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March 19, 2019 12:45 pm

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Saugatuck-Douglas History Center Up For Central Michigan University Grant, Urges Support Votes From Community To Make It Happen

A grant competition announced by Central Michigan University’s Clarke Historical Library, offering a chance to have a key period of Saugatuck-Douglas history memorialized in the Clarke Library’s Michigan Digital Newspapers Database, will be decided by votes from community enthusiasts during a voting “window” in mid-January.

Initiated with a 2012 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities’ National Digital Newspaper Program to digitize culturally significant Michigan newspapers, the Clarke Historical Library grant provides digital scanning and placing online up to 9,000 pages of a previously microfilmed newspaper.

The application jointly submitted last fall by S-D History Center and S-D District Library proposed the library’s microfilm archive of The Commercial-Record, Allegan County’s oldest continuously published newspaper, spanning 1959-1969.

“This period was selected as a key decade of great change in West Michigan,” says SDHC Executive Director Nathaniel Nietering.

“With the 1960 fire loss of Saugatuck’s Big Pavilion dance hall, an earlier, simpler recreational era gave way to a turbulent decade marked by major music festivals, invasions of motorcycle gangs and partying college students, all mixed with cold-war tensions and documented in weekly newspaper coverage.”

Selected as one of five finalists, the SDHC/SD Library bid will compete with proposals highlighting: Albion Recorder (Calhoun Co.); East Grand Rapids Cadence (Kent Co.); The Pontiac Press (Oakland Co.); and The Utica Sentinel (Oakland-Macomb Cos.)

“Winning the 2018 Clarke competition will be especially significant for us, “ Nietering continues, “as this year marks Saugatuck’s 150th anniversary as well as the second year of our two-year Museum exhibit titled Cold War / Hot Towns, which visually explores that same era’s collision of fun and fear in our beach town setting.

Online access to this contemporaneous local reporting, in an indexed and word-searchable format, will make these stories readily available to History Center and Library visitors as well as serious researchers everywhere.”

—- Vote Support Critical —-

“In order to win, the Saugatuck-Douglas bid needs to receive more votes than cast for any of the other four finalists”, Nietering explains, “so we suggest extending this activity to family, neighbors, co-workers, even out-of-town friends.”

Voting can be done in two ways:

By Mail: postcards depicting any Michigan scene are worth 10 votes each. They can be mailed from anywhere, but the image they show must be something in Michigan, the phrase #DigSaugatuck must be included in whatever is written on the card’s message side, and the cards must be postmarked January 15 through January 20, 2018. Mailing address is: Clarke Historical Library, 250 E. Preston St., Mt. Pleasant, MI 48859. “Chicago style” voting is urged…with no limit on the number of postcards each voter can submit, and voters need not be alive or human.

A limited supply of free postcards will be available at the Old School House and Library in Douglas for this purpose.

Home-made postcards also are acceptable, as long as they comply with the stated requirements of Michigan image, specified phrase and postmark date. (Creativity is welcomed, as bonus points are awarded in “Most Artistic” and “Best Refrigerator Art” categories.)

Either way, starting January 1, postcards require a 35-cent stamp (up from 34 cents previously).

By Twitter: Tweeted messages can be creatively worded but must show the hashtag #DigSaugatuck
and must be sent January 22 through January 27, 2018. Tweets count for one vote each (but again, “Chicago style” is urged).

Full detailed voting rules are available at…

For more information about the Saugatuck-Douglas History Center, its Museum in Saugatuck and Old School House in Douglas, volunteer opportunities or activities planned for 2018, visit

Saugatuck-Douglas History Center Up For Central Michigan University Grant, Urges Support Votes From Community To Make It Happen

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