A MESSAGE FROM YOUR NEW PRESIDENT
First, let me introduce myself. I'm Harold Thieda, a member since
1999, when my wife Sandra and I retired to Saugatuck from Trumbull,
Connecticut. She and I spent part of our honeymoon in Saugatuck in
1964, and her family has been vacationing here since the 1950s. Our
family purchased a summer cottage in 1966, and we spent all of our
vacations in Saugatuck, even when we lived in CT. This summer
cottage, which became our home, was built in 1896 and renovated in
I have been involved with the Historical Society as committee chair
of archives, as well as coordinating the walking tours, and
volunteering at the museum. I've been on the Board as a member at
large and have now accepted the position as president of our dynamic
My main objective for the next 2 years is to continue to keep our
Society moving forward in the areas of outstanding museum exhibits,
book publications and membership. We must remain on a strong
financial footing in both the areas of the Society and the Old
School House. We are close to our goals for the Old School House,
which will allow our Society to have this community gem in operation
all year round.
Previous presidents told me to keep it short, so thank you for your
trust in allowing me to guide this great Society for the next two
years, continuing the outstanding work of the current Board, and
with the support of the Board and the entire membership, help set
its course for the future. Harold Thieda
Wed., June 10, 7 PM, in partnership with the
Saugatuck Center for the Arts,
Jim Schmiechen will speak on the life and work of Sylvia Randolph.
The public is invited to the
"Sylvia Randolph: an Art-filled Life" Exhibition Opening
Reception on Sunday, May 3 from 3 to 5 pm
Painting in Saugatuck for 80 years, Sylvia Randolph's works are a
veritable local history project, reflecting the influences of
notable Ox-Bow instructors, shifts in pop culture, and the area's
changing landscape. Join Jim Schmiechen for a look at four
remarkable decades in Saugatuck/Douglas and what the retrospective
of Ms. Randolph's works in the SCA's exhibition hall tells us about
ourselves, our community, and our world.
Wed., July 8, 7 PM,
Yacht Club, the history of the Saugatuck Yacht Club as they
celebrate their 75th anniversary of teaching young and old to sail
small boats. John Shack has recruited a group of "Old Salts"
to spin some tales about the Club.
Wed., August 12, 6 PM, Annual Society Picnic at Mt. Baldhead Park
Museum Opening Reception
Saturday, May 23 | 5:00 - 7:00 PM
"THE STORIES are based on real-life people and real-life
experiences of time past, only the names have been changed and some
of the facts and points in time are woven in from a variety of
experiences. We have picked ten thematic points to represent the
history of 'summertime' - each story covering one of the points. You
will note that one of the stories is about the people who were
involved in work, not leisure." James Schmiechen, author and
curator of the exhibition
The museum design and technology teams, headed by Judy Hillman, have
invented a number of formats in telling the stories - including a
large structure that, in abstract form, represents the Big Pavilion
and houses a model of the Big Pavilion built by Society member Arnie
The exhibit includes, as well, several large flat screen monitors
that deliver a mix of archival photographs and newly discovered
'home movies' from the early 1900s through to the 1950s.
In addition, the art students of Christa Wise (Saugatuck Public High
School) have constructed their own unique part of the exhibition.
The museum's "Tuesday Talks" in June and July will
present these same themes - one of which will be on the West
Michigan summertime invention called the Chris Craft cruiser - a
talk by the grandson of the founder of Chris Craft. The exhibit will
include a scale model replica of one of the most popular Chris Craft
boats of the 1930s.
Don't Miss It!
BOWL-A-RAMA IS BACK: BOWLERS & SPONSORS NEEDED
This year's event will be Thursday night, June 4 at Lakeview Lanes
Proceeds from this event help support the Old School House Discovery
Center in Douglas and the Society's Museum in Saugatuck.
Eight 5-person teams are needed to bowl. The cost for each team
member is $25 (which is tax deductible.) Bowling will begin at 7:00
pm and each team will bowl 2 games. If you would like to bowl that
evening, contact Judi Vanderbeck at (269) 857-2682.
Not a bowler? You can still support the event by making a pledge to
your favorite bowler. Here's how it works - - if you make a pledge
of $.05 a pin and your bowler scores at total of 300 pins, your
donation would be $15.00. It's simple to pledge, sign up when a
bowler contacts you or call Judi to make a pledge. You can, of
course, make a pledge at the event.
It's also a great event for everyone to attend. There will be 50/50
drawings, food, fun, and prizes.
It's not a Garage Sale - It's Better,
The Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society will be holding an
"Upscale Sale" on Saturday, July 18 from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM
on the grounds of the Old School House Discovery Center in Douglas.
A preview sale and party will be held on the evening of Friday, July
17 beginning at 5:30 PM.
Proceeds will benefit the Society's award-winning museum
exhibitions, lecture series, Heritage Preservation Awards, archival
programs, the Technical Center, Old School House Discovery Center
building fund and many more of the Society's community-wide
Donating is a great way to support the Society and receive a tax
How to Donate to the Sale
The Types of Item You Should Donate
The sale will focus on high-quality items such as antiques,
framed art, collectables, jewelry, small-scale furniture, toys and
games, housewares and small appliances that will maximize the
Unfortunately, we will be unable to accept clothing, large scale
furniture pieces, computer or home electronics, exercise equipment,
50-cent items or the like.
When and Where to Drop-Off Donations
You can drop off your donations at the Old School House in Douglas
on Saturday (9:00 AM - Noon) June 20, June 27 and July 11 or Tuesday
(4:00 - 7:00 PM) June 29, July 7 and July 14.
For additional information or to inquire about a donation pick-up
call, REPLY to this email or call Fred Schmidt at (269) 857-5751
ROSEMONT, DOUGLAS, MICHIGAN
by grandson Bob Erickson - April 2009
The Rosemont property had become a fruit farm in the 1870s. The
owners planted and farmed a large peach orchard. It was very
Samuel and Ellen (Olsen) Bryan (c1882)
Samuel Willison Bryan Jr. (born Kalamazoo, Dec. 24, 1847) and Ellen
Serena (Olsen) Bryan married in 1882. In 1886, they purchased the 40
acre farm. The property, which originally extended east from Lake
Michigan and north from Center Road, would eventually be occupied by
a number of private dwellings, the Douglas Public Beach, the
Rosemont Resort, a chestnut grove and portions of the Golf Course.
Unfortunately, in the 1890s the area peach growing economy suffered
major losses due to weather and several genetic malignancies. Trees
began producing deformed fruit. The government eventually required
the cutting and burning of entire orchards to prevent further spread
of the disease. The Saugatuck Township property tax in 1896 was
$17.76, based on an assessed valuation of $1000.
Daughter Nellie had been born before they came to the lake shore.
Children Willis, Lillian and Hallie were born in the
original farmhouse. The farmhouse was destroyed by fire in 1900.
Douglass was born in the replacement building.
Rose Mont, early 1900s
About this time, the Lake Shore area was becoming a vacation
destination. The Rosemont (initially named
Rose Mont) was established by 1904 after an addition was
built onto the front of the new building. Samuel had some
understanding of hotel management since his parents had operated a
hotel in Kalamazoo. Initially, the resort served meals. The lower
level of the rear building was occupied by dining and kitchen areas.
Over time it became a Rooming facility and later a Bed & Breakfast.
The lake shore area became part of the Village of Douglas in 1904.
Hallie and Douglass built homes just to the south of the resort.
Willis built his home along Center St. Over time all other lots
abutting Lake Shore Drive and Center St. were sold.
Samuel died in 1918. After Ellen died in 1938, Nellie, and later
Douglass & his wife would operate the business. It was sold to M.
Sajak in the 1970s. It is now called the
Rosemont Inn operated
by Pat and Pieter Lion.
HERE for an expanded article with additional pictures from
the Society's web site. Do you have favorite Saugatuck-Douglas
stories to share? Click
HERE to tell us about them or call or write Chris Yoder,
(269) 857-4327, firstname.lastname@example.org
Submitted by Chris Yoder
OFF THE PRESS
Society's Latest Book to Be Unveiled at the Museum Opening
After a brief hiatus, the Society's dynamic - and award-winning -
publishing duo, author Kit Lane and graphic designer Ken Carls have
teamed up once again to produce another stunning new volume to add
to the Society's growing list of local history publications. This
year's book, The Big Pavilion, The Brightest Spot on the Great
Lakes, is in the final stages of production and will be
available at the May 23 Museum reception.
The 48-page book chronicles the history of Saugatuck's most famous
building, the enormous dance hall that stood at the bend in the
Kalamazoo. Generously illustrated, the book takes the reader from
construction in 1909 to destruction (by fire) in 1960 - and through
the many phases of Saugatuck's changing social scene in between. The
text is punctuated with quotes from hundreds of newspaper articles
and first-hand accounts by Big Pavilion regulars.
The book will retail at the Museum Shop for $19.95, and as with
previous Society publications, a special numbered commemorative
hand-bound hard cover edition will be available for $100 each.
Prepaid orders for soft cover or special numbered copies are
available by REPLYING to this email or through Fred Schmidt at 269
Walking Tour docents are needed. Training will be available
in June (dates to be coordinated to individual schedules). Actual
tour needs are for Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in
July and August.
Tours start at 2:00 pm from the Information Booth in downtown
Saugatuck and take about 1 hour 15 minutes and are about 1 mile in
length. No tour on July 4 due to parade. Contact Harold Thieda at
857-2985 or by email at
REMINDER - The next "SDHS 101" session will be
held at the Old School House Discovery Center on Saturday, June 27th
at 10:00 a.m. For details or to register, call Nyla Hensley
269-857-5704 or email
NEW MEMBERSHIP DIRECTORY
Connect with EVERYBODY in the Saugatuck-Douglas
New Look for 2009 + New Opportunity
For a donation of $100 or more, you can sponsor a page in the
Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society Membership Directory. Your page
will include a 4.25 x 2 inch sponsorship box where you can display
business information, a memorial message, or an acknowledgement. If
you're a member of the Historical Society, then you already know
that the Membership Directory is the other phone book that members
use to quickly look up contact information.
Your support will be appreciated by more than 600 Society members
over the course of the next year and will help free up funds for
other important Society projects. The directory will be available in
We are planning for only 20 sponsorship boxes so if youíre
interested, just REPLY to this email and reserve your sponsorship
box. We'll get back to your with further details.
Several months ago I did a survey of those over 100 who are buried
in the Saugatuck and Douglas Cemeteries. I apologize for missing
Inez Hazen 1910
Inez Hazen Campbell (Sep. 23, 1892-Aug. 10, 1997) lived 104 years
10months and 18days. Inez would be third oldest in comparison to
those presented earlier. She was born in Grass Lake, MI and came to
the area with her sister Vera who had secured a teaching job.
Abigail Robinson DeYoung (Oct. 11, 1900-Jan. 19, 2002) 100yrs 3m
8days, a daughter of prominent businessman Miller Robinson and
granddaughter of early Singapore settlers. (Riverside cemetery)
Older than anyone would be a fellow buried in Riverside, if his
identity is correct. In the first decade of the last century a man
was hurt in a logging accident and lost his memory. He wandered into
the Ottawa County Poor Farm in 1907 and said he didn't know who he
was or where he came from.
Fifty-eight years later, Monroe Eaton of Ganges read an article
about him in the newspaper and identified him as his uncle, Monroe
Rutty. Based on this identification, Monroe Rutty (Mar. 31, 1860-May
30, 1971) was considered the oldest man in the state at the time of
his death-111 years 2months. Contributed by Chris Yoder
LOCKER PROJECT NEARING COMPLETION
The "Back in Time" locker exhibit in the Old School House Discovery
Center is close to being completed. The purpose of this permanent
exhibit is to illustrate what school life was like in the past and
to interpret this for our children and grandchildren in such a way
that it will be easily understood. What did you have in your school
locker when you were growing up? Certainly not the backpacks and iPods that you would find today. So in this display we are showing
the contrast between 1860 (when the Douglas school opened) and
today, using five different locker spaces. What better way to tell
this story than to actually see and touch the books, clothing, and
other items, not only of the Douglas School House but of school life
Underneath the lockers are bins that will contain toys from each era
for children/adults to actually play with. What a great multi
generational sharing activity this will be!
To complete the story, a number of items are still needed. Donations
of a pair of steel roller skates c.1950s; a letter jacket and gym
clothes c.1960s-1970s; Saugatuck High School yearbooks one from the
1960s and one current one, also a pair of high top tennis shoes c.
1950s. and popular song sheet music from the turn of the century
would be greatly appreciated. If you have an item to donate please
contact Mary Voss at 616-396-2013 or
or contact Sally Winthers at 269-857-4181 or
Other suggestions for items to include in the lockers are also
Along with the actual lockers, there will be a digital program
telling the story of the Douglas School House. More photos are
needed. If you have any that you can share (they will be returned)
please contact us! - Sally & Mary
BOARD WELCOMES TWO
At the Society's Annual Meeting on May 13, two new members-at-large
to the Board took the oath of office. The Society is very pleased to
welcome Tony Vettori and Jim Cook. Click
HERE for a complete copy of the presentation material.
Tony Vettori is no stranger to most of our members. He moved to
Saugatuck twenty years ago from the Chicago area where he spent 34
years with Abbot Laboratories in Information Technology. Tony has
served on the Saugatuck city council since 2004 and was Mayor of
Saugatuck from 2006 - 2008. He is the cityís representative in the
negotiations to purchase and preserve the South Denison property.
Tonyís partner, Ken Altman, is a retired banker and financial
software programmer who serves on the Board of Mason Street
Jim Cook, like so may of us, moved his life and business here from
points west. Jim and his wife Kat (a West Michigan native herself)
left the Rocky Mountains in Colorado for Saugatuck four years ago.
Ox-Bow Photograph by Jim Cook
A renowned photographer and former journalist for Newsweek, Time,
and Forbes, Jim and Kat now run HindSight Ltd., a software
management company for professional photographers. Jimís work is
part of the Smithsonian Institution's permanent collection at the
National Museum of the American Indian. Jim has also served on the
national board of directors of the American Society of Media
Both Jim and Tony were elected to two-year terms in the April
election that also extended treasurer Stacy Honson's and
member-at-large Ken Carls' terms on the board and elevated Harold
Thieda to president. Submitted by Jon Helmrich, Vice President
and Nominating Committee liaison
8 Wall Street, Douglas, Dan Turner and Gregory Dziewit,
MacDonald Store Addition, Center & Spring Streets,
Douglas, Nicolaas Wilkins, architect; Robin and Sharon Bauer,
owners; Charles Carlson, architect;
336 Park Street, Saugatuck, Steven J. Debbink, owner
540 Campbell Road, Douglas,
Ken Tornvall, owner
167 Lakeshore Drive, Douglas, third generation of the
Webster D. and Helen Corlett families, owners
Interurban Trail, Peterson Preserve, Saugatuck, Jim
and Peggy Boyce, former owners
Dune Schooner Property, Saugatuck Township, Linus and
Janice Starring, owners
Hercules Hot Dogs, 236 Culver Street., Saugatuck, Donald
Schipper and John Seros , owners
Park House B&B, 888 Holland St., Saugatuck,
Toni Trudell & Melissa Raywood, owners
61 Randolph Street, Douglas, Dan Turner and
Gregory Dziewit, renovators
The Boulders, 130 Lakeshore Drive, Douglas,
K.J. and Carrie Weaver, owners
Finkle-Knollenberg House, 605 Campbell Road,
Douglas, Stephen Knollenberg, owner
Shoebox House, 229 Francis Street, Saugatuck,
Darrell Price and Lizbeth Amundson, owners
Bike Path, Blue Star Highway, Saugatuck Township Board,
Bill Wester, Supervisor
Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance, David Swan, President
Valentine Lodge, 653 Campbell Road, Douglas,
Allan and W.F. Boutin, owners
Crawford House, 404 Griffith Street, Saugatuck,
Bill and Barbara Bleeker, owners
Pond-Winslow House, 446 Griffith Street, Saugatuck, Ken
A. Morris, owner
Cummings House, Randolph and Washington, Douglas,
Samuel and Janene Cummings, owners
Gray-Zarate Home, 541 Campbell Road, Douglas,
Ken Gray and Hector Zarate, owners
Fruit Barn and Garden, Randolph and Spring, Douglas,
Patricia Sax, owner
White Barn, 2525 Lakeshore Drive, Fennville,
Dennis Vetter and Steve Howard, owners
Landis Lodge, 2593 Lakeshore Drive, Fennville,
The Watts Family, owners