July 14, 2007
We get about 100 people a day who are searching for backgrounds for their computer. To them I say: this photo makes a great background!
Saugatuck (pop. 1065 in 2000) is the sister city to Douglas. This Saugatuck/Douglas history page says that unlike most Midwest frontier towns, neither town suffered the devastating fires nor the modernizing railroad. As a result, the villages provide a rare chance to see pre- and post-Civil Ware Greek Revival and Italianate architecture alongside later structures in the Arts & Crafts and Colonial Revival manner.
Like Douglas and many communities along Michigan’s western shore, Saugatuck was timbered out after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Still…
…Saugatuck and Douglas thrived, turning to shipping and fruit growing as a source of income in the latter part of the 1800s. Peaches from the area were called “Michigan Gold” and were shipped by large steamships to the Chicago market. Hundreds of ships of various types were built in Saugatuck shipyards and the town was a haven for ship captains.
A resort, tourist, and “cottage” culture emerged in the 1880s and took a propitious turn in 1910 when a group of Chicago artists established the Summer School of Paintings on Ox-Bow Lagoon, and when a huge dance hall, called the Big Pavilion, was built on the waterfront. The resulting influx of well-known artists and big name Chicago architects resulted in a wave of building in the Arts & Crafts and Colonial Revival manner. The seed planted at Ox-Bow has continued to flourish over the years, with the area is now known as the Art Coast of Michigan. Today, Ox-Bow continues to be affiliated with the Art Institute of Chicago.
The Saugatuck/Douglas Visitors Bureau has a huge pile of information and photos and links, including a link to a pretty informative video tour of Saugatuck/Douglas. There’s also the Saugatuck/Douglas Area Business Association with more events, news & listings. Wikipedia’s entry on Saugatuck says that attractions today include art galleries, the harbor, marinas, scenery, unusual stores, the view from atop Mount Baldhead, tourist attractions, the famous Oval Beach on Lake Michigan, Saugatuck Dunes State Park and Allegan State Game Area.
Cool new feature alert!