Historic Saugatuck Village Hall
While walking around Saugatuck, I was attracted to a frame building that displays Colonial Revival influences. I walked up close and observed that it was the Saugatuck Village Hall.
It was originally the Saugatuck Engine House and Council Room. After doing some research, I found that it was erected about 1879 to 1880. It was revised in the late 1920's when the building became the seat of municipal government. It housed the fire department on the first floor until about 1953; the second floor served as the council chamber.
In about 1929, they dug a basement where they moved the jail, and it remained there for 20 years.
An art gallery was opened by the Saugatuck Art Association in the 1930's. Still today, the city council honors art in the community by displaying and rotating works of art in the chambers of the City Council.
Today, this historic building serves as the Saugatuck City Hall. Saugatuck became a City in 1984 ,and then, about four years later, the interior of the building was redesigned. Modern offices for the Clerk, Police, Mayor, Treasurer, and City Manager were created.
In 1990, this wonderful building was listed on the Michigan's State Register of Historic Sites. And, would you believe, this buildings has been in continuous use for over 110 years. Remarkable.
The Art Coast of Michigan
"Artist at Work in His Studio"
Forgive me for using quoted sources for the introduction, but they do a very good job at reflecting the image of the Saugatuck-Douglas community. On the tips inside you will find more of my reflections on our 1 day visit.
On January 13, 2009 the National Trust for Historic Preservation named Saugatuck-Douglas, Michigan one of its 2009 Dozen Distinctive Destinations. "Since 2000, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has annually selected communities across the United States that offer cultural and recreational experiences different from the typical vacation destination. From dynamic downtowns and stunning architecture to cultural diversity and commitment to historic preservation, the selected destinations boast a richness of character and exude an authentic sense of place."
"For more than 100 years, visitors have sought refuge from the stress of everyday life in the resort community of Saugatuck-Douglas. These neighboring harbor towns, nestled near the shore of Lake Michigan, are defined by steep, rolling dunes to the west and lush orchard country to the east. Today, the 19th century architecture forms the basis for the area’s old world charm, but the lakeshore community’s scenic beauty and singular collection of art galleries, shops and restaurants make it a perfect getaway for a day, a weekend or even a season."
“Saugatuck-Douglas offers visitors a chance to enjoy history, art, outdoor recreation and spectacular natural resources,” said Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “Few vacation destinations provide such an extraordinary combination of tourism opportunities all in one location.”
"Saugatuck-Douglas has long had a reputation as the ultimate sanctuary for artists. The area is commonly referred to as the “Art Coast of Michigan” and is one of the top 25 art destinations in the United States. The mix of galleries in and around Saugatuck-Douglas comprises a vibrant kaleidoscope of the artistic experience. From classical to contemporary, fine art to crafts and textiles, the selection rivals metropolitan galleries. Today, the community’s artistic heritage endures through the Oxbow Summer School of Painting’s affiliation with the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Saugatuck Center for the Arts, which evolved from a preservation project to save an abandoned pie factory."
"Parks on the Harbor Front"
"For those seeking rugged adventure or simple beach pleasures, activities abound on the two waterways surrounding Saugatuck-Douglas. Scenic parks dot the harbor-front, an old fashioned stern wheeler shuttles passengers along the river past the ghost town of Singapore and foot passengers can catch a ride on board the last Victorian hand cranked chain ferry in North America. History buffs can tour the SS Keewatin —the last luxury liner to sail the Great Lakes— or visit the area’s award-winning Historical Museum where exhibits trace the roots of the area’s earliest settlers."
"The Saugatuck-Douglas area is celebrated throughout the Midwest for its exceptional lodging, diverse dining and one-of-a-kind shops. Several bed-and-breakfast inns are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. An array of dining establishments line the streets, from upscale to casual, including a corner store soda fountain where hand-creamed sodas and malted shakes have been a specialty for 84 years. The retail community celebrates quality, variety and personality, from trendy clothing and accessories to house wares, local wines and gifts."