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Dear SDHS Members,

I was trying to write a SDHS parody to the story, The Night Before Christmas, but just couldn't get it to rhyme the way it should and get the message across. Que Sera, Sera didn't fit this time.

I know that a newsletter in December is something that has not been done in the past, but we want to continue to keep the lines of communication open all year long. The Society is busy and many things are happening and much will be happening in 2009. I guess you could say this is a small historical event.

The recent Holiday Party was a success and it was wonderful to see so many of you come out, in spite of the weather. A Thank You to everyone who helped plan the evening and to Mike Johnson and his hardworking staff at Coral Gables.

SDHS continues to move forward and you should all have received your membership renewal information in the mail recently. We hope that you will mail your renewal back to us soon. Your membership is important to the success of the Society. If you did not receive one, please let us know by emailing us at or calling the SDHS office at 269.857.5751. For those who have responded, we thank you.

Now for a plug --- we are in need of volunteers to plan the 2009 St. Pat's Pub Party. Many of our members are away during these cold winter months and those who remain are reluctant to take on such a project alone. I would like to suggest that teams of two or three volunteers work together on different aspects of the party. A team to work with Mike and his staff at Coral Gables, a team to work on the auction, a team to work on decorations, the mailing and tickets. These are just a few examples. If this sounds more manageable and you are willing to help and be a part of the party, please let me know. Everyone looks forward to the event every year. You may call me at 269.561.2305 or email me at We will provide a to-do list so that we donít miss anything.

On behalf of the Board I want to wish you all a wonderful holiday season and all the best in 2009.

I personally wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Kathy Sturm

Give a SDHS membership as a Christmas gift! "Your friends are the most likely new members of SDHS". It's easy - let's grow!    Ed Kelly


The 2009 Society Calendar is now up on the Society's web site --- click HERE and be sure to stay current on what's happening this year.


In two months the image blog has been viewed by 115 different users. The average person looked at 15 pictures. As expected, most users are from the local area but the site has been viewed by people from Japan, the Netherlands and from U.S. states including Utah, South Carolina and Virginia.

Click HERE to see what all the excitement is about on the Society's new Image Blog. If you need a little tutorial, click HERE to go to the Society's November 2008 Newsletter and scroll down toward the bottom.

By comparison, over a two year period our Commercial Record on line archive has been visited 5,000 times. Those users viewed 45,000 pages of the paper.


Do it the easy way! Give Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society books.

History by Camera - Hard Cover $100
History by Camera - Soft Cover $30

To place your order, contact Fred Schmidt by REPLYING to this e-mail or by phone at 269-857-1620. We accept cash, checks or credit cards.


For upcoming 2008 Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Museum's 2000 Exhibition: "Summertime: A Century of Leisure and Fun on the Saugatuck area Lake Michigan Shore" - for loan, your photos, recollections, home-movies, memorabilia, souvenirs, menus? theater programs? post cards? hotel items? sport equipment? fish photos and boat photos? a water ski? cottage stuff, period beach toys, and so on.

With particular interest in documenting the period since 1940 - but we will take the subject back to the 1890s. Should be Saugatuck-Douglas area related.

Contact Jim Schmiechen ASAP - 269.414.9199 or Your help will be greatly appreciated by the entire design/concept team of your museum.

Photos will be digitized and returned for quick loan turn around. Or would you like to join in plan/install/manage this exhibit?


2008 Holiday Party
2008 Holiday Party
2008 Holiday Party
2008 Holiday Party
2008 Holiday Party
2008 Holiday Party
2008 Holiday Party
2008 Holiday Party
2008 Holiday Party
Photos courtesy of Janet Schmidt


Historic Marker located in front of Saugatuck City Hall

Looking for a fun outing over the holidays? Maybe it's time to check out the Singapore and South Haven exhibits at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum. Located in the permanent history gallery on the second floor, the Singapore exhibit tells the story of this boom-to-buried town at the mouth of the Kalamazoo River. The glory years of South Haven as a Jewish summer resort are featured in an exhibit, too. Temporary exhibits on Native American quilts from the Great Lakes region, and one about toys from the 50s and 60s are also worth your time.

The Kalamazoo Valley Museum, at 230 N. Rose Street in downtown Kalamazoo just north of the Radisson, is planning a complete overhaul of its history gallery, which is slated for completion in 2010. So you do have some time to catch the Singapore and South Haven exhibits. You might want to go soon, however, and also take a walk through the holiday glitz of Bronson Park to the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts. Currently showing there is "Spared from the Storm", a truly wonderful exhibit of masterworks from the New Orleans Museum of Art, which runs until February 8th. This traveling exhibit is helping the NWMA get back on its feet following Katrina and Kalamazoo is its only venue in the Midwest.

Admission to the KVM and KIA is free. "Spared from the Storm" tickets are $10 for non-members and $5 for members, although everyone pays $5 on Fridays. Check out and for directions and schedules.       Nancy Woods

by Chris Yoder

With the recent passing of SDHS stalwart Sylvia Randolph at the age of 103, the community loses not only a much beloved citizen; but also one of the oldest in the history of Saugatuck-Douglas.

Who was the oldest?

Saugatuck Township records show that a Lucy Picket died in 1882, is buried at Riverside Cemetery, and claims she was the "oldest age, 115 years old". These records also say '"VERY OLD AGE died at Saugatuck, somewhere in Potters field". This "fact" is supported by the entry in the Commercial Record at the time.

Lucy Pickett

She is also mentioned in an 1882 issue of THE PHRENOLOGICAL JOURNAL AND LIFE ILLUSTRATED, which cites her age at death as 115, followed by two gentlemen at 106, and others over 100.

So was Lucy the oldest buried in Saugatuck? No! In fact she was not really 115 years old at all. The 1880 census shows that Lucy Picket, age 81 born New York, was living in Bear Lake Twp, Manistee Co., Michigan. She is shown as "adopted mother" in a household with John Montee, age 27, and his wife Caroline, age 26. The state of Michigan death records include a listing for: "Lucy Picket - Date of death: 22-Apr-1882; Place of death: Saugatuck, Allegan Co; County of Death: Manistee (sic); Sex: Female; Race: White; Marital Status: Widowed; Age: 84 years 3 months 16 days; Cause of Death: old age; Birthplace: New York; Occupation: Speculator." She rests someplace in the Riverside Cemetery Potterís Field without a gravestone.

There are, in fact, six individuals older than Sylvia in our local cemeteries, all at Riverside. The oldest of these is Mabel Dunseth Howson, who, with her husband Louis, summered at their Shorewood community cottage for over 70 years. Louis was the President of the Shorewood Association for over 50 years, and was a partner in the firm of Alvord, Burdick, and Howson. Mr. Alvord designed and put in the Saugatuck Water Works in 1904, and it was through him that the Howson family came to adopt Saugatuck as their yearly vacation spot.

Mabel Howson and husband Louis

Mabel at 103 years

Those older than Sylvia (all at Riverside Cemetery) are:

Howson, Mary Mabel - Block-C, R-S, L-3, Gr #1 (Jul. 25, 1888 -Sep. 2, 1993) (105y, 1m, 8d)
Erickson, Lillian, - Block-8, R-28, L-17, Gr #1 (Aug. 16, 1895-Aug. 21, 2000) (105 years 5days)
Wright, Edna Barr - Block 8, R-25, L-13, Gr # 5 (Jun. 23, 1900-Feb. 5, 2005) (104y, 7m, 13d)

Edna Barr Wright
Edna Barr Wright

Wagner, Frederick John - Block-7, R-28, L-9, Gr#1 (Aug. 4, 1859- Jan. 11, 1964) (104 y, 5m, 7d)

Fred Wagner
Fred Wagner

Konecy, Hazel Blanche - Block 1, R-OOE, L-5, Gr 2 (Mar. 24, 1900-Aug. 31, 2004) (104y, 5m, 7d)
Thomas, Elizabeth - Block-1, R-2, L-8, Gr #1 (Jul. 1, 1891-Oct. 1, 1995) (104y, 3m)

Centenarians younger than Sylvia, (at Riverside) were:
Flack, Winifred - Block-1, R-H, L-6, Gr #3 (Sep. 15, 1901-Dec. 16, 2002) (101y, 3m, 1d)
Arends, Emma Heeringa - Block-6, R-19, L-14, Gr #1 (c1835-Nov. 4, 1936)
Walz, Helen - Block-A, R-H, L-7, Gr #3 (Aug. 30, 1898-May 6, 1999)(100y, 8m, 6d)
Zinke, Dorothy - Block-C, R-T, L-1, Gr #1, cremains (Mar. 28, 1901-Jan. 28, 2002)(100y, 10m)
Till, Augusta - Block-8, R-26, L-14, Gr #4 (Dec. 5, 1893-May 20, 1994) (100y, 4m, 15d)
Cobb, Frances A. - Block-8, R-28, L-19, Gr #1 (May 8, 1874-Dec. 18, 1974)

And at the Douglas Cemetery
Ash, Elizabeth Williams - Range 2E Lot-009 #4 (Apr. 12, 1851-Oct. 13, 1953) (102y, 6m, 1d)

Elizabeth Ash
Elizabeth Ash

For more information on these and other folks buried in the local cemeteries, visit the Society's "On Line Research Center" by clicking HERE.

Anyone having a good photo to share of these or any of the other people in these local cemeteries, contact Chris Yoder at:


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

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