Wednesday, August 13,
Annual Potluck Picnic at Mt. Baldhead Park.
Chips and dips at 6 p.m., dinner at
6:30. Please bring your best culinary creation for the buffet
table and your own tableware. After dinner we are going to have a
quiz with some really great prizes! Any questions--call Jane at
Wednesday, September 10,
at 7 p.m., Official Opening of the Old School House. We will have
an opportunity to tour the building and learn how we will be able
to use the facilities of this new learning center.
Wednesday, October 8
at 7 p.m. at Saugatuck High School. Tall tales told by a ship's
TUESDAYS 'TIL NOON
July 22 - Ellen
Sprouls with "Capturing Moments in Time; The Viewer as Interpreter."
July 29 - Kay
Norton Smalley with "John Warner Norton: Early Saugatuck Artist
Makes It Big."
August 5 - Don Olendorf with
'Bill Olendorf: Saugatuck and Ox-Bow Create an Artist."
August 12 - James Schmiechen with
"May Francis Heath: Artist and Storyteller."
'til Noon program begins at 11 a.m. at the museum in the south
gallery. Seating is limited so come early. The program ends promptly
at noon when the museum opens for the day.
LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT
It has been a busy period since the
new board was sworn in. We have accomplished a major task of one of
the goals set before us. We had determined which At-Large Board
members will be the liaisons for the various functions (committees)
within the Society. We handed out a copy of the list at the July 9
meeting and the list is printed in this issue of the newsletter. I
will ask that the list be posted to the website for continual
Those who attended the monthly
meeting were treated to the stories and images of John Thomas, son
of infamous Ev Thomas, as he described life growing up in Douglas.
In addition, John and his brother, Mike, presented the Society a
Civil War sword that belonged to Major William Dunn of Ganges. This
special artifact will now become part of the SDHS archival
collection. We are grateful to the Thomas family for this historic
donation. It was also nice to see several of our long time residents
at the meeting; Demi Demerest, Henry Gleason, Terry Thomas, Bev
Nieusma, Nancy Nieusma Burch and Sheri Fox Stahl to name a few. I
hope to see more local participation at the events and programs
offered by the Society. They are some of our living historians.
We have enjoyed listening to all of
your feedback and suggestions as to how to continue to grow the
Society and to ensure we present the correct focus. I recently
returned from an architectural study tour and met with several
officers of other historical societies to obtain their views on
involvement in their communities. I found it both enlightening and
reassuring that the SDHS purpose and mission are similar. We truly
are a premier organization with valued members and volunteers.
I encourage you to visit our
often as we continue to look at ways to expand and strengthen our
communication so that you have current and accurate information. I
am pleased to be a part of this special organization.
Best regards, Kathy Sturm
WHAT YOU MISSED
June 11, 2008, SCA Auditorium
State Senator Patty Birkholz gave an
introductory tribute to Burr Tillstrom followed by Dr. Joel
Sternberg of Xavier University of Chicago. Dr. Sternberg traced
Burr's life (1917 - 1985) through slides, film clips and delightful
tales of Kukla, Fran and Ollie. No microphone forced Jon Helmrich to
move and Bill Hess to second that our business meeting be postponed.
July 8, 2008, High School Media Center
Sixty-plus attended as John Thomas, son of Everard Thomas
(1912-2002) shared the July program "Thomas Family - A Century of
Memories." Via his enthusiasm, humor, great stories and visual
presentation John proved his statement, "I am my father's son!" He
concluded by introducing his brother, Jim, and nephew, Eric, who
assisted him in donating an 1865 Civil War sword to the Society.
Jane Underwood, whose father and Ev were great friends, presented
John Thomas with a hard-cover edition of the Society's new book.
President Kathy Sturm called the
business meeting or order at 8:05 p.m. for these announcements:
1. Committee liaison assignments are in place to strengthen SDHS
2. Lakeview Bowling Fundraiser netted $4,196.86 for the OSH.
3. 2008 SDHS Directory has been mailed.
4. September 20, 2008 is the correct date for the Heritage Home
5. OSH bell clapper has been purchased for $1,200.00 (unbudgeted).
6. Jim Schmiechen's Historic Site Inventory Project is now on our
7. Reiteration of the SDHS Purpose and Mission as printed in our
At 8:14 Mike Economos moved, Ken
Carls seconded that the meeting be adjourned.
NEWSLETTER GOES ELECTRONIC
Starting with this month's Newsletter, we will send a hard copy via
US Mail as usual plus an electronic "E-News" version to those
members who have given us their email addresses. We hope you will
enjoy this new way of staying informed with the latest Society news.
In addition to the "E-News," look for event reminders and other
timely notices in your email inbox.
If you would like to receive Society news electronically and have
not given us your email address, just REPLY to this email and we'll
add your name to the email list, or go to the Society's
click on the "Subscribe" icon. For those who elect to receive their
newsletter electronically, we will discontinue their hard copy
mailing starting with the August newsletter unless we hear from you.
It's your choice - just let us know by REPLYING to this email, by
phone at 269-857-5751 or US mail at SDHS, Box 617, Douglas, MI
EXPLODES WITH NEW BOOKS
Four new publications loaded with insights about life in the early
days of our community have been released recently by the Society.
History by Camera: Saugatuck & Douglas Photographs 1870-1970,
published in May, offers rare historical views, many of which appear
pristine to the readers' eyes, a good trick considering that they
are up to 138 years old. Author/photo editor Jack Sheridan and
graphic designer Rick Vanderleek - both Society fixtures - are
responsible for this professional work.
Rick Vanderleek & Jack Sheridan at the Museum's
History by Camera: Saugatuck & Douglas
Photographs 1870-1970 Book Signing
Jack browsed endlessly through the archives to come up with 233
"stop and stare" photos and maps. Many of the images are new to our
collection in the last three years. Rick burned much midnight oil
after practicing his daytime designing profession in advertising.
Rob Carey provided professional advice and moral support. The book
is available in soft cover, $30, and numbered hardbound, $100. The
hardcover edition has been hand-crafted as usual by the Lincoln Book
Bindery and is of superb quality. Call Rob Carey, 857-2478, to
reserve your number or REPLY to this email.
Early Memories of Saugatuck, Michigan 1830 to 1930, by May
Francis Heath, which was originally published about 1929, is newly
reprinted by the Society. Mrs. Heath's book has long been looked as
one of the most valuable resources on local history. It has been out
of print for several decades and owners of the original editions
cherish them. There have been reports of eBay and auction purchases
for as much as $60.
The new edition is a 6 x 9 inch paperback
version which reproduces the contents of the original publication
including the woodcut illustrations of Carl Hoerman.
It was created
by a team of Society volunteers including Rob Carey, editor; Mary
Lyons, document retrieval;
Jack Sheridan tech support, and Kit Lane, who added a 30-page
index that was not in the original version. It is available in
paperback only for $18.95 at the museum or click
HERE to order directly over the internet.
History of Western Allegan County, Michigan, the heavyweight
of this publication bonanza, reawakens a resource originally
published by Curtis Media Corporation in 1988 and thought to
be out-of-print until some original-run books (shrink-wrapped
were discovered in a Texas book warehouse by Society volunteer
Chris Yoder. All copies were purchased by the Society. Known locally
as "The Big Black Book", this hardcover 9 x 12 inch tome is
1.5" thick and contains 537 pages, comprising about 20 percent
local history and 80 percent western Allegan County family
history vignettes, a total of 921. Kit Lane, project director
for Curtis Media, wrote much of the history portion and helped
families compile their family history data. The result is a
timeless and invaluable reference book full of photos and
local family lore. The book is hardcover only for $70.
REPLY to this email if you would like to order a copy.
13 Moments in Time: The Artist as Storyteller, a portfolio
including 5 x 7 inch color reproductions of all 13 artworks
featured in this year's exhibit, with a short biography of the
artist and other information about the scene on the back, all
collected into a miniature artist's portfolio. Available at
the museum for $20 or REPLY to this email to order a
addition the museum still has in stock about half of the
previously published Society books including Painting the Town: A
History of Art in Saugatuck and Douglas, by Kit Lane which
accompanied the 1997 exhibit, and Raising the Roof: A History of
the Buildings and Architecture in the Saugatuck and Douglas Area
(revised edition) by James Schmiechen which was published in 2006,
and others. Click
for information and how to order your copies.
A liaison is not a Committee Chair.
Communications - co-liaisons Ken
Carls & Bill Hess
Development - Nancy Woods
Facilities - co-liaisons Steve
Hutchins & Ed Kelly
Membership/Volunteers - co-liaisons
Ed Kelly & to be named
Merchandising - Steve Hutchins
Nominating - Harold Thieda
Programming - Ken Carls
Social - Nancy Woods & Judi
Technology - Mary Voss
HAVE FAMILY BURIED IN LOCAL CEMETERIES?
As a part of the efforts to document local families, we have been
collecting and posting data to the SDHS "On-Line
We have: Interment records from Riverside (3,448), Douglas (1,772),
Taylor (1,033), and Plummerville (260) cemeteries; 1,958 photos of
gravestones, as well as over 7,000 obituaries from the Commercial
Record, 1868 to 1959. Thanks to Charles Hancock for his work at
Taylor and to Pam Aalderink at Riverside.
If you have families in these cemeteries, you can help by
contributing information which can be posted with these to include
photos or biographies. Digital photos can be uploaded to the grave
record by anyone with internet access. Contact Chris Yoder at
firstname.lastname@example.org if you need to
have photos scanned or have a biography you'd like to see on-line.
Thanks, Chris Yoder
Growing Up in
by Kathy Tisdale Sturm
Since I am a volunteer, not only as your president, but at the
Society's museum, Mary Voss, chief recorder of volunteer hours,
asked that I share some of my memories of growing up in the area as
part of a focus on our volunteers. Thank you for asking.
I have had the
privilege of living near Pier Cove, Fennville and in Douglas as a
child. As an adult add Saugatuck and now Saugatuck Township. I moved
here in 1959 with my parents, Sue and Jerry Tisdale, along with my
younger brother, Dennis, and sister, Peggy. My dad worked for the
State of Michigan and with the new I-196 being built he was
transferred here from Lansing to be part of the maintenance crew for
the "new" highway. I must say I wasn't too happy to learn that the
road we lived on did not come with sidewalks for roller skating, but
that dissipated very quickly when we learned that the Big Lake was a
short walking distance away.
At that time we lived on the Lakeshore next to the County Park.
After my youngest sister, Tris, was born we moved to a house on
US-31 near 126th Ave for a few years and we attended St. Peter's
School downtown Douglas. We moved into Douglas (town) in 1964. Our
house was sited where the Petter sculpture garden is now located at
the corner of Main and Douglas streets, the building was later
destroyed by fire, after we had moved.
Our yard was the collecting point for the downtown kids as opposed
to the uptown kids; Center Street was the dividing point. We would
play ball together, ride our bikes, fish, slide down the hill behind
the house on sleds and saucers in the winter and cardboard boxes in
the summer. The hill was too steep to mow, so my mother invented
this option to keep the yard "tidy".
A funny story I will share. We moved into town just before my
birthday and as was and still is the custom you go to the Post
Office for the mail. It was my turn so that I could collect my
birthday cards. When I arrived at Center Street I was amazed to find
that flags lined both sides of the street. My Grandpa Pratt had
always told me it was just for my birthday, and I couldn't figure
out how they knew it was my birthday, so I retrieved the mail and my
cards and proceeded to walk down the middle of Center Street back
toward Main Street to celebrate my day. Jerry Bekken, then a clerk
at the Post Office, noticed the new kid walking in the street and
came running out the front door to tell me to get out of the street,
one it was not safe and even more so because Tom Gifford was due to
drive by soon. Remember Tom and Maggie Gifford? Another story for
I attended Saugatuck High School from the 6th to the 12th
grades. My mother began working at the high school when I was a
junior. Most kids would have hated that situation. I didn't - my
mother is one of my best friends. Some of the special advantages of
living in a very small community I enjoyed, and there were some I
didn't enjoy. During my teen years Douglas and Saugatuck observed
many short term transitions as they tried to define themselves after
the loss of the Big Pavilion. Many different groups tried to make
their mark and the citizens tried to help them decide if they would
fit. We had the bikers and the hippies who enjoyed a free lifestyle
and the rock concerts. One morning during the weekend concert out at Pottawatamie Beach we had no less than 20 riders sleeping in our
backyard. At the time I worked part-time at the "new" hospital as an
emergency room clerk. That was quite an education in and of itself.
Saugatuck was always hopping and Douglas with its quiet streets
would just sit back and watch and continue unchanged. You knew who
lived in every house, which also meant that your every movement was
reported to the neighbors and your parents. As a teen that was very
boring compared to what was happening across the river in Saugatuck.
At the exhibit at the museum there is a Greyhound sign. It hung for
many years on Kit Lane's side porch on Spring Street. (I used to babysit for the Lane kids when they first moved to town). Then, when
I was in high school, several of us tried to convince the Greyhound
Bus Line to resume stops in Douglas, but this time in front of the
Lane's house as there was an official sign there. We never did
convince them it was a good idea. I could probably go on and on
about life in Douglas, but I will give you this small taste.
I moved away to attend college, got married and raised a wonderful
son with the values I was raised with and from the experiences
learned living in Douglas and Saugatuck just a beautiful view away.
Speaking of which, the view of Saugatuck from the south end of the
bridge is the view I saw each day from my bedroom window. That is a
very special memory for me.
I am back and enjoying life here, with my family. Thomas Wolfe was
wrong, you can come home again.
Thank you for letting me ramble. We have continual calls out for
those who are willing to recollect what the area was like in earlier
days, both as written pieces for the newsletter and for the various
other types of oral history the society collects.
worked at this project for some time and received input from most of
Saugatuck's oldest residents. We have recollections from many who
are no longer with us. HOWEVER, there is a distressing paucity of
accounts from the 1950s, 1960sand 1970s. I know to many of us that
seems like just yesterday, but it is already a half a century away
and getting farther away every day. History is a continuous story.
If you can, help us fill in the gaps, please write something for the
newsletter, or the historical library now forming in our new
Discovery Center, or contact John and Charlaine Shack and arrange to
do an oral history. Please. - Kit Lane, newsletter editor.
Lillian Grimes Eddy
Lillian Isabel Grimes was born to
Solomon Moore and Phebe (Hathaway Nichols) Grimes, March 23, 1863,
in Galesburg, Michigan. She spent her early school years at Little
Prairie Ronde with Grandmother Hathaway. The Solomon Grimes family
moved from Galesburg to Allegan where Solomon owned a shoe store. As
a child, Lillian often accompanied her father on trips to Saugatuck,
passing the home called Beech-Hurst en route. She always exclaimed
over the magnificent beech trees and determined that one day that
beautiful place would be hers.
Lillian graduated from Allegan
High School in 1879, the high school's first graduating class. In
the early spring of that year Solomon Grimes sold his store and
bought property on the Ganges lakeshore near where Plummerville
Creek crosses Lakeshore Drive. There he developed a fruit farm,
including a number of apple varieties for which he was quite well
known. He was often in touch with Luther Burbank.
Lillian moved to Ganges, took the
teachers' exam and was hired to teach for that 1879-80 school year.
At the end of one year she went to Ypsilanti Normal, where she
covered two years of work in one and received her Life Certificate.
In the fall of 1881 she was hired to teach math and Latin at the
South Haven High School. After two years she went to teach at
Fowler. Her next teaching position was at the Three Rivers Seminary,
a boarding school for boys and girls. After two years, Lillian
wished to continue her education and finished in one year her
Bachelor of Pedagogy at Michigan State Normal College in Ypsilanti.
With her new degree she was hired as principal of the Wayne High
School. She remained at the job until her marriage in 1894 to Scott Wilmoth Eddy. At that time he was postmaster of Ganges and ran the
general store. Here their two sons, Raymond Grimes and Benjamin
Hathaway were born.
One year the peach crop failed.
there were a half-dozen young people scheduled to go off to college
that year but since peaches were the chief income for the farmers,
parents could ill afford the expense of sending them away. Lillian
was asked her if she would have a school for these young people so
that they would not waste that year of education. She converted the
upper floor of the store to a school and taught there for two years
and many received college credit due to her efforts. Among these
young people were two Hutchins boys. Harry graduated from Purdue
University with a degree in electrical engineering. Lee received
degrees from the Michigan Agricultural College and Johns Hopkins
University and served as a translator and bacteriologist during
World War I, before a career with the Department of Agriculture in
Washington, D.C. specializing in plant disease. Eugene Brunson was
also one of Lillian's students. He followed his father into the
practice of medicine and said he would never have made it through
medical school if it had not been for her fine Latin instruction.
After Scott sold the store to the
Wolbrink brothers and retired in 1906, Lillian's life-long wish came
true. She purchased Beech-Hurst. In 1906 was hired at the Douglas
school teaching high school Latin and math. A 1908 contract recently
discovered in the family home (see below) notes that she received
$25 for "one half day each day". She was later principal. In 1914 she
earned a BA degree. From 1922 to 1933, when she retired at the age
of 70, she worked for the Veterans Administration. Lillian Grimes
Eddy died April 5, 1955, at the age of 92.
Lillian and Scott's son,
Benjamin, married Esther Paton, and had five daughters, four of them
present or past members of the Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society:
Elizabeth "Betsy" Eddy Plummer, Barbara Eddy Crandall, Joan Eddy
Brigham, and Joyce Eddy Plummer.