Sept 27, 2006

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The Blue Tempo Bar & Motel

Culver Street, Saugatuck (now the site of condos). Operated from about 1960 – 1976 when it was destroyed by fire. This is one of the most asked about “lost” buildings in Saugatuck. Here are some clues why. It advertised itself as “Tops in Music,” and was a very popular (apparently a bit on the wild side) gay and straight venue in the 1960—being probably the first “gay bar” in West Michigan. Ask around. It began as an icehouse and had a number of cabins overlooking the Kalamazoo Lake in the rear. Ed and Marie Demeter were early owners –but best known was, Donald “Toad” Davis who took over in 1960. It is remembered as cramped, noisy and crowded—and at times even wet when the lake overflowed into the bar room and dance floor. At the time this photo was taken the front portion housed the “Cozy Kitchen” restaurant.

A. O. Wolbrink Department Store

Ganges (Blue Star Highway)Recognize this one? It still stands and looks a lot like this. Built before 1870 as a general store—photo from 1920s. This was Ganges first Post Office in 1879. For a time Lillian Eddy (the mother of Joan, Joyce, Barb, and Betsey), the wife of the postmaster in the 1890s, used the second floor as a private school for local children after they had graduated from high school—a sort of an early junior college. Looks like a bread delivery going on.

Kirby House – Douglas Hospital

Built in 1890—photo during period when this famous house was the Douglas Hospital (from 1931 – 1960). This nice example of Queen Anne architecture (all the fashion at the time) began as a private residence (a grand staircase and ballroom on the top floor—the place was known for big dance parties) for Sarah Gill Kirby. The architecture firm was that of J. H. Daverman of Grand Rapids (they also designed Ann and Chris Wiley’s house on Butler Street). You would be surprised how many people around today remember it from its hospital days—ask Daryl at the Saugatuck Post Office. He was born there. Now the Kirby House B&B—famous for its good food.

Captain Crawford's House

404 Griffith Street, Saugatuck. Some of your know this as the Hungerford house—recently sold, so we give it the name of its first owner, a Great Lakes ship captain of schooner and steamships with a long and adventurous career. It is a fine Italianate house like many here on “the Hill.” It later became the home of a local baker (John Schaberg) and his family, and now the home of Bill and Anne Bleeker. The house is a ‘pieced’ house—one section being built in the early 1870s and then connected to larger house moved from nearby. The neighborhood is full of ‘captains houses’—as mapped out in the book Raising the Roof.


One of the most exciting things about writing and researching the new book on Saugatuck-Douglas area (Raising the Roof. A History of the Buildings and Architecture of the Saugatuck and Douglas Area. 187 pages with over 300 illustrations) is the discovery of people and places lost in time. Here are a few of my favorite discoveries—some were found by way of photographs that you have given to Jack, Rob, and I, and some found by way of a good number of days out on photo shoots over the past year with photographer Bill Werme. The trick then was to give them some life. Here is my attempt by talking around and by diving into books, old newspapers and SDHS archives.

For more see the book and the exhibit at the Saugatuck-Douglas “Pump House” Museum at Mt. Baldhead Park. It’s free—open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, through October
                                                 by Jim Schmiechen

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