Wednesday, July 14, 7:00 pm at the
Old School House, A Tale of Two Weddings. Jim Hanson will tell
how his ancestors met, married and settled in the Saugatuck area.
|In 1909, two young people, both orphans from
Chicago, met while vacationing in Telluride, Colorado. He was
a Norwegian Lutheran, and she was a Catholic of German and
Belgian heritage. In August, 1910 they married in Chicago, and
took the boat for Saugatuck for their honeymoon. These were my
grandparents, Harry and Antoinette Hanson.
Harry & Nettie Hanson on the beach
August 21, 1910
Thirty years later, their son courted a Chicago girl who
had spent a good deal of her childhood at her grandparents'
farm between Douglas and Fennville. In August, 1940 they
decided to get married at old St. Peter's Church in Douglas.
These were my parents, Eugene and Dorothy Hanson.
Dorothy & Eugene Hanson, August 3, 1940
Anyway, the story of how this family of summer people
entwined their lives into a special place they all loved will
have plenty of vintage photographs and stories.
contributed by Jim Hanson
Wednesday, August 11, 6:00 pm
Annual Picnic at Mt. Baldhead Park.
NINE TUESDAY TALKS SCHEDULED
Mysteries, Memories & Old Tales
of Saugatuck & Douglas
1. July 6 Eight Ox-Bow Photo Stories: The Best of One Thousand
by Jim Schmiechen
2. July 13 Saugatuck and Douglas Golf Courses: Some Lively,
Some Forgotten by Art Lane
3. July 20 Life at Ox-Bow: the Radical 1960s by Judy
4. July 27 Jack’s Photo Mysteries Game by Jack Sheridan
5. August 3 Lost Saugatuck and Douglas Paintings
Rediscovered by Ken Kutzel
6. August 10 Saugatuck & Douglas Area Gay History: A Preview
of the Video by Steve Croley & Bridget McCormack
7. August 17 The Persistence of the Picturesque in Landscape
and Memory by E.W. Ross
8. August 24 Remembering Ox-Bow by Norm Deam
9. August 31 To be announced
These fun and informal talks will take place on Tuesdays, 11am
at the Old School House in Douglas. Free admission. Click
HERE to download and print a schedule poster for your frig.
HOLLAND HISTORICAL SOCIETY TOURS OLD SCHOOL HOUSE
On Tuesday evening,
June 8, approximately 70 members of the Holland Historical Society
visited the OSH. Harold Thieda gave them a warm welcome and told
them a brief history of the building and with further urging, the
history of the Saugatuck/Douglas area.
Harold leads the
Summertime Saugatuck Walking Tours so he was just the knowledgeable
person to ask and he did an awesome job. There were many questions
that were answered. After the welcome people toured the building and
enjoyed ice cream sundaes. Many positive comments were overheard. A
big thank you to Steve Hutchins for getting the school house ready
and setting up all those chairs. submitted by
R. G. HUNTINGHOUSE
Rudolph G. "R. G." Huntinghouse, Dance Instructor
Extraordinaire was born August 9, 1861 in West Bend, WI to Mr. and
Mrs. Peter Huntinghouse. Voter registration information shows he was
living in Chicago by 1886. He married Betty Schertl on 16 Jun 1888
in Cook County.
Wife Betty, R.G., and daughter Kathryn, about 1901
In the 1890s he founded the Huntinghouse Dancing
Academy in Chicago and operated it for 60 years. He was the first
President of the Chicago National Association of Dance Masters,
1913-1914, an organization which is still in existence. For 15
summers he taught dance at the Big Pavilion in Saugatuck, and was a
strong promoter of the community. The Commercial Record of Aug. 14,
"Probably more people have come to Saugatuck this
summer on account of the gratuitous boosting by one Chicago man than
through any other means. Professor R. G. Huntinghouse, who conducts
two of the largest dancing academies in that city, has for many
years spent his summers here, conducting dancing classes at the Big
Pavilion. All this time he has told his Chicago clientele of the
summer attractions here, and the Saugatuck reunion at his Albany
Park academy in the fall is an annual event eagerly looked forward
to by those who have been here. This year Mr. Huntinghouse has
established a neat monthly magazine "Voices and Echoes," in which he
gives free rein to his thoughts and fancies. And though ostensibly a
publicity agent for his academies, the four issues so far published
have more to say about Saugatuck than they do about dancing. The
magazine, which is circulated free, reaches a large and receptive
clientele, and without question many hundred of people came here
this summer solely
because of its consistent presentation of Saugatuck's charms."
Ads From the June 1921 Commercial Record
He purchased his summer retreat in Saugatuck in the
spring of 1920. His 10 acre plot included the Burns house and it was
a part of the former Calvin Whitney estate at the north-east corner
of South Maple and Allegan, directly across from the Henry Barr
property (now the Cappelletti house).
Huntinghouse Home in the 1930s and Today
The 1900 census shows that 2 children had been born
to Betty, of whom only daughter Kathryn (born Novwmber 1899) was
then living. R. G. and his wife lost two more children by 1910. By
1920, R. G. is shown as a widower. Daughter Kathryn, then 20, and
her husband, Fred Pfaff lived in his household. Fred Pfaff was a
grandson of August Pfaff Sr. of Saugatuck.
R. G. retired to Saugatuck, spent the last 10 years
of his life here, except for a short period during the winters when
he stayed with his daughter and her family in Chicago. He died in
the Douglas Community Hospital at the age of 93 on August 21, 1954,
and is buried in Riverside Cemetery.
contributed by Chris Yoder
Thanks to granddaughter Marion Britz for the photos
of R.G. In a future Newsletter, watch for her stories on R.G. and
the "Unsinkable Swimming Suit" and R.G.'s appearance in "Ripley's
Believe It or Not".
WHAT YOU MISSED
Wednesday, June 9 | 7 pm
A Walk In The Dunes at the Saugatuck Harbor Natural Area
After opening remarks by Society president Harold Thieda,
approximately 50 Society members were introduced to April Scholtz
and Melanie Manion from the Land Conservancy of West Michigan and
John Legge from The Nature Conservancy.
Members learned about the acquisition of this 171-acre property and
the need for donations (large and small) from the community to repay
the purchase loans and create an endowment for the future. The first
stop on the walk was the site of a future scenic overlook, just
North of the Oval Beach parking lot. Visitors kept to the trails to
protect the Marram Grass that stabilizes the dunes. A monitoring
project by Dr. Ed Hanson of Hope College will track the inland
dunes' recovery now that sunbathing, dogs, motorized vehicles, and
non-trail hiking have been forbidden.
A little sand in the shoes was rewarded by a view of the Ox-Bow
lagoon, the Fishtown site, and the Deam property.
April Scholtz, LCWM Land Protection Director, told about how the
Saugatuck Harbor Natural Area owed a debt of gratitude to the Deam
family, who have resisted development of the land since they first
purchased their parcel in 1936. The Deams still own a rectangular
plot of land that sits in the Southwest corner of the Natural Area
and to honor the Deams, everyone was asked to respect their privacy
whenever they are enjoying the Saugatuck Harbor Natural Area.
The walk then moved North to view an area of interdunal wetlands: a
rare habitat that due to its varying water levels is free of fish
and ideal for amphibians, most notably the Blanchard's cricket frog.
Occasionally, the Geiger-counter-like chirp of the Blanchard's
Cricket Frog could be heard in the distance along with the more
familiar call of the Gray Treefrog. Other species spotted (or heard)
included the Hairy (not Hoary) Puccoon, a low, yellow wildflower;
the Prairie Warbler; Bank Swallows; and a trio of curious deer.
Thank you to Jane Underwood for organizing this informative walk in
the dunes. It was a beautiful evening in a beautiful natural
Photos courtesy of Mary Voss Summary written by Sally Winthers
Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society Bulletins
Volunteers are needed to guide visitors on the Society's summer
Walking Tours. You don't need to be an expert, but you must enjoy
interacting with visitors who are interested in local history.
The Tuesday Talks will kick off on July 6 and run through August.
See complete schedule elsewhere in this Newsletter. These fun and
informal talks will take place on Tuesdays, 11am at the Old School
House in Douglas. Free admission. Click
HERE to download and print a schedule poster for your frig.
Generating participation is key to the success of the newly
formed Heritage Preservation Group. In an attempt to learn more
about our members willingness to serve, we devised an on-line
Please take a few moments by clicking
HERE and completing this short survey. We will share the
results in an upcoming Newsletter - stay tuned.
SOCIETY WISH LIST
Underwriting & Sponsorship Opportunities
The following items on the Society's wish list are needed to fulfill
our mission to our members and the community:
Sponsorship of each of two new Society "rack cards" (like our
current Chain Ferry history card underwritten by the
of Saugatuck - click
HERE) featuring the history of Saugatuck City Hall and Mount
Baldhead. Cost of underwriting the production of 2,000 cards
displayed all over town is just $150. Note: Sponsor will be
identified on the rack cards as underwriter. It's a great
advertising opportunity for a local business.
"Your Tuesday!" For only $100 you can sponsor one of this
summer's Tuesday Talks. You will be acknowledged as the sponsor of
the talk on the press release, the Society's website, newsletter and
at the talk.
To underwrite or sponsor, just REPLY to this email and we'll be in
A SPECIAL THANKS FOR SUPPORT OF SDHS
The Society would like to thank the following
companies and individuals for their generous gifts and donations to
the 2010 Museum exhibition and the Society's programs.
Your support of these companies would be greatly
D & D's Tree/Lawn Care, 616.886.9399 for the donations of their
time, staff and equipment to move bookcases and shelving from the
Museum to the Old School House.
Signs Now - Your Single Sign Source, 616.392.1159, Holland,
for production of the Museum 2010 exhibition outdoor sign.
Computers and More, 616.396.6522, Holland for providing a
discount for the purchase of the digital photo frames used in the
Alex Fink & Sarah Harris of the
Gallery and Framing Studio, 616.392.3239, Holland, for
mounting services for the 2010 Museum exhibition.
Michael Zelenka and Teresa Aguis Decorating, 269.561.2989,
Fennville, for the full donation of their time to mount the "wall
paper" for this year's Museum exhibition.
OX-BOW WALKING TOUR & LECTURE
Would you like to have lunch at Ox-Bow and Enjoy a
I am conducting a walking tour and lecture of Ox-Bow
on July 29, 1-5, includes lunch. For all of you who have always
wanted to know more about Ox-Bow and spend the afternoon on campus
this is it! I will conduct a historical tour based on my book
"A Portrait of Ox-Bow: Art-Architecture-Artists". You will
learn about the buildings, the history of the place, the people and
their art. You will experience the evolution of the school in its
100 years. You will hear the stories of the landscape, the folklore
and visualize and feel the traditions.
Please join me for this rare opportunity. Call
Ox-Bow to register for the event. The fee is $35.00 including lunch
on the old porch of the Ox-Bow Inn. You must register soon the class
will be limited. Ox-Bow can be reached at 269-857-1183. Click
more info on Ox-Bow.
submitted by Judy Anthrop
NEW MEMBERS SESSION
The second "SDHS 101" session of the
year is coming up and is a great chance for new members and
interested former members to learn about the Society and the
opportunities that it has to offer. There will also be a discussion
of this year's exhibit that celebrates the 100th anniversary of
The session will be held on Saturday, July 31, at
the Old School House beginning at 10:00 a.m. If you are able to
attend, please call Nyla Hensley at 269-857-5704 or email