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History Lives Here Text

Remembering Saugatuck-DouglasYears Ago
by Ann Renaldi and Richard Vacco


Ourfamilies were introduced to Saugatuck approximately 70 years ago. Initially ourparents leased a cottage on the site where the beautiful red brick home wasbuilt later. It came with outdoor plumbing and an outhouse with an option tobuy. Our next door neighbor was a Mrs. Mueller who had several lots up the roadand sold one to our family. The price was right!


Atthat time sewage flowed directly into the river. It wasn't until many yearslater that sewers were installed. The road leading up to the Ox-Bow was dirtand gravel, as was the road leading to the Oval Beach.


Stairsdid not exist for getting to the tap of Mt. Baldhead. There was a refreshmentstand at the bottom of Mt. Baldhead that served ice cream, hot dogs, soda pop,candy, etc. The Ferry Store, adjacent to the ferry, was initially a fullgrocery, with fresh meats. It was sold to Tim Gleason who discontinued the meatdepartment. He handled groceries, ice cream, etc. only. He also delivered dairyproducts to the homes along the road.


Thechain ferry, much larger than the existing one, would accommodate four cars ata time. (Cars were considerably smaller in those days.) Charge was 25 centsincluding the occupants in the car. Pedestrians paid 5 cents. In addition therewere flat row boats that would take passengers to the other side of the riverfor 5 cents. No safety measures were provided like life preservers.


Intown was the post office, Flint's Dry Goods Store, The Corner Drug Store; TheBird or Byrd Restaurant, The Pavilion - with movie theater. The dance pavilioncharged $1 admission. Once inside three dances were 25 cents. People danced tobig name bands. Liquor was not served. The Pavilion was huge; people came fromlong distances to dance.


TheCharles [probably Hiestand] boathouse provided outdoor motor boats, rowboats, canoes. You could rent a rowboat and/or canoe for $15 a season.


TheWilson Ice Cream Store, next to the tennis courts, was a popular place for thekids and adults too. A double dip ice cream cone cost 10 cents.


The above is a series of recollectionsrecorded by Ann Renaldi and Richard Vacco for a program at the museum. Thecottage their family built was located on Park Street on the west side of theriver.