Newsletter 2023

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

Endless Summer Events

The pause in newsletters is best understood as a sign of intense activity by our volunteers and staff over the last couple of months.

Here's a run down of some recent history at the SDHC:

We've hosted eighteen events since this spring. Many of you have attended some or most of these and had a lot of fun!

So many great events! From programs with the Saugatuck District Library to our Local Social events at the Museum, we had a fun spring with hundreds of people coming out to socialize and learn about S-D history!

You can read more in this newsletter about the new History Lives Here: Historical Markers program at sites along Lakeshore Drive, Oval Beach, Butler Street, and Beery Field in Douglas.

We opened the Museum and the Lure of Mt Baldhead a month early in May this year, thanks to awesome support from our volunteers.

Finally we opened a pathbreaking exhibit, HerStory at the History Center in Douglas on July 1st and saw 250 people come out to support women's history.

Tuesday Talks continue through the end of August and then we keep the fun going with our Members Picnic and awards on September 13th.

Eric Gollannek

Executive Director

New Website Launched!

The SDHC has a new website! The new site was a long time coming and will increase the ease of accessibility for members and the public especially on mobile devices including iPads and smartphones.

Click Here to Visit Our New Website!

In January 2023, the SDHC board approved contracting with Landslide Creative of Nashville, Tennessee for the website redesign after an extensive review of proposals by the working group comprised of Chris Clark, Frank Aiello, Annie Hayes, and Chris Raphael. The site went live August 15th and we think you'll be very pleased with it!

For the most up to date information about events, check out the online calendar of programs on the website!

Opening of pathbreaking HerStory exhibit at History Center big story of the summer!

This exhibit profiles the stories of seventeen remarkable women from the community’s history spanning from the 1830s to the present.

Themes running through the exhibit include the visual and performing arts, education, business, political activism, social organizations and philanthropy, and athletics will be presented throughout the exhibit. The exhibit also features original paintings, drawings, and prints alongside historic artifacts gathered from the SDHC archives and community partners including the Saugatuck Woman’s Club and Allegan County Historical Society.

The exhibit is open Thursday-Saturday from 11-3 and by appointment.

The exhibit will remain in place into the 2024 season.

Stay tuned for program updates in the weeks ahead!

Volunteer HerStorians produce first exhibit of its kind for Saugatuck-Douglas

The SDHC exhibit HerStory: Women’s History in Saugatuck-Douglas opened on July 1st and is the first of its kind for this community. For more than 30 years the History Center has presented award- winning history exhibits with a topical and regional focus. Now, a volunteer team of women HerStorians has researched, curated, and designed the first exhibit to focus attention on the lives and experiences of women at the Lakeshore.

Thank you to the amazing volunteer HerStorians who made this exhibit possible, from initial planning through research, design, and installation.

Team HerStorians includes:

Ruth Crowe, Annie Hayes, Janice Krakowski, Maryjo Lemanski, Carol Peterson, Toni Perrine, Gemina Petruzzelli, Barri Rosenbluth, Peg Sanford, Sally Winthers, and Christa Wise.

Eric Gollannek, SDHC Executive Director, and project historian Anna Minnebo provided support to the team and project. 

Toni Perrine, HerStorian, presents on Mary Elizabeth Peckham Morrison, granddaugther of early Saugatuck historian May Heath, to members of the Saugatuck Woman's Club in early August.

You can learn more about the Saugatuck Woman's Club at a program at the SWC located at 303 Butler Street on Friday, August 25th at 6 PM!

Douglas Summer Social returns to the History Center in July and August

The SDHC hosted two Douglas Summer Socials this year on July 20 and August 24. The free events were hosted outdoors in the gardens at the History Center in Douglas.

Originally organized by the Douglas DDA, the Douglas Summer Social has been a popular community event for many years and the History Center is pleased to again host these events.

Enjoy this Bird's Eye Photo of the Douglas Summer Social in July!

It takes a village and Douglas makes these events come to life.

Partners include Unity on the Lakeshore and Douglas United Church of Christ providing burgers and hot dogs for sale and History Center volunteers selling ice cream from Palazzolo's Artisan Dairy, school house cookies, and SBC beer and Modales wine.

Entertainment included saxophonist Michael Hulett in July and local artist/DJ Ruth Crowe in August.

Thank you to our sponsors Modales Wine and Saugatuck Brewing Company for their support with this event!

Interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities? Click here for more information!

Thanks to all of the volunteers who made the Douglas Summer Socials possible this year! It's a fun way to join the party and support our community!

A beautiful night in the garden with 150 new and old friends!

Eight new History Lives Here Markers land at Beery Field, Oval Beach, and beyond!

New interpretive markers in July 2023 include the history of Oval Beach and Douglas Beach as well as the history of sites along Center Street in Douglas and Butler Street in Saugatuck.

Click here to read more about the History Lives Here markers on our new website!

New Markers at beaches and downtown locations in Saugatuck and Douglas

The Saugatuck-Douglas History Center is excited to announce the installation of. the second phase of its popular program, History Lives Here: Historical Markers to celebrate history where it happened across our communities.

A number of sponsors made the 2023 project a success:

Oval Beach

  • Renee Zita
  • Jennifer Roe and Beth Stefanchik, for Sue and Barb.

Saugatuck-Jones Park

  • Robert and Kimberly Kegley, In Loving Memory of Bonnie R. Kegley
  • Greg and Sheryll Van Portfleet

Douglas Beach facing Lakeshore Drive

  • Tim, Kay and Luke Erlandson, In remembrance of Dave and Sallie Erlandson.
  • Goshorn-Schumann Family

Douglas Beery Field

  • Mark Randall and Christopher Saldivar, In memory of our son, George Randall-Saldivar, “Speedy" when he played for the Dutchers. 

Douglas Center Street

  • Jeff Antaya and Peter Rosenfeld

Thank you to these supporters who helped bring history to life--on location--for visitors and residents alike in our Lakeshore community!

Holiday Ornaments Back in Stock for 2023

It may be Summer but it's not too late (or too early) to pick up popular commemorative History Center ornaments.

The 2022 Saugatuck Chain Ferry Ornament sold out by the afternoon of the SCA Holiday Market last December, leaving many wanting one or more!

Click here to learn more about the ornaments online here!

The ornaments are available for purchase at the History Center in Douglas and Museum at Mt Baldhead for $50 each plus sales tax. Contact [email protected] for further details.

In Memoriam

Mary Lyons (1933-2023)


Link to obituary

Peter V Mocini (1952-2023)

Link to obituary

Collections Updates

HerStory artifacts loan

The History Center cares for a diverse collection of several thousand artifact. Still, we rely on community members to share priceless items to bring our exhibits to life.

Brothers Dan and Pat Sheridan loaned the Archives two family mementos for the upcoming HerStory exhibit. To get the full story, visit the History Center!

Did you know you can explore the History Center

archives and collections online?

Click here to search the SDHC Online Catalog with 4,500 entries!

2023 Membership News

You all came out strong in support of our History Center this spring!

The SDHC currently has 680 active members.

Our Membership campaign in the spring yielded over $21,000 in dues and contributions.

Thank you for your support!

If you have not yet renewed as a member, it's not too late!

Become a lifetime member! No annual renewals and special invites to Lifetime member only events!
Click here to renew or make a donation with our new site today!
  • Individual $40 
  • Household $60
  • Business Partner $250
  • Lifetime Member $1,000

About the Saugatuck-Douglas History Center

The Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society was founded in 1986 by a group of charter members interested in preserving and sharing the unique history of Saugatuck, Douglas and the surrounding area. In 2016, the Society was renamed the Saugatuck-Douglas History Center to celebrate its growth and to recognize the development of the History Museum at Mt Baldhead Park and History Center-Douglas sites.

We are a vibrant non-profit 501(c)3 history organization with a membership of 700 members residing in nearby communities and across the country.

Members are the lifeblood our volunteer organization.

To renew or join as a member, visit our website for more information.

The Saugatuck-Douglas History Museum at Mount Baldhead Park is located at 735 Park Street in Saugatuck, in the historic Saugatuck Pump House building.

The History Center--Downtown Douglas and Francis Surfboat Exhibit are located at 130 Center Street in Douglas.

The adjoining Back-in-Time Garden and Surfboat Exhibit are open daily.

The History Center Archives are available for research by appointment. For more information, e-mail the

archives directly at [email protected]

History Center main phone: 269-857-5751

Archives direct phone: 269-857-7901 

The SDHC is supported with a grant from Michigan Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act economic stabilization plan.
The SDHC also receives operational support from the Michigan Arts and Culture Council (MACC) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).
Saugatuck-Douglas History Center
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