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History Lives Here Text

Former Employer IdentifiesRowboat in Archives

As Style Used by Hiestand Livery


Don Websterwho grew up in Saugatuck was recently asked to examine a large rowing boat thatthe society is considering refurbishing to serve as an outdoor exhibit. He wasasked because he was an employee at the Hiestand boatlivery in the middle 1940s. Webster said the boat that was given to the societywas almost certainly a Hiestand boat.


The red and whitecolor scheme was that used by Hiestand, Webster said,as well as the lapped sides that had to be caulked every year, the double oarlocks (two pairs of oars were furnished with each boat) and the sweptsilhouette. He said when he was working at the yard he recalls that the chargewas about $3 a day for boat and oars.


The Hiestand livery was located across Mason Street from Coral Gables. The twostory building now used by The Bentley is the last of the houses built by the Hiestand family. Near the water stood Edgewater Inn, apopular restaurant featuring Louise Hiestand's home-stylecooking, especially her pies and fancy cakes.


The first Hiestand business was in an oldblacksmith shop that had been used to create the iron work for boats built inSaugatuck. This building was destroyed by fire in 1922 when a kerosene lamp, beingused because of an electrical outage, ignited gasoline fumes as Chancy Hiestand tried to fill a gasoline can.


The boat livery also rented canoes, a more romantic alternative to therow boat and favored by many vacationers. "We would tell them that it wasimportant to step into the center of the canoe, but they'd just jump right inand flip it over, Webster said. Novice boaters and their antics were a favoriteentertainment to restaurant customers.

Webster said that Charley Hiestand was a remarkable man, "a true intellectualwith only a third grade education." He would read encyclopedias in theevening, Webster said. And nearly anything else he could find.

Websteris the son of David C. and Irene (Robinson) Webster and now lives in NewMexico. He was in Saugatuck recently visiting his sister, Peggy Boyce, andother family members.


[Although boats are still rented, even today, in the past the rental ofboats for fishing and recreation was a big business. Doc Heath had a liverynear the old Tourist Home and Ross Phelps, ran the R. R. P. boat liverybusiness near Hoffman and Water Streets and by the bridge to Douglas.Hiestand bought out Phelps in 1935.]

From theNovember 8, 1929, Commercial Record "October ,Day" is part of the"Painting the Town" exhibit at the museum this summer on loan fromShoreline Bank; successor to Fruit Growers State Bank. The second painting alsostill hangs in the bank lobby on Mason Street, Saugatuck.