'Greetings, and welcome!' I’ve heard a lot over the
past few weeks from the friendly SDHS folks I've met during my first
month on the job as Director. Allow me to return the salutation to
the Director's Corner. Each newsletter, I plan to share with you
interesting and exciting news and notes from my perspective as the
Society's full-time staff member.
My first weeks have been busy – in addition to
learning the day-to-day ropes of keeping a busy organization like
SDHS running during the tail end of the tourist season, I've been
meeting with each of our board members, committee leaders, and other
key volunteers. With this continuing interaction, I have begun to
understand the core functions of SDHS – how all of the important
moving pieces (there are A LOT of them) fit together to make this
one of the premier local history organizations in Michigan.
SDHS has accomplished so much with the time, talents
and enthusiasm of volunteers. It is my goal, as Director, to
facilitate further growth in our programming, fundraising and
outreach within the organization and the community.
From my meetings thus far, we are clearly an
organization with a lot to be proud of and aspirations to share
stories of the past with even greater audiences. I’m excited to be a
part of this new phase of growth at SDHS, and I look forward to
meeting and getting to know the membership over the coming weeks and
My regular hours are 9-5 M-F, and my office is in the
back corner of the Old School House. You can also reach me at my new
Always A Sellout
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.
Mark Your Calendar
2015 Monthly Programs
sponsored by Janie & Jim Flemming in memory of
Fire, Storm and
Ice: Shipwrecks sponsored by the
Star of Saugatuck, Marilyn & Bruce Starring
SAVE THE DATE December 13, Holiday
Party SAME PLACE, SAME TIME but look
for SOMETHING DIFFERENT
Michigan Hometown Stories:
story of Saugatuck and Douglas, as seen on WGVU-TV/PBS
in June, is at last available on DVD as a keepsake for your film
library and a great gift for family and friends. This special
one-hour documentary celebrates our history, people, art,
diversity, and strong community commitment to preserving our
townscape and nature-blessed environment.
Told in the words of more than 30 townsfolk
and visitors revealing their impressions and memories,
this unique program distills 40+ hours of interviews
videotaped all around the area from the Crow's Nest to the
Old School House and in and around dozens of our
businesses, lodgings, and galleries – even on the Star of
Saugatuck and Dune Schooners.
And, owning this DVD gives you
exclusive access to hours of bonus material shot, but not
used in the one-hour broadcast!
Created by Historical Society members Jon
Helmrich and Stephen Mottram, working with WGVU's head of
production Phil Lane, the project was funded by donations
from members of the community, augmented by a generous
matching grant from the Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation.
Now it's yours for a mere $25 plus MI sales
tax. Supplies are limited, so order soon! Proceeds will
help support the Historical Society's many volunteer-based
programs and activities.
HERE to purchase your DVD.
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, October 1
Thursday, October 15
Thursday, November 5
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
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
Questions/comments/advice/needs - contact
269 857-7144 Chris Yoder
firstname.lastname@example.org 269 857-4327.
This newsletter column is produced by Jack
Bill Simmons Scrapbook
This month marks a new History by Camera
feature. I have dubbed it the BILL SIMMONS SCRAPBOOK.
Bill was a semi professional photographer,
originally from Chicago, who moved to Saugatuck about 1940.
Over the next twenty years he took thousands of photos. He had
a couple of stints as the editor of the Commercial Record.
He died in 1962 and these photos went unnoticed
until 1998 when they were given to the SDHS. What a record of
our town in the middle of the twentieth century!
Many have appeared in SDHS books and exhibits.
However, others ended up - so to speak, on the cutting room
floor, because Bill would often take numerous shots of a
particular subject. We have all these negatives but have used
only the best of them. So many of images have not been
Click on the Scrapbook image at the top of this
article to examine the photos and see what you can identify
before reading my
brief captions. This is a History Mystery exercise
without hints. Have fun.
I appreciate your feedback on my captions and
selection of the images. Please point out my errors and
omissions by sending me an email at
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.
Linwood (Woody) Ogle, Saugatuck, MI
Cindy Stearns, Glen Ellyn, IL
Kenneth & Emily Nietering, Dearborn, MI (Parents of the
Society's new Director)
New Life Members
Robert C. Hudson and family
New Commercial Records
To Be Added
Thanks to Allegan News/Commercial Record Publisher
Cheryl Kaechele and to the SDHS Board, our on-line Commercial
Record issues are being expanded by 9 years!
The first new year,
1969, has already been posted, and the remaining ones will be
processed incrementally taking things up to 1977. This adds to the
issues which had already been made available (1868-1968).
pages can be accessed either through the
SDHS web site on-line research section or directly from
Thanks also to Dick Haight for the technical work which
incorporates these pages and to the Saugatuck-Douglas District
submitted by Chris Yoder
The August 25th Tuesday Talk,
Extreme Yachts and Classic Boat Restoration - Macatawa Bay Boat
Works with owner, Jonathan Reus provided a state-of-the-art
look at high-end wood yacht and classic boat restoration.
Macatawa Bay Boat Works, a local shop more familiar
among well-to-do boat enthusiasts around the Great Lakes and New
York's upstate Adirondack region than to most townspeople here.
Jonathan, a lifelong aficionado of classic cars and boats, discussed
the Michigan history of his craft and showed what's involved in
building and restoring wood boats.
In case you missed the program or
would like to see the presentation again, click
HERE to view a copy.
Be patient, the file will take a while to download.
"A man may die, a nation may rise and fall,
an idea lives on." --- John F. Kennedy
Our garden started off as an idea, now look at it!
With the fall flowers, the "almost there" Peach Orchard graphics and
our Little Free Library installed, the idea is growing into a place
filled with beauty, history, and a touch of whimsy. Many thanks to
Ingrid Boyer for giving us the idea and providing the books for our
library, and our own John Migas for the design, construction and
installation. We hope to see these libraries pop up in other areas
of our communities.
Little Free Library in the Old School House Garden
Our little Garden Gnome has told us that the
Hornbooks are being used. Thanks to Jim, Sam and the people at
Evergreen Commons for these fun, little informational tools. During
our annual Chili Party, we will, once again, plant daffodils for our
Daffodil Trail. We are asking for a $25.00 donation to plant a bunch
of bulbs. We will dig the holes and you can plant them.
This winter our committee is going to work on
developing a plan for our Green Team. This group will be in charge
of some general care of our garden, such as deadheading, planting
and weeding. We may have someone that will be the leader of this
Green Team, but will need volunteers. More information to come.
The Root Camp committee is already thinking of
ideas for next year. Native American Drummers and Basket Weaving are
two ideas we are toying with. If anyone knows someone that could be
our "teachers" for these lessons, please contact Ruth Johnson at
Until next month,
The Landscape and Root Camp Committees
The Power of Our Past - Stonewall and Saugatuck
Saugatuck Center for the Arts
Saturday, September 17 at 7:00 PM
The events in Greenwich Village on
June 28, 1969 launched a revolution in America. The Stonewall
riots inspired LGBT communities throughout the country to organize
in support of gay rights, and within two years following those
historic events, gay rights groups were organized in nearly every
major city. Today the movement has grown to include the Stonewall
Inn and Christopher Park in the National Park System.
This special Intriguing
Conversation, presented by the National Parks Conservation
Association and the Saugatuck Douglas Historical Society features
David Carter, author of Stonewall: The Riots that Sparked the Gay
Revolution, and Philip Bockman, a Stonewall veteran.
These speakers will discuss the
formation of a local gay history initiative, frame our own local
history in the larger national context, and introduce the concept
of Stonewall becoming a national park.
Sponsored by Bill Underdown/Hungry
The Hattie Cottle Home
Click on the image for a higher resolution copy
Click on the image for a higher resolution copy
Among the photographs in the May
Heath Collection are some wonderful posed shots of the Hattie
Cottle Home in Saugatuck. The property, located at 143 Elizabeth
St., is now owned by Robert and Mary Waters. Who was Hattie Cottle?
From her 1926 obituary in the Commercial Record, we learn:
At her home in Saugatuck Mich.,
on Saturday morning, Jan. 9, Hattie Mason Cottle entered life
eternal, leaving behind a host of friends and the record of a life
rich in service. She was born in Polo, Illinois, the youngest
daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Mason, and was the last surviving
member of the family.
She began her life work of
teaching when 20 years of age. Her earlier work was outside of
Chicago, but she gave thirty-two years of faithful conscientious
service to that city, and the lives of hundreds of children, and
the community in which she lived, have been enriched by her
unselfish devotion to her work as assistant principal of the
Wadsworth school. Mrs. Cottle's effective work was known in nearly
every home in Woolawn, and many an individual in this section of
Chicago owes their success in life to her influence. Mr. Mayo, the
present principal of the Wadsworth school, under whom she taught
for five years, paid her the following compliment:
"I knew Mrs. Cottle and worked
with her for many years. She was kind, gentle and persevering;
always ready to lend a helping hand, to encourage a non-interested
pupil, and ever alert to inspire a student onward and upward into
new realms of self betterment. She goes to her last resting place
mourned by her many friends. After long years of toil, that to her
were a pleasure, peace and quiet and rest await her."
Mrs. Cottle retired from
teaching in June, 1922, the last years being spent in her
beautiful home in Saugatuck, where the kindly devotion of her
friends and neighbors added much to her comfort and pleasure.
A beautiful painting, Caritas?
hangs at the head of one of the stairways of the Wadsworth school.
This painting, presented by the Parent-Teacher Association of that
school was dedicated last May with Mrs. Cottle being present.
Below the painting is this inscription: "A. tribute for many years
of faithful service given by Hattie M. Cottle."
She is buried in the Oak Woods
Cemetery, Chicago next to her husband Freeman Norton Cottle (29
Apr 1854 in Tisbury, Dukes, MA-21 May 1906 in Chicago Hospital,
Cook Co., IL). He also was a teacher. She married him rather late
in life as his second wife, Dec. 25, 1895 in Ogle Co, IL, and they
were to have no children. Freeman was also a teacher and his death
in 1906 at the age of 52 received a mention in the Commercial
Record Prof. Cottle's Saugtauck friends have received the sad
news of his death in Chicago while undergoing an operation in a
A review of local tax records shows
that in 1900 one "N. C. Cottle" owned 11 acres of land in the
township valued at $500, so perhaps he came first to frequent this
area, bringing along his wife after their marriage.
Freeman Norton Cottle went to
school in Boston and apparently was somewhat of an inventor. In
1880 he patented a "Door-Gong and Alarm" and a "frame" of some
type is recorded in 1904. His teaching career was in Massachusetts
for many years but by 1889 he was in Chicago as a music teacher.
The 1873 Atlas shows there was no
home on the property at that time:
1873 Atlas of Saugatuck – Showing No Structure Present
Going back through the township tax
records we can find the history of ownership:
By 1880 to his death - David White - A Lt. in the Civil War, he
died in 1911.
1913 - Estate of David White (his heir Edith Rieder)
1915 - Hattie Cottle
1927 - Edward J. and Elizabeth Mulholland (of Chicago)
1942 - Irving K and Edith T. Pershing (owner of Pershing Products
Corp made military parts during the war and water heaters and
machine tool stands afterward.)
1952 - Duncan and Myrtle Byrd
1980 - Anne Marie Marcelletti (daughter of the Byrds)
------- Nancy Nieusma Burch until 1995
1995 - Arnold Shafer - Mr. Shafer, now a Douglas resident and
Society member, did some major restoration work for which he
received a 2004 Historical Society Heritage Preservation Award and
the home was on the 2005 Home tour. One of his changes was to
replace the pillar seen in the Cottle picture with a beam ceiling.
2005 - Robert and Mary Waters
The home is featured on page 75 of
Jim Schmiechen's wonderful 1999 book Raising the Roof
as a "Craftsman Bungalow" Arts & Crafts style and gives a date on
it of 1918. However the Property Tax records for 1915 show Hattie
as owner of Lots 51 and 52 in Morrison's Addition, valued at
$2,000 and paying a property tax of $29'00, an amount which
supports a residence already present at that time. Going back a
bit further, we see that Civil War Veteran David White (1832-1911)
owned the property before Hattie and there was a house on it
before 1911. The Commercial Record from July 4, 1913 shows White's
heirs staying in the home at that time:
On page 75 of James Schmiechen's
Raising the Roof, he writes that the azaleas in front
of the house may be the largest and oldest this far north in
Michigan and credits them to Duncan (1902-1978) and Myrtle Byrd
who were owners from 1952.
One later owner, Arnold Schafer,
reports that during the time he lived there, wedding parties would
stop in front of the home to get a picture taken with the azaleas
Mr. Byrd was a noted
botanist/nurseryman, reported to have discovered that if you don't
wash blueberries before freezing them, they will not get mushy. He
had nurseries throughout west Michigan including Pullman, Grand
Junction, Covert, South Haven, Lacoda, Bloomingdale.
Originally from the Carolinas, he
received his under graduate degree from Clemson and his Masters at
Michigan State. His daughter, now living in Paw Paw, confirms that
he planted the azaleas at the front, and others which are no
Duncan and Myrtle Byrd
We are certainly blessed by the
many architectural gems such as this one in our community!
Click on the image for a higher resolution copy
submitted by Chris Yoder