AUGUST  2008

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Wednesday, September10
at 7 p.m. at Old School House in Douglas. Official Opening of The Old School House Discovery Center.

Welcome to the Discovery Center

Wednesday. October 8, 7 p.m. at the Saugatuck High School Media Room. "Tall Tales Told by an Old Ships' Captain."

Wednesday, November 12, at 7 p.m. at the Saugatuck High School Media Room. Program to be announced.

Sunday, December 7, Annual Holiday Party at Coral Gables.


The Old School House Task Force and the Society Board are very excited about the September program. This will be our opportunity to show you what has been accomplished so far inside the Old School House!

You will love the main floor space and will enjoy our "show and tell" of posters on how the building and grounds will be used along with demonstrations of our planned services for members and the community.

We will explain our plans for future programming and how the building and its grounds will be used. Doesn't she look beautiful with hr new coat of paint and lovely brick walkway? Don't miss this meeting on September 10 at 7 p.m. We have worked for three years to bring you this program!
 -- Dottie Lyon


In July, the Society's Monthly Newsletter was sent electronically as well as by mail to all members. Nearly 200 email addresses are now ready to only receive the August newsletter electronically at a considerable savings to the Society in printing and postage.

The electronic newsletter contains all the same stories as in the printed copy plus additional pictures and links to other Internet sites of interest to members. A key link in the July Newsletter on how to purchase the Society's award winning publications on-line was quite popular. Also, as a result of comments from readers, you can also download a printer friendly version of the Newsletter.

If you would like to sign-up for the Society's e-news, which will include other timely items of interest to members, just send an email to Fred Schmidt at or give him a call at 269-857-5751.If you missed last month's e-newsletter, click HERE.


Have you taken a look at the Old School House lately? While work continues on the interior, there is now visible progress on the exterior. Fresh paint, the new brick walk and hidden from view, but still prominent is the bell in the cupola. The Old School House Task Force and the Board presented a sneak preview for our major donors on August 14, to show the progress that has been made and what type of programs are planned for the future, when the Discovery Center is opened to the public. We are thankful for everyone's generosity.

The building is looking quite wonderful in preparation for the official debut to our members on September 10. Be sure to read the details in this newsletter, and we hope to see all of you. The bell will be rung.

Thank you and congratulations to all who have donated time, talent and money over the years to the Society and to the Old School House project. A sense of pride is growing as we come closer to the completion of the project and will be able to showcase these accomplishments in the coming months.

Did you like the new format and look of last month's issue? It was sent via email in color with photos. We are catching up with modern technology and hope to be able to provide a higher level of communication to all of you. This is one of the benefits of membership. Be sure to let us know if you did not receive your copy and that we have your correct email address. For anyone that does not have access to the internet, we will still send you a paper copy. This is a cost savings and we hope to reduce printing and mailing costs for 2009. We will be sending out an email survey soon. Thank you in advance for your responses.

The visitors to our communities seem to be in larger numbers this year and one of the SDHS successes is that we do not offer a "been there, done that" type museum. So spread the word about the museum exhibit this year, 13 Moments in Time, the monthly programs and the 'Til Noon talks, all are open to the public. Let's show the community that SDHS is a very good reason to return time and time again. See you on September 10th.
-- Kathy Sturm, President


After 60 members/guests sampled a groaning board of treats at the August picnic, President Kathy Sturm welcomed visitors, thanked Jane Underwood for pavilion arrangements and introduced three committee chairs.

Dottie Lyon: OSH has a new coat of white paint and green front doors. The September 10, 2008 SDHS meeting will be at the OSH!

Judi Vanderbeck: Heritage Festival is September 20, with eight locations. Do sign up as a volunteer. Advanced tickets for $20 are available at the French Cottage, SDHS Museum and Uncommon Grounds and are $25 at the door. Lunch with Douglas Social vendors will be at the OSH and a free September 21 Moments in Time Realtor/Partnership home tour is a bonus.

Jane Underwood: 10 question game based on the Moments in Time exhibition took place inside the museum. Players searched artists’ write-ups for correct answers. Top three winners and their prize books were:
1. Betsy Muir (Painting the Town)
2. Rick Brigham (Storm, Fire and Ice)
3. Peggy Boyce (Painting the Town)
Each participant received a postcard.
-- Jane Osman, Secretary


Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance has announced that it will host a Town Hall Meeting to report on the status of the "Denison" property, Tuesday, August 26, 7 p.m. at Saugatuck High School Auditorium.

Society President Kathy Sturm will be present to represent the Society during the Q&A portion of the meeting to ensure our mission and focus as an historical society is understood, and to support the research initiated by Jim Schmiechen to map the areas that are in need of designation and preservation.

The Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society is informing its members of this meeting because this and other ongoing land use discussions fall within the focus of our mission "to discover, procure, and preserve whatever may relate to the civil, religious, social, cultural, and natural history of Saugatuck, Douglas, and the surrounding area," and "to provide leadership, enabling the community to connect to and understand its past and use its history to shape its future and preserve its quality of community life." Land use decisions will have important implications for shaping our area's future.

The Society encourages members to exercise all opportunities to become better informed and to voice their opinions on this and the many other issues that face our public decision makers. We may from time to time distribute information that may be of value to members to achieve a fuller participation in their community.


The Old School House bell rang out from its original belfry for the first time since 1957 on the evening of Thursday, August 14, as the Society gave approximately 150 major donors a thankful "sneak peek" at the progress their vision and generosity has made possible in turning this historically significant Douglas icon into a new Heritage Discovery Center.

Chief among the major donors honored at the Thursday event, and invited to pull the bell rope, was the building's former owner, Holland's Nancy J. Budd, who offered it to the Society at a "gift" price that reflected a significant personal contribution. Individual major donors have since built upon Budd's contribution in amounts ranging from $1,000 to $120,000, sparked by a $425,000 matching grant from the Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation. Together with additional grant support from Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA), Allegan County Community Foundation (ACCF) and Preserve America Historic Preservation Fund, more than 400 donors have accomplished much of the project's budget-based goal of $1,525,000, leaving only about $350,000 remaining to be raised.

In brief welcoming remarks, Society President Kathy Sturm delighted the audience by singing her parody of Doris Day's classic hit "Que Sera, Sera", having lyrics rewritten to thank donors with "look what we have done", the chorus prompted a spontaneous group sing-along.

Speaking next, volunteer/historian Jim Schmiechen emphasized that the new Discovery Center does not replace the Society's Museum, rather it adds another totally different element to the area's educational infrastructure. "Our intent here is to give people of all ages a place to access Society archives, invent new ways to connect with our area's past, and make our history come alive and meaningful," he said.

Task Force spokesperson Jeff Wilcox, again thanked the major donors and acknowledged many substantial cost-saving "in-kind" donations of materials, equipment, skills and professional services from area businesses and contractors, noting that their names will be gratefully recorded on a permanent "donor wall" display in the main entry area, still being designed. He also spoke of numerous choices made to save or maximize available money, reporting that the renovation is pursuing LEED ("Green Building") certification.

Guests enjoyed hors d'oeuvres catered by Mermaid Bar & Grille and cocktails during a walk-through look at the nearly finished main level, which soon will house a Welcome Center for visitor orientation to our community and the Center's resources, a Discovery Room for access to the Historical Society's extensive collections and local genealogy research plus local/state history materials from the District Library, and an Exhibition Room for scheduled exhibits, with a "Creation Station" where anyone can create and present public displays using their own private collections and memorabilia. A number of large hanging banners visually highlighted various functions and programs being planned for the Center, and more than a dozen Society committee members wearing "Ask Me" nametags mingled with the visitors to answer questions.

The Historical Society meeting on Wednesday, September 10 will convene at the Old School House, 7 p.m., giving members an opportunity to see the facilities closer to completion and learn more about the activities and volunteer opportunities anticipated there. The public opening of the main floor Discovery Center is targeted for September 20.

Members who have not yet contributed are urged to join us now in supporting the Society's commitment to create this unique legacy for all who value our area's heritage. Donations may be sent to The School House Project, Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society, PO Box 617, Douglas, MI 49406.


Heritage Festival logo

On September 20 and 21 the Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society's 7th annual Heritage Festival will feature the popular Home Tour as well as a number of other events which focus on the heritage of the Saugatuck-Douglas area.

On Saturday, September 20, the Eight Moments in Time Home Tour will provide a rare look inside seven distinctive homes, each reflecting a unique aspect of the Saugatuck area’s multifaceted architectural heritage. Tour homes open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. include contemporary, Civil War era, award-winning and cottage-style residences in Saugatuck, Douglas and Pier Cove. Click HERE for all the pictures and details of each of the homes.

Timber Bluff

The tour includes the first public viewing of the Old School House. (Members will get a special preview at the monthly Society meeting on September 10.) Enjoy lunch on the lawn of the school served 11a.m. to 3 p.m. by local non-profit organizations and church groups.

Heritage Homes Tour tickets are $20 in advance and $25 on the day of the tour (and half price for Homes Tour volunteers). Advance tickets may be purchased in advance at the museum, Uncommon Grounds in Saugatuck and the French Cottage in Douglas. On tour day, tickets are also available at all tour stops and the Old School House.

Other attractions on Saturday include:

w The Clothesline Art Show, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Beery Field presented by the Saugatuck-Douglas Art Club.

w A vintage baseball match at Beery Field featuring the Douglas Dutchers. Warm-up at 3 p.m., match at 4 p.m.

On Sunday, September 21 there will be three new Heritage Festival events:

w Historical Society docents will lead 75 minute walking tours of historic downtown Saugatuck. Tours will begin at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

w Saugatuck mayor Tony Vettori will lead a hike through historic Tallmadge Woods to the Crow's Nest on the Ox-Bow lagoon.

w  Realtors Open House Tour will feature area homes of historic and architectural significance which are available for sale and are often not open to the public. Brochures on each home show including open hours, description and location will be included in a packet that will be distributed to Saturday Home Tours visitors.

For additional information call 857-5751.


The Society's 7th Annual Heritage Festival will be held on Saturday, September 20th and Sunday, September 21st. As you know, the success of our scheduled events depends on our cadre of dedicated volunteers as we host hundreds of visitors to the area and celebrate our area’s heritage. We once again ask you to join the team.

In addition to the personal satisfaction of being a part of this fun fall tradition, as a Festival volunteer, you will receive a few special "perks" in exchange for the gift of your time:

w  As a special "thank you," you will be invited to a Pre-Festival Reception at the Constance Petter Gallery, held the night before the Heritage Homes Tour. Enjoy complimentary wine, soft beverages, and hors d’oeuvres, and meet the tour homeowners.

w  At the Friday-night reception, Festival volunteers have the opportunity to purchase half-priced Festival Home Tours tickets ($12.50 instead of $25.00) at the reception. (Note: The half-priced tickets will be available at the reception only.)

Below is a list of volunteer opportunities for the Festival. If you would like to join the team or would like more information about what volunteering would entail, either respond to this e-mail or contact the activity leader directly.

Home Tour Host

What You Will Be Doing: You will just be the perfect host --- greeting visitors, answering visitor’s questions about the home and watching over homeowner’s personal property.
When: Saturday, September 20th. There are two time periods for Hosts: 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. or 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Who to Contact If You Are Interested in Volunteering: Sunny Hill: (269) 227-3730  If you volunteer, you will be contacted by a House Captain to provide you with specific details.

Home Tour Parking

What You Will Be Doing: Monitoring parking in an assigned area for a 3-hour shift.
When: During the Home Tour on Saturday, September 20th. There are two time periods for Parking Assistants: 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. or 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Who to Contact If You Are Interested in Volunteering: Howard Vanderbeck, (269) 857- 2682 or E-Mail:  If you volunteer, you will be contacted by Howard to provide you with specific details.

Publicity Distribution Committee Member

What You Will Be Doing: You will be contacted when rack cards and/or posters are available for distribution. You will be responsible for distributing the materials to all the locations in your assigned area (typically near your home).
When: For the Heritage Festival, when the materials have been printed. For the Pub Party (February for the Pub Party and in May for the Museum and the Bowling Fundraising event).
Who to Contact If You Are Interested in Volunteering: Marsha Kontio, (616) 566-1239 or E-Mail:


The Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society has been awarded an "IMLS Connecting to Collections Bookshelf" from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 122,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute works at the national level and coordinates with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development.

The Bookshelf comprises a core set of conservation books, DVDs, and online resources that detail professional standards for the collection, preservation and storage of historical materials. It also addresses the philosophy and ethics of collecting, collections management and planning, emergency preparedness and culturally specific conservation issues.

"We're truly honored to receive this award", says President Kathy Sturm. "Our community has entrusted us with many treasures over the years and we've always done our best to preserve and protect these artifacts. The IMLS Bookshelf will do much to help us sharpen our procedures and more effectively manage both the Museum and the Old School House Discovery Center."

"This couldn't have come at a better time," adds Harold Thieda, Historical Society Archives Committee chair. " We're now planning to consolidate our collections from four different storage locations around the area into our new archival room at the Old School House Discovery Center, so having current, professional guidance in this effort will be immediately useful."

The IMLS Bookshelf is awarded competitively to libraries, museums and archival organizations based on submitted applications describing their needs and plans for care of their collections. Most recipients are small organizations having limited budget and staff, demonstrating urgent need for this permanent resource.

As part of a conservation initiative that the Institute launched in 2006, the Bookshelf was made possible by a cooperative agreement with American Association for State and Local History (AASLH), with support from the Getty Foundation, Henry Luce Foundation and Samuel H Kress Foundation. Recipients in this second round of Bookshelf competition, announced on August 5, included 776 organizations representing every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam. Click HERE to learn more about the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH)


The Membership Development Team needs two or three people to join Collette Snydacker (membership records) and Nyla Hensley (new member welcome and orientation) to manage membership related issues.

The team functions will include membership communication, recognition, acquisition, welcome and orientation, volunteer relations, membership directory and other activities requested by the board. I will be the Board liaison, working with the group until the MDT is functioning well. Please contact me by email or phone. Thanks.

Ed Kelly, Board Liaison - Membership 269-857-2843 or cell 630-363-9853


If you have volunteered time to the SDHS this year and have not already sent me your hours, please do so. Volunteer hours count towards matching grant monies received especially for the School House project. Volunteer hours can be sent to Mary Voss at Just list the month, the hours and the area in which you volunteered. Bill Hess is keeping track of the museum volunteers so those hours will be submitted by him. Thank You volunteers for all you do to help make this Society so successful!

Pumphouse Museum Exhibit
2008  Museum Exhibit

by Frank Gunter

Visitors to the 2008 Museum exhibit “13 Moments in Time: The Artist as Storyteller” are invited to create their own moments and hundreds have done so. For this picture, dated August 2, F. Gunter did not have to go far. It depicts the artist’s studio which is part of the exhibit showing the still life scene and the pictures of others hanging on the clotheslines.


One of the goals of the Old School House Discovery Center is to teach children of today the history of yesterday. One of the ways we hope to do this is with what we call the Lockers in Time Exhibit.

The purpose of this display is to bring to life five historical eras - the late 1800s, the War years, the '50s, the '60 -'70, and the present - using the common objects of a student's world.

The nook in the Old School House research room will be divided into five vertical sections, each representing an era. Each section will be set up to resemble a student's locker (or similar space before lockers existed). By comparing the contents in each of these sections, the viewer will gather insights into each era. Familiar objects such as footwear, hats, report cards, lunch containers, pinned-up photographs/popular images, and text books will appear in each section so the viewer can compare how these objects have changed through the years.

Above the lockers will be a high shelf for displaying large or delicate objects, in a continuum from older to most recent. Below the lockers will be five bins filled with interactive materials, e.g. popular toys from each era. Children will be free to play (check out?) these durable items. Each bin will also have a laminated inventory sheet to help get the items back to where they belong at the end of the day.

Possible objects that could represent the various eras include:

w The 1800s: high button shoes, a slate, Mc Guffey primers, books held in a book strap, a lunch pail. This section will be sparsely filled.

w The War Years: Work clothes/boots to represent lean times. Items that point out how children in that era may have assisted in their households by doing farm work/household work. Kilroy graffiti. War-themed toy half-hidden in a pocket.
w The '50s: Items that reflect how the baby-boomer children were marketed to like never before. Comic books. Metal lunch box with character like the Lone Ranger or Davey Crocket. Space race/cold war items could reflect the larger currents in this area.

w '60s -'70s: Clothing with clothing vivid graphic patterns, groovy beads, vinyl boots, pin-ups of popular musicians. Mild hippie fashions. Items to hint at the growing influence of the civil rights movement and youthful rebellion.

w Present: Loaded backpack, electronic gadgets, high-tech sports shoes, every sort of convenience from mirrors to shelves. Objects from a present-day student's locker might not seem "historical," since they will be items that anybody between the ages of 10 and 30 will recognize. Yet, these familiar (Hey, I had one of those!) objects will help connect younger viewers to similar materials from previous eras. This locker will be very crowded to reflect the nation's consumerism and affluence.

As the plans for the lockers become more finalized we will be asking for donations of items for the lockers. If you have something you think would be appropriate please call Sally Winthers at 269-857-4181 or Mary Voss at 616/396-2013.


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
Sustaining $75
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: Kit Lane, PO Box 250, 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.

"13 Moments in Time
The Artist as Storyteller

Open noon to 4 p.m. daily until Labor Day. Weekends in September and October.

The Society's Technology Center is open Monday from1 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

Last Call: Are your dues up to date?

Collette Snydacker who tends to the membership lists, reports that many members, including some who recently requested electronic newsletters have not paid their 2008 dues for 2008. If you are among them, this is the last newsletter you will receive, via snail mail or electronic. Check your label on last month’s edition. The date at the top is the month your membership expires. It should be 12/08 if you are currently paid up. If you need to pay yet for 2008, check above to determine how much to send. Better yet, save yourself some postage, send your dues for next year too.


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