Notes From Your President
On Wednesday evening, March 13, 2013, thirty one
members and one guest joined Jack Sheridan as he talked about the
methods one can use to trace family histories. He also included
insight as to the use of DNA by Ancestry.com as a way to define
regions of ethnicity. The program was interesting and informative
with a wine and cheese social afterward. To my memory this was one
of the largest turnouts for a program in March in recent history.
On Friday I saw my first robin of the spring.
Perhaps our members will start to return as well. Many people have
been gone or out of the area for vacation or to find somewhere
warmer than southwest Michigan.
I happened to stop in the Pump House Museum the
other day and work has begun on the Dunelands exhibit
--- hold on to your hats; this exhibit is one that will be well
worth the wait.
The April 10 General Membership meeting will feature John Migas as
he talks, walks and explains about the growing azaleas and
rhododendrons at the History Center Azalea Garden. The program is
sponsored by the Michigan Azalea Society. As always refreshments
will be served afterwards.
On May 8 there will be a sneak preview of that
amazing exhibit on the Dunelands plus introduction of the new
board members that will lead the organization into the future.
Please mark your calendars and plan to join us for these and other
Also, remember that this summer will bring another
series of Tuesday Talks beginning on July 2 --- there is always
something to look forward to at the History Center and the Pump
submitted by Marsha Kontio
2013 Society Monthly Programs
At the Old School House History
April 10: The Amazing Azalea & Rhododendron Show. Join with
chief gardener, John Migas as he talks, walks and explains all about
growing azaleas and rhododendrons at History Center Azalea Garden.
Program sponsored by the Michigan Azalea
Society. Bright refreshments.
May 8: How the Wow? Your Insiders Preview of the upcoming
Dunelands exhibition by Jim Schmiechen, exhibit curator. And the
Society's Annual Meeting & Awards Night. Wine & Cheese.
June 12: Our Local Farmland Forecast: A 2013 Crop Report and Some
Ideas for Your Table by David Geen of Hungry Village Tours who
talks us through the country with local growers about farm
conditions and what to expect at this fall's markets.
July 10: Low-Key Genius: O.C. Simonds and his Pier Cove
Simonds was one of America's most important landscapers - and had an
enormous impact on our West Michigan. Meet the author, Barbara
Gieger. Wine & cheese social time.
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
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
November 13: Painting: the Town: Landscape, the Artist, and
People by Ken Kutzel who brings stories from the Society's art
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.
Look for the 2013 Tuesday Talks weekly summer programs in an
upcoming Newsletter. Sponsorships for the Tuesday Talks will also be
Welcome from Jack Sheridan and Chris Yoder leaders of the Society
Family History Group. Our meeting schedule is the first and third
Thursday of every month. Upcoming meetings are:
Thursday March 21
Thursday April 4
Thursday April 18
The time and place are always 3:30 in the Old School House
Please join us to see what we are all about and most importantly,
share "lessons learned" about the many tools available for family
In this column I often talk about about family history
discoveries. Such a discovery is called a EUREKA!
moment. Here is my latest EUREKA! moment, well sort
of EUREKA! anyway.
Last month I told you about my DNA analysis. While not exactly a
EUREKA! moment, it was new and interesting information about my
ethnicity. Which according to this analysis from Ancestry.com is:
Scandanavian [Sweden, Norway, Denmark] 66%
Southern European [Portugal, Spain, Italy, Sicily, Malta] 22%
Eastern Mediterranean [Turkey, Caucuses, Persia] 9%
Surprising it was, after fifteen years of family history research
and thousands of folks in my familty tree indicating that I was
descended mostly from mid European and British Isles stock.
Hmmmm. Giving it some thought, I realized that my tree research
shows the ethnicity of maybe one percent of my great grandparents
over the last 1000 years. The Vikings invaded and began to settle
in the British Isles and parts of Europe begining in about 800 AD.
The Romans were there much before that. So the definition of my
ethnicity in the case of my DNA analysis is different compared to
the ethnicity as determined by my family tree.
Actually, although the DNA ethnicity is interesting, it is not the
most important benefit of DNA analysis. The real benefit with the
Ancestry.com project is that my DNA can be compared to other
project submitters and close matches communicated to the
More on that angle next month.
If you have always wanted to learn more about your family history,
but have not known where and how to begin, 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 to SDHS Family
History Box 617 Douglas, Michigan 49406, or email a copy to either
Give us time for an initial assessment. We will soon be back to
you with readily found data 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
Still wondering? Questions/comments/advice/needs: Contact me at:
or 269 857-7144 . Chris is in Arizona for another month, so I
am the guy on the cold seat!
Click on the picture for a higher resolution copy.
The Big Cut
This historic photo was made in the fall of 1905 or the spring of
1906. The photographer was on the high ridge which can be reached
today by the path through the Tallmadge Woods leading to the Crow's
Nest dune. Steam derrick smoke can be seen coming out of the sand
dunes as the derrick was digging the new channel. Other vessels are
working on the new piers.
On Friday May 25, 1906 the Commercial Record reported:
". . . at 4:30 P. M. last Friday, the cut, which has been watched
for months by all of the people in this vicinity, was gotten nearly
enough completed to let the water through to Lake Michigan and leave
Fishtown and the lighthouse on an island. The operation was watched
by a crowd and a little later the yacht, Green Devil, in charge of
Capt. Henry Perkins, took a party through, which was the first to
use the new cut."
It is known that the new channel cut through an area once occupied
by a Singapore lumber mill as the diggers complained about the
difficulty of digging through sawdust. Looking a the scene one
realizes how the sand dunes must have moved since the abandonment of
Singapore some thirty years previously.
In June 1905, the Commercial Record reported the construction
details of the project - see the text attached to the photo.
Next month - we see and discuss the area from another vantage point!
Click on the picture for a higher resolution copy.
Welcome New Members
We would like to welcome the new members who have joined the
Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society since the last newsletter - an
l Lynne Snyder,
l S & K Staffing,
Clinton Township, MI
l Mollie & Tom Weber,
l Floyd Fleming, South
l Richard & Sara Ann
Barilla, Douglas, MI
l Joe Russell,
l Jean Rayko.
l Larry & Lisa Pentiuk,
l Mark LaChey & Bryan
Hoffman, Saugatuck, MI
l Mac & Barb McDonald,
l Dan Fox, Saugatuck,
l Philip Raywood,
l Jim & Candy Jeltema,
l Don Schipper & John
Seros, Saugatuck, MI
l Betsy Good & James
Bouck, Saugatuck, MI
l Peter Kauffman & Tim
Augsten, Saugatuck, MI
l Chris Seidel & Mike
Mulcahy, Holland, MI
l Barbara W. Carr, Hobe
l Mark O. Davis &
Nathan Keag, Douglas, MI
l Mark Zancanaro &
Peter Carideo, Douglas, MI & Chicago, IL
Cynthia Sorensen has been a
volunteer docent for the Saugatuck Douglas Historical Society since
the Pump House Museum opened in 1993. She helps Mike Economos in the
museum garden by watering, raking and sweeping the walks, and wiping
off the learning stations.
Cynthia also works along side Jane
Osman getting the many postal mailings out to the membership. For
the last three years, Cynthia has been volunteering in the archives
every Monday afternoon. Since she was raised in Saugatuck, she has a
firsthand knowledge of the history of the area and how it connects
with the people who reside here. This has been a great help to both
Ken Kutzel (art collections manager) and Mary Voss
(collections/archives manager). We really appreciate your dedication
and faithfulness in all you do for the Society. Thank you, Cynthia!
Cynthia Sorensen working at the
Old School House archives
Dining Around The Village
Two of the upcoming events are already SOLD OUT,
Red House Repast at the home of Ken Carls and Jim Schmiechen
on April 20 and Always On A Sunday Brunch at the home of Mike
and Katherine Economos on June 23 so don't miss the fun, get your
reservations in for the upcoming events
Next up on
Sunday, April 28, 2013 - 5 to 8pm
The Magnificent Trilogy
TICKETS ARE STILL AVAILABLE!
cocktail party and home tour of three magnificent homes on the
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
TICKETS ARE STILL AVAILABLE!
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
A Recent New Addition
30, 2013 - 1 to 5 pm
Celebration of the Arts
TICKETS ARE STILL AVAILABLE!
Come stroll the gardens and
grounds of BJ Silverstone expansive property on Lake Michigan. Tour
her home and a nearby 100 year old log cabin. Enjoy Plein Air
artists working on site, two cabaret shows, art auction, cocktails,
appetizers and lots of fun.
Tickets: $40 per person.
Hosted by BJ Silverstone
2450 Lakeshore Drive, Fennville
News From The Archives
The year 2012 has been a busy time
for us in the archive/ collections department of the SDHS. 70
Accessions, (190 items ) were added into the collection. Just
exactly what does that mean? Each accession is a gift that was given
to the Society. Most of the gifts were given recently but some a
long time ago. Each accession could be made up of one or as many as
50 items. As each gift is processed, it is entered into the computer
using software called Past Perfect. Paper records are also made as a
back-up. Then each gift is acknowledged with a thank you letter and
an official "deed of gift."
Some of the major donors were:
Cynthia Sorensen, Kit Lane, City of Douglas, Ellen Bonar Wilt,
George Worthington, Judy Oberholtzer, Mike Van Ark, Janet Wolbrink,
and Joyce Petter.
Among the many gifts were a number
of paintings, drawings, posters and photographs. If anyone has items
they would be interested in donating to the society, please contact
Mary Voss at
email@example.com Come visit the archives in
the lower level of the Old School House on Monday afternoons.
submitted by Mary Voss
Douglas Garden Club Plant Sale at Old School House on Saturday, May
The Saugatuck Douglas Garden Club
is pleased to announce its annual plant sale on Saturday May 18 from
10:00 to 2:00 at the Old School House. We are very excited to have
our sale at the Old School House this year and hope that you will
come and support us.
Proceeds from this sale benefit
our scholarship program which is given to a high school senior from
Saugatuck High School and/or Fennville High School who meet our
requirements of majoring in the Horticultural Sciences in college.
The garden club also contributes to Christian Neighbors, Frederik
Meijer Gardens, Grace Health Facility, the Old School House gardens
and annual flower beautifications in the cities of Saugatuck and
Douglas. We are also Horticultural Consultants for the city of
The sale will include beautiful
hanging baskets, flats of annuals, many geraniums and perennials. In
fact, the perennials come from our own members yards so they are
tried and true. We will also have our members there to answer your
So mark your calendars for
Saturday, May 18 and join us for a fun day. submitted by Jane
Table" Receives Review
"The Village Table" was reviewed
in the February 20, 2013 issue of the Herald-Palladium newspaper.
They reprinted the Kirby House "Gram's Rocks" cookie and Everyday
People Cafe's Mussels Molnado recipe. Click
HERE for the
It is always fun to share a new
acquisition with the Society members. This month, Cynthia Sorensen,
one of our most diligent and loyal volunteers brought in a small
watercolor done by Cora Bliss Taylor. The painting, pictured above,
shows a man fishing in front of Mt. Baldhead. Taylor has taken some
liberty with the composition, but the steps to the summit are
evident. Cynthia remembers the painting hanging in her dining room
as far back as the 1940s, so it is safe to guess that the work was
done circa 1940. Presently, the watercolor is undergoing
conservation, but should be installed in the Old School House
Gallery by next month. Thank you, Cynthia for this generous gift!
When Jane Underwood found out that
another work by Cora Bliss Taylor was undergoing conservation work
for the Society, she offered to underwrite the expenses. This work,
Three Sailboats, has been in our collection since
2006, when it was presented to us by Joan Lalley. Pictured below, it
depicts sailboats on the Kalamazoo River with the Tourist Home Hotel
in the background. The restoration of this painting is complete and
the work is again hanging in the Old School House Gallery. Thank
you, Jane Underwood, for making possible the preservation of Joan
Saugatuck/Douglas Museum Host
Looking for a way to connect with
our local history while having the opportunity to meet people from
all over the world? Volunteer to be a host at the Saugatuck-Douglas
Museum this year.
To be a Museum Host all you will
need to do is:
- Volunteer for at least 1 (but hopefully more) 2-hour shift during
this year's season. The Museum is open daily from Noon to 4 p.m.,
Sunday, May 25 to Labor Day and Saturdays and Sundays in September
- Attend a 1-hour volunteer orientation session for new Hosts on
Saturday, May 18. You'll get an early preview of this brand new
If you are interested or have
question about being a volunteer host just REPLY to this email or
call 269-857-5751. You will enjoy being a host and you'll get to
meet a lot of nice people. It's 2 hours well spent!
Monthly Meeting Refreshments Needed
We've killed the cookie monster!!! We will now need volunteers to
provide wine and cheese for the 2013 Wednesday General Membership
Meetings except for August and December.
Ruth Wendell from Chicago, who loves the newsletter, indicated
that they would be in Saugatuck for the May meeting (or at least are
hoping to be here) and she wanted to bring wine or cheese for the
September meeting. It sounded like she would team with Merle
Please contact Marsha Kontio at
or 616-566-1239 if you can help out. Thanks.
Please join us on Thursday, March 21 at 7:00pm at the SCA for a
preview and discussion session for Michigan Hometown Stories:
Saugatuck & Douglas.
The team from
WGVU Public Media will join Jim Schmiechen, Kit Lane, and Jon
Helmrich to comment on the first oral histories that have been
produced for the WGVU documentary.
We will sample interviews with
Jeff Wilcox, Jane Van Dis, Maryjo Lemanski, Mike Peel, Judy
Oberholtzer, and Judy Anthrop.
update on the fund-raising and production efforts will be presented
and we will encourage audience members to join in the discussion.
This preview is made possible by a grant from the Michigan