APRIL  2014

  Click HERE for printer friendly version with images


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


Only a few tickets left!
A Pleasant Evening
 on Pleasant Street

 Saturday, May 17 | 7:00 pm


Linda & Dick Riekse and John Cannarsa & Tim Straker will host twin cocktail parties in their homes. Park once and visit two wonderful Pleasant Street properties filled with appetizers, drinks, friends and fun. $50 per person.

There are still a limited number of tickets available for this great Spring event. For a reservation, REPLY to this email or call 269-857-5751 or email and we'll be in touch.

What You Missed

According to Jim Schmiechen, "Extreme Yachts and Classic Boat Restoration presented by Jonathon Reus from inside Saugatuck's Macatawa Bay Boat Works was a huge hit. Among one of the best presentations in the history of the Old School House --- a full house."

2014 Monthly Programs and Tuesday Talks Line-Up

If you would like to sponsor one of the Monthly Programs, please REPLY to this email and we'll be in touch. Sponsorships are $150


l June 11, To the Dunes with The Hiking Group
Photos & Stories from the State Park Hiking Group
l July 9, From Branch to Basket: At the Pleasant Hill Farm with Joan Donaldson
l August 13, Picnic + Gallinipper Talk + Beer with Jim Schmiechen
l September 10, Country Life: The Felt Estate on the Midwest Riviera with Patty Meyer  Sponsored by Star of Saugatuck Boat Cruises, Bruce & Marilyn Starring
l October 8, Tales from the Cemeteries with Kit Lane and Marsha Kontio
l November 12, Michigan's Hottest Town Revised with Mike Sweeney
l December 14,  Holiday Party at the SCA

If you would like to sponsor one of the Tuesday Talks, please REPLY to this email and we'll be in touch. Sponsorships are $150


l July 1, Bee Garden Buzz ("MisBeeHiving") with Ruth Johnson & others
l July 8, Maryjo Gets You to Talk About Art with Maryjo Lemanski Sponsored by Sharon Kelly, Val Atkin & Floyd Fleming
l July 15, The River and Harbor: A Status Update with Bob Sapita
l July 22, Houses on the Move: Four Historic Restoration Stories (Presenters to be determined)
l July 29, Birds of the Dunelands with Rick Brigham Sponsored by Sharon Kelly
l August 5, Tales of the Silver Screen with Mike Sweeney and Mary Ann Curtis
l August 12, Arriving In Style: The Automobile (and Bus) as Saugatuck & Douglas History with Jim Schmiechen Sponsored by Bill Hess & Mike Mattern
l August 19, What Did You Do Last Summer? with Ruth Johnson, Kids Summer Camp Review
l August 26, Gangster Stories: Fact or Fiction - Bring Your Story with Jim Schmiechen, Kit Lane and the Audience


Welcome from Jack Sheridan and Chris Yoder, leaders of the Society Family History Group. The Group's meeting schedule is the first and third Thursday of every month. Upcoming meetings are:

Thursday, April 17
Thursday, May 1
Thursday, May 15

Please visit us to see what we are all about and most importantly, share "lessons learned" about the many tools available for family history research.

One of the resources of SDHS Family History is a subscription to the New England Historic Genealogical Society. NEHGS has a vast collection of New England records going back to the Pilgrims in 1620. Research often leads back to New England where it all started and in this area NEHGS shines. Click on the logo below to enter their web site.

Remember, your family history does not have to have any connection to the Saugatuck-Douglas area !!!

If you need a helpful jump start - record what you know about your parents, grandparents, and great grandparents and send it along for a review by Chris Yoder or myself. The snail mail address is SDHS Family History Box 617 Douglas, Michigan 49406, or email a copy to either or 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. Further help is always available from the Family History group. Again, the only requirement is membership in the SDHS.

Mayflower ancestor, Revolutionary War vet, great grandparents? Still wondering?

Questions/comments/advice/needs - contact 269 857-7144 Chris Yoder 269 857-4327

This newsletter column is produced by Jack Sheridan

Click on the picture for a higher resolution copy

The Really Big Red Dance Hall!

March 1909. The beginning of a half century of life for the Big Pavilion is seen here. Adjoining to the right of this scene was the Coral Gables, then Leiendeckers Inn, and to the left The Butler, then the Butler Hotel. The Interurban stopped on the street side. A choice location, on the water, where Chicago weekend visitors could practically jump from their boat to dance floor.

The era was defined by the changes occurring. By the early 1900s, lumbering and shipbuilding were history. Fruit growing was up and down but the tourist business, hmmmm? Now there was the future!

Along came Frederick Limouze, promoter and entrepreneurial sparkplug. Saugatuck, a diamond in the rough, had the Lake Michigan sandy beaches, Kalamazoo River beauty, and best, it was sixty miles across the water from Chicago. Dancing? Of course a big red dance hall. Just like the one in South Haven – yet bigger.

Investors were gathered, a choice three lots on the water purchased, and for a mere $25,000 – so Mr. Limouze claimed – the pavilion could be built and open by the fourth of July.

An amazing accomplishment, the structure was to rise in four months, on this spot on the banks of the Kalamazoo, right there on the southwest corner of Mason and Water Streets. Stay tuned for the birth.

Click on the picture for a higher resolution copy

This newsletter column is written by Jack Sheridan.

Lillian Fencl, Susan Volz and Bob Hampson

Lillian Fencl, a member of the Society, passed away on March 29. Click HERE for more details.


Susan Volz, a member of the Society, passed away in early March. Click HERE for more details.

Bob Hampson, a member of the Society, passed away on October 3, 2013. Click HERE for more details.

Scan Your Old Slides

History is not just what is kept in Museums! It’s kept in families! Do you have old slides with fond memories of past people, places, and events in your life? If you are over 40, it's likely that the answer is "Yes". It also likely that it has been years since they've been looked at, and even more likely that younger generations have never seen them.

If you have a Windows XP or Vista PC, we have an "RX Optics" 5 mega pixel sized scanner available for loan (up to 30 days check out), with accompanying software, capable of scanning 35mm slides and film negatives. The box says that "You can crop, edit and resize slides like a professional."

Want to upgrade your treasures for the digital age, and be able to enhance and share copies easily by email or CD? Call Chris Yoder at 857-4327 to borrow this simple scanning unit (or to get on a waiting list for it).

Have Local Photo Albums & Memorabilia?

The Saugatuck Post Office, Beginning in 1927
(Click on the picture for a higher resolution copy)

Recently, Saugatuck businessman James Brandess asked for historical information about the building he now inhabits. Doc Heath had this sturdy brick building constructed to rent to the Postal Service 1927, and for many years it provided a steady rental income to him and then his widow, historian May Francis Heath. The "Heath Collection", consisting of over 7,500 digital images scanned from boxes of material loaned by May and Doc's great-grandchildren, provided him with the beautiful photo above, and a number of other items directly related to the building.          submitted by Chris Yoder

Welcome New Members

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

l Guy Ballard & Richard Heriford, Saugatuck, MI
l Michael & Durenda Rippey,  Saugatuck, MI
l Philip Craft & Bob Carlson, Douglas, MI & Rochester Hills, MI
l Stephen Knollenberg, Douglas, MI & Birmingham, MI
l Alan Van Wieren, Saugatuck, MI
l Leo & Holly Nico, Saugatuck, MI
l Bart Webb & Bill Capille, Saugatuck, MI
l Christopher & Linda Roerig, Fennville, MI
l Lillian White, Fennville, MI

Garden Happenings

"Behold, my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love."        --- Sitting Bull

Slowly but surely spring is coming! Our towns are waking up and so are the gardens. If you look really close, you will see batches of crocuses, snow drops and daffodils bravely peeking their colorful heads out! You will also hear the sounds of leaf blowers, lawn mowers and chain saws. This past winter damaged a lot of vegetation, and we are anxiously waiting to see how our rhododendrons and azaleas, as well as all of our plants, survived. Although the winter isn't to blame, we had to remove a black walnut and a large old maple in our garden. As a landscape committee, it always bothers us to have to remove any trees, but sometimes it is necessary. Our walnut has always been way too close to the garage and the maple has been struggling for a while.

Our monthly meeting is coming up and we will, among other things, discuss the scheduling of the orchard fence, its vegetation and also the changes at the Architectural station. With any luck, movement on these issues will be happen really soon. We will also have our bike rack painted and installed. Thanks to the shop class at Saugatuck High School for this functional and beautiful piece of art!

Click HERE for information on our new summer camp at the Old School House --- Root Camp. We are very excited to have the garden be the setting for kids to learn about our local history and environmental issue. Ruth Johnson is working collectively with a committee of women who are passionate about education, nature and keeping kids grounded. We have always wanted the Back-In-Time Garden to be an outdoor classroom, from kids to adults, and this summer it is heading in the right direction.

There will be press releases soon in our local publications, but we need your help too. Please help us spread the word and invite kids from the ages of 6-11 to enjoy our camp. Also help support our garden by supporting our camp. There are many different ways your dollars can help. Please look over our sponsor sheet to see what would work for you. Our thanks go out to Renee Zita and Laird & Virginia Stuart who have already given their support as well as the Holland Horticulture Club for scholarships. If you have any questions, please contact Ruth at

Until next month, The Landscape Committee.

May Monthly Program
Dunelands Diary
7:00 PM Wednesday, May 14 at the
Old School House

with April Scholtz
A Naturalist Takes Us Behind the Scenes at the Saugatuck Harbor Natural Area
Sponsored by Sharon Kelly
& Patty Birkholz

April Scholtz

From Barbershop to Bar
Sand Bar Building Marks Centennial
                          Contributed by James Faasen

The Sand Bar Saloon, located at 141 Butler Street, will mark the building’s 100th Anniversary on June 14, 2014. The building, situated on the north 24 feet of Lot 174 of the Kalamazoo Plot, has a rich history.

The first known structure on this lot is shown on a map of Saugatuck in the 1873 Atlas of Allegan County. This map shows a small building in the center of lot 174, assumed to be the home of Charles L. Goodrich (1825 - 1903), with only the Griffin Building at the corner of Mason St. to the north and the Morrison House, known later as ‘The Leland Lodge’ at the corner of Culver St. to the south. By 1885, the property was owned by Mrs. Margaret Goodrich, the divorced 2nd wife of Charles L. Goodrich and former wife of Orlando Weed (1804 - 1893). At that time the house was known as 'The Goodrich Boarding House' with the Stimson Drug Store to the north on lot 173 and Mrs. Charles B. Coates' Women's Hat Store to the south on lot 174.

On June 24, 1886, a fire broke out in the Post Office, located in the back room of the Stimson Building. This fire destroyed not only the Stimson building, but also the Griffin Building to the north and the Goodrich Boarding house to the south. The Goodrich Boarding house was not insured, and with the exception of the Hat Store, which by 1889 was owned by Tamour Maria (Searles) Winslow (1831 - 1891) and used for her millinery shop, after the fire, lot 174 remanded vacant. In the summer of 1898 this vacant lot was used for the location of a portable photograph gallery.

By 1900, Fred Wade (1862 - 1933), former publisher of the Commercial Record and then current Postmaster of Saugatuck, purchased all of lot 174, including what had been the Winslow Millinery Shop. On the 1900 Sanborn Insurance map of Saugatuck, published in August 1900, this building is stated to be the location of a Cobbler. This structure is believed to have been the Shoe Repair Shop of Jacob Arends (1870 - 1947), which Wade moved to the north side of his new property in 1901 and used as a temporary home while constructing a new Post Office Building to the south.

Circa 1913 photo of the old Crow Brothers Barbershop (right) south of the Talbot Restaurant (1911 to 1913) or Davis Restaurant (1913 to 1915 reconstruction) in the Stimson building.
(Click on the picture for a higher resolution copy)

In September of 1903, Edson G. Crow (1880 - 1958), who had worked a season at the Jacob F. Metzger Barbershop, purchased the barbershop of Nicholas McGregor (1861 - 1932). McGregor had come from South Haven in the fall of 1898 and originally had set up shop in the Saugatuck House and was the Hotel's barber until 1901 when the shop was moved to the Schaberg building. In the fall of 1904, Crow leased what had been Fred Wade's temporary home on lot 174 and moved the business from the Schaberg building to this structure to form the 'Crow Brothers Barbershop' with his brother, Ernest R. Crow (1884 - 1935).

In 1906 Edson G. Crow married Louise Walz (1884 - 1955), the daughter of Friz Walz (1858 - 1934) who in 1895 had built the three story brick 'Palace Market' building for his meat market where the old Griffin had stood north of the Stimson Building. This building would later be known as the Fruit Growers' State Bank Building at the southeast corner of Butler and Mason Streets in 1915.

By the fall of 1913, Crow had purchased the north 24 feet of lot 174 from Wade. The old wooden building was sold and moved across the street to the north side of the Rode Building to make room for a new modern building.

Circa 1919 photo of the Crow Barbershop with Edson G. Crow at 1st Chair (left) and Dominic Leoci at 3rd chair in the front room of the building. Of interest to note is that the tile floor is still in use in the front room of the Sand Bar Saloon.
(Click on the picture for a higher resolution copy)

On June 15, 1914, Edson G. Crow opened the door of his new brick building, called the "Crow Barbershop and Billiard Parlor.' The structure was built by his wife's uncle, August Pfaff (1870 - 1953) in concert with adding a second story to the adjacent Stimson Building, purchased by James Davis in 1913 and being remodeled into the 'Davis Hotel', a 12 room European Style hotel. Both structures were faced with a matching glazed brick facades and had a common wall between them. The Davis Hotel later was known as the Arend Hotel and then as the 'Crow Hotel' when Edson Crow took over that business in 1923.

Circa 1924 photo of the east side of Butler Street showing the Crow Hotel and the Leoci Barbershop and Billiard Parlor. Of interest to note is the Street Light in front of the Crow Hotel placed there in February 1924 as an example of the lights to be used if a Downtown Street light proposition was approved by voters in March of that year.
(Click on the picture for a higher resolution copy)

Crow’s new barbershop featured a residence upstairs, four barber chairs in the front room, shower stalls and baths in the basement, and a soon to be completed Billiard Parlor in the back room. It had windows on the south side overlooking an alleyway between it and the Post Office Building at 133 Butler St.

In May, 1920, Crow sold what then was referred to as 'The Crow's Nest Building' and Business to Dominic Leoci (1879-1961), a fellow barber who had worked with him since at least 1916, and it soon became known as 'Leoci's Parlor.'

In 1934, Leoci leased the Billiard Parlor to Raymond J. Freeman (1882 - 1965) and the back room was then known as 'The Freeman Refreshment Parlor.' Prior to this, Freeman had been a partner in the Freeman and Newnham garage, which was dissolved in November of 1935. By a letter from Ray Freeman to The Commercial Record, dated April 12, 1936, the parlor was to be renamed ‘The Old Chain Ferry Tavern’ and was scheduled to open for the season in May of 1936, but was commonly known as 'Freeman’s Tavern.' In 1938, Ray Freeman obtained a Beer & Wine license for the Tavern.

In 1940, Dominic Leoci, who retained ownership of the building until his death in 1961, moved the barbershop to across the street to the building just south of the Ross Phelps hardware store and leased the whole building to Freeman, who then expanded the tavern to include the front room.

When Ray Freeman founded 'Community Dry Cleaners' in 1946, he sold the tavern with its license and lease to Gene Phillips. For a time the business was known as 'The Saugatuck Recreational Parlor,' a name that evolved into 'Gene's Recreation Hall' in 1947.

Sometime after this, the business was owned by one of the Coutoumanos brothers, who’s family owned the old Post office building next door. Later the old Post Office building was sold to Leoci.

Circa 1956 photo of the east side of Butler Street showing Plummer's restaurant in the old Hotel building and the Hi-Loew Bar in Crow’s old Barbershop Building. Of interest to note is the use of the Crow restaurant sign.
(Click on the picture for a higher resolution copy)

In 1947, the business was called ‘Saugatuck Recreation’ when Floyd A. Loew (1903 - 1991) purchased the business and changed the name in September of that year to the 'Hi-Loew Bar.' In about 1953, Loew sold the business to Joe L. Hanacek (1925 - 1988) who retained the business’ name. In the 1956 Telephone Directory, the business is still listed as the ‘Hi-Low’ Bar.

By 1958, after a change of ownership of the business, believed to have been to a Mr. Matherson, the bar was renamed the ‘Sand Bar.’ After the death of Loeci in November of 1961, the building, along with the old Post Office building to the south, was inherited by Leoci’s nephew, George A. Sarli (1898 - 1970). By 1968, the ‘Sand Bar’ was owned by William C. Verlin (1920 - 1991) who later purchased the building from the estate of George A. Sarli in July of 1970.

In 1973, Verlin sold the business and building to Bill Steininger, the present owner. Mr. Steininger added 'Saloon' to the name of the business forming the 'Sand Bar Saloon' as it is known today. Over the course of forty plus years, he has established the longest tenure as operator of one of Saugatuck's most enduring commercial enterprises.  submitted by Chris Yoder


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 is now closed until Memorial Day weekend. Click HERE to learn more about the Museum and recent past exhibits.

The Old School House History Center and Lifeboat Display, located at 130 Center Street in Douglas, is open to visitors by appointment. Please contact Steve Hutchins at 616-801-3735 or by email at

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


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