RECORD CROWD AT MUSEUM OPENING
Rumors of a hit exhibit and some excellent weather brought out well
over 300 Society members and guests to the museum and its harborside
patio on Saturday evening May 23rd. Guests were welcomed
to the exhibit, "Summertime - A Century of Leisure on the Lake
Michigan Shore" by lifeguard David Lyon positioned alongside
one of the City's old life guard stations and JoEllen & Bill
Anderson's classy 1938 yellow Oldsmobile Cutlass convertible stuffed
with beach balls and flotation devices.
A load of door prizes were given away - and the food and wine was
1950s in full beach picnic style.
If you have not seen the exhibit, make sure you allow plenty of time
- it is a stunner and full of great stories, a scale model of the
Big Pavilion, hundreds of photographs, two flatscreen shows and
more. Many guests were also able to view the museum's new "SuperMap"
for the first time (see related news article). Open daily, Noon to
4. Free Admission.
FACES AT THE OPENING
Lifeguard - Dave Lyon
Ken Carls & his Big Red cake
Three Generations of the Dewey Family
Rick & Bernice
Powerchat - Kathy Sturm
& Judy Mauger
Hostesses - Dottie Lyon
& Judi Vanderbeck
AT THE MUSEUM - ATTENDANCE IS RECORD-BREAKING
This year's exhibition and the Super Map are a HUGE hit with our
Museum visitors. To date we have had over 1,400 visitors - an 84%
increase over last year!
Thanks to the Museum Design Team and all of our Museum Hosts for
providing such an engaging experience.
If you haven't been to this year's exhibition, hurry down there
soon. Tell your friends and neighbors. A trip to the Museum is a
great escape for your summer guests and family. We know they will
BOWL-A-RAMA A SUCCESS!
A fun time was had by all at the June 4th Bowl-A-Rama
held at Lakeview Lanes in Douglas. About $3,500 was raised to
support the Society's many programs.
Wed., July 8, 7 PM,
Yacht Club, the history of the Saugatuck Yacht Club as they
celebrate their 75th anniversary of teaching young and old to sail
small boats. John Shack has recruited a group of "Old Salts"
to spin some tales about the Club.
Wed., August 12, 6 PM, Annual Society Picnic at Mt. Baldhead Park
Tuesday 'Til Noon talks
to begin on July 7 starting promptly at 11 AM every Tuesday in July
and August. The 2009 season will focus on "Summertime - A
Century of Leisure at the Lake Michigan Shore".
The Many Lives of Saugatuck's Big Pavilion
My Life With Chris Craft by Chris Smith
Mary Ann Curtis and Tales of Summertime at Pier Cove
[to be announced]
Ox-Bow: Summer Fun - the Inside Story
James Cook: A Photographic Study of Dunes, Lake and River
Lake Michigan Commercial and Sport Fishing
Hot Summers, Food and Fun at the Oval Beach in the 1950s &
We look forward to seeing you at the
NEW location - we are moving to the Society's Old School House
"Discovery Center" at 130 Center Street, Douglas.
WGVU'S MORNING SHOW AT THE PUMP HOUSE MUSEUM
WGVU’s Morning Show with Shelley Irwin will air a special half-hour
recorded at the Pump House Museum on Friday, June 26 at 9:30 am.
Society member, Jon Helmrich, will join Shelley Irwin for his
monthly special feature, The View From the Dunes,
which will focus on our museum, the Summertime exhibit, and this
year’s book on the Big Pavilion. Helmrich and Irwin plan to talk
with Jim Schmiechen, Kit Lane, and Harold Thieda at the museum for
the broadcast. WGVU is at 88.5 FM on the radio dial or
wgvu.org on-line. The View
from the Dunes airs monthly and covers people and events in
the Saugatuck-Douglas area. Helmrich has produced and co-hosted the
feature since February 2007.
NEW SOCIETY COMMITTEES SEEKING MEMBERS
Two of the top planning goals for the Society presented at the May
Annual meeting were to activate two important committees for the
Society - Development and New Revenue. Both committees will be
concerned with exploring and implementing new income and revenue
streams to ensure the Society's long-term vitality. The Development
committee will plan and discuss many things including fund-raising
benefits, grants and donations, and new ideas such as legacy gifts
and an endowment plan. The New Revenue committee will plan and
explore potential new income ideas such as retail and gift items at
Society shops, sponsorships for Society events, space rental, and
other income generating plans.
Both committees are planning their first meeting within the next few
weeks. We encourage all members to consider joining us or suggesting
members for each committee from the community and Society
membership. Please contact Nancy Woods for the Development Committee
by email at
firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (269) 375-8103 and Jon
Helmrich for the New Revenue Committee at
or (269) 857-3574.
BIG PAVILION BOOK A BIG HIT
The May 23 Member Preview Reception was once again hugely popular -
the Museum was definitely the place to be seen on the perfect
Saturday evening of Memorial Day weekend. Among other attractions
was the unveiling of the newest addition to our sparkling line-up of
Society publications, The Big Pavilion: "The Brightest Spot on
the Great Lakes".
The new volume, the 48-page product of our award-winning publishing
duo, author Kit Lane and graphic designer Ken Carls, chronicles the
history of Saugatuck's most famous building, the enormous Big
Pavilion dance hall that stood at the bend in the Kalamazoo.
Generously illustrated, the book takes the reader from construction
in 1909 to destruction (by fire) in 1960 - and through the many
phases of Saugatuck's changing social scene in between. The text is
punctuated with quotes from hundreds of newspaper articles and
first-hand accounts by Big Pavilion regulars.
The book is going like hotcakes. Get your copy now at the Museum
Shop for $19.95. As with previous Society publications, a special
numbered hand-bound hard cover keepsake edition is available for
$100 per copy. As our very limited supply of hard covers is
depleted, the shop is happy to take prepaid orders for additional
copies or you can order by REPLYING to this email or through
Fred Schmidt at 269 857-5751.
ORAL HISTORY DEVELOPMENTS
The Society's Oral History team recently completed the following
five histories complete with videos, slideshows and a brief
Elizabeth Ann (Betty) Mulder at home
Betty Mulder at the fish pond behind her home.
Henning Christiansen the violin maker
Bill Porter and Cynthia McKean show their hexagon home
Dawn Schumann tours the Presbyterian Camps
George Schumann guide through the Schumann lakeshore home
In addition, during the past year the following persons partook in
some form of oral history process: Peggy Boyce, Barbara Crandall,
Joan Brigham, Joyce Plummer, Patricia Woods, Bob & Lue Crane,
Maryann Curtis, Frank Lamb, Bill & Mary Leber, Fran Manifold,
Dorothy Otto, R. J. Peterson, Carl and Janet Wicks, Janet Wolbrink,
and members of the Saugatuck HS 1957-58 graduating class.
A special oral history for recently deceased Douglas resident Dean
Dornan was gathered from many local friends' reflections on the day
of his funeral. In addition, several area residents have been
encouraged (and supported as needed) to write their own personal
histories for placement in the oral history archive.
During the next year the DVDs for many of the above will be edited
into a movie format and, with the approval of the subjects of the
videos, made available for purchase by family and friends. All of
the oral history video recordings made before 2008 have now been
transferred from VHS to DVD. On request copies may soon be purchased
by family and friends. All oral history videos can be found online
Visitors to the Museum, and eventually the Old School Discovery
Center, will be able to request a host to briefly audio tape their
memories of the area. Anyone interested in having yourself or a
family member interviewed for an oral history that relates to
historical Saugatuck-Douglas experiences can contact John Shack
email@example.com or at (269) 857-8644.
Attention Members! You have another chance to delve into the
workings and opportunities that the Society has to offer at the next
"SDHS 101" session, which will be held at the Old School House
Discovery Center on Saturday, June 27th, at 10:00 a.m.
These sessions are not only for new members, but for "old" members
who may find some very interesting facts about our organization. For
more information and to register contact Nyla Hensley at
269-857-5704 or email
HERSHAWS COME TO SAUGATUCK - 1935
Families move to a community for a variety of reasons. In these
tight economic times, it's nice to recall that some come and stay
for reasons of employment.
Mel Hershaw reports that in 1935, his father Gus moved their family
from Wisconsin to Saugatuck to operate the farm that brother-in-law,
Louis Jones, had purchased on the New Richmond Road. During the 1936
construction boom, Gus moved his family into town and went to work
for Rieth-Riley hauling sand to make the new road (they had the
contract for what is now the Blue Star highway from the Saugatuck
end of the new bridge to about where the interstate overpass is
north of town). Other contractors were kept busy as well. L.W. Lamb
built the "new bridge" across the Kalamazoo, and Lyons Construction
had a dredge and suction working to pump the island out of the river
and create the raised roadbed on either side of the bridge. (Both Rieth-Riley and
L. W. Lamb are still active today).
After the road work was finished, Gus went to work driving a truck
for Frank Sewers, one of Saugatuck's leading commercial fishermen.
He'd haul loads of fish from Saugatuck and South Haven down to the
big market in Benton Harbor, where they'd be sold and others would
carry them on to retail markets in Chicago and elsewhere.
Gus didn't like to work out on the lake because he'd get sea-sick,
so in addition to driving the truck, he'd do other things closer to
shore, like repairing the nets and seining the river for carp.
"Sewers" is a name (like Yoder, rhymes with odor) which was the
target of more than its share of humor. Mel recalls a favorite true
story about an upper crust lady visitor from Chicago who entered the
market on Saugatuck's Water Street to ask "Where do you get your
fish?" "We get them from Sewers" was the reply. The shocked patron
left saying she "would never eat fish taken from sewers".
In later years Gus worked for Baker Furniture in Holland until poor
health made him give up work. He passed away on Feb. 26, 1968 and
rests with Bertha in Riverside cemetery. His marker memorializes his
service as a private during WWI.
Do you have personal stories of Saugatuck and Douglas which you'd
like to add to the Society's Archives? Click
HERE to leave a note on the Society's Guestbook or contact
Chris Yoder at (269) 857-4327 or by email: at
Submitted by Chris Yoder
NEW MEMBERSHIP DIRECTORY
Look for your new Society Directory in the coming weeks. This year
sponsors have taken out ads to help underwrite the costs of the
Directory. Please make sure to thank them when you see them.
An "Upscale Sale" fund-raising event at the Old School House
Discovery Center, being planned by Saugatuck-Douglas Historical
Society for mid-July, provides a "win-win-win" opportunity to help
support the completion of this unique community resource and the
Society's other volunteer programs, while clearing out unwanted
high-quality household items and gaining a tax deduction in the
Donated items may be dropped off at the Old School House, 130 Center
Street in Douglas, Saturdays from 9 a.m. to Noon on June 20, June 27
and July 11, and Tuesdays from 4 to 7 p.m. on June 23, June 30, July
7 and July 14.
The planned sale anticipates a focus on "value" items such as
antiques, framed art, collectables, jewelry, musical instruments,
cameras, recorders, personal electronics, small power tools, sports
equipment, housewares and small-scale furniture or appliances.
The sale will not include home electronics, computers and
peripherals (unless unused and in original packaging), large-scale
furniture, exercise equipment, clothing or small, low-value items.
For additional information or questions about whether specific items
will be welcomed, or to inquire about a donation pick-up, call (269)