Feb 2, 2005

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1874 Heart of Saugatuck
Saugatuck House Upper Left

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Ca 1913 Hotel Hamilton
Also Known as Saugatuck House


Some twenty years after William G. Butler built his first cabin, the only boarding house in the area was located in Singapore. Visitors to "The Flats" usually stayed with the S. A. Morrison family. According to James E. Sheridan in "Saugatuck Through the Years", Mrs. Morrison eventually tired of these casual guests in her home and suggested that a commercial establishment be built to house visitors to the village. Mr. Morrison, being an understanding husband,  and a wise man, persuaded Mr. R. S. Smith, of Battle Creek, a builder and carpenter by trade, to build a hotel here. As an inducement to Mr. Smith, Morrison contributed financial assistance and a desirable lot that fronted on Mason Street between Butler and Griffith Streets. Accepting an offer in 1852, Smith proceeded to build a fine and substantial structure, perhaps even a pretentious one, and named it "Saugatuck. House".

Saugatuck House was a success and relieved Mrs. Morrison of her burden. However, a feature of the Saugatuck House, not pleasing to the temperance beliefs of Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Morrison, was the inclusion of a bar within the hotel. The first chapter in the history of this establishment ended, in Sheridan's words, "Certainly the hotel bar made it a more convenient place for those who had a taste for whiskey, which was the common drink of the times. R. S. Smith had some fame as a frequent imbiber and was one of his own best customers. During one period of intemperance, Smith was drowned in New Richmond in a boating accident. An unkind wit of the day noted that this was a fine example of a victory for water over whiskey ... Smith's heirs sold the Saugatuck House to Whitney and Strong who were proprietors for many years thereafter".

At some point later in its life, the establishment was renamed Hotel Hamilton. In 1913, the building was dismantled to make way for the Parrish Drug Store building which is today the home of the Saugatuck Drug Store.

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