JULY  2013

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Again this year, the Society Newsletters are being underwritten by a generous donation from Frances Vorys, a Society Life member.

The Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society is again be participating in the ArtsAlive! Competition. Voting started on July 1 and runs until September 2. Thanks to community support, last year we finished in second place. These crucial funds helped underwrite the amazing new Pump House Museum Exhibit, the Old School House and its Gallery, the Boathouse and Back-In-Time Garden. Not to mention Monthly Meetings and Tuesday Talks. Keep History Alive Here!

The Keep Your ArtsAlive! is an arts and cultural competition of the Allegan County Community Foundation. It was created to engage and encourage our community to support the rich arts and cultural offerings we have in Allegan County. Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society is one of 12 organizations competing this year. The organizations compete to see who can receive the most votes.

Each vote costs one dollar. 100% of each voting dollar comes back to us at the end of the competition. Please vote for Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society. Your votes can help the Society finish in the top five where each of the organizations receives prize money.

Past ArtsAlive! funds have allowed the Society to raise over $25,000. Last year we came in second place. If you voted last year - thank you!

There are 3 easy ways to help us finish first this year:
1) Pick up an envelope at the OSH or Pump House Museum (or call us at 269-857-5751 and we'll mail you one)
2) Go to and vote on-line
3) Download QR Reader on your smart phone and scan image below to take you directly to the voting page.

Please take a moment to vote and keep your arts alive in Allegan County.  submitted by Kelsie King

Society Announces New Dine Around Events: A Delicious Series of Dinners and Parties
to support the Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society
From gourmet dinners in exclusive homes to casual cocktail parties, these culinary events feature great food and great times for a great cause.

A Dinner with "a Peel"

Thursday, August 8, 2013 | 7 pm
Tickets $100 per person
Hosted by Virtue Farms' Cider House
2170 62nd Street, Fennville

Virtue Cider four-course meal paired with six cider servings. Fourteen seats at an elegant table among the barrels in the Cider House in Fennville.

A Roan and Black Evening
Saturday, September 28, 2013 | 7 pm
Tickets $125 per person
Hosted by John Newland & Doug McIntosh
3315 Blue Star Highway, Saugatuck

Cocktails in the new Blue Star Highway home of John Newland and Doug McIntosh followed by dinner for 12 downstairs in the Roan and Black Gallery.

2nd Annual Halloween Rooftop Bash
Saturday, October 26, 2013 | 7:30 pm
Tickets $40 per person
Hosted by Judi & Howard Vanderbeck
and Janie & Jim Flemming
On the Rooftop, 150 Center Street, Douglas

High spirits and dinner hot off the grill with Douglas Halloween parade viewing at 10 PM.

Comfortable Fall Feast with Steve Teich
Saturday, November 16, 2013 | 6:30 pm
Tickets $85 per person
Hosted by Steve Teich
178 West Shore Court, Douglas

Cocktails and a hearty dinner for eight in the newly transformed home of designer Steve Teich.

Dollybrook Musical Chairs Progressive Dinner
Saturday, January 11, 2014 | 6:30 pm
Tickets $75 per person
Hosted by The Keag Family, Dollybrook Family Resort
2076 66th Street, Fennville

Park once and enjoy small plate dining as you walk to each of the nine unique cottages at Dollybrook Resort. The natural beauty and charming, eclectic decor of this property will brighten your January.

To reserve your place, REPLY to this email or call 269-857-5751 or email and we'll be in touch.

Tuesday Talks are arranged by the SDHS Program Group. Direct questions and or suggestions for 2014 to Jim Schmiechen at

l July 23: April Scholtz, The Secret Life of the Blanding Frog and Other Duneland Nature Stories Sponsored by Bill Hess & Mike Mattern to Celebrate the City of Saugatuck's Saugatuck Harbor Natural area

l July 30: Ken Kutzel & Dave Ball, Saugatuck and Douglas Art Discoveries & the Art of Restoration. Sponsored by Larry & Shirley Akins and Floyd Fleming
l August 6: The State Park Hikers, To the Dunes: Photos Stories from A State Park Hiking Group. Sponsored by Sharon Kelly and Janie & Jim Flemming

l August 13: Elizabeth Chodos, Ox-Bow: Living In Sand For Over 100 Years. Sponsored by Monty Collins & Jerry Dark
l August 20: Jack Sheridan, Beach Stories: Low Water, High Water and Beach Life. Sponsored by Star of Saugatuck and Terry Burns
l August 27: Kit Lane, Goshorn Lake. Is it really bottomless? Sponsored by Osman Flowers & Firs and Howard & Paula Schultz

2013 Society Monthly Programs
At the Old School House History Center
except December

August 14: Eat Your Way to the Top Annual Picnic at the History Center. Celebrating the Garden's Mt. Baldhead Viewing Station. Note early starting time: 6:00

September 11: Now and Then: Great Lakes - Hot Topics Long time Great Lakes observer Patty Birkholz brings past and present views of our greatest local asset - the water. Swimmingly delicious deserts. Sponsored by Ruth and Don Wendel

October 9: Tales from the Crypt: Visitors from the Ghostown of Plummerville (Ganges Township)  Led by Kit Lane and Marsha Kontio, a virtual tour by the Cemetery Actors Group. Refreshments to Die For.

November 13: Painting: the Town: Landscape, the Artist, and People by Ken Kutzel who brings stories from the Society's art collection.

December 1: Annual Society Holiday Dinner 6:00 pm. At the Saugatuck Center for the Arts. Kick off the Holiday Season. Good cheer, Great Food, Good Friends.

If you would like to sponsor one of the Monthly Programs, please REPLY to this email. Sponsorships are $150.

Thanks to Valerie Atkin, Ed Kelly, Sharon Kelly, Marsha Kontio and Renee Zita for providing yummy refreshments for our Monthly Meetings.

Family Tree Tales will be back next month. Stay tuned.

Click on the picture for a higher resolution copy.

Due to technical difficulties, this month's History by Camera article on Franklin Augustus Denison will appear next month.

                            submitted by

Welcome New Members

We would like to welcome the new members who have joined the Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society since the last newsletter - an impressive list.
l Don & Janet Gladstone - Saugatuck & Kalamazoo, MI
l Richard Bradley - Douglas, MI

The "Dunelands" Exhibit

Have you and your friends visiting this summer been to see the "Dunelands" exhibit at the Pump House Museum? If not, plan on it soon. You'll be glad you did. One of the displays is called "Washed Ashore", a beautiful example Ted Reyda's work on what he found on the shores of Lake Michigan. Ted is a Charter Member of the Society,

News from the Archives

Summer intern, Casey Walle is in the process of sorting through a large collection of Carl Hoerman architectural drawings that had been housed at the Joint Archives in Holland.

Now that we have our own space, they are coming back to Saugatuck. We are finding that there are many local buildings and homes that were designed by him, including the Dykstra Funeral Home and the Button Gallery.

         submitted by Mary Voss, Collections Manager

White Run with a Splash of Rainbow
Organized by the Society's 2013 Interns

Event Information
Saturday, August 17, 2013
Old Schoolhouse
130 Center St., Douglas
Registration: 8:15 am
Race: 9:30 am
Cost Individual: $20
Family of 4 $60
Day of: $30

5K Run/Walk Come wearing white!
Register on
or in person at the OSH

The Society's 2012 Interns at last year's Run

Garden Happenings

John Migas checking the ripeness of the peaches growing in the OSH Back-In-Time Garden Peach Orchard

Wow! What a difference a year makes! Last year we were struggling to keep the plants alive. This year we were blessed with beautiful spring rains and comfortable temperatures and now, we have a spectacular show at our garden. Visitors arrive daily to enjoy it and many wonderful comments are heard by our Garden Gnomes who report back to us. But we know it takes a village to raise a garden and many thanks go out to those who have been helping. From our Totem Pole Brigade, to our Weed Patrol, to Dawn Stafford, Steve Hutchins, Lakeshore Lodging and the Johnson-Mueller kids, many many thanks for your help.


Speaking of the Johnson-Mueller kids, they were the lucky ones to pluck the first peaches off of our peach trees. If you haven't noticed our trees are laden with peaches. The branches are bending and needed a little relief, so after a morning of weeding the kids were paid with a peach. DELICIOUS! Hmmmmmmmmmm! Maybe a peach stand for next years crop!

We have a lot of people contacting us about plant donations. We appreciate it, but please know we don't have the manpower to dig up the plants. If you have a donation and the committee has a place for the plant, we are asking you to get the plants, if possible, to the garden. Many thanks.

As you already may know, we are the new home to the Gerber bird houses, and we couldn't be happier. What a great addition they will be and many thanks to the committee trying to get them to our garden.

We are also anxiously awaiting the installation of the Mt. Baldhead and Architectural graphics. Keep your fingers crossed for this month! Our next plan of attack, when we get the OK, will be the continuation of the Peach Orchard and the School Yard Stations.

Thanks to all of you for your support. We truly appreciate it. Until next month. The Landscape Committee

Theatre, arts live by lake.
Story and Photos by Scott Sullivan, Editor, Commercial Record

Veteran thespians took to the stage again during Sun-dayís "Celebration of the Arts" fundraiser for the Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society at B.J. Silverstone's Saugatuck Township lakefront home.

Silverstone's house and five wooded acres also hosted plein-air painters creating new works to be auctioned, strolling barbershop quartet, live band, appetizers and sweets provided by Clearbrook and Coral Gables restaurants, the Mermaid Bar & Grill and Zing Eat/Drink; plus beer, wine and spirits including craft hard cider from Fennville's new Virtue Cider.

The Players

Silverstone, emceed and acted in two cabaret shows in her home studio, years ago sang in Chicago nightclubs before winning major roles in stage presentations such as "The 7-Year Itch," "Chicago," "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying," "Amahl and the Night Visitors" and classical musicals.

Theatre Magic

She performed locally for 25 years with the traveling West Michigan troupe The Showstoppers and for several years was co-owner of Saugatuck's Red Barn Theatre.

Guests of all stripes and species were greeted with royalty

Guests roaming the grounds found a badminton court, wildflower garden with a gazebo and frog pond, plus a 100-year-old log cabin "playhouse" and guest room with some of its original furnishings.

A deck at the bluff's edge offered a panorama of lake and beach below. An electric taxi escorted visitors needing help moving around the property.

Barbershop singers serenade co-hostess Mary Olendorf

Along the bluff adjacent to the Silverstone property, the home/studio complex of the late artist Bill Olendorf also greeted party guests, with his widow Mary on hand to exhibit some of his last paintings.

Jon Helmrich sells another plein-air work

Article and photos reprinted with the permission of Scott Sullivan, Editor, Commercial Record

Some other photos courtesy of Jim Schmiechen

Plein-Air Artists

Judy Anthrop

Peggy Boyce

Margaret McDermott

Ken Carls in front of Plein-Air Artist Jud Anthrop at the 100 year old "playhouse" Chez du Bois

Student Jazz Band from South Have High School on the Olendorf Deck

The Society's archives and historical objects committee is looking for volunteers to help keep track of the ever increasing number of interesting pieces of Saugatuck and Douglas area history that folks want to donate to the Society.

What a fun way to be the first to learn about newly discovered historical items and helping to Keep History Alive.

Just REPLY to this email and we will be in touch.

Glenn Hotels and other Glenn Facts
By Pearl Ahnen

Main Street, Glenn: (Left) General Store, Grocery, Bank, Post Office (about 1893). And (on the right) Stores (not identified) Now the location of the Conklin Real Estate office on 114th Avenue.

(Marilyn Conklin who has lived in Glenn all her life was interviewed and provided most of this information. Marilyn was born July 15, 1923 in Glenn to Frank and Aimee Foster. The family lived on a farm in Glenn. Three of her great- grandfathers lived in Glenn. Multiple generations of Marilynís family have lived in Glenn since the mid-1800s. Mark Robbins also contributed to this article.)

A row of tall majestic pine trees on a road now called Blue Star Highway fronted an historical building with a wide porch surrounding the building and ornate stonework decorating it. It was called "The Pines", in Glenn, and was in operation from the late 1800s to the early 1930s. Mr. McCarty (first name unknown) was the owner of the hotel in the early 1900s and listed it as a rooming house or a resort. (It was located where the Glenn Store is now.)

THE PINES (hotel and resort) located in Glenn, on the corner --west Blue Star Highway and 114th Avenue during the late 1800s until 1937 when it was destroyed by fire. The Glenn Store is currently (2013) in this location in Glenn.

"The Pines" was a scenic place in Glenn, and many out-of-towners flocked there, according to Marilyn. The large pine trees fronting the building were decorated at Christmas with funds donated by Glenn residents. Later, it became a family residence when the tourists from Chicago dwindled. Marilyn also remembers often visiting her friend, Ella Hamlin, a housekeeper there in 1934. In 1937 the building burned down.

Chicago vacationers were prime and abundant visitors of Glenn in the early 1900s. These people landed at the Glenn Pier on Lake Michigan and they came to Glenn to enjoy the hospitality and bountiful natural surroundings. The boat service to Glenn was instrumental in Glennís popularity. Besides enjoying the outdoors, the visitors were invited to ice cream socials, festivities, musical entertainment and the hospitality of the Glenn residents.

According to Marilyn there was another hotel located on 114th Avenue east of Blue Star. It was called the Glenn Hotel and owned by Lee Dornan, about the late 1920s. He was Marilynís fatherís uncle. She said she had been to activities at this hotel. She recalled going to a birthday-Christmas party for the son of Doc. Emment who owned a restaurant, which was on the main floor of the Odd Fellow Hall, next to the (present) Gerstner Hardware store. Marilyn said that this hotel burned down about 1937.

Train - Riverview Park, Chicago: Left, seated, Lee Dornan, owner of the Glenn Hotel (Marilyn's father's uncle), Ira Bushnell, (Marilyn's grandfather) Aimee Bushnell, standing, right (Marilyn's mother). Standing, back row left, Verna Dornan, (Lee's wife) Lydia Dawson (Aimee's girlfriend) and Grace Bushnell (Marilyn's grandmother).

The year 1937 was a landmark year for Glenn. As recorded in Jeanne Algrenís book about the history of Glenn "Piers, Pancakes and People" -- "On December 7, 1937, the entire northeast section of the United States was in the grip of a fierce and angry snowstorm. Heavy snow in southwestern Michigan had piled into drifts measuring up to 30 inches deep in some areas. Snow continued to fall. On the 10th of December the South Haven Tribune reported that the highway department hoped to break open U.S. 31. However the effort proved in vain and everyone settled down to wait out the storm.

This highway at the time was the only main highway on the southwest side of the state and passed right through Glenn. In the wake of the storm 100 cars and 60 trucks were stalled in the snow. Glenn residents did not hesitate in opening their homes and businesses to those who were stranded in the snowstorm. Over 200 motorists found that they were marooned in little known Glenn, soon to become famous. However with the stranded motorists and everyone unprepared for unexpected company, the grocery supplies soon dwindled. It was at this time that Orrin and Betty Burch were in the process of reopening the Seymour Grocery that had been closed for a time. It became a lunchroom. The pancake flour had been delivered just ahead of the storm and proved to be the mainstay for everyone. Soon the lunchroom took on the look of a refugee camp, as many of the stranded took haven there."

Pancakes saved the day. They were served for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Pancakes were flipped for everyone in Glenn-- truckers stranded, motorists and residents. Newspapers all over the United States picked up the story of Glenn's hospitality for those three storm-filled days. Now Glenn is known as the "Pancake Capital of Michigan" and every year a Pancake Festival is held.

Marilyn also mentioned "THE" general store in Glenn, on 114th and Blue Star, where "The Glenn" (restaurant) is now located. It sold everything and there was a bank and post office in it, according to Marilyn. It was called Seymour's General Store, owned by Len Seymour. The post office was moved into the general store when Len Seymour became postmaster in 1892. The post office remained in the store until after 1897. To this day (2013) the post officeís huge vault (more than seven feet high) is in the back room of the restaurant.

Mark Robbins (partner of The Glenn) shown with the huge vault that was part of the post office about 1892 at Seymour's Country Store, in Glenn where The Glenn (restaurant) now stands.

Even the Greyhound Bus stopped at the store to pick up and drop off passengers. Marilyn was about six years old in 1929 when she started shopping at the General Store. According to Marilyn, Lenís family lived upstairs, above the store.

Mark Robbins, who is partner of "The Glenn" now with Rajko Iviza, agrees with Marilyn about the general store being a popular gathering place for Glenn people and vacationers. After talking about the general store for a while, he showed me the gigantic vault that is still in the back room of the restaurant. He agrees with Marilyn about the post office being located in the general store and said the vault was used by the post office. It has remained in the restaurant more than 100 years. It would be impossible to remove it, added Mark, Mark and Rajko have owned the restaurant since 2010. Both are from Novi.

The Country Store about 1892, with children in a hay wagon, ready for a ride. At the top of the store's door is a sign that reads, "Glenn Post Office."

"Also there was a summer ice cream parlor, next to the General Store, which was always crowded," added Marilyn. In the late 1800s there was no commercial ice cream in Glenn because freezers were not to be had. So in the summer months the residents made home-made ice cream every time there was a special occasion. But when the ice cream parlor opened much later in the 1920s, ice cream was plentiful.

Ice Cream store on 114th: (Left) Ice cream store, next to General Store, which included a bank, a post office and groceries. The Greyhound Bus also stopped there. It's now The Glenn (restaurant) on 114th Avenue.

Marilyn and Leo Conklin were married July 4, 1942. Leo served in the Navy during World War II and after the war was a building contractor. Leo died November 3, 1983. They had four children, Marilee Robertson, of Holland; Frank Conklin, of Glenn; Cathy Palmer, of Simi Valley, California, and Ronald Conklin, of Saugatuck.

Marilyn Conklin and her daughter, Marilee Robertson,
of Holland.

About 1960, Marilyn sold real estate from her home, working for a real estate agency, but later went on her own. Her husband joined her in the real estate business. In 1965 she opened the Conklin Real Estate office in Glenn. In 1972 her son, Frank joined her. Frank's wife, Kay, joined the real estate agency in 1969. Frank now heads Conklin Real Estate located at the corner of Blue Star and 114th, in Glenn.

The End
                                         submitted by Chris Yoder

Nature and Historic Walks

The docents of the Saugatuck Harbor Natural Area (SHNA), sponsored by the city of Saugatuck, are offering a series of hikes and talks about the Historic and Natural History of the area in and around the SHNA for the 2013 season.  Unless otherwise noted, the walks begin at the North End of the Oval Beach parking lot.

July 25 Thurs eve: 6:45 p.m. View from Crowís Nest - Vistas of the Saugatuck Harbor Natural Area. Meet at Mt. Baldhead, Leader: Frank Lamb

Aug 8 Thurs eve: 6:45 p.m. Exploring the South side of the SHNA. Meet at Mt. Baldhead, Leaders: Kay Smalley and Connie Deam

Aug 22 Thurs eve: 6:30 p.m. Historic View of Saugatuck from Mt. Baldhead. Meet at Mt. Baldhead, Leader: Jack Sheridan

Sept 15 Sun eve:6:30 p.m.  Exploring the Saugatuck Harbor Natural Area. Leader: April Scholtz from the Land Conservancy of West Michigan.


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 2013 exhibit is titled:

This year's all-new exhibition at the Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society Museum, offers a multifaceted look at the Kalamazoo River duneland and its archeological, historical, environmental, social and recreational significance, in contrasting tales of change and permanence. The Museum occupies the historic Saugatuck Pump House at 735 Park Street, in a scenic garden setting along the west shore of the Kalamazoo River at Mt. Baldhead Park, a short walk north from the Saugatuck Chain Ferry landing. Admission and nearby parking are free.

Titled "Dunelands: Footprints on the Sand", the exhibition will celebrate our piece of the world's largest freshwater dunes system in the world, according to Museum Curator Dr. James Schmiechen. "It's a marvelous collaboration of restless beaches, rolling forests and ravines, hidden streams, ponds and marshland habitats," he says. "This exhibition tells of how they came to be, how human activity has changed them and how people have changed in response to them, while giving special attention to historic sites scattered across the area and how history has set the stage for today's vibrant local community."

Researched and written by Schmiechen, and designed by Society volunteers Judy Hillman and Sally Winthers, the exhibition pulls together an array of photographs, artifacts and stories, set before a sweeping 50 x 10ft. mural dunescape captured by local photographer James Cook, intended to visually transport the viewer outdoors.

Informative wall panels weave text and graphics together to view the dunes from three different perspectives: The Preservationist's Notebook surveys 12 nearby "critical dune" sites with an eye toward "best use" protection of the natural environment while allowing appropriate public access; The Photographer's Notebook presents aerial views of local shoreline geography by Chicago photographer Bill Werme, documenting changes resulting from both natural and human causes; The Archeologist & Historian's Notebook, recalls the late 1800s "lumber rush" that disregarded nature, creating millionaires but sentencing the village of Singapore to its ultimate burial by shifting dunes.

Another series of wall panels presents a compilation of photos taken along dune trails, accompanied by hiker quotes revealing personal impressions and expressing thoughts inspired by their duneland experiences.

Centerpiece of the exhibition is a simulated "Dunelands Trail", marked by trail-stop signposts showing and describing a variety of sites encountered on an imagined hike through the dunes, including: Dune Rides; Goshorn Lake & Dune; New Harbor & Basin; Old Harbor & Lighthouse; Fishtown; Oxbow Art School & Lagoon; Pier Cove; The Oval; Mt. Baldhead; and Lake Shore Chapel.

Hovering above it all is "Beachcomber's Folly" a whimsical-while-thought-provoking hanging sculpture by Saugatuck artist Ted Reyda. The colorful composition was meticulously assembled from thousands of items that were washed up on local beaches and collected by Reyda over more than 20 years. Below, Reyda transforms other types of manmade flotsam into spherical standing artworks. In their own playful way, all serve to raise serious questions about human carelessness regarding our environment and disregard for protecting nature's gifts. Museum guests will find themselves silently drawn to interact with Reyda's art by identifying its components . . .sometimes obvious, sometimes not.

Augmenting the Historical Society's exhibits is a video display created by the Saugatuck High School students of art teacher Christa Wise, inspired by the work of British sculptor Andy Goldsworthy, known for combining natural materials such as twigs, stone, thorns, mud and pinecones into temporary in-situ constructions that weather the elements and return to nature.

After watching "Rivers and Tides", a 2001 documentary featuring Goldsworthy at work, the class set out to Oval Beach and the dunes to create site-specific sculpture and land-art using whatever they found. Their short video, in the style of "Rivers and Tides", documents the students' efforts to follow in Goldsworthy's footsteps, in the process discovering (in the words of one student) "how difficult it is to even begin to approach the quality of his work".

Activities supported by a grant from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs
and the National Endowment for the Arts


The Museum is open to the public daily from noon to 4 pm through Labor Day, then on weekends from noon to 4 pm in September and October. Click HERE to learn more about the Museum and recent past exhibits.

The Old School House History Center and Lifeboat Display at 130 Center Street in Douglas is open to visitors Tuesday through Sunday from 11 am to 4 pm until August 17.

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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