Oct 4, 2006

obslogo.jpg (10497 bytes)

Avalon Cottage, Interior

At one time this is one of the best-known cottages in Saugatuck—built high on a dune overlooking, both the Saugatuck harbor and Lake Michigan (one can find it’s remains by hiking up the first trail that goes off to the right as one climbs up Lone Pine dune, just off Park Street). Its owner, the Chicago-Michigan land speculator, W. S. Harbart appears to have come to Saugatuck through his support of Reverend Gray, the founder of what is now Presbyterian Camps. Here the cottage appears to be in the classic Arts & Crafts manner—stick furniture, wood plank walls, stone fireplace—and plenty of windows. Photo from about 1900.

John Norton’s Cottage Living Room, Saugatuck

Tucked away in the wooded dunes, here is another Arts & Crafts classic: wood, wood and more wood. Barn-sash casement windows, unfinished wood walls, the mandatory fireplace, craftsman-style furniture and plenty of nooks and shelves for books and mementoes. Support beams are hand-carved by the cottage children. Norton was one of Chicago’s best know muralists. Photo from 2004 by Dick Haight.

The Merrill Cottage, Interior.

Overlooking Lake Michigan, this Lake Shore Drive cottage was the summer home of the South Bend industrialist Peterson D. Merrill and his family from 1937 until recently when it was moved (several hundred feet to Lake Shore Drive) and reconstructed by Chris Shay. Merrill grew up in Chicago, fought in World War One, and first came to Saugatuck to attend Camp Gray—where he met his future wife. He was interested in steel production and had a small iron forge built on his property for hand production of hardware for this house (and it is said, the fine hinges for the Saugatuck Congregational Church). The local architect-painter Carl Hoerman was the architect—giving it one of the many classic “Hoerman” fireplaces, which was moved along with the house. This interior photo is from 2005. This very fine Hoerman “Arts&Crafts” house can now be seen from Lake Shore Drive, just north of M-89 intersection


Here are a few more interesting local history stories that were uncovered when working on the book and museum exhibit (open through October) titled “Raising the Roof—Second Story.” As someone who teaches about architectural/urban history, I have come to realize that preservation and protection of the built environment is one of the best ways to preserve and give meaning to “community” and its collective memory. Congratulations to the hundreds of Saugatuck-Douglas area folks who have preserved, restored, reconstructed our local structures—our sense of place.                         by Jim Schmiechen

Click on view all to see the Remembering When ...  library

Click here to return to the Pictorial History home page

Click here to return to the Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society home page