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SAUGATUCK-DOUGLAS HISTORICAL SOCIETY | BOX 617 | DOUGLAS, MI 49406 | 269-857-5751 | www.sdhistoricalsociety.org



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If you did not attend "Dining Around Town", you missed one of the best events of the fall. This fundraiser was a huge success because of both the Society members who opened their homes and the attendees who enjoyed a special evening of fine dining, friendship and education. A special thank you to those committee members who put this event together. We have heard that "Dining Around Town" may become an annual fall event. If it does, you should mark your calendar now because I'm sure it will fill up quickly next year.

If you have not visited the Old School House History Center in the last month, here are a few of the changes that have taken place:
1. The front sprinkler system is in.
2. The grass has been planted and growing well in the front and west side
3. The donor wall is in and it looks great.
4. The "Super Map" is up in the front east room.
5. Both rooms on the second floor are carpeted and being used as conference rooms.
6. One of Marcia Perry's benches is on display.
We are getting closer to having everything envisioned completed for our Old School House History Center.

The museum only has a couple of weekends left to be open in October, so if you have not seen this award winning display you had better hurry. Plans are coming together for next year's display. Curator Kit Lane said the exhibit is about village life.

Don't forget the chili supper for volunteers on Sunday, October 31, at 7:00 pm at the OSH. This event is for all volunteers throughout the year, and there were many. See you there.

These are just a few of the things going on in your Historical Society. Hope to see you at the next meeting on November 10 at the Presbyterian Camp and at other Society functions.
                               submitted by Harold Thieda


Mark your calendar

Wednesday, November10 at The Presbyterian Camps, 631 Perryman St. [Oval Beach Rd.] 4:30PM, guided walk around the camps, 6PM dinner [reservations required], 7PM history and future of the camps. Questions, call Jane at 857-2268.

Our Wednesday, November 10 meeting will be at the Presbyterian Camps. These camps have been part of the Saugatuck-Douglas community since 1899, and have allowed thousands of inner city Chicagoans to enjoy our woods and lakeshore.

Recently the Presbytery of Chicago has been forced to raise money, and the camps have been offered for sale. The first part of our meeting at 4:30 will be a guided tour of the camps led by Jennifer Schuham, a third generation camp supporter. The second part of the meeting is a chicken dinner and hot fudge sundae for dessert in the camp dining hall at 6PM. There is a $10.00 charge for dinner and reservations and payment must be made by Sunday, November.7.

The third part of the meeting will start at 7PM and include the history, current programs and the outlook for the future. Questions and dinner reservations --- call Jane at 269-857-2268.      submitted by Jane Underwood


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, October 31 at the Old School House beginning at 7 PM. (The starting time has been slightly delayed to accommodate those members who would like to enjoy trick-or-treating.)

If you will be attending, please RSVP by REPLYING to this email or calling 269.857.5751. If you are unable to attend, please accept the Board's thanks for your support of your Society this year.

Sunday, December 5 - 2010 Society Holiday Party at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts. Look for your invitation in the mail shortly.


"I remember the turtle pond, though I did not know its name and remember it more as a frog pond. I used to go there with Steve Chadwick and catch frogs and tadpoles. It was fairly common for me to take the tadpoles in an old plastic baby bathtub back to Arlington Heights, raise them into frogs, then release them back into the turtle pond upon our next trip to Saugatuck!" - Scott Schultz, Raleigh, NC     submitted by Chris Yoder


Do you have family buried locally? Go to the SDHS On-Line Research Center and visit many of our area cemeteries on the internet. We would like to get photos and biographical data for the people interred here, these include: Riverside- 3639 records; Douglas- 1920; Taylor- 1494; Plummerville- 651; Loomis- 170; and more. You can help build the history of the Saugatuck-Douglas area through the stories of the people who lived and died here. If you have photos for any of these folks, or have or would be willing to prepare a biographical remembrance to go on the internet, contact Chris Yoder at 857-4327, email: cyoder@tds.net      submitted by Chris Yoder


On Oct. 8th, Marsha Kontio presented a special program for the Saugatuck Woman's Club entitled "A Tea With May". This program was a product of the SDHS May Francis Heath Study Group.

A capacity crowd heard the 45 minute presentation about Saugatuck Historian May Francis Heath and the town she loved. Included were many photos from the Heath-Morrison Collection never before available to the public and excerpts from Mrs. Heath's personal diaries.

Mrs. Heath was a charter member of the Woman's Club and active in it until her death. The Woman's Club has recently initiated an annual scholarship program in her name. Ladies wore hats and gloves for the "tea", and coffee, tea, finger sandwiches, and cookies were served.

A version of this program is scheduled for the March 2011 SDHS monthly meeting. She will also be presenting the program at Grace of Douglas (Formerly "The Harbors") on October 27.   submitted by Chris Yoder


Mrs. Cyrus P. (Sarah) Grosvenor

Sarah's Grave at Taylor Cemetery

One of the earlier stones in the Taylor Cemetery, (Blue Star Highway south of Hunt Tree) is for "Sarah wife of Cyrus P. Grosvenor" "President of N.Y. Central College". Sarah died August 18, 1856. Behind this simple stone is the story of a of the prominent abolitionist leader who was a compatriot of William Lloyd Garrison. Albion Historian Frank Passic writes:

"Rev. Cyrus Pitt Grosvenor was a major leader of the anti-Slavery Baptists in the pre-Civil War 19th century. He was an officer of the American Baptist Home Mission Society, and the American Anti-Slavery Society. He was part of Boston's first anti-slavery meeting in 1828. He was one of the founders of the New York Central College in McGrawville, Cortland County, New York. Cyrus served as the first college president of this institution in 1849-50, and was on its faculty for several years afterwards. It was the first college in the nation founded specifically to educate both black and white students, both men and women. Cyrus was an 1818 graduate of Dartmouth College, and also attended Princeton Theological Seminary 1821-22, and later received an LLD degree in 1867."

In 1852, their daughter Sarah married the Rev. Austin Harmon, a Baptist minister. Rev. Grosvenor retired from the faculty of the college in 1853. The Rev. Austin served as a Baptist missionary in Western Allegan County from 1854 until his death in 1865. The Grosevnors followed their daughter to Allegan County, and Mrs. Grosvenor passed away in 1856. At some point after her death, the Reverend moved on to Albion, Michigan, and died there in 1879. He is buried in the Albion Riverside cemetery.

Sarah Austin married Charles Fiegert in 1872 and died Jan. 23, 1921. She is buried by Rev. Harmon in the Taylor Cemetery. Four children of the Harmons lived to adulthood, including a daughter Emma who married Christopher Ensfield. Some of Emma's descendants still live in this area..

Rev. Cyrus P. Grosvenor (1792-1879)

Sometime after the death of his wife in 1856, Rev. Grosvenor moved on to Albion, Michigan, where he lived until his death in 1879. He is buried in the Albion Riverside cemetery.        contributed by Chris Yoder


A 40 page directory of early Douglas Village happenings, such as businesses established and sold, fires, significant events, etc., can now be seen at the SDHS On-Line Research Center by clicking HERE.

This collection of events from the old Commercial Records and other sources was presented at an SDHS board meeting in 1993. Thanks to Dawn Schumann for making a copy available. The initial pages include a chronological listing by local historian Charles Lorenz, and it is believed the balance may have been assembled by Bill Kemperman. Thanks to whoever was involved!
                                     submitted by Chris Yoder


Drop your donations off at the Old School House on:
l Saturday, June 20 from 9:00 AM - Noon
Tuesday, June 23 from 4:00 - 7:00 PM

Additional donation dates will be held June 27 & 30 and July 7, 11 & 14.


The sale, to benefit the Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society, will focus on high-quality items such as antiques, framed art, collectables, jewelry, small-scale furniture, toys and games, housewares and small appliances that will maximize the event's profits.

Unfortunately, we will be unable to accept clothing, large scale furniture pieces, computer or home electronics, exercise equipment, 50-cent items or the like.

Donating is a great way to support the Society and receive a tax deduction too!

The sale will be being held on Saturday, July 18 from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM on the grounds of the Old School House History Center in Douglas. A preview sale and party will be held on the evening of Friday, July 17 beginning at 5:30 PM.

For additional information, questions about what items you can donate or to inquire about a donation pick-up call (269) 857-5751.


The Nominating Committee of the Society needs two member to join board members on the Nominating Committee to select the board election slate for 2011. Recently members including Dawn Schumann, Ken Carls, Janie Flemming, and Peg Sanford have served on the committee. Members should contact Vice President, Jon Helmrich, if they are interested in working on the committee for 2011. Please e-mail or call: jon@ibctv.info, 857-3574.


64 people enjoyed our first SDHS Dining Around Town. Dinners were served at seven homes and everyone including hosts and chefs met back at the school house for dessert and entertainment by the Lakeshore Community Chorus. A wonderful time was had by all and everyone is looking forward to a repeat Dining Around on October 15, 2011. Call Judi Vanderbeck or Ken Carls if you are interested in hosting at your home next year.


Judy Bowman Anthrop
David Baker

 Images of Ox-Bow
A Place for Study and Reflection

 The Old School House
130 Center Street, Douglas, Michigan

 Saturday, November 6, 5-8 p.m.
Sunday, November 7, 1-5 p.m.

 The works are available for purchase.

Anthrop, The Lagoon in Winter, watercolor
Baker, An August Morning, watercolor

Two artists who share a love for a local art school will team to present a display of their recent paintings. The exhibition, titled "Images of Ox-Bow, A Place for Study and Reflection" features the work of Judy Bowman Anthrop of Douglas and David Baker of Dowagiac. The works will be shown at The Old School House in Douglas.

Ms. Anthrop is a fiber artist and historian as well as a painter. She has studied painting for many years, both at Ox-Bow and in numerous workshops throughout the country. She is the author of "A Portrait of Ox-Bow, Architecture-Art-Artists". The book added valuable scholarship on the School and its publication coincided perfectly with Ox-Bow's 100th year celebration. Included in this exhibition are many of the watercolors from her book. These paintings document Ox-Bow's unique architectural heritage.

Mr. Baker has a long career as an artist/educator. Currently he is Painting Professor Emeritus at Southwestern Michigan College in Dowagiac. He has an association with Ox-Bow that dates back two decades, both as a student and frequent instructor. His oil and watercolor paintings have been featured in dozens of solo exhibitions throughout the region, including several at Vesuvius Gallery in Glenn, Michigan.

Prominent in this display are a suite of watercolors done "en plein air" on the Ox-Bow campus. For this body of work, Baker completed a new painting for each week of the School's Centennial season.

The exhibit will be shown November 6 from 5:00 until 8:00 p.m. and November 7 from 1:00 until 5:00 p. m. at The Old School House, 130 Center Street, Douglas, Michigan. Refreshments will be served and the works are available for purchase. For additional information phone: 269-857-1183, or e-mail: djbaker2@frontier.com


Vic Bella, Sandy Stamm (of the Plainwell Historical Society who also received an award that night), Sally Winthers and Jim Schmiechen

"A Place Called Ox-Bow. 100 Years of Connecting Art, Nature and People" received an achievement award for excellence in exhibitions from the Historical Society of Michigan.

The award was presented at the Historical Society of Michigan's 136th State History Conference on October 15.

If you haven't already, be sure to see the award-winning Ox-Bow exhibit before it closes on October 31st. The Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Museum is open on weekends in October from noon to 4pm.

The winner of the Park House Dinner Raffle is Janie Flemming

Janie Flemming and seven lucky friends will enjoy a three-course harvest dinner at Saugatuck’s oldest residence: the Park House Inn at 888 Holland Street.

Harold Thieda, SDHS president, conducted the drawing at the conclusion of the 2010 Heritage Awards presentation.

Thank you for to Park House Innkeepers, Toni Trudell & Melissa Raywood for hosting this fabulous fundraiser.
Thank you to Kristi Baker-Mueller for creating the event graphics.
Thank you to Judi Vanderbeck for making the connections so this entire fundraiser could happen.
And ---
Thank you to everyone who purchased raffle tickets. A total of 176 tickets were sold!
                                        submitted by Sally Winthers


The Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society presented its annual Heritage Preservation Awards on Wednesday, October 13 at the Old School House in Douglas, honoring fourteen local individuals, groups and businesses within six award categories recognizing new construction, restoration, renovation and other activities that respect our area's architectural traditions, historical rural/village character or natural landscape. Winners were selected by an 11-member committee chaired by Judy Hillman, professional designer and member of Saugatuck's Historic District Commission.

Heritage Preservation Awards were established by the Historical Society in 2001 in pursuit of its mission "to provide leadership in enabling the community to connect with and understand its past, to preserve the quality of community life, and to respect and use the area's history to shape its future."

Sole winner of the "New Construction" award was a residence at 3035 Lakeshore Drive in Saugatuck Township, received by Wendy Batchelor as co-owner with Dan Batchelor. The award honors new buildings or additions that respect the architectural integrity of existing structures and their area's historic character.

Six area homeowners received "Preservation of the Historic Built Environment" awards, honoring renovations that preserve the architectural integrity of existing structures and respect the area's historic character:

Doug Widener (L) and Mark Becker, for residence at 638 Allegan St., Saugatuck.

Laura and Ryan Petroeljc, builders receiving award on behalf of owners Frank Vandervort and Darin Leese for residence at 6643 Bandle Ave., Saugatuck.

John and Kathryn Mooradian, for residence at 728 Lake St., Saugatuck.

Joe and Linda Leonatti, for residence at 712 Allegan St., Saugatuck.

Mike and Sharon Minster, for residence at 525 Butler St., Saugatuck.

Sandra and Russell Johnson, for residence at 6768 122nd Ave., Ganges

Three area homeowners received "Honor and Respect" awards for owners whose historic properties have been maintained and remain true to their original design, scale and character:

Barb Tully Petersen and Ryan Petersen, receiving on behalf of owner Howard Tully, for residence at 750 Allegan St., Saugatuck.

Kate McPolin, as co-owner with Andrew Bartlett, for residence at 165 Elizabeth St., Saugatuck.

Rob Waters, as co-owner
with Mary Waters, for
residence at 143 Elizabeth
St., Saugatuck.

Sole winner of the "Blue Star Corridor" award, for Summertime Market, on Blue Star Highway in Douglas, was owner Andrew Milauckas. The award honors new or restored structures that enhance the Blue Star Corridor and respect the area's historic character.

Sole winner of the "Preservation of Historic Landscape" award for protecting and promoting the history and enjoyment of the natural landscape, was the City of Saugatuck, honoring its Mount Baldhead stairway restoration.

Receiving it on behalf of the

City was Mayor Barry Johnson, accompanied by Roy Huffman, winner of a recent Douglas Elementary School raffle to be the Mayor's "Shadow for a Day".

April Scholtz, Land Protection Director for the Land Conservancy of West Michigan, received the "Heritage Preservation Leadership Award" honoring the Conservancy's negotiation assistance in the City's purchase of the Saugatuck Harbor Natural Area.

Not present for photography were Norm and Connie Deam, who also won a "Heritage Preservation Leadership Award" for their protection of the historic Saugatuck Lighthouse property.

This award recognizes outstanding commitment to the preservation of the area's historic rural and village character.


Can you help out this December at the SDHS Holiday Shop at the Old School House? We need volunteers to help with the planning, set-up, and running of the Holiday Shop which will be open on the first three weekends of December again this year. We had a lot of fun and made money for the Society last year. If you can help out, please contact Jon Helmrich at jon@ibctv.info or 857-3574.

May Heath and The Congregational Church

1889 Congregational Sunday School Class- May at Center Rear (Can you name any of the other girls?)

May writes in her book that Saugatuck's "--- first real church organization was the Congregational which first met in the school house in Pine Grove in January, 1860 ---" A church building was started in 1861 and completed in 1862. Before the building was completed, Saugatuck citizens met there at the outbreak of the Civil War. The church grew and expanded in its present location, on land given by Henry Breuckman. In the Heath-Morrison photo collection, SDHS has a picture of the structure as it appeared in the early years. This year the Congregational Church has been celebrating its 150th anniversary, with SDHS member Peggy Boyce serving as church historian.

The May Heath Window

May was an active member throughout her life. She and Doc were married in the church on November 1, 1895, and faithfully supported it financially until their deaths. The Commercial Record includes many articles that speak of her involvement, a few of these include: In January, 1909, she helped the Sunday School class with its Christmas program; she entertained the choir in 1912; in 1915 she hosted a reception for the new minister and his wife; in 1922 she hosted a Missionary Society meeting on China; she directed the Sunday School teachers in 1923; in 1928, she was on the Committee on Resolutions; she presented the History of the Church at its annual meeting of 1929; in 1936, she served as a Trustee and on the Pulpit Supply Committee; and was reported to be a Trustee again in 1937 and 1940.

She was a leader in the Ladies Aid, the church's charitable arm, and served in a variety of roles to include: Vice President in 1916; Secretary in 1919; toastmaster for the annual meeting in 1928; and she became President of the group in 1931, serving in that role for 14 years.

On the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the church in 1950, May wrote and presented the history of the congregation. Her works were much appreciated by the congregation. Fellow members, Dr. and Mrs. Walker, gave a memorial stained glass window of "Jesus at the Door" in her honor. The window can be found in the north east corner of the sanctuary.

This series on Saugatuck Historian May Francis Heath (MFH) will continue until the 50th anniversary of her death in September, 2011. The MFH Study Group continues to seek information, documents, photographs of May, her paintings, and personal recollections of Mrs. Heath. If you have any to share contact: Chris Yoder at 857-4327 or Marsha Kontio at 616-566-1239.

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

HISTORY: Ca 1905 The Interurban speeds over the trestle on it way to town.
MYSTERY: Where was the trestle located?

HISTORY: Ca 1900 An unusual view from Mt. Baldhead.
MYSTERY: What church can be seen near the center of the photo?


HISTORY: 1970 An important municipal structure goes up in Saugatuck.
MYSTERY: What is it?


HISTORY: A historic corner as seen from Mt. Baldhead.
MYSTERY: Name the corner and the year.


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 open daily from noon to 4 pm on weekends during October. Click HERE to learn more about the Museum and view images of the 2010 exhibit.

The Society's Technology Center is located in the lower level of the Old School House History Center at 130 Center Street in downtown Douglas.

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.
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