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History Lives Here Text

Research & Collections


Online Research

William Butler

The Online Research Center provides information and support to people engaged in local history and family research. At the same time, we hope to facilitate the continued collection of such information dealing with the Saugatuck-Douglas areas for future use. Our volunteers are available to help people with their family research. The SDHC collections are overseen by a capable group of volunteers led by the Collections Committee.

Photo Blog

The Saugatuck-Douglas History Center's Photo Blog is a large and growing searchable collection of historical photographs, drawings and maps.

Newsletter Historical Inserts

From 1996-2008, the History Center newsletter regularly contained a Historical Insert on a specific theme or topic of local history. These have been indexed and are available to search online.

Historical Photo Map

Cruise around town on a map of the Saugatuck business district circa 1906 and enjoy incredible views from the photo archive.

Saugatuck Music Festivals

From 1959 to 1969, Saugatuck was the scene of an array of music festivals starring the likes of Dizzy Gillespie and Alice Cooper. This Saugatuck Music Festivals PDF by Mike Sweeney is a terrific history of those events and the times.



The History Center has an extensive collection of archives, artifacts and photographs relating to the greater Saugatuck and Douglas area.  The Archives office is located in the lower level of the Old School House and is open to the public for research on Monday afternoons or by appointment. Contact archivist Mary Voss via the direct archives office phone at 269.857.7901 or by email.

Art Collection

The Chain Ferry by Edna Hotchkiss
watercolor on paper, c. 1945

The History Center currently owns over 100 works by artists who lived and/or worked in the area. Some are major works by well-known artists; others are great examples of lesser-known creators. The History Center, through contributions, has made sure that all works on display have been cleaned and restored, and that works we acquire which are in need of care or restoration are prioritized for appropriate work.

Though there is no acquisition budget, the collection continues to grow as a result of the support of very generous donors who understand the importance of preserving this medium of our history.

A public gallery is maintained at the Old School House in Douglas where a portion of the collection is on exhibit for viewing. The gallery is "rehung" periodically and the works are rotated so that this collection receives maximum exposure. During the Summer season, the gallery is open during public hours at the Old School House.

For more information, please contact Ken Kutzel, Art Collection Manager, by email.

Oral History

The Oral History Project an open invitation to life-long and modern residents, summer populace, frequent visitors, or any person with stories, events or reminiscences to share their knowledge and involvement with the Saugatuck-Douglas area to better understand historical significance through the impact and dynamics of personal experience.

History Mystery

The History Mystery feature was developed by photo archivist Jack Sheridan for placement as a weekly feature in The Commercial Record. It took one-third of a page for a "mystery" historical photo and a short explanation/clue and a question relating to the photo. The photo often contained a historical clue that might be discerned upon a study of the photo. On a separate page the answer to the question was divulged. The feature started in May 2004 and ran for 324 features.

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Remembering When

The Remembering When feature was developed for the Local Observer by Jack Sheridan. It appeared for over two years on a weekly basis starting in the fall of 2004. In addition to Jack, Jim Schmiechen and Rob Carey were frequent writers/contributors of the feature. The Remembering When format was a full page of text and photos covering a local historical subject.

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