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HISTORY OF THE SHS CLASS OF 1905

The Society archiveshas a hand written copy of the history of the Saugatuck High Schoolgraduating class of 1905. It was probably read at commencement. Although theauthor is not stated, a comparison between the students mentioned in themanuscript and the list of the graduates, indicates that it was written bySarah Tisdale. She follows the class from the time they entered elementaryschool through the three years of high school. The influx of pupils from thecountry schools greatly increased the size of the class in the upper grades.Although Miss Tisdale declares that she eventually mastered the multiplicationtables and geometry, she apparently never fully understood the use of thecomma. Here is her history, eight pages in which she describes every member ofthe class but herself, have been omitted. Below, her history as written and bound with a fading green ribbon.

 

 

 

First Saugatuck Schoolbuilt 1868 burned 1896

 

History of the Class of '05

Up, up the ladder one step at a time, When you reach the top you'll forget the hard climb.

Eleven years ago with slate and pencil we started off for our first dayat school, little did we understand the great struggle that lay before us. Beginning with the first step on the ladder by takingour first step at school, it was one delight to have our teacher greet us witha pleasant smile and to assign us our seats.

How queer it did seem, and when the signal was given for us to pass toour class one would wait to see what the other was going to do and then to haveour teacher Miss McRay conduct us to our class.

We were arranged on a long seat and our first lesson began. Itconsisted of the alphabet on a chart and figures from 1 to 10. After goingthrough these same processes for a number of days we were surprised to find wecould spell cat, dog, mat, etc., and count up to ten. We went home at the closeof school, feeling very proud to think we had learned so much.

One year had passed and we began to plan what we would do when weshould graduate and to count the years. We were now promoted to the first gradeand given a first reader.

It did seem so nice to have a reader when after our first readinglesson we thought it real hard and vowed we would not come to school the nextday because our teacher spoke a little cross in correcting us, but when morningcame mother packed us off to school no matter what complaints were made and shewould tell us to bring our books home and she would help us get the lesson, andso at the close of school off we started with out books and maybe we had themwhen we arrived home and perhaps we had left them at some other boy's or girl's house; but no matter when we arrived without them we were started outto find them so when morning came we went to school without our lesson learnedby heart ...

Two years passed and we were in the 2nd grade and were ableto read in the second reader and in arithmetic we could add, multiply anddivide, but it was a study I never cared much for but always had to get mylesson.

Our 3rd grade is reached but during this time a terriblestorm arose which destroyed our old school building. How bad I did feel when Ilooked out and saw the building all in flames and wondering where we would goto school, but when vacation was over we had to go to school in the OperaHouse, and it was something on the plan of a district school.

SAUGATUCKUNION SCHOOLFrom an 1873 History of Michigan

 

Long benches were arranged for us to sit upon and about six or sevencould sit together, I remember a number of us girls sat together and we wouldeat candy apples and such things, this being very nice for us because we sat innext to the back seat and in the seat back of us were a number of boys and ofcourse we never looked at them, to say nothing about speaking to them, for thegirls in our class were always very timid.

Every intermission the girls would go over to see them work on the newbuilding and we would climb way up on the rafters.

How well I remember one day one of my friends and myself climbed way uphigh and when we got up there we heard the school bell ring and of course knewwe were going to be tardy so we took our time about getting down and gettingover there but when we arrived we were greeted with a lecture and had to stayafter school this didn't make muchdifference to us however for the next day the same thing happened and I guess nearly everyday that we were going to school in the hall.

 

 

Completedin 1897, the Saugatuck School ca 1910

 

At last our new school building was completed and ready for us toenter, I remember the first day we went to school there. It did seem such alarge building that we could not find our room readily. At last it was foundand our work began.

As we were in the 3rd grade our studies were Arithmetic, Reading and Language. Howwe did dislike language, there was so much hard work; but as we were fartheradvanced we began to like it very much. But arithmetic that was always puzzlingand what a time we had learning the multiplication tables having to stay afterschool many nights because we could not repeat it, then we used to say toourselves; it didn't make anydifference to us we could stay as long as our teacher. We knew that she wouldwant some supper. Until one day we were warned that we could not be promoteduntil we could repeat all the multiplication tables so we had to dig in as Mr. Latta often tells us. Well I remember the day I couldrepeat it anyway and to be sure I never forgot it so when the time came for ourpromotion exercises we were given our certification of promotion which promotedus to the 4th grade.

How well I remember the day 1 entered the 4th grade, our 1stexperience in that intermediate room was as follows: Miss Mabel Wilson andmyself being very studious and we were having a great time when Miss Woodworthcame down the aisle to us and taking each one by the arm marched us up to thefront. Stood Mabel in one corner and I in another. Wehad our waists filled with chalk and when her back was turned we began to drawher picture on the black board. She happened to see what we were doing and shetook the piece of chalk away from us, but we didn't care for that because we had plenty left and after she had takenseveral pieces away she became tired and let us go to our seats. As Mabel and Iare the only ones left of the class of these years it is all I have to writeabout and how often do we speak of those jolly days.

Leaving the 4th grade and taking up the experience in the 5thgrade. As Mabel was always more studious than myself, I will have to relate toyou of the time I had to be shut in the closet, Well I was very busy talking toone of the boys and my teacher had told me before if I did not keep still shewould have to punish me but I didn'tpay much attention to what she said and in a few minutes, I saw her coming downthe aisle and she took me by the arm and marched me into the closet.

My but it was dreadful dark in there so I opened the door a little andas her wraps were in the room I threw them all on the floor and sat down uponthem. After this I spied a bell and I rang that and every little while I wouldpeek out to see if the rest were getting along all right. Well I made all thescholars laugh so hard that she had to let me out. Of course I said I wouldnever do it again but I will not say how long I kept the promise.

As you have heard how well I behaved in the 5th grade I willnot take up the 6th. Miss Gladys Rapleeand Miss Estelle Heath joined us in the 6th grade. All of us girlswould begin to play tag in the school room. Mr. George Pride was our teacherand whenever he would speak to us we would ask him if he didn't want to join in the game.

When Miss Raplee came to school everyone inthe room whispered. Who is that? Is she going to be in our class? But they soonfound out who she was and all were very glad to have her with us.

As you have heard of our trials in the 6th grade I will takeup the 7th in the Grammar room.

After our long vacation we were very glad to get back to school againand to have the pleasure of going into the grammar room. Of course we thoughtwe were real large to think we could go up stairs with all the high schoolstudents but we were so bashful the first day which I am sorry to say did notlast long.

It was in the 7th grade we began our 1st historylesson. It did seem queer when our teacher announced a lesson and we had tolearn the topics which was something new for us. Ithink very few recited the first history lesson but day by day we became usedto the study and learned it with ease.

Seven years have passed and we have entered the 8th grade.It was during this year of school that Mr. Mac Babcock our president and Miss Lottie Force our Secretary and Mr. Edward Redpath entered the class; but as these new members joinedus there Miss Blanche Winslow and Miss Gladys Rapleehad to leave the class.

Miss Tisdale was our teacher during the last year in the Grammar roomand how often she tells us of the times we had in her room. She used to watchthe clock and every day at the same hour Miss Winslow, Miss Heath, Miss Wilsonand myself would get to laughing and having a great time but she was alwaysvery good to us never say much about it because when we got to laughing wecould not stop.

How often she speaks of that and how well I remember those joyous dayswe spent in the 8th grade. Our time came for us to leave that roam.We all wanted to be promoted but did not like the idea of leaving our teacher.This made no difference however we were obliged to part.

After our vacation had passed we started to school to begin our 1stday in the high school. Of course you know we were called the silly freshmenand I suppose we did act very silly for we imagined every one in the room waswatching us, some in the class trying to act cute while other faces turned redevery time we were called on to recite.

During the year a number of new students joined the class Miss EileenManning, Miss Anna Burch, Miss Edna Olson, Miss Faye Mead, Mr. Edwin Burdick,Mr. Frank Johns, Miss Maud Johns, Mr. Oscar Lundgrunand Mr. Ellsworth Lundgrun.

It was during this year the class held their 1st meeting.Miss Mabel Wilson was appointed chairman on voting. Mr. Mac Babcock was electedPresident for 3 years and Miss Lottie Force waselected Secretary for the same period.

Our first Algebra lesson was begun in the 9th grade. I thinkvery few in the class enjoyed the study at first but it became more interestingwhen we were farther advanced.

I shall have to leave our Freshman year andtake up the Junior. After our dreadful fright in our freshman year withProfessor Latta we began to think he was the bestteacher we had worked under. A number of students joined during the junior yearMr. Myron Heath, Miss Edna Link, Miss Francis Carton, Miss Irene Kingsbury andalso Miss Gladys Raplee who had left us in the 8thgrade.

It was during this year we began to study bookkeeping which all liked verymuch and all in the class had their books ready to be inspected at the close ofthe year. We also finished algebra in the junior year which I dare say no onewas very sorry to part with.

Althoughthe junior work is the hardest in the whole course not one was left behind. Allwere promoted to the senior Class.

I will now take up the last step in the ladder. Our class has alwaysbeen known as the peaceable senior class that never quarreledeveryone always agreeing to what ever a majority decided.

Sept 6, 1904, the class took the 1st lesson in PlaneGeometry. Sept. 14 the class demonstrated the 1st proposition inGeometry and came to the conclusion that it did not amount to much and alsothey were not as wise as anticipated. Nov. 4 classdemonstrated last proposition in Book I and Feb. 8 the last proposition Book 3and April 27, 'O5, the last Propositionin Book 5.

Nita Fort entered on Nov. 28 '04 andJesse St. JohnFeb. 1 '05 .

One day while Miss Putnam was hearing our English history, MissKingsbury and myself thought we would have a game of checkers, because Irenehad a blotter and it was made of red and white squares this being just thething for checkers. Well we were nicely started when Miss Putnam came and tookit away from us and then hung it upon the wall in her room and if any oneshould chance to go into her room they would see it still hanging there as atrophy... [eight pages describing each individual inthe class have been omitted].

As I have given a brief description of the Class of 1905 I will closethe history by bidding Farewell to our dear teachers and our joyous days atschool.

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A BriefChronology of Saugatuck Schools

 

1838 Saugatuck students attended school on the Singapore road,now the site of Pine Trail Camp.

1852 New schoolhouse built just south and east of the Singapore Schoolon the Halverson Farm. This was later known as the Ward School

Ca. 1855 Pine Grove Schoolbuilt on Mary Street.The building still stands remodeled as a residence. Rural students continued atthe Ward School until 1913 when the structure wasmoved into town and used as additional classroom space for the home economicprogram.

1867 Saugatuck Union Schoolbuilt on Elizabeth Streeton land donated by S. A. Morrison.

1896 Theschool burned; replaced by a brick building on the same site.

1927 Gymnasium-auditorium wing added.

1950 The 1896 portion of school burned, rebuilt the following year,connected to the 1927 gymnasium wing which survived the fire.

1963 Voters approve annexation of the Douglasdistrict to Saugatuck. Grades 1 to 6 are moved to Douglas.

1974 New junior-senior high school built on old athletic field on Elizabeth Streetnear Francis Street.New athletic field built nearby.

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Excerpts from Rulesand Regulations Saugatuck Union School 1901

 

"Teachers are expected to train their pupils to habits of neatness,order, obedience, and politeness, to tolerate no profanity, vulgarity, orcruelty, to inculcate the virtues of truthfulness, honesty, and kindness,correcting coarse and ungrammatical language and unbecoming attitudes, and inevery way in their power to fit them to perform, in due time, the duties andresponsibilities of men and women ... to avoid sarcasm, ridicule and everyappearance of passion in the government of the schools, to take all propermeans to foster in the minds of the pupils love and respect for their teacher."

"Any pupil who is guilty of open disobedience or insubordination, or whoindulges in profane or improper language, or makes use of tobacco in any formin or about the school premises or whose general conduct is injurious to theschool, shall be reported to his or her parent or guardian, and to the SchoolBoard, and shall be subject to expulsion.... Before entering the buildingpupils shall carefully clean their shoes, and on entering the building shallplace their extra wraps in the allotted places and pass quietly to their rooms.In no case shall pupils linger in the halls, or conduct themselves rudely inany part of the building or school premises. They shall not enter other roomsthan their own without the permission of their teachers."

Saugatuck-DouglasHistory Bookshelf

[Featuring publications on area history,both present day and in the past. Offered as a guide and inspiration for those whoperuse used book stores.]

Sheridan, James E. Saugatuck Through the Years, 1830-1980

(Harlo Press: Detroit) 1982.

James Sheridan was a charter member of the Saugatuck-Douglas HistoricalSociety, an educator and former resident who retired to Saugatuck in 1971. Hisfather was keeper of the Saugatuck light from 1909 to 1914, and after the deathof his father in 1915 the family moved to a house on Culver Street and heattended Saugatuck High School being an important part of the winning SaugatuckHigh School basketball teams of the middle 1920's. He died in Saugatuck in 1996.

In this book Sheridanattempts the first comprehensive history of Saugatuck since Early Memories of Saugatuck authored byMay Francis Heath in 1930. Early history is drawn from a variety of earlysources including early county histories, Heath, the recollections of HenryHudson Hutchins and the files of the CommercialRecord, but it is the part of history that Sheridan knew first hand wherehe shines. He writes of the old ferry shanty:

"The shanty was unforgettable being dusty and untidy ... with a smallpot bellied stove, a few cluttered shelves and the wall covered with hangingitems and tools. It exuded a smokey fragrance quitein keeping with the peculiar purpose for which it was used. There were a fewrickety chairs for the benefit of the regular presence of those in thecommunity who felt a compulsion to stop in now and then to discuss whateverweighty matter might be current either in the village or in the world.. . In the summer one could sit in the shade outside andview the kaleidoscopic scene of the river traffic and the pretty girls passing.In winter, the shanty was tight and warm, with a stove that provided a perfectreceptacle for spitting and apple core disposal..."

Now out of print, Saugatuck Through the Years is sometimes found in used book storesin Michiganand surrounding states for $20 to $40.