AUGUST  2015 Click HERE for printer friendly version with images

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


Have you voted?

There are only two weeks left in the 2015 ArtsAlive Competition. If you haven't voted or paid your pledge donation, now is the time. Just click HERE and vote on-line using your credit card or PayPal.

Thanks to community support, the Society won the competition last year and received a $5,000 award in addition to all the donations made to ArtsAlive on behalf of the Society.

These crucial funds helped support this year's 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!

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. The Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society is one of 18 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 the Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society. Your votes can help the Society finish on top again this year. Just click HERE and vote on-line.

Save The Date - Always A Sellout Saturday, October 31st - 7:30 PM Halloween Bash
Old School House
$60 per person

The annual Halloween party has become a favorite for many members and friends of the Society. A chance to get an early guaranteed parking spot for the big parade.

This year's party will be hosted by Janie & Jim Flemming, Sharon Kelly and Jim Schmiechen. Put on your costume (or not) and come to the Old School House for cocktails and dinner preceding the fantastic Douglas Halloween Parade. Great food, great friends, great fun!

To reserve your ticket, just REPLY to this email and we will be in touch.

Welcome from Jack Sheridan and Chris Yoder, leaders of the Society Family History Group.

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.

Got questions on how to get going? That is what we are for! Call or email us and remember, the SDHS family history group’s regular meeting schedule is the first and third Thursday of every month at the OSH.

Upcoming meetings at the OSH are:

Thursday, August 20
Thursday September 3
Thursday September 17

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

Not sure how to get going? Let us provide a helpful jump start by recording 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

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 by phone and email. Again, the only requirement is membership in the SDHS.

Mayflower ancestor, Revolutionary War vet, great grandparents, WWII vet? Stop wondering and get the facts. Come to this weeks meeting - 3:30 on Thursday at the Old School House tech room.

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

This newsletter column is produced by Jack Sheridan

The Baldhead Panoramas – One by One - Piece by Piece - 11

Click on the picture for a higher resolution copy.
Be patient, it may take a while to download.

Last September I started a new HBC series of panoramic photographs taken from the top of Mt Baldhead. We history buffs are fortunate to have photos from this great vantage point over a long time period. The photos appearing span some fifty years, are accurately dated, and in most cases the photographer identified.

Other factors make these photos special. First, earlier photos had few mature trees to block the view. Second, the photographers used quality cameras with large glass plate negatives that were capable of capturing details. Though most of the glass plates are lost, the prints made from them, faithfully contain the details. When scanned at high resolution, the images yield marvelous results. By 1920 Herman Simonson, the photographer, was using film as glass plates were history.

In December we had full photos of 1895 and 1906 without comment. In January, February and March we looked at the details one third of the image each month. In April we had 1906 and ca 1920, the full view. In June we compared 1906 and ca 1920, the north one third. In July we compared the middle one third and now in August we have the south, the last third.

The 1906 photographer is unknown but may have been Herman Simonson. Note that the 1906 photographer’s location on Mt. Baldheaded was not exactly the same location as 1920.

The numbers are keyed to my comments about points of interest.

50 - The Mather Feed Store
51 - Richard Roda cigar store and ice cream parlor - now Pumpernickels Restaurant
52 - Odd Fellows Hall - now Kilwins Fudge Store
53 - Francis home - later the Elms Hotel - now house retails shops
54 - Saugatuck City Hall
55 - Almost new swing bridge which in 1903 replaced the older draw bridge
56 - Basket factory
57 - The Butler Hotel in the hotel heyday
58 - A storage yard which became site of the Big Pavilion in 1909
59 - Leinendecker's Hotel with newly added second gable
60 - Private home which was expanded in 1912 becoming the White House [rooms for rent owned by my great aunt Irene Sheridan] and now Good Goods
61 - Many uses and today the Coral Gables Annex coffee shop.

This newsletter column is written by Jack Sheridan.

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 Rich & Jane Forbes, Fennville, MI & Jasper, IN
l Julie, Tom, Elizabeth and Abigail Hislop, Douglas, MI & Johns Creek, GA
l Sidney Matheis, Fennville, MI
l Herk & Linda Vanden Bosch, Fennville, MI

116 Old Shipwreck Discovered in Lake Michigan

Photo courtesy of the Alpena County George N Fletcher
Public Library

A 214-foot steamship called the John V. Moran has been discovered in Lake Michigan, more than a century after it sank. A team with the Michigan Shipwreck Research Association located the vessel off the coast of Muskegon in June during a sonar search. For more details, click HERE.

Picnic Photos
                        submitted by John Peters

 What you missed

The August 4th Tuesday Talk, The Peachbelt Schoolhouse with owner and artist, Dawn Stafford shared stories and photos documenting the schoolhouse's rehabilitation and various reincarnations. Through it all, The Peachbelt remains the oldest surviving and best preserved one-room schoolhouse in Allegan County that has not been structurally altered or moved from its original site.

In case you missed the program or would like to see the presentation again, click HERE to view a copy. Be patient, the file might take a while to download.

Charles J. Lorenz
Award of Achievement and Volunteer of the Year

Douglas residents Judi Vanderbeck (left) and Leslie Thompson win top Historical Society honors.

Judi Vanderbeck has received the Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society's top-honor Charles J. Lorenz Award of Achievement for 2015, and Leslie Thompson has won the Society's Volunteer Of The Year Award. Both are Douglas residents.

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".

Vanderbeck, a Society Board member, was cited for creating and leading the Society's successful "Dine Around The Village Table" series of home-tour dinner or cocktail party fundraisers and "friend-raisers", now in that program’s sixth year. These events run the gamut from intimate get-togethers for a dozen people to events for a hundred or more members and friends of the Society, proceeds of which have generated substantial financial support for the Society's volunteer-based efforts to Keep History Alive in our community.

The Volunteer Of The Year Award honors outstanding service to the Society. Candidates are nominated by standing committee chairs, and winners are selected by majority vote of the Board. Thompson's selection for this award recognizes her commitment of time and talent as a Society Board member and Treasurer, a regular volunteer host at the Museum, and as planner/implementer of Society events including the spring Museum opening reception, the December holiday party and annual summer picnic.

Mark Your Calendar
2015 Monthly Programs and Tuesday Talks

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


l September 9, Fishing: Commercial & Recreational sponsored by Howard & Paula Schultz
l October 14, Crane's Orchard Field Trip sponsored by Janie & Jim Flemming in memory of Fran Vorys
l November 11, Fire, Storm and Ice: Shipwrecks sponsored by the Star of Saugatuck, Marilyn & Bruce Starring
l December 13, Holiday Party

General sponsors: Carolyn Richards, Howard Rochte and Jim & Janie Flemming

l August 25, Extreme Yachts and Classic Boat Restoration - Macatawa Bay Boat Works sponsored by the Star of Saugatuck, Marilyn & Bruce Starring

Garden Happenings
"The more help a person has in his garden, the less it belongs to him."  --- W.H. Davies

Isn't that the truth! We have had so many wonderful people helping us from Dottie Lyon, Al Lyon, Jane Dryer and Howard Vanderbeck in the weeding and design department, to our friends at Evergreen Commons who produced our Garden Hornbooks. From Mike Economos' constant care at the Museum to Marcia Perry who spent 5+ years on our Landscape Committee providing amazing ideas and hand crafting our garden benches. Also many thanks to Jim Schmiechen and Kristi Mueller for the continued work on our text and graphics. These are OUR gardens and the Garden Committee thanks everyone that helps us out.

We will be adding to our Daffodil Trail this fall. Please stay tuned for details to come. We also look forward to our long awaited Peach Orchard graphics, our Hornbooks, the installation of our Free Library and some additions to our Mt. Baldhead Station. Please be patient . . . they are coming.

Stone Design at Old School House Children's Garden

Many thanks also go out to our Root Camp Jr. Counselors for their help with the Civil War reenactment. Ainsely Lowery and Jillian Johnson even dressed up for the occasion. What an amazing event. Thank you Christina Lewis and Ingrid Boyer for bringing this to our Back-In-Time Garden.

We have been blessed with a Blue Moon, the Perseid Meteor Shower and amazing sunny days. Please take the time to enjoy them.

Until next month,
The Landscape and Root Camp Committees

Barrel Update
The restored barrel staves waiting to be brought back to life.

The committee continues to plan and meet with the City of the Village of Douglas on bringing the Barrel back to life.

We have agreement on erecting the Barrel at the corner of Ferry and Center Streets in mid to late September.

The City will complete the site work and concrete pads by September 1. The committee also has bids from two local vendors to fabricate the steel substructure this month. The replacement roof is completed and in storage.

We will be looking for any individuals who are able bodied and willing to contribute their time for a few days in late September to assist in the erection of the Barrel. The final dates are yet to be finalized depending on steel delivery, etc. Anyone with interest can email Duane Brown at or Brent Birkholz and Vic Bella.      submitted by Duane Brown

Douglas Village Allows Cows Free Pasturage

Andrew Schumann

From the Lakeshore Commercial
Feb. 18, 1871 -- DOUGLAS.

The Village Trustees have voted by three to one to allow Cows Free pasturage in the Streets and Commons and to feed at every body's sleigh and wagon. This Is believed to be liberal legislation for certain Inhabitants (the Cows). And It is confidently presumed people coming from a distance will put plenty of good hay and some grain (it is suggested not to put it in a bag) in their sleighs that the poor (cows) may not in any way be defrauded.

It was feared "grass would grow too rank" on the sidewalks - so "bossies" are appointed to keep down the grass and their further business will be to see that all gates are shut and fences are in good order and that shade trees are boxed. Other citizens are required to remove all nuisances, but the awful discharge of the above stated business by the cows exempts them from the care of nuisances.

And to show the spirit of justice which animated those who favored the cows and the self abnegation with which their rights were maintained, a citizen urged this law of freedom to cows "Inasmuch as the cows would save the grass - which would save the morning dews (Douglas people are out in the morning) which would save boots, which would save "bossy’s" hide.
                                             -E. Konomy.

From the Lakeshore Commercial , Jun 11, 1880

There is a village law against young cattle running in the streets, and it is a law that has been quite openly violated this spring. It is a great enough nuisance that cows are allowed to run at large, but when people begin raising calves in the village streets, some steps should be taken by our village officers to prevent it.

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

Andrew Schumann, pictured above, was born in Germany in 1841, entered the German Reserves at the age of 18, serving six years. He had two sisters in Allegan County, Mich., who wrote him exciting accounts of this new country, so he decided to try his fortune here.

A seven week's ocean voyage brought him to Saugatuck in 1865 where he resided, on his farm in the east village limits. In 1867 he was married in Allegan to Augusta Eckert, native of Germany, and they came to Newark, as it was called then, where he found employment in the many mills.

In 1871, in Henry Ebmeyer's shingle mill, Andrew was sawyer and cut 41,750 A shingles and 4,250 cull shingles, which was the greatest number of shingles ever made in one day with one machine.

Most of his life was spent in the mills or farming and he was a man of wonderful strength and health until in 1926 he fell and broke his hip and since that time was confined to a wheel chair or bed, but he had no pain and enjoyed his contact with the outside world through the radio and many callers, and at the age of 89 was cheerful and contented.

Mr. Schumann passed away in 1932 at the age of 91 and is buried in Riverside Cemetery. (from Memories of Saugatuck, 1930 by May Francis Heath, and his obituary).

Mr. Schumann was the grandfather of Henry Till who worked for 41 years at the Fruit Growers Bank in Saugatuck, and of Miss Augusta Till who was a sales clerk at Parrish's Drug store for several years and lived to be 100 years of age.

As Andrew was a Saugatuck farmer, his cows may not have been among those wandering the Douglas streets, but a cow is a cow, right?
                                  submitted by Chris Yoder


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

Individual $50
Household $70
Premium $300
Corporate $500
Life $1,000
Senior (65+) $30
Senior Household $45

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

New Historical Society Museum Exhibit Examines Area's Relationship With Water

This year's all-new exhibition at the Saugatuck-Douglas History Museum, opened for the season on Memorial Day weekend, Sunday, May 24. The exhibition presents multiple stories of how the Kalamazoo River and Lake Michigan have shaped and reshaped our area's way of living, working, relaxing and thinking since the mid-1800s.

Founded in 1992 by the Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society, the History Museum is open daily Noon to 4pm through Labor Day, then Saturdays/Sundays through September and October. Admission and parking are free. Tel: (269) 857-7900. Click HERE to learn more about the Museum and recent past exhibits.

The Old School House History Center and Lifeboat Display is located at 130 Center Street in Douglas. For group tours, 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.

The Society's Archives office is located in the lower level of the Old School House and is open for research on Monday afternoons 1-4 p.m. Use the back stairway for easy access. The Archives office phone number is 269-857-7901. E-mail:

Society Phone: 269 857-5751
Museum Phone: 269 857-7900
Tech Center Phone 269 857-7901

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