Saugatuck/Douglas by the numbers

deck chairs in the sun

  • There are 302 steps up to Mt. Baldhead, an 800-foot-tall sand dune.
  • The radar tower at the top of Mt. Baldhead was constructed by the Air Force in the late 1950s to scan the skies for invading Soviet aircraft during the Cold War.
  • There are 13 miles of trails at Saugatuck Dunes State Park.
  • In use since 1838, the historic Chain Ferry is named DIANE (after the builder’s wife).
  • It takes 400 feet of continuous chain to pull the Chain Ferry 300 feet across the Kalamazoo River. It takes approximately 200 cranks to cross the river.
  • The Star of Saugatuck II holds 150 passengers. Its paddlewheels are 15 feet tall.
  • Known as the Art Coast of Michigan, the Saugatuck/Douglas area boasts over 28 artist galleries and studios.
  • Ox-Bow School of Art began in 1914, when artists from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago moved their summer painting classes into the Riverside Hotel, which soon became known as the Ox-Bow Inn.
  • Oval Beach got its name because the parking lot was paved in a shape of an oval. It has been recognized as Condé Nast Traveler’s Top 25 Beaches in the World, National Geographic Traveler’s Top Freshwater Beaches in the USA, and MTV’s Top 5 Beaches in the USA.
  • The Interurban Bus Authority will celebrate its 38th birthday on May 8.  It has given rides to 1.75  million passengers since 1980.
  • Today, the building that houses the Saugatuck Center for the Arts was built as the Lloyd J. Harriss Pie Factory, which turned out millions of frozen pies from the mid-20th century through the 1980s using locally grown fruit.
  • Virtue Cider is made in nearby Fennville, using only 100 percent Michigan apples in its brewing process.
  • Saugatuck Brewing Company has a 45-barrel brew system with 960 barrels of fermentation space and the ability to age over 400 wood barrels at one time.
  • The historic Old School House History Center in downtown Douglas was constructed in 1866 by out-of-work shipwrights.
  • The Douglas Root Beer Barrel that stands 17 feet tall on Center Street was originally a popular root beer and hot dog stand from the 1950s to the 1970s. It is now one of two known barrels of this type in Michigan. It was restored by volunteers in 2017.
  • Crane Orchards (and now Pie Pantry Restaurant & Winery) has been in operation since 1967.

Be sure to check out our next issue, where we’ll spotlight the Grand Haven/Spring Lake region!

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