MARCH  2014

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


Still haven't renewed your Society membership for 2014??
Don't miss out on a great year of events and much more! RENEW NOW! Click
HERE or send your renewal to SDHS, PO Box 617, Douglas, MI 49406

Upcoming 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 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 . . . yes, there will be a Spring. For a reservation, REPLY to this email or call 269-857-5751 or email and we'll be in touch.

Dollybrook Progressive Cocktail Party
will be rescheduled for the Fall. Watch for the date in a future newsletter.

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

Thursday, March 20
Thursday, April 3

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

One of the resources of SDHS Family History is a subscription to the database. The name comes from a traditional flag folding ceremony in which the third fold is made in honor and remembrance of veterans.

The site has a massive data base of military records, starting with the Revolutionary War.

I first used it to search for information on a great uncle named Newbury Button, a veteran of Revolutionary War service. Wham, a EUREKA! moment. The data base had a large file on him containing sixteen documents from an 1832 pension application. He was a fifer boy enlisted at age fourteen in a Connecticut raised unit. Most interesting was a accounting of his narrow escape from capture and death in the battle Ft. Griswold in 1781.

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 written by Jack Sheridan.

Click on the picture for a higher resolution copy

The Fabulous Fifties!

August 1952. The Pavilion movies were always a favorite. Check out the image for details on what was playing that week.

And what else was going on in town? Well here is a rundown of sorts . . . how easy to go to the SDHS website and browse The Commercial Record to give you highlights!

The annual Arts Ball took place. On Sunday was the parade with costumed paraders, fire trucks and everything. On Tuesday, Water Street was cleared of cars for square dancing which was then followed by round dancing in the Pavilion and a stage and floor show directed by James Webster of the Red Barn. Best costumes got prizes. Admission was a mask, head dress or costume.

At the Red Barn Theater August 8th through the 13th was playing "See How They Run" by Phillip King. The Commercial reported, "So swift is the action, so involved the situation, so rib-tickling the plot that at it’s finish audiences are left as exhausted from laughter as they themselves had run a footrace."

Meanwhile on Saturday night at the Airpark Speedway in Ganges, Chuck Grano of South Haven won the Holland Furnace Cup. Thrills were provided when twenty five drivers qualified in time trials on the high banked three-eights mile track. Gordon Slues in car 59 rolled over several times and La Vern Cavanaugh went out of control on the west curve but came back to place in the feature race.

From the home of Justice of the Peace Junkerman came these interesting reports. Dorothy J, Cornell of 5600 Chandler Avenue Detroit protested loudly when she was ticketed on a charge of blocking traffic [to say nothing of four young men with her in the front seat of her car]. However she was quite the lady before JP Junkerman. "Those four fellows in the front seat just hopped in and she didn't know a one of them . . . so she only got away $5 fine and $4.30 costs on the traffic charge." Other violations: LaVario Teamline, Detroit, running a traffic light and squealing tires, $5 and $2 costs; William H. Wesbey, Pullman, backfiring his motorcycle, $3 fine; Don [Toad] Davis and Floyd Loew, improper parking, $2 fines …

Next month we will travel back in time to the Big Pavilion – the structure that had the greatest impact on the life and times of Saugatuck in the first half of the twentieth century.

This newsletter column is written by Jack Sheridan.

Click on the picture for a higher resolution copy

A Photo from Corvallis, Oregon

Charlotte (Hughes) Hutchinson (1824-1909)

According to "Yahoo Maps", Corvallis, Oregon is 2356.08 mi and a 34¼ hour drive from Saugatuck. This photo of the matriarch of the local Hutchison family was shared by her 3rd great grandson, Daryl Monk of Corvallis and transported as a scanned image attached to an email.

Charlotte was born Mar. 10, 1824 in England to John and Elizabeth Hughes. According to articles in the History of Western Allegan County, Michigan (WACM) (Edited by Kit Lane), the family first came to America in 1831 and settled in Pennsylvania, then New York, and in 1840 arrived in Calhoun Co., MI.

Her brother George Fisher Hughes (1816-1899) left home and came to the Allegan Co. Lakeshore about 1845, where he was one of the first settlers of Glenn. George bought 40 acres of land which included the creek which runs about a half mile west of the Glenn crossroads on Jan. 1, 1846. The next summer he built a dam and a water power saw mill. Flooding carried away the dam and moved the mill, but George rebuilt and enlarged it. At that location it continued in operation until 1880. George was one of the 27 electors attending the organizational meeting for Ganges Twp, Apr. 5, 1847, and he was elected justice of the peace. He was township treasurer from 1854-56, and supervisor in 1869.

On May 19, 1842, 16 year old Charlotte married 33 year old bachelor farmer Salmon Ichabod Beecher "Beecher" Hutchinson at her parents' home in Newton Township, Calhoun County, MI. Mr. and Mrs. Hutchinson were to have their four children while living in Calhoun County. In 1859, at the age of 50, Mr. Hutchinson decided to move his family to the Lakeshore and became a fruit grower on 40 acres of land (deeded from David Updyke on Dec. 14, 1859, Section 8 Ganges Twp). The next year he sold his 320 acre Calhoun Co. farm and moved his family to the city of Marshall while his new home was being constructed. The family moved into their Ganges Twp. residence in the spring of 1862 and he began farming. "Beecher" was said to be the first commercial peach grower in Allegan County, selling most of his fruit in Chicago, first shipping by boat from Pier Cove, and then by train from Fennville.

Two of their children (Electra and Monta) died of consumption without ever having married. Oldest child Elizabeth Rebecca "Lizzie" (1843-1927) married John Sage Payne. After the death of her husband in 1900, Lizzie moved to Washington State with a daughter to help raise the grandchildren. Lizzie was Daryl Monk’s 2-great grandmother.

Son Jesse (1853-1932) initially joined his bother Monta in starting a business in Douglas, but after Monta died in 1879, Jesse joined brother-in-law Payne in the milling business. Jesse lived in Douglas until moving to Fennville in 1884, opening a general store, and establishing a rolling mill and a bank. His grandson J. Edward Hutchinson represented our district in Congress from 1963 to 1977 and was the author of much of the family history found in the WACM book. He was the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee during the debate on impeaching Richard Nixon, and in August 1974 called for Nixon's resignation or impeachment because of the Watergate scandal.

"Beecher" Hutchinson died Mar. 17, 1894 in Ganges Twp. Charlotte died Feb. 28, 1909 in Fennville. Both rest in Taylor Cemetery (just south of Huntree Nursery on Blue Star) along with Charlotte’s brother George and his wife.
                                           submitted by Chris Yoder

Taylor Cemetery Gravestones

What you missed!
Outside the Box Dine Around at Water Street Gallery

March 12 Monthly Program

The March Program, Last Stop Saugatuck, The History of the West Michigan's Interurban Train was presented by historic-railroad enthusiast and author Norman Krentel to a Standing Room Only crowd at the Old School House. Norm Krentel is pictured above (center) with Ed Kelly and Jack Sheridan.

Click on the picture for a higher resolution copy

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 April 9, Extreme Yachts and Classic Boat Restoration with Jonathon Reus
Inside Saugatuck's Macatawa Bay Boat Works
l  May 14, Dunelands Diary with April Scholtz
A Naturalist Takes Us Behind the Scenes at the Saugatuck Harbor Natural Area  Sponsored by Sharon Kelly
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 September10, Country Life: The Felt Estate on the Midwest Riviera with Patty Meyer
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
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
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

Charles J. Lorenz Award Nominations

The Lorenz Award was established by the Society in 1997 to honor the memory of Charles Lorenz, who gave generously of his time, talent, money and energy in the formation and development of this organization.

Winners are selected each year by a special Society committee, recognizing distinguished leadership in fulfilling the Historical Society's mission to "help the community understand its past and use its history to shape its future and preserve its quality of life".

Click HERE to download and print a Charles J. Lorenz Nomination Form which includes the names of previous winners.

Don't Forget to

It's that time of year to vote for the election of new Society Board members for 2014. Please click HERE to download and print your copy of the Official Ballot. Ballots must be returned by US Mail to SDHS, Box 617, Douglas, MI 49406 and postmarked no later than April 18, 2014.

Garden Happenings

"You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep Spring from coming."    ~ Pablo Neruda

It is true . . .you can't keep spring from coming. Sure it maybe a little cold, the river is still frozen and we haven't seen one Snowdrop yet, but we do know spring is coming! Lots of garden plans are happening too. Along with spring maintenance, we hope to install our fence and our graphics for our peach orchard this spring. The orchard will also serve as one of our theme gardens. Plants will be installed to entice the pollinators to visit our garden. We are hoping to teach our visitors about these amazing creatures and are still looking for someone to help us with that. We have no doubt that someone will come forward.

This summer we are so excited to turn our garden into an outdoor classroom. Our “Back-In-Time” garden will be the setting for "Root Camp"--- a camp that will teach kids about our local history and environmental conservation. Along with teaching the campers, our goals are to bring in new members and much needed revenue for our garden. We have two sessions, one in June and one in July for kids ages 6-11. Stay tuned for information on the SDHS website about the camp and how you can help sponsor it, and please spread the word!

Let's all keep our figures crossed for some warm weather.
See you next month, The Landscape Committee

Ed Kelly at Mardi Gras

Click on the picture for a higher resolution copy

Society Board member and Membership Chair Ed Kelly (second from the left) was in New Orleans in early March strolling down Bourbon Street to celebrate Mardi Gras with some of his friends.

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 Chris Spencer & Charles Aschbrenner, Holland, MI
l Edward Eickhoff & Michael Hisala, Franklin, MI
l James & Ann Gallivan, Champaign, IL & Saugatuck, MI
l Holly Davis & Kay Hanna, Douglas, MI
l Dan & Melissa King, Carmel, IN & Douglas, MI

Water Photo Project: Our Polar Vortex Year - 2014

An example of a polar vortex affect from another time
and another place

Do you have a favorite photo depicting (in any way) our "historic" Saugatuck-Douglas winter-spring of 2014? I am working on an SDHS exhibition project for 2015 and wish to include a photo panel on local (Saugatuck-Douglas area) winter scenes - with or without people. Please send your favorite picture to

                                      submitted by Jim Schmiechen

News from the Archives

Click on the picture for a higher resolution copy

What are they?

These stones were recently brought to our attention by Dan Gates of East Wiley Road. Dan found them on his property and was wondering if they could be something related to the Native Americans that lived here years ago.

Pictures were sent to several universities with little response. Is there someone out there who would be able to clear up this mystery of what these possibly could have been used for? They are about 5" across. Or perhaps they are just stones with unusual shapes.

Send your response to
                submitted by Mary Voss, collections manager


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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