Old School House(Click on image for a higher resolution copy)
Grounds planning envisions the "Back-In-Time" pathway as a trail winding through the partially wooded schoolyard overlooking the Saugatuck-Douglas harbor, visiting diverse plantings and "story stops" telling about important aspects of local environment and history. Modeled after the Historical Society's popular "outdoor learning stations" around its Pump House Museum at Mt. Baldhead Park, the OSH pathway will feature custom-designed story boards and interactive/interpretive experiences at each of six "stops":
Story #1 -- "Peaches for All America" features a small orchard based on a 1901 Douglas orchard layout, showing our early fruit shipping docks and telling about the area as the earliest center for commercial peach growing in America.
Story #2 -- "History of Schoolyard Games" offers a play/documentation/reenactment area for experiencing childhood games ranging back to Civil War times.
Story #3 -- "Saving Lives On The Great Lakes" highlights the Society's rare, restored 1860s-vintage ironclad lifesaving boat Galleynipper, telling of the battle against shipwreck and storm a century ago.
Story #4 -- "Building and Designing America's Model Public School" views the National Registered Douglas Union School as an artifact, examining its development in terms of the architectural and construction practices of 1866 and that era's watershed Union School movement.
Story #5 -- "A Michigan Sand Dune Becomes Famous" tells how in 1888 Saugatuck's great sand dune (now Mt. Baldhead) became one of Michigan's most famous lakeshore spaces -- as seen from the Old School House yard.
Story #6 -- "The Rhododendron Garden: A New Experiment" looks back in time to when famous American landscape architects O.C. Simonds and Charlie Mann lived here and reinvented the landscape.
The preliminary grounds plan shown above was developed by Old School House Landscaping Committee member Ruth A. Johnson, M.C.N., an independent landscape designer perhaps best known locally for creating the Sam and Dora Mize Memorial Garden at Butler and Mason Streets. Center Street runs across the bottom (south side) of the layout.