Thanks to the Saugatuck/Douglas Convention and Visitors Bureau for the following description: Saugatuck, and a sister community called Singapore down the Kalamazoo River, were settled in the mid-1800s by lumber interests. For many decades they supported a thriving mix of sawmills, planning mills, shingle mills, barrel factories and other wood product firms. Saugatuck contributed much of the lumber used to rebuild Chicago after the Great Fire of 1871.
When the trees were gone, however, so were lumber men. Several mills were actually loaded aboard Great Lakes schooners to be transported elsewhere. The dearth of trees resulted in a particularly harsh fate for Saugatuck's downriver neighbor. Without their presence as a windbreak, blowing sand gradually buried the village and today it lives on only in stories as the 'Lost City of Singapore.'
Saugatuck, however, survived. The resort trade that started to emerge at the turn of the century took a propitious turn in 1910 when a group of Chicago artists established the Summer School of Painting on Ox-Bow Lagoon in Saugatuck.
Today the Art Institute of Chicago operates Ox-Bow and offers a wide range of summer course work including metalsmithing, printmaking, performance art, glassblowing, writing, ceramics and, of course, painting and drawing.