almost 1,000 old Douglas Hospital
records, Charles Hancock and Pam Aalderink for photographing over
2,000 gravestones each, and Mary Lyons for scanning all the pages of
The History of Western Allegan County Michigan (remaining
copies and all rights now owned by the SDHS).
As the registrar for the collection, this year I recorded 23
separate accessions. Some of them had only one or two items, others
contained dozens. In all we added more than 100 items to the
archives not counting hundred’s more photographs, all of them with
ties to local history. Some examples of items added were: paintings
done by local artists, drawings by Burr Tillstrum, a menu from the
Corner Bar, a bumper sticker from the Old Crow, a unique 1920s
souvenir of Camp Gray, a diploma and graduation photos of the
Douglas School class of 1943, and 1950s posters and programs from
the Red Barn Theater. Recently a box of items pertaining to the Big
Pavilion was donated. All these items have a story to tell and we
hope in the years ahead to use these things to bring the story to
you, either as part of an exhibit or for your own personal research.
The theme for the 2009 exhibit is Summertime: A Century of
Leisure along the Lake Michigan Shore, so you can see how
these donations will fit right in to that.
The Back in Time Locker Project at the Old School House Discovery
Center is planned and will be built soon. A big thank you to those
who have offered items for the lockers. We have received a number of
old Saugatuck school text books dating from 1860 to 1960s, as well
as vintage high school science equipment. What fun to compare these
with what is being used today. Teaching has certainly seen changes
over the years.
Looking ahead to 2009, we hope sometime this year to move most of
the collection as well as our archival processing area to the lower
level of the Old School House Discovery Center. There researchers
will be able to have better access to the collection and it will
help those of us working with it to do our job more effectively and
efficiently. Your donation dollars will make this a reality and are
The SDHS Archival Group: Chris Yoder, Mary Lyons, Jack Sheridan,
John Shack, Harold Thieda and Mary Voss, thanks you for your
donations and support. More volunteers in the archives are always
welcome. Contact us at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, if you haven't sent in your
volunteer hours for 2008, please do so now by replying to this email
SAUGATUCK, JAN. 23, 2009 -- Preparations for the first exhibit at
the Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society's Old School House
Discovery Center began this month, as groups of sixth-graders from
Douglas Elementary School took turns visiting the Center to learn
about exhibit creation and share thoughts about what has made their
community a summertime vacation destination with nationwide
attraction. The Discovery Center and its first exhibit are targeted
to open in mid-May, exact date yet to be determined.
Given the theme "Summertime Fun", in a project conceived by
Douglas Elementary 6th grade language arts teacher Wendy Colsen and
Historical Society Museum chair Dr. James Schmiechen, retired
Central Michigan University historian, the students will plan,
design, research and produce displays that tell stories about how,
when and why various kinds of summer recreation have come to
characterize our area.
Douglas Elementary School 6th graders (L to R)
Cody Shriel, Jordan Overway and Reese Bohn listen as
Dr. James Schmiechen explains resources available for exhibit
Douglas Elementary School 6th graders (L to R)
Nick McDuff, Connor Rasmussen, Fya Redinger, Shanna
Strowenjans, Jennifer Kelly and Michaela Sweigart discuss
potential topics for exhibit displays with Historical
Society's Dr. James Schmiechen.
The Discovery Center exhibit will expand upon and add a different
perspective to the Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Museum's major
exhibit for 2009, "100 Years of Summertime and Fun", which
will focus on art and artifacts documenting the history of leisure
and summer life here.
"Working on a collaborative project with the Saugatuck-Douglas
Historical Society is always such an exciting process for the kids,"
Colsen says. "They learn so many invaluable skills that apply to a
real world setting, and the public presentation steps up the
expectations for them. My favorite part is watching them get excited
to do research each day and also the look of pride on their faces
when they are showing their work to the public on opening night."
The assignment has gained extra relevance with the National Trust
for Historic Preservation recently naming Saugatuck-Douglas one of
it's "Dozen Distinctive Destinations for 2009".
As the students discussed their exhibit's possibilities during the
kick-off meeting, they also learned about new resources available to
aid their research, including recent additions to the Historical
Society web site, www.sdhistoricalsociety.org, such as the "Image
Blog", showing historical photos, and the "On-Line Research Center",
a growing compilation of digitized Society archives.
The Historical Society has been refurbishing the Old School House
since early in 2007, aimed at preserving and converting the building
into a community resource where children and adults alike can
explore the area's genealogy, history, culture, ecology and
architecture through recreational activities, educational programs,
special events and access to the Society's growing archive of local
artifacts, photos, records and newspapers.