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History Lives Here Text


The Woman's ClubSaugatuck Home Tours

as recalled by Sylvia Randolph,October, 2002.

In talking to Ted Reydaabout our recent Historical Home Tour, I mentioned that this was my second HomeTour in Saugatuck. The first was in December, 1981.


We were having a board meeting of theSaugatuck Woman's Club the first week of November, 1981, at my home. SophieGreco was president. The treasurer's report showed we had a balance of lessthan fifty dollars. We didn't know how we could get through the winter. TheBoard members all paid their 1982 dues early--in November instead of May-- butthat didn't help much.

It was a brightwintry day. The sun was pouring through the east windows making everythingbright and colorful.

Helen Hopper said,"Sylvia, your house ought to be on a Home Tour." Then Irecalled that my sister, who lived in Clarendon Hills, Illlinois,was going on a home tour in Hinsdale, Illinois. So I said, "Let'sgive a Home Tour."

Elita Graves said,"I'll give my house."

Mary Sanfordsaid, "I'll give mine."

Helen Hopper gladlyoffered her home and, of course, they had mine. ElitaGraves said she was sure we could get the Congregational parsonage as Young Campbell was the ministerthen. We never even thought of going to the Woman's Club as it was in such badcondition due to water leakage. So we had five homes and one month to go beforethe tour.

We decided on thesecond Saturday of December for our date. The tickets were to be $3.50; thetime: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. We planned to advertise in the Commercial Record,HollandSentinel, and elsewhere. Some one offered to have tickets printed and alsofliers for shops. We had these ready for our regular meeting the second Fridayof November. At the meeting we drummed up enthusiasm, got volunteers to help atthe homes, distributed tickets and fliers and we were off with one month to go.

The tour day dawnedbright and sunny. My husband Everett and I went around to each house withsigns--Christmas trees cut out of poster board nailed to a slat-- to stick inthe snow designating each Home Tour house.

Every home had aspecialty. The Campbellparsonage had a huge tree surrounded by toys, as they had small children. MarySanford had a very interesting collection of oriental figurines. Elita Graves had her beautiful flowing blue china on whichshe served tea in the dining room with the beautiful bay window. Helen Hopperhad a precious collection of cranberry glass.

I had little wintervillages arranged all around on top of the bookcases. The houses and figureswere wooden carvings I had brought back from Sweden,Denmark and Italy. BingCrosby was singing "White Christmas" softly in the background. A firewas crackling in the fireplace in the family room and coffee and homemadecoffee cake was served. A pleasant and appreciative crowd- wentthrough the homes.

When early twilight came, we found we had sold 150 tickets and madealmost $40C1.00 to save the Woman's Club!

These home tours went on for fourteen yearsuntil the Woman's Club was able to rent out the small Brechmanhouse as a shop, and later, to rent the club for theChamber Music performances. The Woman's Club no longer needed the toursfinancially, but some of us still miss those Christmas home tours.