Information Contacts:  


Vic Bella
(269) 857-3600

John Peters
(269) 857-2967

Click HERE for a pdf of
the news release or one of the images below for a high resolution copy.




SAUGATUCK, MAY 18, 2007 -- Volunteers from the Saugatuck/Douglas Historical Society gathered in Douglas several days last week to prepare antique furnishings for a fund-raising estate auction benefiting the Society's Old School House Project. The items to be auctioned were bequeathed to the Society for that purpose by Goldie Kleinheksel upon her death in 2006. Goldie, who lived her entire life in a small farmhouse on 140th Avenue in Fillmore Township, represented the fourth generation of the first family to settle in what would become Overisel, around 1850. Many here will recall that Goldie was a devotee of local history and was among the charter members who founded the Historical Society in 1986 as well as one of the first volunteers to staff the Society's Museum when it was organized in 1994.

Vic Bella
Auction coordinator Vic Bella selects
items for volunteer cleanup.

Bob and Jean Hampson
Bob & Jean Hampson clean Mission Style
swing-mirror chest of drawers.

Judy Anthrop
Judy Anthrop polishes a 1916 Haeger
ceramic planter.

Mary Voss
Mary Voss readies a carved
wood rocking chair.

Furniture to be auctioned includes several tall-headboard beds, six matching caned-oak dining chairs, several rockers and early recliners, dressers, tables, hutches, church pews, pie safe, sewing machine, upright floor radio and more. Musical instruments include an ornate Victorian organ, upright piano, four accordions and two smaller "squeeze boxes". Kitchen items include pottery, dishes, crocks and metal cookware. Also to be offered are many old books and local advertising items, jewelry, pictures, frames, clocks, baby accessories, oil lamps, tins, etc. Additional items are invited from community and member donors. Many items are circa late 1800s - early 1900s.

The Society's Old School House Project is a commitment to convert the 1860's vintage Douglas-Union School -- one of the oldest multi-classroom school buildings in Michigan and considered one of the finest examples of 19th century school architecture in America -- into a unique community Discovery Center where children and adults alike can explore the area's genealogy, history, culture, ecology and architecture. Having purchased the building late last year, using proceeds from a large grant matching a successful local fund-raising campaign, the Society has begun refurbishing work to reconfigure the interior and convert the upper floor into rental offices for income generation.

The auction is scheduled for Saturday, June 30, starting 10am at The Old School House, preceded Friday evening by a preview party allowing potential buyers to review items of interest. For information, or to donate items for auction, call Vic Bella (269) 857-3600. For a pictorial overview of estate items to be auctioned, visit

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