Wednesday, July 9, 7 p.m.
at the Saugatuck High School Media Room, John Thomas, the son of Ev
Thomas, talks about growing up in the Douglas area. The word on the
street is "young" John has the same gift of gab that made his father
Wednesday. August 13,
Annual Potluck Picnic at Mt. Baldhead Park. Chips and dips at 6
p.m., dinner at 6:30. We always have great homemade delicacies and
no one leaves hungry!
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.
LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT
It has been a great time thus far,
renewing friendships and acquaintances and getting to know some of
our gifted and passionate members. I hope to get to know many more
of you and to have us all work together to bring the
Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society to the next level of pride and
There is an item of unfinished
business and, as a result, a need for clarification on the policy
concerning acceptance of financial donations. The Society has and
will continue to accept unrestricted financial donations and greatly
appreciates the many gifts supporting our mission.
A transition workshop took place May
29 to help the new board fully understand the focus presented to us
and to help us begin implementing the new structure of the society
that you have been reading about over the past year. To help
facilitate these new functions the new board held a workshop on June
14 and discussed and assigned members of the "at-large" board who
will act as Liaisons between the committees and the board to bring
consistency which will then allow the committees to concentrate on
what they do best.
In order to share the entire scope
of the tasks set before us, we will be conducting a series of
meetings with the individual committees to give you the opportunity
to articulate ideas and plans both short and long term, that will
enable us all to envision the best way to incorporate those ideas
into the larger picture. Change is constant and so should our
ability to improve. Input from the committees and volunteers is
essential to improvement and success. The board will have a
follow-up workshop within the next few weeks and will then be able
to communicate the liaison appointments in the July Newsletter and
at the monthly meeting.
We have many opportunities to offer
the community and will soon be able to present one of our treasures
and passionate projects later this summer when the Old School House
Discovery Center will be opened.
As members of the Saugatuck-Douglas
Historical Society we come together as a community to share our
passion and talent and to be good stewards. It is an honor to be
associated with all of you.
As this is a combined newsletter for
May and June, Kit told me I had to keep it short. There is much
more to talk about and we will continue to keep you all informed.
Thank you to all
OLD SCHOOL HOUSE WORK CONTINUES
Renovations at the Old School House have reached the exciting stage
with the installation of drywall this past week! Soon you will see
exterior painting begin and installation of the brick sidewalk
leading to the front door. The main floor is scheduled to be
completed at the end of the summer with the lower level and second
floor finished as funds become available. Click
HERE for the latest photos.
Please understand that we continue on a pay-as-you-go schedule and
are still in need of additional funds to complete this project!
The Old School House project committee hopes that you will reserve
the evening of September 10 (our regularly scheduled Society
meeting) for the official ribbon cutting ceremony! Our program will
be the unveiling of the School House at that point with a show and
tell of the discoveries to be found within its walls. Final plans of
the Back-in-Time Pathway will also be explained. So mark your
BOWL-O-RAMA EVENT ADDS FUNDS, FRIENDS
Judi Vanderbeck, chair of the
Bowl-O-Rama reports: Our June 5 "friendraiser" was a huge success.
We had 38 bowlers who collected pledges and bowled their hearts out
to support the Old School House Project.
The silent auction "street baskets"
and raffles were a big hit, too, bringing in more monetary support
for our project. We totaled about $3,700 and lots of new friends.
The best part was the great fun we were ALL having.
Lyon from the Old School House committee wrote, “Thank you Judi
Vanderbeck for the fun Friend Raiser at Lakeview Lanes. And thanks
also to the bowlers who participated and our local shop owners for
their donations for the Silent Auction. Let's do it again!”
The members of the Society were sorry to hear of the death of Robert
Dexter "Bob" Johnson on June 7, 2008, at the age of 78.
He was a graduate of Marquette University in engineering and worked
for Boeing Corporation, retiring in 1981. He first came to Pier Cove
as a child with his family, and spent most summers of his life in
Bob was a charter member of the Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society
and served as Vice-President of the Society and then as the
organization's third President 1990-1991 and accepted the office
again 1994-l997. He received the Lorenz Award of Achievement in 1998
for his dedication.
He is the person who insisted the Society file for a 501(C)3
non-profit corporation status because he figured if we were ever to
reach our goals, we should be properly organized. He served on the
initial steering committee to plot the course for the development of
the museum and he applied for the Society’s first grant which was
used for the museum.
Bob was also the organizer behind the Lorenz Award, an annual award
for leadership named for our fourth president, Charles J. Lorenz. He
served as committee chair and took care of the plaque details. He
was very busy behind the scenes.
Bob and his wife Ellen established an endowment fund through the
Allegan County Community Foundation in honor of their son, John B.
Johnson. designating the Historical Society as recipient of the
He was the man who campaigned ceaselessly to get the Society to move
forward with the restoration of the Francis Lifeboat. He researched
its history, its construction, and managed to amass two boxes of
Francis Lifeboat material. Many of us still remember him just
beaming with pride when the restored lifeboat was dedicated at the
museum opening in 2006. How he would have loved to see its planned
place of honor in the Old School House gardens.
One of the last Society activities he was in involved in was the
purchase of the Old School House. I remember him celebrating with us
as the final papers were signed.
This spring I received a phone call from Bob and he wanted me to
stop by and pick up some of the Society records. He wanted
everything in the Society to be in its rightful place. He had a
simple, deep love for the Society and its members had a love for
him. He will be missed.
MEET NEW OFFICERS
Eleven new officers and board
members, inaugurated at our May 14 meeting, now will
roll out a newly enhanced organizational
structure with new by-laws intended to streamline the Society's
operations and programs and to facilitate its continuing growth.
Our new by-laws,
approved late last year, will move SDHS governance away from the
earlier committee-chair structure toward a member-at-large
structure. This change frees committee chairs to concentrate their
efforts within their committees' special interest, and relies on
board members-at-large for general oversight of Society functions
and decisions on Society policy, direction and operation.
For guiding these
changes, our new president, Kathy Sturm
(nee Tisdale), a native of Douglas, now residing in Saugatuck
Township, brings us great credentials as Manager of Programs for the
International Society of Architectural Historians (SAH, Chicago) and
previously, General Manager at American Express Business Travel.
Vice-president Jon Helmrich, who founded and runs an
international television consultancy here, is perhaps best known
locally for his monthly radio interview/talk show, "The View from
the Dunes," on WGVU.
Jane Osman, an active SDHS
volunteer, is a former Latin teacher and with her husband, Al,
operates commercial greenhouses and gardens in Holland.
Honson, CPA, operates
her own accounting practice in Saugatuck and has broad experience
with not-for-profit clients.
Board Members-At-Large are:
graphic designer and Lorenz Award winner, previous SDHS board member
and Publications Chair from 1994-2006
recently elected to the Saugatuck City Council, who also serves on
the Planning Commission and as SDHS Museum Volunteer Coordinator
Saugatuck Board of Education President and SDHS Museum volunteer
with ARAMARK and still active in Chicago charities working with the
who heads the Society’s Archives Committee, oversees our Walking
Tours program and previously was an SDHS board member
also a previous SDHS board member, earlier worked at the Holland
Museum, now registers acquisitions for the SDHS Archives and
recorder of our volunteer hours
former Vice President for Extended Learning at Kalamazoo Valley
Community College, with extensive not-for-profit experience in
fundraising and planning.
"With the new
officers, board and by-laws now in place," President Sturm says, "we
plan to focus on more efficient ways to utilize the talent, energy
and passion of our volunteers, with an emphasis on stronger central
communication. We also will give priority to maximizing the
benefits from SDHS facilities, especially our Old School House
Discovery Center, while broadening volunteer participation and
developing new fiscal opportunities within the Society. So while
our governance structure is being improved," she emphasizes, "our
mission as a Society remains unchanged."
In order to facilitate
communication with the new board, their email addresses are listed
President: Kathy Tisdale Sturm.
Vice President: Jon Helmrich.
Treasurer: Stacy Honson.
Secretary: Jane Osman.
Director: Fred Schmidt.
JUDY HILLMAN WINS VOLUNTEER AWARD
The Saugatuck-Douglas Historical
Society established the Volunteer Award in 2003 to honor outstanding
service to the Society.
The 2008 Volunteer of the year is
Judy Hillman. She is the principal designer for the museum
exhibitions since 2002 and chairs the museum's design group. She
spends hundreds of professional hours each year working with the
curator on the exhibit concept and then with the design group on
Judy is a hands-on person, not only
does she work on the concept and design, she is also at the museum
clearing out debris from the previous year’s exhibit, she is
slinging a paint brush, she is putting up the text information, and
she is serving as a cheerleader for the exhibit committee.
Each year her work and the work of
her committee produces the same results: the Society has another
Judy has served on the Heritage
Preservation Awards committee for many years and also served as the
2008 chair of the awards committee.
This issue is a combined May and June issue of the Saugatuck-Douglas
Historical Society newsletter. Because of the abundance of important
news, some of it historic, a portion of the center section which is
usually used to print primary history material of the area is being
used to expand the news columns.
With the reorganization of the Society there are plans for new
publications and altering the old-fashioned mode of delivery which
will change our communications facade, but not our mission.
Kit Lane, newsletter editor
HAIGHT GETS LORENZ AWARD
The Charles J.
Lorenz award is given each year to recognize distinguished
leadership service toward fulfilling the mission of the
Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society by providing “leadership to
enable the community to understand its past, and use its history to
shape its future and preserve its quality of life.”
The recipient of
the 2008 Charles J. Lorenz Award is Dick Haight. Working alone, and
sometimes with a small group, he has taken our Society from the pen
and paper world of the 19th Century straight into the 21st Century.
Dick has designed
and planned the technical and media needs of the Society for many
years. He conceived, developed, and maintained the Society’s first
website. He designed and maintains the delivery system for the
interactive displays at the museum, and for our partners at the SCA
and Saugatuck Public Schools. He also designed the indexing system
for the back newspapers which may ultimately be used for photos and
Dick also was
instrumental in organizing our tech center where one may access and
print old pictures, where back issues of the Commercial Record
were digitized and may be accessed, and cemetery records are being
award-winning museum exhibit depends on the historical society's
archives and the expertise of its tech center volunteers. Dick
Haight is the man behind the technology!