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History Lives Here Text

By Donald Sessions Winner of the 1940
"Know Your Tourist Week" Essay Contest

Spring is once again in the air, and summer will soon be ushered in. For many people summer means a vacation, but not for the people of Saugatuck, Michigan'sgreatest summer resort. The first robin is a sign to start working;everyone is kept busy from sunrise to sunset, and our family is no exception.


IGAstore ca 1932


My father owns an IGA store and meat market combined. This keepsfather, mother, a butcher and a boy busy from seven o'clock in the morning until eight or nine at night, serving the summerguests and vacationists with a smile. This also keepsme busy half or two-thirds of the time doing odd jobs, waiting on trade anddelivering groceries.

I also work for the Tri-Co. Telephone companyas messenger boy. I am called out at most any hour of day or night to delivertelegrams, and to call people who have no telephone to the office to talk longdistance. I cover a large territory in working for the telephone company. I gofrom the many yachts in the river to houses far cut of town. The tips andregular pay I receive are very welcome.



Deliveringtelegraphs ca 1933


There are also many odd jobs to do. I take care of people's dogs while they are gone a day or two orcare for young trees during spring and summer, before the owners are here tostay. I also mail letters and deliver notes for people.

Many people rent rooms and cottages during the summer, and our housewill have several rooms to rent this year. My sister is now old enough to helpcare for these rooms, which have to be spick and span, bedding laundered andbeds made, and a fire going to keep hot water.

But we are not the only ones who profit from the summer resort season, the vacationists also receivelarge returns from the money they spend. Meals, rooms and amusements are veryinexpensive. Many people come early and stay late.

Saugatuck is located about 160 miles north of Chicago and has a colorful history. In the old days Saugatuck was a lumbering town,and exported fruits by boat. Our population is about 600 in winter and 5,000 inthe summer.

Saugatuck is a town of many activities; there is hiking through ourfamous sand dunes, and peaceful walks through the woods which are across thebeautiful Kalamazoo river; also golf, tennis, shuffleboard, boating, fishing,bowling, swimming and bike riding.

Saugatuck's Oval, the onlymunicipally owned oval in the United States, is an oval of cement on the bluff ofthe lake. It is about three blocks long and wide enough for two cars to go abreast. About 250 cars can be parked at one time.A lifeguard is on duty a greater part of the day for safety to the bathers andswimmers. The drive through the woods to the Oval and Lake Michigan is beautiful. To reach the lake and Oval from Saugatuckone must take the old chain ferry (the only one in Michigan)or go through the village of Douglas, which is another beautiful little town onthe Kalamazoo river.

There are seven different churches in Saugatuck and Douglas whichcordially invite you to worship with them.

In this essay I have tried to show how the tourists and people ofSaugatuck reap a harvest.

To the Vacationists

Saugatuck is the place to spend

Your week's vacation or week end. Come for a day or for ayear

We'resure this place you will hold dear,

On the shore of Lake Michigan

Come,yes, and bring along a friend; Boating in the Kalamazoo You'll notregret, we assure you.

Horsebackriding, golf and tennis, Yes, but this is not the finish, Fishing and Mount Baldheadto climb Good food to eat at any time.

Icould really write much more About the Big Pavilion, too, Thebrightest spot in MichiganOr how our art schools began.But now I must be on myway For I have work to do this day.

[This essay and poem by Donald Sessions of Saugatuck received the cashaward in the "Know Your TouristWeek" essay contest for 1940.The contest was co-sponsored in Saugatuck by the West Michigan Tourist and Recreation Association and the Pokagon Club of Saugatuck, an association of civic-mindedbusinessmen. Sessions' father,Stuart Sessions, owned the IGA store in Saugatuck 1928 to 1945 and left tobecome a teacher at Starr Commonwealth in Albion.In the tourist booklet of 1947 theIGA store is called Kruger's and islocated in the Heath Block on Butler Street in downtown Saugatuck. Later thestore was owned by the Francis family. From January 1, 1970 to the spring of1981 that portion of the Heath block was occupied by the Saugatuck-DouglasDistrict Library.]