APRIL  2009

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Dear Valued Members,

I want to take a moment and thank all of you for the opportunity to serve during this past year. It has been a very good experience and a pleasure to get to know the many dedicated members of this Society.

Over the past year I have heard from many of how much they respect and appreciate what the Historical Society has contributed to the community. I hope all of you are aware of this distinction and that it is attributed to your dedication. Thank you. Your continued dedication and commitment will ensure the success of the mission and purpose of this special organization.

As we move forward and continue with the growth and many projects that define the Society, know that the goals that have been set continue to move forward and that the newest members of the Society Board to be sworn in during the Annual Meeting on Wednesday, May 13 will bring continued support to the members we serve.

I wish Harold Thieda the best as he leads and represents the Society. Success to all.

Be sure to take a moment to read the many articles in this issue of the Newsletter. A lot is happening and we don’t want you to miss any of it.

“I’m so glad we had this time together, to share a laugh and sing a song. Seems we just get started and before you know it; comes the time we have to say so long.”

Best regards, Kathy Sturm


Wed., May 13, 7 PM, Saugatuck High School Media Room, Society Annual Business Meeting, meet our new Board members, announcement of the President's Award, Volunteer of the Year and Lorenz Award as well as a brief overview of our new Museum exhibit.

Wed., June 10, 7 PM, in partnership with the Saugatuck Center for the Arts, Jim Schmiechen will speak on the life and work of Sylvia Randolph.

The public is invited to the "Sylvia Randolph: an Art-filled Life" Exhibition Opening Reception on Sunday, May 3 from 3 to 5 pm

Farmer Brown by Sylvia Randolph

Painting in Saugatuck for 80 years, Sylvia Randolph’s works are a veritable local history project, reflecting the influences of notable Ox-Bow instructors, shifts in pop culture, and the area’s changing landscape. Join Jim Schmiechen for a look at four remarkable decades in Saugatuck/Douglas and what the retrospective of Ms. Randolph’s works in the SCA’s exhibition hall tells us about ourselves, our community, and our world.

Wed., July 8, 7 PM, Saugatuck Yacht Club, the history of the Saugatuck Yacht Club as they celebrate their 75th anniversary of teaching young and old to sail small boats. John Shack has recruited a group of "Old Salts" to spin some tales about the Club.

Saugatuck Yacht Club

A Century of Leisure at the Lake Michigan Shore
2009 Museum Opening Reception
Saturday, May 23 | 5:30 - 7:30 PM
Starlight Drive In Theatre
Commercial Record, July 14, 1950

This year’s event will be Thursday night, June 4 at Lakeview Lanes in Douglas.

Lakeview Lanes

Proceeds from this event help support the Old School House Discovery Center in Douglas and the Society’s Museum in Saugatuck.

Eight 5-person teams are needed to bowl. The cost for each team member is $25 (which is tax deductible.) Bowling will begin at 7:00 pm and each team will bowl 2 games. If you would like to bowl that evening, contact Judi Vanderbeck at (269) 857-2682.

Not a bowler? You can still support the event by making a pledge to your favorite bowler. Here’s how it works - - if you make a pledge of $.05 a pin and your bowler scores at total of 300 pins, your donation would be $15.00. It's simple to pledge, sign up when a bowler contacts you or call Judi to make a pledge. You can, of course, make a pledge at the event.

It’s also a great event for everyone to attend. There will be 50/50 drawings, food, fun, and prizes.


The Society is planning a new event for July 2009, a SUPER garage sale that we are calling the UPSCALE SALE. This will be a fundraiser for the Society and we are looking for high quality donations from our members and the community.

Upscale Sale

What might you consider donating? Suggested items include antiques, books, collectibles, framed art, small household appliances, dishes and housewares, sports gear and small furniture. We will not be able to accept clothing, computer electronics, large appliances, large furniture/sleep sets or exercise equipment for reasons that include display space and disposal of unsold items. Our goal is to sell items that will maximize the profits of the event.

Your donation of high quality items is a great way to support your Society and receive a tax deduction too!

You’ll receive information about collection dates and locations soon. Thank you in advance for your donations and support.


Big Pavilion Costume Party
July 1933 Commercial Record

For over 50 years, the Saugatuck Pavilion was a center of entertainment for young and old. One of the annual events in the early 1930s was a Costume Party and contest, with cash prizes for the winners. In 1933, four young girls, two locals and two “summer people” were a part of the competition.

The oldest, Phyllis Pamperien, a college sophomore, designed and sewed the costumes, which consisted of a “milk maid” outfit and a cow suit. Local teens Betty and Vivian Powers, and Phyllis’ sister Elizabeth were the contestants. Vivian, a beauty who was to be the 1937 “Blossom Queen”, was the milk maid, while Betty and Elizabeth did their duty the inside of the cow.

Costume Queens

Betty (Powers) Strampel Dorr and Phyllis (Pamperien) Yoder have both passed on, but Vivian (Powers) Chambers of Grand Rapids, and Elizabeth (Pamperien) Schultz, of Arlington Heights, IL, are still with us. Vivian recalls that the winning prize "was supposed to be $15, but somebody goofed, and we only received $7". The cash was divided four ways between the girls.

The moral of this tale, says Elizabeth, is that even if your sister makes the costume, you can still end up being the rear end of a cow.

Submitted by Chris Yoder


A study group is being formed to determine an appropriate way to memorialize early Saugatuck historian May Francis Heath.

May Francis Heath

Mrs. Heath was the descendant of Saugatuck founding fathers, a civic leader in her own right, and the author of Saugatuck Through the Ages (1830-1930) (now reprinted and available for purchase from the Society bookstore).This effort has received conceptual approval of the Society Board. If you would be interested in working with this group, contact Chris Yoder, 857-4327, email: or Rob Carey, 857-2478, email:


April 8, 2009 Society Meeting All Saints’ Episcopal Church, 73 present

President Kathy Sturm called the meeting to order at 7:12 p.m. with several announcements:
Thank you to Jane Underwood and Ellen Sprouls for tonight’s arrangements and refreshments
Next meeting is May 13 for the Lorenz and Volunteer Awards plus swearing in of new board members Ballots are due next Friday, April 17
Nancy Woods, Development, thanked all for help so far and alerted us that an appeal for the next campaign will come soon.

Jeff Wilcox, Heritage Preservation Awards spokesperson, invited those non Society members in attendance to join this organization for maintenance is SO critical for our historic structures and landscapes. Awards were presented in the following categories:

Home at 8 Wall Street, Douglas to Dan Turner and Gregory Dziewit
MacDonald Store Addition, Douglas to Robin and Sharon Bauer
Debbink-Plowe Cottage at 336 Park Street, Saugatuck to Steven Debbink
Red Barn at 540 Campbell Road, Douglas to Ken and Kathleen Tornvall
Balakeyll at 182 Lakeshore Drive, Douglas to Webster & Helen Corlett Families
Interurban Trail | Peterson Preserve, Saugatuck to Jim and Peggy Boyce
Dune Schooner Property, Saugatuck to Linus and Janice Starring
Hercules Hotdogs at 236 Culver Street, Saugatuck to Donald Schipper and John Seros
Park House B&B at 888 Holland Street, Saugatuck to Toni Trudell and Melissa Raywood
Home at 61 Randolph Street, Douglas to Dan Turner and Gregory Dziewit
The Boulders at 130 Lakeshore Drive, Douglas to K. J. and Carrie Weaver
Finkle-Knollenberg House at 605 Campbell Road, Douglas to Stephen Knollenberg
Shoe Box House at 229 Francis Street, Saugatuck to Darrell Price and Lizbeth Amundson
Bike Path, Blue Star Highway to Bill Wester HERITAGE PRESERVATION LEADERSHIP
Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance to David Swan
Shorewood Association to Sally Schreuer and Nancy Budd
Saugatuck Convention and Visitors Bureau to Felicia Fairchild
Valentine Lodge at 653 Campbell Road, Douglas to Allan and W.F. Boutin
Crawford House at 404 Griffith Street, Saugatuck to Bill and Barbara Bleeker
Pond-Winslow House at 446 Griffith Street, Saugatuck to Ken A. Morris
Cummings House at Randolph and Washington, Douglas to Samuel and Janene Cummings
Gray-Zarate Home at 541 Campbell Road, Douglas to Ken Gray and Hector Zarate
Fruit Barn and Garden at Randolph and Spring, Douglas to Patricia Sax
White Barn at 2525 Lakeshore Drive, Fennville to Dennis Vetter and Steve Howard
Landis Lodge at 2593 Lakeshore Drive, Fennville to the Watts Family

Peggy Boyce thanked all who registered with the State Historic District.

The 2009 Heritage Preservation Awards Committee members: Ken Carls, Chuck Carlson, Judy Hillman, chair, Dottie Lyon, Judy Oberholtzer, John Peters, Peg Sanford, Jim Schmiechen, Patrick Shea, Bob Simonds, Kathy Sturm, Jane Underwood and Jeff Wilcox. Submitted by Jane Osman, Secretary


The Society has an operating budget of approximately $80,000 and through the first three months of this year, we are on target for income and expenditures. This operating budget does not include the estimated $300,000 that we still need to finish the Old School House and fund an endowment to help defray on-going operating costs.

As you can well imagine, in these tight economic times, we need to continue to maximize our revenues and manage our expenses in a fiscally conservative manner. We will be presenting additional information about our financial results at the annual meeting. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please email me Submitted by Stacy Honson, Treasurer


Balloting for this year's slate of Board members closed on Friday, April 17. 97 ballots were received. Results are:



Harold Thieda, President 96
Stacy Honson, Treasurer 94
Ken Carls, Member at Large 93
James Cook Member at Large 90
Tony Vettori, Member a Large 90

Write-ins for Member at Large


Robert Simonds 4
John Noonan 1

New Board members will be presented at the May 13 Annual Meeting. Submitted by Jon Helmrich, Nominating Committee


Our Saugatuck Douglas Historical Society could not function without our very valuable volunteers. A huge thank you goes to the following people who make our organization the success that it is. In all we list more than 99 active volunteers.

People who have donated more than 800 hours: Jack Sheridan; more than 450 hrs: Kathy Sturm & Chris Yoder; more than 300 hrs.: Dick Haight, Dottie Lyon, Kit Lane, John Peters, Collettte Snydacker, Bill Hess.

Those with more than 150 hrs. Nancy Woods, Jim Schmiechen, Jim Gowran. More than 100 hrs: Mary Voss, Steve Hutchins, Jon Helmrich, Marsha Kontio, Ed Kelly, Jane Osman, Rob Carey, Nicolaas Wilkens.

More than 80 hours, Elliot Sturm, Mary Lyons. More than 70 hours: Maryrita Peters, Tom Anthrop, Chuck Carlson. More than 50 hours: Adrian Vincent, Karen Tews, Harold Thieda, Judi Vanderbeck, Dave Vander Laan, John Shack.

Those with more than 40 hours: Cynthia Sorensen, Stacy Honson, Judy Oberholtzer, Marcia Perry, Charles Hancock. Those with more than 20 hours: Bill Galligan, Mike Mattern, Peg Sanford, Sally Winthers, Karen Sproel, Judy Mauger, Jerry Hill, Dawn Schumann, Sylvia Daple, Bill & Patty Lint, Janet Schmidt, Deborah Schroeder, Sunny Hill, Howard Schultz, Judy Anthrop, Vic Bella.

This is by no means a complete list as there are people who have volunteered many, many hours and never sent in their time. Some of those who come to mind are Judy Hillman, Mike Economos, and Ken Carls. Numerous volunteers listed above also put in many more hours which they have not bothered to turn in.

Keeping track of donated hours allows us to acknowledge and express our appreciation to our volunteers. In addition, granting organizations such as the Preserve America Grant count donated labor as a part of the matching funds we need to provide. Each volunteer hour will be a huge help as our fundraising resources become scarcer.

I have already begun recording volunteer hours for 2009. If you have not already turned in your time this year please e-mail me at Thank you ahead of time. Please don’t be modest! Submitted by Mary Voss


Boating? the beach? golf? dancing? favorite restaurant? fishing—or just hanging out with friends and family? Yes, but how can summer be summer without ice cream?

Saugatuck Ice Cream
Ice cream seller - somewhere and sometime ago in Saugatuck. Anybody have any clues? Reply to this email!

The list is endless - and you might help us out in our inventory of bygone ice cream stores - although the first one supposedly grew out of an ice cream factory in Saugatuck in 1885.

Even the Presbyterian camp had its own ice cream parlor in the 1940s - but legend has it that the best chocolate soda was to be had at the Ferry Store.

The favorite hangout in the 1950s and 1960s was the Soda Lounge on Butler Street, run by Ruth Wright and Mike and Vera Kenny. Wilson’s ice cream shop was located in the present Santa Fe Store on Butler Street. Phone 62 for delivery.

We have a collection of a few ice cream stories and a number of photos but have need for more to add to our growing collection. Give us a shout by way of Vic Bella  or Jim Schmiechen.


The Historical Society’s museum exhibition for 2009 is a very ambitious attempt at telling a very big story and opens on Saturday, May 23 (Memorial Day Weekend) with the Members Reception beginning at 5:30 PM.

Oval Beach

The design/installation and technology groups are hard at work - including plowing through hundreds of photographs and the Society's archives, poster design and publicity output, painting, model building, even producing a string of old ‘home movies’ of summertime in the Saugatuck area.

Actual exhibit construction will begin as soon as the gallery is repainted, the opening reception planners are at work and the museum garden is being given its summertime 2009 facelift. THANKS to the several dozen volunteers engaged in this big push toward May 23rd.         Jim Schmiechen


As you know, our award-winning museum is free and is operated without a paid staff. With over 8,000 visitors last year we continue to be a West Michigan destination for people from all over the globe.

This year's exhibit, Summertime – A Century of Leisure Along the Lake Michigan Shore, is sure to be a hit with our Museumgoers.

The key to our success is our volunteer hosts. If you have volunteered as a Museum Host in the past we thank you for your support and urge you to host again this year. If you have not, we hope you consider volunteering this year!

The commitment for a Host is to volunteer for at least 1 (but hopefully more) shift during the season. (The Museum will be open Noon to 4 p.m. – daily from Sunday, May 24th through Labor Day and Saturdays and Sundays in September and October.)

As a Museum Host you will enjoy Hosts' only "perks" - - - a special exhibit preview and orientation mid-May and the Volunteers' "Thank You" reception and dinner at the end of the season.

If you would like to join us as a host or have any questions, contact Bill Hess at 269.857.1081 or by email at


The first SDHS 101 session of the year will be held this Saturday, April 25 outside at the Old School House Discovery Center at 10:00 a.m. New and former members are invited to attend - there will be lots of good company, information, and opportunities for you to contribute to our great organization.


Among the many benefits of membership in the Society is the "Membership Directory". To be included in this years directory, please join the Society before June 1, 2009. The directory will be distributed in late June.


Dan Turner and Gregory Dziewit
Dan Turner and Gregory Dziewit, owners, 8 Wall Street, Douglas and renovators, 61 Randolph Street, Douglas

Nicolaas Wilkins, architect; Robin and Sharon Bauer, owners; Charles Carlson, architect;
Nicolaas Wilkins, architect; Robin and Sharon Bauer, owners; Charles Carlson, architect; MacDonald Store Addition, Center & Spring Streets, Douglas

Ken Tornvall
Ken Tornvall, owner, Red Barn, 540 Campbell Road, Douglas

Barb Corlett Johnson, Anne Corlett Wiley and Beth Rasmusson,
Barb Corlett Johnson, Anne Corlett Wiley and Beth Rasmusson, owners, Balakeyll, 167 Lakeshore Drive, Douglas

Peggy Boyce
Peggy Boyce, former owner, Interurban Trail / Peterson Preserve, Saugatuck

John Seros and Donald Schipper
John Seros and Donald Schipper, owners, Hercules Hotdogs, 236 Culver Street, Saugatuck

Toni Trudell
Toni Trudell, owner, Park House Bed & Breakfast,
888 Holland Street, Saugatuck

Mark Schrock
Mark Schrock, contractor, The Boulders,
130 Lakeshore Drive, Douglas

Lizbeth Amundson and Darrell Price Lizbeth Amundson and Darrell Price, owners, Shoebox House, 229 Francis Street, Saugatuck

Bill Wester
 Bill Wester, Supervisor, Bike Path, along Blue Star Highway, Saugatuck Township

David Swan, President, Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance
David Swan, President,
Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance

Sally Schreur and Nancy Budd, Association representatives, Shorewood Association
Sally Schreur and Nancy Budd, Association representatives, Shorewood Association

Saugatuck Convention and Visitors Bureau
(L to R) Staff, Bill Henderson, Board Member Frank Wilson, Executive Director, Felicia Fairchild Staff, Nancy Vuillemot and Cathy O'Riley, Saugatuck Convention & Visitors Bureau

Ken A. Morris
Ken A. Morris, owner, Pond-Winslow House,
446 Griffith Street, Saugatuck

Sam and Janene Cummings with son Charlie
Sam and Janene Cummings, owners (with son Charlie), Cummings House, Randolph and Washington Streets, Douglas

Dennis Vetter and Steve Howard
Dennis Vetter and Steve Howard, owners, White Barn, 2525 Lakeshore Drive, Fennville

by Jack Sheridan
(Click on an image for the answer)

A street end full of the tools of commerce ca 1924.
HISTORY: A street end full of the tools of commerce ca 1924.
MYSTERY: What is the street?

An MG and a Studebaker parked near Hamburger Heaven and Anchor Park
HISTORY: An MG and a Studebaker parked near Hamburger Heaven and Anchor Park.
MYSTERY: Name the location.

The year 1969, the place, Chicago, the stars - well, they exchanged acting tips.
HISTORY: The year 1969, the place, Chicago, the stars - well, they exchanged acting tips.
MYSTERY: Name the stars.

An MG and a Studebaker parked near Hamburger Heaven and Anchor Park
HISTORY: Once a scenic drive, it was replaced in 1936.
MYSTERY: Where was it located?


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

Individual $25
Household $45
Senior (65+) $18
Senior Household $30
Student $5
Corporate $150
Life, Individual $300
Life, Household $500

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-Historical 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 currently closed and will open Memorial Day weekend 2009 with a new exhibit tentatively titled:

"Summertime: One Hundred Years of Leisure at the Lake Michigan Shore"

The Society's Technology Center is open Monday from 1 to 4 p.m., Tuesdays 10 a.m. to noon and Wednesday 9 a.m. to noon.

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

If you would like to contact us with comments, please email us at or call us at 269-857-5751.
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