If you are having trouble viewing this Newsletter, click HERE to see it online.
SAUGATUCK-DOUGLAS HISTORICAL SOCIETY | BOX 617 | DOUGLAS, MI 49406 | 269-857-5751 | www.sdhistoricalsociety.org



  Click HERE for printer friendly version with images

Still haven't renewed your Society membership for 2010?? Don't miss out on a great year of events


Mark your calendar
Wednesday, March 10, Female Artists of the Saugatuck-Douglas Area, 7:00 PM, Old School House
As a tribute to Women's History Month, we will be discussing some women artists who had worked in the Saugatuck area. Included will be: Olive Williams, Mabel Wheelock, Minnie Harms Neebe, Elsa Ulbricht, and Christiana Ackermann Hoerman.

Pub Party


The Society's annual "Pub Party" is scheduled for Saturday, March 13, from 6:30 to 10:00 p.m. at Coral Gables restaurant, 220 Water Street in Saugatuck. Cash bar opens at 6:30, and dinner begins at 7:30, offering choice of a traditional corned beef meal or a vegetarian option, with drinks available from a cash bar throughout the evening.

Pub Party tickets are priced at $25 per person.  Last date to purchase party tickets is Wednesday, March 10.  Phone orders accepting credit card payment can be placed immediately at (269) 857-5751.  Tickets may be purchased at Uncommon Grounds, 127 Hoffman Street in Saugatuck, or Respite Cappuccino Court, 48 Center Street in Douglas.  

Wednesday, April 14, Old School House Garden Project, 7:00 PM, Old School House


Nominations are being accepted for the 2010 Charles J. Lorenz Award of Achievement. The Award is given to acknowledge distinguished leadership in service to the Society toward fulfilling the spirit and mission of the Society, namely, "to provide leadership, enabling the community to understand its past, and use its history to shape its future and preserve its quality of life". Click HERE to download a printable nomination form.


The 2010 phase of our Old School House History Center renovation kicked off in January with installation of light fixtures in the 2nd Floor rooms and the addition of doors, HVAC ductwork and thermostats in the Lower Level.

The 2nd Floor is being developed for rental as professional or commercial office space to provide ongoing income for History Center operation.

The Lower Level will house the Society's Technical/Archival Center (TAC), which for years was located in a smaller facility nearby in Douglas' Dutcher Lodge and now temporarily occupies what will be the reading/research area of the Old School House main floor. In its new Lower Level home, the TAC and its volunteer staff will record oral histories, perform digital conversion and storage services for archival materials such as historical documents, maps, photographs and genealogy records, and will operate the delivery system that allows on-line access to them.

The TAC also will expand technical support to the Historical Society's Museum, committees, programs, publications and web site, and become an interactive part of our community's educational infrastructure. To that end, a point-to-point 10mbps line-of-site wireless link has been installed between the Old School House and the Historical Museum located at the foot of Mount Baldhead.

The Society's Old School House project is being funded by grants plus community and corporate donations, targeting certification as a LEED ("green") Gold-level renovation. Operating in partnership with the area's District Library, Public Schools and other area not-for-profit organizations, the Center is envisioned as a community resource the where children and adults alike can explore the area's history, culture, ecology and architecture through recreational activities, educational programs, special events and access to a unique archive of local artifacts, photos, records and newspapers. As such, the Center also is expected to enhance the area's destination appeal in the growing heritage tourism industry.

A new donation portal is ready for use on the Society's web site at www.sdhistoricalsociety.org

Carpenters Jim Rosser (left) and Curtis Lyon, from Darpel & Associates Builders, Inc. in Fennville, install interior doors in the lower level

HVAC technician Barry Dehaan, from Bremer & Bouman Heating & Cooling, Inc. in Holland, installs a programmable thermostat in the lower level.

Electrician Mitch Van Dam, from Haveman Electrical Services in Holland, installs fluorescent light fixtures in the upper level.


Heinze's Famous Resort circa 1930

Heinze Home in 2009

"Heinze's Famous Resort", located at 445 South Maple, was built by Fred and Lizzie (Palzer) Heinze in the winter of 1911-12. Lizzie was a daughter of 1857 Saugatuck settler Herbert Palzer and had been born in Saugatuck in 1865. Fred would pick up clients from Chicago at the dock in Saugatuck. He would taxi the guests where they wished during their stay. Elizabeth would cook and do housekeeping, it was said she did most of the work. Their resort operated for nearly 20 years and closed in the early 1930s when Lizzie's health began to deteriorate. She died in 1938. Fred spent the remainder of his years cultivating dahlias at his home on South Maple and died in Chicago from injuries resulting when he stepped in front of a car in 1951 at the age of 92.

Fred Heinze circa 1900 and circa 1950

Frederick Anton "Fritz" Heinze was the youngest son of Johann Daniel and Fredericka (Hoffer) Heinze who emigrated from Eisfeld Germany in 1865. Johann was a master soap maker and the family settled in Chicago. In 1871 their home burned in the great Chicago fire and they escaped with what they could carry. After the death of his first wife, Fred Heinze married Elizabeth "Lizzie" Palzer of Saugatuck on Aug. 24, 1908 in Chicago. They lived there several years before moving permanently to Saugatuck. Fred and Elizabeth rest in the Riverside Cemetery. (info. provided by Ray & Chuck Foster & Whitney Gulbrandson descendants of Fredís brother Emil. The Fosters are shown in the 2009 photo of the home.)        submitted by Chris Yoder


Jacob Fox rests in a lonely grave in the Douglas Cemetery. He was born Nov. 12, 1807, in Northampton Co., PA, and died Apr. 7, 1871, in Douglas. His wife's name was Loretta Schug Fox. In the 1870 census Jacob was listed in Douglas as an invalid, his wife as a housekeeper, and several other children. Son James, then 24, was shown as a teamster and the property owner. After Jacob's death, the family moved to north Florida, where wife Loretta is buried in Parker, Florida. Thanks to g-g-g-granddaughter Kay Fox for sharing this family photo taken about 1855, one of the earliest of local residents.     submitted by Chris Yoder

Standing: Mary Ann Fox, Peter N. Fox, Front row: Boy standing is Jacob Fox Jr.. Sitting: James P. Fox, Loretta Schug Fox, Jacob Fox


February 10, 2010 SDHS Meeting at the OSH

Alice Haight's and Merle Malmquist's sweet Valentine treats plus Uncommon Grounds coffee greeted Society members and guests who braved the elements remaining from a school snow day to share their thoughts and reasons for settling in the Saugatuck-Douglas area.

Of the twenty-six present, only one was born and raised here. Most from Chicago or St. Louis inherited property and related the attractions of lake, art, friends and pleasant experiences were determinations for permanent location. As the microphone passed, tales were told of sailboat races, Labor Day and other parties, retreats at the Presbyterian Camp, retirement dreams, art and dancing lessons and concluded with the 1991 bank robbery, biggest in the United States that year and in Michigan, ever, money-wise! Jane Underwood's idea for sharing a walk down memory lane was MOST successful!

President Harold Thieda and others announced:
Hope for full OSH occupancy in May
Pub Party March 13 at Coral Gables, $25.00, raffle tickets @$10.00 or 3 for $25.00 for a 10 person cruise
Summer volunteers needed for OSH as well as the museum
Approval for a memorial plaque at the drinking fountain in the square, honoring the 50th anniversary of May Heathís death
Requests for information on Olive Williams, Mabel Wheelock, Minnie Harms, Christina Herman and other lesser known female artists




You could be the lucky winner in the SDHS Cocktail/Dinner Cruise raffle. The afternoon or evening cruise (between Memorial Day and September 30) on the vintage Chris-Craft Mahagra includes cocktails and dinner catered by Butch's of Holland. The raffle drawing will be held at this year's Pub Party at Coral Gables on Saturday, March 13.

Bonnie Keller generously donated the cruise, which was originally donated by Matt & Cindy Peterson. All proceeds benefit the Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society. Rules, restrictions and scheduling information is available by calling 269 857-5751.

Tickets are $10 each or 3 for $25. Here's an idea, join with a group of friends and buy the tickets as a group!


Pub Party tickets ($25 each) and Cocktail/Dinner Cruise Raffle tickets ($10 each or 3 for $25) are available at the following locations: Note: Last day to purchase Pub Party tickets is Wednesday, March 10

Uncommon Grounds in Saugatuck
Respite Cappuccino Court in Douglas
At the March 10 monthly SDHS meeting
By phone - 269 857-5751*
By clicking HERE and then on the "Donate" button*

* You can pay with a credit card if you purchase tickets by phone or on-line.



2009 has been a busy year in the archives at the SDHS. We have accessioned more than 190 items that came in 53 separate collections. Many of the donations/gifts were only one or two items but one gift had over 60 items in it. The process of accessioning means that each item needs to be photographed or scanned, cataloged into the computer data base, paper files made, and the gifts acknowledged. A very time consuming process. All this while trying to operate out of the crowded basement of the Dutcher Lodge and now in temporary digs in the office and middle room at the OSH.

One interesting gift accessioned this year was a handwritten notebook listing all the Saugatuck High School graduates by the year they graduated. The notebook was donated by Larry Davis, Valedictorian of the class of 1958, who told us that it was originally given to him by May Heath. The notebook has been re-typed and will soon be available on line through our website.

Sometime this spring we hope to move into new permanent headquarters in the basement of the Old School House. More volunteers are desperately needed as there is a back log of donations that need to be processed. If anyone would like more information about helping out and seeing what we do in the archives, stop by, we are here most Monday afternoons or call Mary Voss (616) 396-2013 or Jack Sheridan, (269) 857-7144. Others working in the archives are: Mary Lyons and Chris Yoder.     submitted by Mary Voss

SDHS 101

Plans for this year's "SDHS 101" sessions are already in progress, with the first session planned for Saturday, May 1st, at the Old School House, beginning at 10:00 a.m. Additional programs will be held on July 31st and September 11th. The meetings are designed for new members and for former members who want to learn about the history of our award-winning organization and the opportunities that it has to offer. This is a wonderful chance to meet our new members and discover talents that can benefit the Society. If you have any questions or plan to attend, contact Nyla Hensley at (269) 857-5704 or by email at noteablenyla@yahoo.com


On February 8, 2010, the Saugatuck City Council unanimously approved a proposal to place a memorial marker to May Francis Heath on the front of the water fountain in the city square. A dedication ceremony will be scheduled in August 2010, when members of the Heath family will be present to participate. Thanks to Ken Carls for help with the graphic design. Donations toward this memorial may be made out to "The Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society" marked for "the May Heath Memorial Fund". "May related" activities will continue through the golden anniversary of her death next year. We are still collecting photos of May, of her paintings, and personal recollections from people who knew her. Contact Chris Yoder, cyoder@tds.net (269) 857-4327 or Marsha Kontio (616) 566-1239.


May Francis Heath - Public School Teacher


May Francis Heath was a school teacher in her youth, first teaching in rural schools, and then the Saugatuck Union School. From the Lakeshore Commercial (Commercial Record) of the times we see that May was hired to teach the primary department of the Ganges School in March 1892, before she had herself received a High School Diploma. In later years she spoke of the poverty of her family as a child and perhaps that is why she went to work so early.

She did get her degree as a member of the Saugatuck High School Class of 1893, giving the Valedictory address, an essay entitled "Drifting", at the June 2, 1893 Commencement Ceremony. Other members of her class were: Archie Pierce, Mae Naughtin, Gilbert Pride, Emma Randall, Ray Nies, and Gertie Shriver (the Salutatorian). May promptly was hired to teach the intermediate grades at the Saugatuck Union School, under Principal James Warnock (1851-1899).

The next year, as a staff member, she was on the commencement program again and presented the "Class History", perhaps a foreshadowing of her future role as Saugatuck village historian.     submitted by Chris Yoder

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

HISTORY: In 1974 Representative Hutchinson of Fennville played a key role in a Washington DC drama.
MYSTERY: What was it?

HISTORY: ca. 1895 They are no doubt sisters, posing and very pretty.
MYSTERY: Who are they?


HISTORY: ca 1922 A chain dance line was part of the big Saugatuck summer frolic.
MYSTERY: What is the location here?


HISTORY: ca 1895 The fruit crop is coming in for shipment to Chicago.
MYSTERY: What is the location?


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

Individual $30
Household $50
Corporate $150
Historian $250
Life $500
Senior (65+) $20
Senior Household $35
Student $5

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 info@sdhistoricalsociety.org


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 2010 exhibit is titled:

"A Place Called Ox-Bow: 100 Years of Connecting Art, Nature, and People"

The Museum is now closed and will reopen Sunday, May 30, 2010. Click HERE to learn more about the Museum and view images of the 2009 exhibit.

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

If you would like to contact us with comments, please email us at info@sdhistoricalsociety.org or call us at 269-857-5751.
We appreciate the opportunity to send you the Society's news and events information. If for any reason you wish not to receive
additional notices, please click on the "UNSUBSCRIBE" option below.