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History Lives Here Text

The 1866 Old School House

Photo of Old Schoolhouse
Douglas School circa 1915.

A Project of the Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society in cooperation with the Saugatuck-Douglas District Library and the Saugatuck Public Schools.

History Center

The 1866 Old School House (The Douglas Union School), is a national landmark as the oldest multi-classroom school building in Michigan and one of the finest examples of 19th century school architecture in America.

Along with its six city lots of lawn and woods, it has been transformed into a "History Center" where Saugatuck-Douglas citizens and visitors can benefit in a multitude of ways from the area's rich history and culture. See the Renovation Diary for the Old School House.

Attractions include:
Life Boat Exhibit & Back-In-Time Garden
• Interactive Supermap and History Room
• Archives and Tech Center
• Local Art Gallery
Meeting & Event Rental Space

Douglas School Yard Kids circa 1946

Douglas School - August 1903

Douglas School Class 1948-1949

Building a Village

For the third year in a row, the 8th grade students in Christina Lewis’s English class at Saugatuck Middle School have created an exhibit displayed at the Old Schoolhouse and a website.

For 2015 the exhibit focuses around the past and present history of numerous buildings and sites throughout Saugatuck and Douglas. The students chose topics based on information presented to them by Jim Schmiechen. They then went on to discover the history and current day use of their chosen sites through research and interviews. The display will include artwork, photographs, and poetry detailing the evolution of the architectural and natural sites.

A Space for Discovering History and Bringing it Alive

The Back-In-Time School Room Experience - A row of school lockers containing artifacts of school life from different points of time since 1866.

The Creation Station Project - A workshop and exhibition factory where individuals and groups of all ages will be able to develop their own public exhibits.

The Discovery Room - A place for individuals or groups of all ages to view, hear, read, and talk about our history and environment using the Historical Society's extensive collections.

The Knowing Our Ancestors Project - A designated area for researching family genealogy.

A Center for Visitors and Heritage Tourism - An attractive visitor center offering introductions to the greater Saugatuck-Douglas area and to the activities and resources within the Old School House.

Learning, Growing, Exploring: Dedicated to the Community

The Historical Society Archives - A safe, climate-controlled home for the Society's ever-expanding collection of historically important objects, paper, memorabilia, artwork, and photographs. A workshop and exhibition factory where individuals and groups of all ages will be able to develop their own public exhibits.

The Historical Society Tech Center - A large and efficient new production space to support and digitize the growing historic information collections.

The Skills Learning Center - a place for people to gain skills and experience in working with archives, digital imaging technology, oral history interviews, historic building surveys, historical research, and museum management.