Wednesday, June 14, 7 p.m., meet at the Culver Street parking lot next to the Saugatuck Center for the Arts on Culver Street, Saugatuck, and divide up into groups for docent-led historical and architectural tour of Saugatuck. We have chartered the trolley for anyone not able to walk. The tour will end with refreshments at All Saints’ Episcopal Church on the hill.

Wednesday, July 12, 7 p.m., The July 12 meeting will be billed as a PUBLIC MEETING, A Town Meeting at Saugatuck High School. There will be a presentation of the interior plans for The Old School House, the gardens and picnic areas of the lawn, a video presentation of past students of the Old School House, and a PowerPoint presentation. Tim Wood, superintendent of schools, and Martha Boettcher of the Saugatuck-Douglas District Library, will be guest speakers.

Wednesday, August 9, 6:30, at Mt. Baldhead picnic pavilion. Annual picnic.


So much is happening as we move ever forward with the Old School House Project. We have been informing you in previous newsletters by explaining the functions of the various committees. This issue includes a short story about the Public Relations Committee and also lots of updates of events. The Public Relations Committee for the Old School House Project is charged with getting the word out to the community about this important project. Under the leadership of chair Judy Anthrop the committee has met almost weekly since last summer. Members of the committee are David Balas, Jim Sellman, Stephen Mottram, Tom Anthrop, Shirley Akins, Pris Lynch and John Peters.

They began the promotion of the project through promoting Octoberfest as the “KICK OFF of the Campaign.” Over the winter they wrote letters and articles for the news media. Randy Jarzembowski built us a model of the Old School House this winter and he donated his talents, time and materials to build this replica. Margaret McDermott and Kathy VanTubbergen beautifully painted the details. Look for this model in our summer parades and in various locations of the community. Tom Anthrop and John Peters mounted it on a trailer and painted the base like the lawn and sidewalk in front of the building.

A sign designed by Saugatuck High School student Will Gibbons has been installed in front of the Old School House. Tom Anthrop, Al Lyon and John Peters installed the sign May 16. The sign will display the progress of fund-raising efforts and remind people that we have only until September, 2006, to achieve the goal.

Several exciting events are being planned for this summer to build community awareness of the project and raise funds. On June 5 from 6-9 p.m. there will be a benefit called “Once in a Blue Moon” at the Blue Moon Bar and Grille in Douglas. Tickets are available at the Library, the Public Schools office and at the Blue Moon, or call the Kirby House at 269-857-2904.

At the opening of the museum reception “stickers” will be available for Society members to display on their cars (removable and easily attached to a window) showing their support for the Old School House.

On July 12 there will be a public meeting for all the community and all society members to view the drawings and plans for the school house, hear from some past students, enjoy a PowerPoint presentation and some exciting interviews and some exciting news. Pledge cards will be available at all events. It is time for our membership to make their pledges. The Campaign Committee reminds us that we can consider increasing our gifts by pledging a yearly amount. In mid June you will be hearing about “Out for Recess” in the Old School House yard.

As we head into the final months of this campaign we urge all members to help our committee spread the word about this opportunity to benefit our community. Encourage friends and bring guests to the July 12 public meeting.

We need your help by your pledge, your support in attending events for the Old School House, walking along the parade route with our model, and displaying a sticker on your car, home or business. We need you help to show your friends and neighbors how important it is to save this building to build a year round opportunity to share all our resources with the community.
                                                                                                                                             Pris Lynch and Judy Anthrop


One of the perks of attending the “Once In A Blue Moon” benefit for The Old School House Project on June 5 is the opportunity to meet the honored guest, Laura Ashlee, from the State Historic Preservation Office. Laura will be on hand to sign her latest book Traveling Through Time: A Guide to Michigan’s Historical Markers, published by the University of Michigan Press. Copies will be available for purchase at the event. Laura has authored over 500 historical markers since 1988.

Laura earned a BA in Humanities and an MA in American Studies, both from Michigan State. Her professional career has been with the State Historic Preservation Office, where she coordinates the Michigan Historical Marker Program as well as the office’s public relations activities, including the annual Governor’s Awards for Historic Preservation. Laura formerly served as a contributing editor and writer to Michigan History Magazine.

Many may have met Laura when she was in the area to dedicate the historical marker in front of the Dutcher Lodge, Douglas, or the Old Allegan Road marker located at River Bluff Park on Old Allegan Road.


The Charles J. Lorenz Award of Achievement was established in 1997 by the Board of Directors of the Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society as a way to honor the memory of Chuck Lorenz, who so graciously gave of his time, talent, money, and energy in the formation and development of this Society.

It is awarded each year to recognize distinguished service toward fulfilling the mission of the Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society by providing “leadership in enabling the community to understand its past, and use its history to shape its future and preserve its quality of life.”

The winner of the 2006 Lorenz award is Jack Sheridan. President Dottie Lyon introduced Jack as “every organization’s dream volunteer! He wears many hats for the Society, but his role as educator has probably had the most impact in how the community views the Historical Society. His leadership in this area has allowed us all to connect with and understand our past. The History Mystery feature in the Commercial Record and Remembering When in the Local Observer have done much to legitimize the Society and educate the public.”

Jack was instrumental in the formation of the Tech Committee, which assists in nearly every project the Society has undertaken, bringing our Society into the 21st century. As chairman of the Technology Committee, Jack has become the principal photo archivist for the Society and is currently working on the Herman Simonson collection of photos.

Jack is a member of the Museum Committee and is an important contributor in conceptualizing exhibits for the museum. He was co-author of the book Storm, Fire and Ice with Kit Lane for the 2002 Museum exhibit on shipwrecks in the area. In 2001, Jack was contributing author of Off the Record and co-chairman of that exhibit.

President Lyon closed her remarks by saying: “Jack, you are a very, very valued member of our Society, and we are so happy that you have received our highest honor. You have enriched our lives, and we so appreciate all of your time and efforts on behalf of the Society.”


A big thank you to all of you who have so generously donated refreshments at our monthly meetings. We are still in need of host/hostesses for the July 12 and November 8 meetings. if you would like to help, please contact Patti Birkes at 543-3127


Each May the current president is required to make an annual report to the Society members reviewing the past year’s activities. You will see just how busy the Society has become and the varied tasks and events that we have undertaken.

So, beginning last May - we opened a very successful Museum exhibit with accompanying book titled Lincoln’s Ready Made Soldiers; Saugatuck Area Men in the Civil War. We continued the Tuesday ‘til Noon talks and added a second time on Saturday, we provided a week-long camp for children as well as continued the Saugatuck Walking Tours. In September we sponsored the popular Heritage Festival Weekend and then Octoberfest. In January the restoration of the Francis Lifeboat was completed, in March we hosted the St. Patrick’s Day Pub Party fund raiser and in April we presented the local Architectural Awards.

While all of these events were taking place the Oral Histories continued, the newsletter continued, our membership increased, we began the process of redesigning the website and proposed changes to our by-laws. The Tech Committee continued the Commercial Record project, continued archiving photos, continued newspaper articles and made plans to catalogue all of our archives. We planned and began a new project with the school district using high school students to research the history of the schools in our area. AND we still provided eleven months of programs for the Society meetings with refreshments and provided a free Museum from May through December with volunteer docents.

Still - I haven’t yet mentioned the Old School House project! Hundreds and hundreds of hours have gone into this project. First we established a Task Force Committee to oversee the project. After talking to many community members and organizations and the three governing bodies in our area, we solicited volunteers to fill four specific committees: the Campaign Committee to raise money, the Function Committee to determine how best to use the building space, the Design Committee to determine how we can construct the interior to fit the Function Committee’s recommendations and the PR Committee to publicize all aspects of the project and to aid the Campaign Committee. Information that has come from these committees has been used to produce an outstanding prospectus which has been used to apply for grants and to solicit funds.

In ending my report - I want you to know that we still have several works in progress all of which I hope to have finalized one year from now. First, I hope to see a newly designed Website up and functioning, I hope to have the Old School House purchased and renovation nearly completed and I hope to have the proposed new bylaws in how we govern ourselves soon to be tried and approved by the Society.

Finally - I thank all members of the Society for supporting us by paying your dues, by baking cookies, by weeding the Museum garden, by volunteering at events, by spreading the word about our organization, museum and the Old School House. YOU make the Society grow and thrive!         Dottie Lyon, president


Sorry for no report last month. The hard drive of my computer crashed so I was disabled for almost a week while the gurus extracted all of the important stuff that could be saved. What lesson did I learn? Backup. Backup! BACKUP!

Annual Membership Renewals

Thanks very much to all of you who have already renewed and to those who have responded to phone calls from the dedicated team of follow-uppers. As of today only 60 of you have yet to send in the membership fee for 2006. As you all know, your continuing support has never been more important. Please go to your checkbook now. The new annual membership directory will be issued in early June. Don’t be left out.

SDHS 101 Mingling

The experiment with a new program we are calling SDHS 101 has been very successful. We bring together new members to talk about the Society, its organizational concept, the role of each committee and each member’s interests, including volunteering. It provides a very good way for new members to meet each other, to understand the breadth of the Society’s history and to encourage involvement in our many exciting current activities. The program is continuing with new members and, if there is an interest, will be expanded to existing members. If you would like to be advised of the next meeting let me know at or 269-543-4626.

Mailing addresses

I believe some of you have not been receiving Society mailings. If you use a PO Box to receive your mail, you should realize that the USPO is tightening up its requirement that the number be included with your address and shown as part of the Zip code; (e.g. 49406-0617). Unfortunately, and in particular in Saugatuck and Douglas, we lack such data from many members. PLEASE send your box number to me asap so I can complete the mailing record data bank (and the directory).

For those who are seasonal residents, please let me know if you have problems receiving mailings from us. The program we use automatically shifts your mailing address on the date you advised us.


I promise to reply to all comment cards and emails. With your help we will continue to improve. How about some input from summer residents. Anything special we could do for you? Have a great summer.      Mike Phillips


At the annual meeting in May, President's Appreciation Awards were presented to:

Judy Anthrop, Tom Anthrop, June Bowman, Cathy Brockington, Rob Carey, Ken Carls, Pat Dewey, Bill Galligan, Kristin Gebben, Ken Gold, Jim Gowran, Dick Haight, Judy Hillman, Kit Lane. Mary Lyons, Judy Mauger, Bob Mersbach, John Noonan, Judy Oberholtzer, Mike Phillips, Peg Sanford, Fred Schmidt, Jim Schmiechen, Dawn Schumann, Jim Searing, Jack Sheridan, Ellen Sprouls, Cindy Sorenson, Harold Thieda. Jane Underwood, Henry Van Singel, Adrian Vincent, Mary Voss, Allen Wolbrink, Nicholaas Wilkens, Carroll Yoder, Chris Yoder.

“That's a bunch,” President Dottie Lyon observed, “but all are very deserving!”


The new museum exhibit will open to the public on May 28 and be open every day, noon to 4 p.m. through Labor Day. Volunteer coordinator Jane Underwood still has some opportunities for service open on her calendar. Call her if you would be willing to be a docent one or more days.


Volunteers of the Year Awards were presented during the May annual meeting by President Dottie Lyon.

A special volunteer award went to Karen Tews for her installation and maintenance of the Museum gardens. Karen was instrumental in planning the garden, overseeing its installation, and has spent many volunteer hours weeding, clearing the sidewalk of leaves, and trying to discourage the local deer from eating the lilies. She is retiring from the task this summer, and volunteer garden keepers are needed.

The Francis Lifeboat Restoration crew also received Volunteer of the Year awards for their dedication and hard work restoring the old Francis Lifeboat. The completed boat was slated for its first public viewing at the exhibit opening on May 27. Members of the committee were Dick Lyons, Al Lyon, Dean Batchelor and Dave Mauger. The boat was originally brought to the lighthouse to serve as a rescue boat, and later used by a Saugatuck-based Sea Scouts group. Jane Van Dis gave a history of the vessel and noted that restoration efforts have been going on for more than 50 years.


The board wishes to thank Ken Gold for serving as Vice - President for the past two years. Ken has agreed to continue acting as our Legal Counsel as the need arises. Ken was instrumental in securing for both Douglas and Saugatuck the national Preserve America Awards. Ken also negotiated the option to purchase the Old School House and will assist us in closing the purchase in September. As a member of the Heritage Preservation Committee he began the process of accepting easements for small parcels of land and historic facades. Once this is up and running, the Society would act as caretakers of these easements. Ken has been an important asset on the board with his wise advice and commitment to the Society.


The board regretfully announces the resignation of Ken Carls as chair of our Publications Committee. Ken has served on the board for the last 12 years and his wise counsel and dedication to the Society has been greatly appreciated. As our Graphic Designer, Ken has designed every poster, brochure, invitation and even our Old School House prospectus. He has given the Society its "brand recognition" - always in good taste following good design practices. Ken has been responsible for the design of each of our award winning books and has been a valued member of the Heritage Preservation Committee. He has given programs for Society meetings and assembled PowerPoint presentations. Including baking the best peach pies, his list of achievements goes on and on! But what we hope, Ken, is that you will enjoy some time off and eventually find a new, less demanding, opportunity to volunteer for the Society. We thank you for your commitment and dedication, for always challenging us to "do it better" and for shaping our Society into an organization in which we can all take great pride.


Just a reminder that if you haven't sent in your volunteer hours for March and April to please do so now. Report by e-mail or put them on a piece of paper and mail it to the central office. Please show the area which you volunteered.

These are the categories: Technology Archives: Education: Museum: School House: Publications: Administration: Development: Heritage Preservation The board is using this information in the grant writing process and to get a better picture of the workings of the organization. So please take a few minutes and send them my way. Happy Spring! --- Mary Voss


Meetings are usually the second Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m., but time and place may vary. To become a member or renew your membership select from the following membership categories:

Individual $25
Household $45
Senior (65+) $18
Senior Household $30
Student $5
Sustaining $75
Corporate $150
Life, Individual $300
Life, Household $500






and send a check made payable to the Saugatuck- Douglas Historical Society to:
                    PO Box 617, Douglas Michigan 49406

Send items for the newsletter to:
                    Kit Lane, Box 250, Douglas MI 49406


The Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Museum is located in the historic Pump House at the foot of Mt. Baldhead on the west bank of the Kalamazoo River. This year’s exhibit:

“Raising the Roof – Second Story”
will be open May 28 to October 29
noon to 4 p.m. daily Memorial Day to Labor Day
weekends in the fall.

The Society’s Technology Center is located on the lower level of historic Dutcher Lodge, Douglas.

The Tech Center is open Monday from 1 to 4 p.m.; Tuesdays 10 a.m. to noon; and Wednesday 9 a.m. to noon.

Museum Phone: 269 857-7900
Tech Center Phone: 269 857-7901
Visit our website: