S-D Historical Society Taking Field Trip To See Douglas' Iconic & Restored Root Beer Barrel
A “field trip” visit to Douglas’ restored historical Root Beer Barrel concession stand at the southwest corner of Center and Ferry Streets highlights the next Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society free monthly public program on Wednesday, September 14, at 7 p.m. Carpooling is encouraged as parking space there is limited.
Guests preferring seating also are advised to bring folding chairs, and mosquito repellent might be a good idea for all.
Presenters Duane Brown, S-DHS member who has helped coordinate the Barrel’s reconstruction project, and Andy Krino, who has overseen erecting the restored barrel woodwork on new structural support, will review the six-year history of the Barrel’s resurrection, and look ahead to potential future uses for this iconic example of local roadside architecture.
A popular attraction in Douglas from the 1950s to the mid-1970s, where locals and tourists alike often stopped for foot-long hot dogs and root beer, the structure had since sat dormant for decades along West Center Street in Douglas, slowly falling apart.
In 2011, when the Historical Society heard that the Barrel was scheduled for demolition, a group of its volunteers formed “Friends of the Barrel” dedicated to its rescue. With the financial support of community donations, their work began with cleaning out and dismantling the structure, then sanding, repairing and refinishing the Barrel’s 120 curved wooden staves, plus making a few new ones to replace those damaged beyond saving.
Much of the work was done out-of-sight, in the garage at the Society’s Old School House History Center in Douglas. The refurbished materials then were stored in a barn for a few years while alternative sites and potential uses were evaluated with Douglas officials.
The Historical Society’s free monthly programs present entertaining and informative insights into our community life and local history. This month’s program is sponsored by Saugatuck’s Harbor Duck Adventures.
For more information about the Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society, its Museum and Old School House History Center, or its activities planned for 2016, visit www.sdhistoricalsociety.org.