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Wednesday, November 11, 7:00PM, Old School House, The Value of Historic Preservation in a Community Our speaker is Nan Taylor who is the Greater Michigan Field Representative for the Michigan Historic Preservation Network & National Trust for Historic Preservation. Nan will arrive in Saugatuck at 2 PM and will spend the afternoon touring the area. Society members who would like to join the tour should call Jane at (269) 857-2268

2009 Holiday Party Slated for
Sunday, December 6

This year we will return to the traditional potluck of the past. There will also be an option if you don’t want to cook.

The event will be held at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts – a new feel, easy parking and more space!

Among the events this year will be book signings and Society gift sales.

Your invitation will provide all the details. Look for it in the mail in early November. Seats are limited, so make your reservations early!

Look for your invitation and more information in early November.

Coming for the Holidays

New SDHS Merchandise
Shop at the OSH Gift Shop in December
Details and Dates to be Announced
Volunteer to help with the Holiday Shop by contacting Jon Helmrich at or 269.857.3574


The SDHS Board members will again be hosting a chili supper to show their appreciation to all the SDHS members who have volunteered their time and efforts during the year for the Society’s many programs and projects.

The event is on Sunday, November 1 at the Old School House beginning at 6:30PM.

If you will be attending and haven't already done so, please RSVP by REPLYING to this email. If you are unable to attend, please accept the Board’s thanks for your support of your Society this year.


On Thursday, November 19 the Saugatuck Center for the Art’s "About it!" series will present a lecture of interest to SDHS members titled The Wreck of the Rockaway: the Archeology of a Great Lakes Schooner. Click HERE for more details.


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 a higher res copy

The SDHS is ready to embark into a new era of family history. Family history research is being swept forward by a tsunami wave called the digital revolution. A symbol of this revolution is the ability to search vast pools of data quickly and efficiently! For instance, just ten years ago viewing the Federal census was a process involving travel, search of ponderous indexes and the viewing of cantankerous microfilm. Today one can find a name in two hundred and forty years of census records in a matter of seconds - while sitting at a home computer!

Jack Sheridan and Chris Yoder have volunteered to lead an initial small group to structure this opportunity for the SDHS. For starters we need to know the level of interest and ability that exists among Society members.

If you are interested in doing the research necessary to build your family tree, send an email to Jack or Chris  or

Please indicate your experience with family history research by choosing one of the following terms in your email: BEGINNER, INTERMEDIATE, ADVANCED. They will contact all members who express interest.

Tracking Michigan Family History? Death Certificates Can Help

You can begin tracking your family history with the many tools available on the SDHS web site. The Library of Michigan has just made nearly 1 million state death certificates available for the years 1897 to 1920. Data shown on these certificates includes birth date and place, parents' names and birthplace, cemetery name and location, and more. This information can be access through the SDHS research links. Information from these certificates is incrementally being posted to relevant internment records for Riverside and Douglas cemeteries.

In addition, over 1300 local death certificates are available from the Old Douglas Hospital and Saugatuck Township files, as well as access to Michigan State Death Records from 1867 to 1897. The U.S. Social Security death index, also linked to our research pages, provides limited death information on a nationwide basis for the more recent deaths (beginning in the 1960s).

Click HERE to go to the the Society's On-Line Research Center. Michigan death records which are not available at these free locations can be ordered from the State of Michigan Vital Records Office. For a fee, you may order death and other records filed with the state as early as 1867, and divorce records as early as 1897. Death Certificates may also be ordered from the County Clerk in the county where the death occurred. Happy hunting!  submitted by Chris Yoder at or (269) 857-4327


SDHS October 14, 2009 Meeting OSH Douglas, MI 7:00 p.m.

President Harold Thieda welcomed the 47 members present and followed up with these tidbits:

Reservations are necessary for the November 1 Volunteer Chili Supper at the OSH
The November 11 SDHS meeting is on The Economic Benefits of Historic Preservation and Jane Van Dis wants sponsors to support her as she sleeps outside in a box for the homeless in November.
Steve Hutchins and Harold also presented to the Society a 36 star 1866 flag (the year the OSH was built) to be flown for special occasion.

Jane Underwood introduced Jim Jeltema who stepped in for hospitalized Art Lane and shared Art’s collected details on area golfing. Whether a 9 hole course did exist in 1906 near Shorewood or if the 1916 West Shore Golf Links was the first, Jim’s humor and Art’s manuscript putted us from Liberty Links (Clearwood) to The Ravines and from miniature courses on the Butler Hotel lawn in 1920 to the Root Beer Barrel and to Dune Mountain near Goshorn Lake in the early 1980’s.

Free golf balls plus displays of blueprints, photos, maps and drawings aided the spirited communication of SAUGATUCK – DOUGLAS GOLF COURSES – SOME LIVELY – SOME FORGOTTEN!

by descendant Andrea Olmanson of Wisconsin

Commercial Record Ad, July 1869

Thomas Dole, born 27 August 1812 in Hartford, CT, died 30 June 1889, Saugatuck, MI, was married to Elizabeth, nee Bennett. They were my great great grandparents.

Thomas and Elizabeth had 3 children, all boys. They started out their married life in Waterloo Seneca County, NY. Their boys were George W. Dole (1840-1849, buried in the Stark Street Cemetery in the Village of Waterloo, Seneca County, NY, next to his grandfather John Dole and his uncle Henry Dole), James Knox Dole (1844-1910, buried in the Riverside Cemetery in Allegan County, Michigan), and Charles T. Dole (born 1850, died unknown).

Thomas, Elizabeth, and at least their son James were Congregationalists. Census records show Thomas as having various occupations -- painter, hotelier, and farmer.

The 1860 census shows that Thomas and Elizabeth owned and operated a hotel.

Fast forward to 1869. Thomas was ardently anti-alcohol, much to his financial detriment. From the Saugatuck Commercial Record, May 15, 1869: "Union Hotel - Mr. Dole is repairing his bar-room but says he will not keep liquor, living or no living. We glory in his spunk, and have not the slightest doubt of his success. The idea that a hotel can not prosper without selling liquor, is humbug. We can recommend the Union Hotel as a quiet house, with peace and plenty."

From the Saugatuck Commercial record, July 31, 1869 (two and a half months later): "Mr. Rode is fitting his building, formerly used for hotel business by Thomas Dole, up in good shape, and will open his saloon some time next week."

Two story Union Hotel in 1874 - Now Pumpernickel's

The 1870 census shows that Thomas and Elizabeth were farming. Poor Elizabeth! Having to go back to farming in her elder years, after a comfortable life in town. Elizabeth died in 1878 at age 68 of a "strangulated hernia," according to her Michigan death record.

Thomas and Elizabeth's son, Charles, is described in census records as a "riverman". James was an engineer, a ship's captain, a carpenter, and a carriage-maker, as his main occupations, but I know that he was also a some-time hotelier. James and his brother Charles were on a sloop called the Water Witch that overturned a mile out from Saugatuck Harbor in November 1879 and they were rescued by an August Burkholtz, who heard them yelling from a mile away, according to an article in the Commercial Record.

Also, James was in an accident with a swing bridge when he was captaining some boat with a Congregationalist girls choir from Chicago that had come to Saugatuck in 1907. The full story is in the August 30, 1907 edition of the Commercial Record. Three girls were injured. The paper reported that the owner of the boat anticipated taking some sort of legal action against the municipality.

James was the only one of Thomas and Elizabeth's children who married. He married Jantje "Jane" Bouwmeester who was originally from the Netherlands. They had 4 children -- George (1870-1941), William (1873-1949), Mattie Daisy (1879-1956), and Winnifred May "Winnie" (1878-1953).

Here is James Dole's Obituary, from the Saugatuck Commercial Record, Friday, June 24, 1910.

"James K. Dole died at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Oscar Peterson in Holland Tuesday morning, June 21 at 10:00 after an illness of eight weeks with paralysis. He was born Oct. 19, 1844 in New York and came to Kalamazoo when a boy after which he moved to Saugatuck where he married Jane Boumaster in 1867. Ever since he has made this his home till about a year ago when he went to live with his daughter in Holland where he passed away. Mrs. Dole departed from this life some ten years ago but he leaves behind four children to mourn for him, Geo. A. Dole of Lombard, Ill, Wm. L. Dole of Enid Oklahoma: Mrs. Eugene Munson of Roswell, Idaho, and Mrs. Oscar Peterson of Holland. The funeral will be held today 2:00 from the Cong'l Church and the remains will be laid to rest in the Saugatuck cemetery."

In 1910, the local paper ran an article about a reunion of civil war soldiers (James had been in the cavalry). It read: "As the roll of the drum and the pipe of the fife of his comrades were wafted in through the window at the home of James K. Dole of this city, his spirit fled. Mr. Dole, who was 65 years of age, had been ill for some time, and expressed a desire to hear the tramp of the Army in Blue once more before he died."

~ ~ ~ ~

Thanks so much to Andrea for this article! Thanks to Jack Sheridan and the SDHS archives for the hotel photo. Not only is Thomas Dole’s “Union Hotel” still a local landmark as "Pumpernickel's", but the hotel built by Capt. James K. Dole is what is now known as "Good Goods". Both are among the treasured buildings in Saugatuck. If you have favorite stories of Saugatuck that you’d like to add to the archives of the Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society, contact Chris Yoder at, or call (269) 857-4327.           contributed by Chris Yoder


The community is justifiably proud of its success in saving and renovating the Old School House and its site. This is one of the most significant historic preservation projects to be taken in our communities. Nearly $1,225,000 has been raised, with only $300,500 remaining. The latest information available to the Board indicates that we will be able to put about $150,000 toward the endowment for on-going operational costs if the total goal of $1,525,000 is met. The immediate need is to raise the necessary dollars to complete and occupy the lower level, and to be able to implement the exciting plans that have been so well crafted for the exterior spaces.

At its October meeting, the Board established December 31, 2009, as the date for submission of names to be included on the donor recognition feature within the OSH. All who have donated $1,000 or more will be permanently recognized on this feature. The “Circles of Giving” includes various levels of recognition that reflect the amount donated. The Board also approved a list of naming gift opportunities for those donating $10,000 or more, and, there will be an opportunity to have garden benches named in honor or in memory of those dear to you. Please contact Fred Schmidt or Nancy Woods if you would like to either give or increase your gift before the December deadline.

by Jack Sheridan
(Click on an image for the answer)

HISTORY: A crumbling and historical building saved from the bulldozer.
MYSTERY: What is here today?

HISTORY: Ca 1910 The Interuban track headed toward home right here.
MYSTERY: Name the corner.


HISTORY: Ca 1948 These homes were all built near the turn of the century, the 19th.
MYSTERY: Identify there location?


HISTORY: The Knight Lounge was a favorite watering hole until fire took it in 1975.
MYSTERY: Where was it located?


To become a member or renew your membership select from the following categories:

Individual $25
Household $45
Senior (65+) $18
Senior Household $30
Student $5
Corporate $150
Life, Individual $300
Life, Household $500

Send check payable to the Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society to: PO Box 617, Douglas, Michigan 49406. You can also click HERE for a Society Membership Application.

Send items for the newsletter to: Fred Schmidt, PO Box 617, Douglas MI 49406 or email


The Saugatuck-Historical Museum is located in the historic Pump House at the foot of Mt. Baldhead on the west bank of the Kalamazoo River. The Museum's 2009 exhibit is titled:

"Summertime: A Century of Leisure at the Lake Michigan Shore"

The Museum is open from Noon to 4 PM. on weekends through October 31.

The Society's Technology Center has moved to the Old School House.

Society Phone: 269 857-5751
Museum Phone: 269 857-7900
Tech Center Phone 269 857-7901

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