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As part of the Society's Silver Anniversary Campaign, the Society Newsletters are being underwritten by a generous donation from Frances Vorys, a Society Life member.

Notes From Your President

The September General Membership Meeting was a great success with nearly 85 members in attendance and enjoying hot dogs and crackerjacks. Afterward, we all went inside for a presentation by Helen DeGeatano and the Douglas Dutchers Base Ball Club! Costumes were used by all for the presentation and it was interesting to see how the game has evolved over the years. Gentlemanly conduct was the name of the game in the 1850's --- no swearing, no spitting, and no arguing! The meeting was expertly executed by Ed Kelly and the sponsor for the evening was Sharon Kelly. Big thank yous to all involved for this informative event.

Janet Schmidt serving hot dogs at
"Take Me Out To The Ballgame"

Judi Vanderbeck and Sally Winthers having fun.

Dutcher Baseball Player and Helen DeGeatano

The October 10 General Membership Meeting will feature Jim Schmiechen as host and the Heritage Committee will be presenting the Heritage Awards for 2012. Stories will be featured on various homes and the restoration process and progress. The November 14 General Membership meeting will see the return of the ghosts from local cemeteries as they visit the Old School House and tell of their lives in the area. This program is created by Kit Lane and is sure to be a crowd pleaser as it has been in past years. Believe it or not this takes us to the Holiday party and celebration --- more to come on that next month!

As always, we remain a total volunteer organization --- so, it should be no surprise that we ask for help with various activities. Beginning in December I will request volunteers to make cookies for the general membership meetings in 2013 so, start thinking if you are able to help and which month would be good for you to participate. General membership meetings are on the second Wednesday of each month with the exception of the holiday event. No cookies are needed for August or December.

This organization owes a huge thank you to Mike Economos, Ed Kelly, Barb Lucier, Peg Sanford, Jim Searing, and Jack Sheridan for their volunteer time with walking tours for the Yorktown. This small group of individuals brought in almost $8,000.00 for the society! This was a job very well done and not only for the monetary value, but the good will that was promoted for the community.

Enjoy the colors and smells of the fall season!
                                      submitted by Marsha Kontio

Society's Monthly Meeting
Wednesday, October 10 at 7 pm
at the Old School House History Center

Houses Talking

If houses could speak, what would an old Singapore house or an old-fashioned dune cottage - or a stylish modern house - say to us about our community?

The October SDHS program, "Houses Talking," will demonstrate that houses CAN talk. They speak to the diversity of our community. They regale us with stories about the truly interesting "patchwork" of houses and people that have and do make up our community.

Come join in the SDHS monthly meeting for October, featuring an illustrated presentation of "Houses Talking" and "talking about houses" - and hear an introduction to the nominations for the 2012 SDHS Heritage Awards.

Then stick around for the wine and cheese reception that follow. At the History Center, October 10, 7:00 pm.

You won't want to miss this one!

Welcome New Members

We would like to welcome the new members who have joined the Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society since the last newsletter.

l Monty Collins & Jerry Dark, Saugatuck, MI
l Mike Way, Kalamazoo, MI
l Rev. Gary & Elizabeth Miller, Malone, WI
l Leslie Thompson, Douglas, MI
l Richard & Marti Sligh, Holland, MI
l Rachel Bendit, Ann Arbor, MI

Book Sale

20% off most Society published books at the Museum and History Center until the end of September. Buy now for Christmas.

And a "Shipwreck Exhibition" SPECIAL, the amazing book Storm, Fire & Ice. Shipwrecks of the Saugatuck Area, now TEN BUCKS (tax included) (ordinary price $24.95).

If you can't make it to the Museum or History Center to purchase your Society publications just REPLY to this email and we'll take care of the rest. For details on the Society's publications, click HERE.

School House Pump Needs Help

"Way back when" the School House had a pump in the back school yard as its only known water supply. We have found one of the same vintage --- discovered under an old porch of a house from the 1850s just a few blocks away.

Unfortunately, the pump has been pumped too often and has lost part of its handle.

Can someone figure out how to give it a handle again. Many people walking through the garden are reaching out to give it a pump --- but to no avail. It will be placed nearby the "Kid's Garden" which is scheduled to be open for viewing next spring. If you can help, just REPLY to this email or email Jim Schmiechen at

Volunteer Corner

We are so fortunate to have so many talented people in this community and in the SDHS. One such person is Ken Kutzel. He has volunteered to be the curator for our Art Exhibit in the Old School House History Center. If you have not seen our exhibit on the second floor, you are missing another gem in our community.

Ken manages the acquisition of new art and the management of the art that we have that is not on display, and of course he places the art in the right spots in our gallery.

Opportunities to volunteer in the SDHS abound. Get involved! Mary Voss needs someone to to help with archiving. We need a back up for Mary and others willing to assist. Ken Kutzel can use a volunteer to help create painting descriptions and other management work.

Thanks to all of you who volunteer! Thanks to those of you who will volunteer in the future. And again, THANKS to Ken Kutzel for managing our art collection.

Interested in volunteering, contact Ed Kelly for volunteer information at

Historic Weed House in Danger of Demolition

The Historic Joshua Weed House, Fernwood, at 2288 Lakeshore Dr. is up for sale. The current owner wants the house removed so that the property is more saleable.

The home was built in 1847 and was part of the 124 acre Weed farm with 30 of those planted as fruit orchards. The Weeds also opened their home as a summer resort until the 1960s. One of the Weed sons, Elmer E. was manager and part owner of Saugatuck's Big Pavilion dance hall. Previous owner, Larry Horist wrote a complete history of the house in 2001. Click HERE for a copy.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if someone would step forward to save this old house from demolition.

                                            contributed by Chris Yoder

Welcome from Jack Sheridan leader of the Society Family History Group. The Group meeting schedule is the first and third Thursday of every month (except July and August this year). Our next meeting is September 20th at 3:30 pm at the Old School House. Please join us this fall to see what we are all about and most importantly, share "lessons learned" about the many tools available for family research.

Have you always wanted to learn more about your family history, but have not known where and how to begin? Here is a suggestion. Our SDHS Family History group wants to help you. A starting point is to record what you know about your parents, grandparents, and great grandparents and send it along for a review by our volunteers.

If you are reading this newsletter on-line, you can print off these blank family history data forms. Click on one for your mother and another for your father.

Next fill out what you know and snail-mail the forms to SDHS Family History, Box 617, Douglas, Michigan 49406, or scan and email a copy to either or Give us time for an initial assessment. We will soon be back to you with whatever can be readily found and with suggestions on the next steps to take to learn more. Future further help is always available from the Family History group. Your family history does not have to have any connection to the Saugatuck-Douglas area.

If you aren't on the internet, call Chris Yoder [269 857-4327] or Jack Sheridan [269 857-1744] and we'll get a work sheet to you.

In April 2012 the 1940 United States census data was released. has now completed indexing the entire census. They are offering free access to the census. Just click HERE.

If you prefer, you may easily browse the local 1940 census results. We have placed a copy of the census for Douglas (11 pages), Saugatuck (16 pages) and Saugatuck Twp (19 pages) on the SDHS web site. Take a look by clicking HERE.

Each month in this column I talk about about a family history discovery. Such a discovery is called a EUREKA! moment. Here is a EUREKA! moment described by one of our experienced researchers, Susan Ensfield:

While researching the neighbors who lived on her childhood street she had a surprise. Most of these folks were rumored to be related to her family. She was curious --- maybe, but she was sure that one of the families could not be.

While researching the "non-relative" family head, she came across a familiar name - Snyder County, Pennsylvannia. Hmmm --- could there be a connection? More research . Then more --- would lead her to the realization that the neighborhood families, some with surnames Fleming, Whitmeyer and Bushee had intermarried many times beginning in Pennsylvannia in the late 1700s. So it was no accident that many ended up living on the same Michigan street.

Susan was wrong and delighted by it. A true EUREKA! moment!

Questions/comments/advice: Contact me at: or (269) 857-7144.

"Try Squad" Circle Cookbook

Among the material shared by Barbara Stewart of Annandale, VA, granddaughter of Elizabeth Dempster Martin of Douglas (1871-1961), is a copy of a pre-1940 cook book produced by the Douglas Ladies Aid - "Our Favorite Recipes".


Noteworthy delicacies offered up by the local dignitaries included:

l Swell Cake by Mrs. Jennie Durham;

l Never Fail Cake by Mrs. Minnie Williams;

l Lemon Loaf Cake by Mrs. G. Osterberg;

l Brown Bread by Mrs. Frankie Campbell;

l Molasses Cake by Mrs. Blanche Ellis;

l Grapenut Bread by Mrs. Daisy Norton;

l Cherry Pudding by Mrs Mary Wark;

l Cocoanut Macaroons by Mrs. Katherine Wark;

l Salamagundi by Mrs. Steve Roberts;

l Caramel Cake Frosting by Mrs. Henry Bekken;

l Orange Pecan Icebox Cookies by Mrs. Roy Kee;

l Salad Dressing by Lillian Grimes Eddy;

l Great Grandmother Ginger Bread by Mrs. Mabel Millar;

l Spiced Vinegar by Mrs. Hattie Charleston;

and of course
l Nut Bread by Barbara's grandmother, Mrs. Elizabeth Martin.

Elizabeth Dempster Martin


l 1 egg beaten

l cup sugar

l cup corn syrup

l 1 cup sour milk

l 1 tsp soda

l 1 tsp salt

l 2 cups flour

l 1 tsp baking powder

l 1 cup All Bran

l cup raisins (cut up)

l cup nuts


Beat eggs, add sugar and beat. Add syrup and beat, pour milk on bran and raisins. Mix and sift dry ingredients. Add bran mixture to first mixtures. Add dry ingredients and nuts. Bake hour at 300 F and hour at 350 F.


The full array may be seen at: TRY SQUAD COOKBOOK

Do any of our readers have tales or photos of these "Try Squad" Ladies and their adventures? If so, contact Chris Yoder at or 269-857-4327.

From gourmet dinners in exclusive homes to casual cocktail parties, these culinary events all feature great food and great times for a great cause.

Dining Around the Village Table is a series of culinary events that celebrate everything delicious in the Saugatuck-Douglas area. 100% of tickets sales fund the Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society and are tax deductible.

Tickets for events are assigned first come, first served. To reserve your place, call 269-857-5751 or REPLY to this email. Reservations and pre-payment are required for all events.

Don't delay, tickets for these events will go quickly

This Saturday, September 22, 2012 - 7pm
Kickoff Cocktail Party and Home Tour

Celebrate September's colors in the fantastic home of Tom and Donna Farrington with splendid views of Lake Kalamazoo.

Tickets: $50 per person.
Hosted by Tom and Donna Farrington
188 Hamilton St, Douglas, MI 49406

Friday, October 19, 2012 - 7pm
Dinner at the Glass House

A gourmet dinner for 12 prepared by Stacy Honson at Ed Kelly's amazing "Glass House" perched above the Kalamazoo River.

Tickets: $125 per person.
Hosted by Ed Kelly
3470 Riverside Drive, Saugatuck, MI  49453

Saturday, October 27, 2012 - 8pm
Pre-Halloween Parade Rooftop Bash

Join Judi & Howard Vanderbeck and Janie & Jim Flemming for a dinner hot off the grill and drinks on the roof of the Douglas Harbor Lofts. Come watch the parade with good friends in style. A fun and casual evening with costumes optional.

Tickets: $40 per person.
Hosted by Judi and Howard Vanderbeck
150 Center Street, Douglas, MI  49406

Saturday, November 3, 2012 - 5 to 8pm
Wine Tasting Party with Renee

Raise a glass, or two, or three with host Renee Zita. The event will be co-hosted by Tom McCarthy showcasing several different wines from the Wine Seller in Saugatuck.

Tickets: $50 per person.
Hosted by Renee Zita and Ed Ryan
3023 Harbor Road, Douglas, MI 49406

Saturday, November 17, 2012 - 7pm
Soup's On with Stephen and Jon

Join Stephen Mottram and Jon Helmrich for a cozy evening of homemade soups and breads. Comfort food at its savory best!

In addition to the delicious soups presented, each guest will take home as a souvenir of the evening a unique, hand-crafted soup bowl generously donated by some of our best know local ceramic artists, including Jeff Blandford (Volmod) and Dawn Soltysiak (Khnemu Studio)

Tickets: $40 per person.
Hosted by Stephen Mottram and Jon Helmrich
3522 64th Street, Saugatuck, MI  49453

Saturday, December 2, 2012
SDHS Holiday Party at the SCA

While not an official Dining Around the Village Table event, don't forget this wonderful membership feast.

Saturday, January 19, 2013 - 7pm
A Splendid Table

Dinner and home tour for eight at the grand home of Pat Sax in Douglas. Dinner will be prepared by Stephen Mottram and Ken Carls. 

Tickets: $150 per person (or if purchased quickly an exclusive table for 8 for $1,500)
Hosted by Pat Sax
13 East Fremont Street, Douglas, MI 49406

Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - 5 to 7pm
Laissez les Bons Temps Rouler
(Let the Good Times Roll)

Stacy Honson and Stephen Mottram will be serving up classic New Orleans' fare as a warm up to the Douglas Mardi Gras parade. The location will be Mark Neidlinger's unique Crow Cottage, perfectly located just off Center Street.

Tickets: $40 per person.
Hosted by Mark Neidlinger
31 Spring St, Douglas, MI 49406

Saturday, April 20, 2013 - 7pm
Red House Repast

Ken Carls and Jim Schmiechen will host a sumptuous meal at the Red House, overlooking the Douglas Bayou. Act fast to get in on this one since these dinners always fill quickly.

Tickets:  $125 per person.
Hosted by Ken Carls and Jim Schmeichen
325 Water St., Douglas, MI 49406

Sunday, April  28, 2013 - 5 to 8pm
The Magnificent Trilogy

A progressive cocktail party and home tour of three magnificent homes on the Kalamazoo River.

Tickets:  $100 per person.
Hosted by Monty Collins and Jerry Dark, Sandra and Travis Randolph, Skip Schipper and John Seros
3440 - 3442 Riverside Drive, Saugatuck, MI 49453

Friday, May  3, 2013 - 5 to 8pm
A Toast to the Dunelands

Ken Tornvall will host a kick off party for the 2013 SDHS Museum exhibit opening at his home: an amazing restoration of a classic Michigan barn.

Tickets: $50 per person.
Hosted by Ken Tornvall
540 Campbell, Saugatuck

Sunday, June 23, 2013 - 11:30am
Always on a Sunday Brunch

Katherine and Mike Economos will host a Sunday Brunch at their home on the dunes overlooking the Kalamazoo River. Expect charming gardens, fabulous views and a delicious meal.

Tickets: $50 per person
Hosted by Catherine and Mike Economos
716 Park St., Saugatuck, MI 49453

Click on the picture for a higher resolution copy.

Oval Beach Memories

I would date this Oval Beach photo to about 1958.

My memories of the Oval Beach go back to the late 1940s. My, how the appearance has changed from that ancient time! The biggest change is the parking lot. It used to be oval shaped [and free]. The lot dimensions were maybe 25 x 150 yards, containing a one way only concrete driving lane. Adjoining the concrete was hard packed gravel and clay for parked cars. The driving direction was counter clockwise. White and black posts faced with a 2 x 12 bumper ran through the center and around the perimeter.

About 1951 a white, concrete block, two story beach house and refreshment stand was built on the north end of the parking lot. The Menzies lived upstairs and ran the Oval concession. The April 1956 tornado totally destroyed it. I remember the great burgers.

Three sets of steps led down to the beach. The steps were sturdy with railings and the center set was double wide. There was a blue life-guard sit and watch tower in the middle of the beach. In front of the tower was a rowboat, rescue ready, just in case. The lifeguard on duty always had a great tan, ample muscles, safari hat and a whistle used to get the attention of rule-breakers. I remember a surf board concession in the center of the beach.

The beach was narrower than it is today with a good sized dune along the edge. There were lots of cottonwood trees on the dune. In high water years the beach was only ten yards wide in some areas. The two sets of 1870s snaggly piers were fun to swim around. The Kalamazoo River piers were a long walk in the distance [seems a lot further than today!] and there was a red house with light and fog horn on the end of the south pier. The fog horn was used on a regular basis. One could hear it in town when the wind was right.

And of course, the gals were hotter and the guys were cooler!

Next month - high water disasters!

Click on the picture for a complete montage of photos on Lake Michigan and Kalamazoo River water levels.

                            submitted by

Monthly Meeting Refreshment Providers

October Merle Malmquist & Paula Schultz

if you can help out.

December No Cookies - Holiday Party

Saugatuck High School's First Basketball Team

Lester Bradley, Lawrence "Tippy" Chambers, James "Jimmy" Sheridan, Forest Rank, Raymond Stillson, Merlin Valleau, Bill Tisdale, Leonard "Bill" Martin.
Click on the picture for a higher resolution copy.

The 1924-25 school year brought with it Saugatuck's first basketball team.

Dec. 5, 1924 the Commercial Record reported: "It has been decided to have basket ball practice every Monday, Wednesday and Friday evening at 7 o'clock at the Graham and Morton boat dock, which has been secured as a basket ball floor."

Dec. 12, 1924 - "The basket ball team has contracted for two games with the Holland Reserves, and has hopes of getting others. The school is looking forward to an exciting season."

And at the end of the season in the Mar. 13, 1925 paper: "The Saugatuck boys' basket ball team closed the season Friday March 6, by defeating the Overisel Athletic Club five by a score of 16 to 1. The Saugatuck team was outweighed, but played the faster game. Stillson, Martin and Tisdale did the scoring for Saugatuck. The team has won three games out of eight played, and Mr. Hill says that he is entirely satisfied with the showing made, in consideration of the fact that this is the first team Saugatuck has put on the floor for a number of years."

In the same issue the paper reports on the girls' team, which seems to have had a better season: "The Saugatuck girls' basket ball team suffered its first defeat at the hands of the girls' team of Christian High School at Holland. The score was 36 to 8. Although our girls fought hard, and played a very good game, they were outclassed in basket shooting."

The next paragraph reports the girls' weekend victory over the Hope College girls: "The final score stood 36 to 28 in favor of Saugatuck, in spite of the fact that most girls on the Hope team have played for several years." (The girls team consisted of Norma Blaine, Marion Edgcomb, Lila Woodall, Florence Brittain, Eileen Kreager, Donna Parrish, Marie Philip - coached by Miss Ena Barr.)

Almost 50 years later, team member Bill Tisdale was to write in the Feb. 8, 1973 Commercial Record:

"I'm so proud of the Saugatuck High School basketball team that all my friends get bored with my talking about it. They are doing a superb job. (The basketball team). One of the reasons that makes me so proud of them is that I played on the first basketball team Saugatuck ever had. We played in the old Graham and Morton Warehouse down on the river front. The beams were so low that we could never arch a shot. Every basket had to be banked off the backboard.

"The first game my mother saw I got hit and found myself under the bleacher seats. Fortunately my mother was of pioneer stock so I was allowed to continue. After my junior year I went to Allegan. The first varsity game I was supposed to start, I came down with measles. Thus I finished my basketball career."

Interns Say Goodbye To Summer

The Saugatuck-Douglas Young Scholars Rainbow Run/Walk, held on August 18 was a resounding success with over $3,000 raised to help future interns with financial assistance. The Young Scholars thank all those who donated to this first annual event. Click HERE for a series of photos of the Rainbow Run by Jim Hayden of the Holland Sentinel.


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

Individual $30
Household $50
Premium $250
Corporate $500
Life $1,000
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


The Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society History 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 2012 exhibit is titled:

The Museum is open weekends from noon to 4 pm through October 28. Click HERE to learn more about the Museum and view images of the exhibit.

The Old School House History Center and Lifeboat Display at 130 Center Street in Douglas will be open daily through the summer from 11:30 am to 4 pm, Monday to Friday; 11 am to 2 pm on Saturday and Noon to 3 pm on Sunday.

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 or call us at 269-857-5751.
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