Saugatuck-Douglas History Center

Saugatuck-Douglas History Center The Saugatuck-Douglas History Center preserves local history and inspires learning to inform and improve our community.

The mission of the Saugatuck-Douglas History Center is to preserve local history and inspire learning to inform and improve our community. SDHC operates two public facilities: the S-D History Museum at 735 Park Street in Saugatuck near Mt. Baldhead, and the Old School House and Garden at 130 Center Street in downtown Douglas. Both have hours open for the public in season. Learn more about each here: http://sdhistoricalsociety.org/sites/sitesindex.php The Museum is open to the public throughout the summer and fall seasons with a new major thematic exhibit every other year. The Old School House is home to most of our popular presentations, is the home of our archive and research center, and features rotating and seasonal exhibits and a local art gallery. Due to the largely seasonal nature of our communities, our public exhibits are not generally open during the winter months. The 1866 Old School House (formerly the Douglas Union School), was purchased by the Saugatuck-Douglas History Center in 2006 and has become the nerve center of SDHC's operations. This stately landmark is the oldest multi-classroom school building in Michigan and one of the finest examples of 19th century school architecture in America. It is listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places. The former schoolyard surrounding the building has been reshaped into the Back-In-Time Garden, where Saugatuck-Douglas citizens and visitors can benefit in a multitude of ways from the area's rich natural history and culture. It is augmented by the Francis Metallic Surfboat, centerpiece of our outdoor shipwreck exhibit in the boat barn building, open in season. The History Center Archives - A safe, climate-controlled home for the SDHC's ever-expanding collection of historically important objects, paper, memorabilia, artwork, and photographs. The archives are available to assist the public with research about Saugatuck, Douglas and vicinity historical and cultural topics. Call 269-857-7901 to reach the archive directly and schedule an appointment.

Your help is needed!The History Center is currently working on updating their website but we need your help. We want to ...
07/11/2019
Saugatuck-Douglas History Center - Digital Collections Survey

Your help is needed!

The History Center is currently working on updating their website but we need your help. We want to hear from you on how our digital collections can be improved. If you have a few minutes to spare, please take this online survey and tell us what you think.

We look forward to reading your responses.

The Saugatuck-Douglas History Center (SDHC) would like to hear from you about how we can make our online Website, Collections, and Mobile App experience more interesting and educational. If you have never visited these resources online before you can find them all here (http://sdhistoricalsociety.or...

SDHC Member Larry LaBine speaking to a full house for today’s Tuesday Talk at the SDHC Old School House on the history...
07/09/2019

SDHC Member Larry LaBine speaking to a full house for today’s Tuesday Talk at the SDHC Old School House on the history of Camp Gray and Presbyterian Camp at the Lakeshore.

Tuesday Talks start at 11 AM every week through July and August. Join us next week and follow our events here on Facebook.

07/09/2019
Root Camp

From July 24th to 26th, the SDHC is collaborating with the Saugatuck Center for the Arts to present a new summer camp! Kids will have a chance to make their own crankies and tell the story of Saugatuck/Douglas. If you know any artistic kids who love history, sign them up!

Hello Root Camp families! Even though Root Camp is done, there are more exciting opportunities for kids! This year, the Saugatuck Douglas History Center is helping out the Saugatuck Center for the Arts in their Crankies: Blast From The Past summer program.

In the camp, the kids will have the opportunity to create their own crankies (see video below) based on historical events from Saugatuck/Douglas. This includes stories of shipwrecks and lifeboats, Burr Tilstrom and his puppets, and the importance of the Big Pavillion. So if your child is interested in both art and history, this is the camp for them!

When: July 24 - 26 from 9:30am to 12pm
Age range: 7 - 11 years old
Cost: $100

Transportation will be provided for the kids when traveling from the SCA to the History Center.

To learn more visit the SCA website: https://www.sc4a.org/crankies/

A video to see crankies in action!
https://youtu.be/99wznzKuYd4

Happy Independence Day as America marks its 243rd birthday with parades, fireworks, readings of the Declaration of Indep...
07/04/2019

Happy Independence Day as America marks its 243rd birthday with parades, fireworks, readings of the Declaration of Independence, and of course, parties!

Lakeshore folks have celebrated the national holiday many different ways, but today marks 50 years since the start of the Saugatuck Pop Festival at Pottawatomie Campground north of town. The two-day gathering drew thousands to hear Michigan musicians Bob Seger, MC 5, Amboy Dukes, Iggy Pop and the Stooges along with Alice Cooper, Procol Harum, John Lee Hooker, and Muddy Waters.

Come on out to see Stories of Summer at the Old School House in Douglas, open today (July 4) through Saturday, noon-4 PM to learn more about music and summer at the lakeshore from the 1950s-1970s.

07/02/2019

Today is the day! Tuesday Talks officially starts so be sure to stop by the Old School House at 11 am!

Reminder: admission is free for members and $5 for non-members.

We are so excited and hope to see you there :D

Saugatuck-Douglas History Center's cover photo
07/01/2019

Saugatuck-Douglas History Center's cover photo

Great afternoon at the Old School House in Douglas today.
06/30/2019

Great afternoon at the Old School House in Douglas today.

One more Saugatuck Expo event happening at Saugatuck/Douglas Historical Society schoolhouse site today at noon! The actors are here warming up right now!

The stage is set for The Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company at the Old School House in Douglas right now.
06/30/2019

The stage is set for The Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company at the Old School House in Douglas right now.

06/28/2019

To finish off the Saugatuck Expo, the History Center is hosting a mini-performance of Midsummer Nights Dream! The play will be performed by the Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company as part of their "Art of Shakespeare" weekend.

When: Noon on Sunday June 30th
Where: Old School House
130 Center St, Douglas

For more information visit the Saugatuck Douglas Visitors Bureau's website.

We hope to see you there!!!

On the final day of Root Camp the kids got to go on a field trip to Ox-Bow! They were able to go on a general tour of th...
06/28/2019

On the final day of Root Camp the kids got to go on a field trip to Ox-Bow! They were able to go on a general tour of the Ox-Bow grounds along with sitting in on some classes. At the end of the day, the kids got to paint pottery.
Their bowls can be picked up in a few weeks at the Old School House in Douglas. If you do not live in the area we'll be sure to mail it to you.

A special thanks to Rebecca and Claire for leading the tours through Ox-Bow!

Thank you to The Commercial Record for the reminder: Tuesday talks start next week! Come take a road trip back in time t...
06/27/2019

Thank you to The Commercial Record for the reminder: Tuesday talks start next week! Come take a road trip back in time to the year 1959 along the lakeshore with Chris Byron and Tom Wilson at the Saugatuck-Douglas History Center

Programs open with the ringing of the Old School House bell at 11 AM but come early to see Stories of Summer and Burr Tillstrom in Saugatuck exhibits.

Wonderful morning of art, history, and nature with our Root Camp group. Thank you to the whole staff and director Rebecc...
06/27/2019

Wonderful morning of art, history, and nature with our Root Camp group. Thank you to the whole staff and director Rebecca Parker for hosting us and the Interurban Transit Authority for taking us there!

Today was all about being artistic. Our special guests, Mike and Larry from the Village Puppeteers, showed our kids how ...
06/26/2019

Today was all about being artistic. Our special guests, Mike and Larry from the Village Puppeteers, showed our kids how to make their own puppets. The kids were very excited and made many amazing puppets.

Today the kids got to conduct their own science experiments with the help of Dr. Mike Pcolinski. They got to learn about...
06/25/2019

Today the kids got to conduct their own science experiments with the help of Dr. Mike Pcolinski. They got to learn about different forms of matter and density, bee keeping, and electric circuits!

Root Camp 2019 has officially begun! Today the kids got to learn about animals with the help of the Critter Barn. In add...
06/24/2019

Root Camp 2019 has officially begun! Today the kids got to learn about animals with the help of the Critter Barn. In addition, they got to meet chickens, rabbits and baby goats!

First day of Root Camp!
06/24/2019

First day of Root Camp!

Day 1 of Root Camp. Learning about nature and history with cute animals courtesy of the Critter Barn. Thank you to our generous sponsors, members, and amazing volunteers.

Don't miss the boat!  There's still time to sign up for Root Camp.  The AM session is nearly full and we still have a fe...
06/19/2019

Don't miss the boat! There's still time to sign up for Root Camp. The AM session is nearly full and we still have a few spots in the afternoon session from 1-4 PM. Camp starts next Monday at the Saugatuck-Douglas History Center Back in Time Garden.

Stories of Summer is now officially open!!After a year-long process of interviewing Saugatuck/Douglas residents, we now ...
06/17/2019

Stories of Summer is now officially open!!

After a year-long process of interviewing Saugatuck/Douglas residents, we now have a clearer picture of what summer was like during the 1950s to 1975. Come read their stories and immerse yourself the culture.

Located at the Old School House.

On Wednesday, June 12th, the SDHC officially opened the Stories of Summer. The opening featured a band, food truck, and ice cream! Thank you all for coming out and celebrating this exciting day with us. And a special thank you to Kristina Bird from Bird+Bird Studio for taking the pictures.

On Wednesday, June 12th, the SDHC officially opened the Stories of Summer. The opening featured a band, food truck, and ...
06/17/2019

On Wednesday, June 12th, the SDHC officially opened the Stories of Summer. The opening featured a band, food truck, and ice cream! Thank you all for coming out and celebrating this exciting day with us. And a special thank you to Kristina Bird from Bird+Bird Studio for taking the pictures.

Tuesday Talks are back! This year we have invited many talented speakers to teach us about the unique history of West Mi...
06/17/2019

Tuesday Talks are back! This year we have invited many talented speakers to teach us about the unique history of West Michigan. Topics range from the history of tourism to the SS Eastland disaster. Tuesday Talks begins July 2nd and go to August 27th. They will be held at the Old School House at 11 am each Tuesday. Admission is free for members. Non-members are encouraged to donate $5. Seating is first come, first served.

We hope to see you there! :D

Getting attention for the opening of Stories of Summer with GVSU Kutsche Office of Local History at the Saugatuck-Dougla...
06/07/2019

Getting attention for the opening of Stories of Summer with GVSU Kutsche Office of Local History at the Saugatuck-Douglas History Center this coming Wednesday, June 12th. Come for the party 5-7 PM courtesy of CENTURY 21 Affiliated and West Michigan Blue Star Chamber of Commerce and stay for brief remarks and exhibit opening right at 7 PM.

Thanks The Commercial Record! http://www.thecommercialrecord.com/center-hosts-stories-of-summer-reception-talks/

Update: We were very proud to help support the first annual Community Pride on Saturday.  Unfortunately we were among th...
06/01/2019

Update: We were very proud to help support the first annual Community Pride on Saturday. Unfortunately we were among the folks laid low by high winds and we had to move back to the History Center for the afternoon. We'll look forward to sharing more about LGBTQ history at the History Center in the days and weeks ahead. Thank you to everyone in our community who shared the love in Douglas on Saturday!

Original post:
Come down for Douglas Community Pride and stop in the Old School House opening at noon to see Contemporary Stories of Saugatuck. Then visit our booth at Beery Field from 1-5.

It's Memorial Day or Decoration Day as it was referred to in the years immediately after the American Civil War when the...
05/27/2019

It's Memorial Day or Decoration Day as it was referred to in the years immediately after the American Civil War when the day of remembrance and mourning took on the meaning we recognize today. The name referred to the specific act of decorating the graves of those who died in war and grew to include acts of public commemoration including parades and the raising of public monuments. Here are photographs from the SDHC archives from Ganges and Saugatuck in the early 20th century.

So happy to have SDHC member Judy Anthrop’s Adirondack chair at the boat house in Douglas. Stop by the Back-in-Time ga...
05/26/2019

So happy to have SDHC member Judy Anthrop’s Adirondack chair at the boat house in Douglas. Stop by the Back-in-Time garden and see it this weekend and all summer!

Another Adirondack chair citing! This one is set back a little from the road by the @Saugatuck Douglas Saugatuck-Douglas History Center. This is by Judy Anthrop, and titled “School House Days”. It looks great by the boathouse, in the beautiful garden, nestled among the tall tulip trees!

Members Night opening party at the NEW History Museum exhibit Then and Now: Snapshots from the Archives. Thanks to all o...
05/26/2019

Members Night opening party at the NEW History Museum exhibit Then and Now: Snapshots from the Archives. Thanks to all of our amazing volunteers who made this possible! And our fun members who came out for the debut.

If you missed it, come on out anytime 12-4 pm and see it for yourself starting tomorrow!

Saugatuck-Douglas History Center's cover photo
05/24/2019

Saugatuck-Douglas History Center's cover photo

Wow! What an amazing discovery in Wisconsin. The Saugatuck-Douglas-Fennville area certainly holds its share of surprises...
05/21/2019
Heritage Documentation Programs, NPS

Wow! What an amazing discovery in Wisconsin. The Saugatuck-Douglas-Fennville area certainly holds its share of surprises and hidden historical treasures, too.

Have you ever made an surprising discovery while working in a historic building?

All Ron Berger wanted was to install a door between two buildings. Instead, much to his astonishment, he had unearthed a 9-foot-high by 55-foot-long, multi-sheet, full-color paper lithograph circus poster advertising the Great Anglo-American Circus and Menagerie performing in Durand, Wisconsin, on August 17, 1885.

#HiddenStories #HistoricPreservation #ThisPlaceMatters #Circus #Lithograph #Posters #Wisconsin #Menagerie

Looking forward to welcoming the class of 2019 and the Saugatuck-Douglas community to the Saugatuck-Douglas History Cent...
05/14/2019
Open house, exhibit showcases graduates

Looking forward to welcoming the class of 2019 and the Saugatuck-Douglas community to the Saugatuck-Douglas History Center at the Old School House tonight. Come and see us from 6-8 PM this evening.

An open-house evening program and exhibit will celebrate the Saugatuck High School Class of 2019, showcasing interviews with graduating seniors reflecting

Excited for this event celebrating Saugatuck’s graduating class at the Old School House in Douglas next Tuesday
05/11/2019

Excited for this event celebrating Saugatuck’s graduating class at the Old School House in Douglas next Tuesday

SHS seniors to share oral histories May 14

An open-house program and exhibit Tuesday, May 14, in the Old School House, 130 Center St., will showcase interviews with graduating Saugatuck High School seniors from 6 to 8 p.m. All are welcome, free.
Class of 2019 members will reflect on their past, present and future as part of a year-long student project in which teacher Christina Lewis partnered with the Saugatuck-Douglas History Center and Grand Valley State University’s Kutsche Office of Local History.
The Kutsche Office trained SHS journalism students in oral-history interview methods, sharing the value of preserving everyday experiences as part of the historical record.
These students developed their own oral-history questions, then interviewed more than 70 senior class members in their own voices. Kutsche Office staff condensed interviews into individual biographical reader panels illustrated with photos, one for each student, to create the show.
Saugatuck Public Schools superintendent Tim Travis, Kutsche Office director Kimberly McKee and SDHC executive director Eric Gollannek will speak Tuesday, after which visitors will be welcome to enjoy the exhibit at their own pace. Cookies, soft drinks and water will be served.
The exhibit will remain on view in the Old School House through the end of May.

Working today with GVSU Kutsche Office of Local History to install the Saugatuck High School Contemporary Stories of Sau...
05/08/2019

Working today with GVSU Kutsche Office of Local History to install the Saugatuck High School Contemporary Stories of Saugatuck exhibit! Come see us next Tuesday, May 14 from 6-8 PM to learn more and celebrate our graduating seniors and community schools.

We’re open Saturday for Burr Tillstrom In Saugatuck, Michigan Dunes, and Keeping an Eye on History! Spring flowers in ...
05/04/2019

We’re open Saturday for Burr Tillstrom In Saugatuck, Michigan Dunes, and Keeping an Eye on History! Spring flowers in bloom! Come in and see us on Center Street #downtowndouglas #kuklafest #art

We’re offering a sneak peak of our Burr Tillstrom in Saugatuck pop-up exhibit at the Old School House on Friday until ...
05/03/2019

We’re offering a sneak peak of our Burr Tillstrom in Saugatuck pop-up exhibit at the Old School House on Friday until 5 and Saturday 12-5.

It’s also a great time to see our art exhibition Keeping an Eye on History and Michigan Dunes. Come learn about Saugatuck’s most famous resident and the history of art. #arthistory #mysdhistory #douglas #saugatuck #kuklafranandollie #kuklafest

Yesterday saw the unveiling of the SDHC’scollaboration with Douglas Elementary school art students. Visiting artists S...
05/02/2019

Yesterday saw the unveiling of the SDHC’s
collaboration with Douglas Elementary school art students. Visiting artists Sally Winthers and Vic Bella worked with students to use historic photos from the SDHC archives to create a dynamic assemblage for the Museum’s gardens. Come and see the display at the opening of Then and Now: Snapshots from the Archives on Memorial Day at the History Museum!

Here's another community history event honoring our armed forces and veterans in Douglas. Consider coming out to the 8th...
05/01/2019

Here's another community history event honoring our armed forces and veterans in Douglas. Consider coming out to the 8th Annual Saugatuck-Douglas Armed Forces day Luncheon to learn more about the history of the Tet Offensive in Vietnam and the story of Mr. Nguyen's immigration to the United States as an asylum seeker in the 1970s.

COME HONOR OUR VETS
A Salute to Our Vietnam Vets
SATURDAY MAY 18- Armed Forces Day Luncheon
Community Church of Douglas - Vets Eat Free

One more day on the 'SDHC in NYC' roadshow.  Sunday took us out to Statue Of Liberty And Ellis Island Immigration Museum...
04/29/2019

One more day on the 'SDHC in NYC' roadshow. Sunday took us out to Statue Of Liberty And Ellis Island Immigration Museum. If you have immigrant ancestors who came to America between 1892 and 1954, there's a good chance they walked the halls of Ellis Island and sat on the benches in the great hall Registry Room awaiting entry to the United States. All told, some 12 million men, women, and children passed through Ellis Island, at a rate of over 5,000 people per day at its peak. It's said that 1/3 of the country's population can trace its family history to Ellis Island!

04/28/2019

The ‘SDHC goes to NYC’ trip continues with immigration history. Have any of you visited the Tenement Museum on NYC’s Lower East Side? It’s an set of early purpose built tenements that retain remarkable authenticity. Research from census records shows that some 10,000 people lived and worked in these specific buildings from 1863 to 2011. The demographics changed by decades Germans, then Irish, Eastern European Jewish, Puerto Rican, and Chinese called Orchard Street home.

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130 Center St
Douglas, MI
49406

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