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Saugatuck House c1850-1880s




Cabinet Card

Saugatuck Drug/Rexall/Parrish's Drug/Hotel Hamilton/Saugatuck House 1852-1913

Built in 1852, the Saugatuck House is believed to be the first purpose-built lodging establishment in the village. It later was renamed the Hotel Hamilton. The structure was disassembled in 1913 to make way for the Parrish Drug Store at 201 Butler Street. According to Jim Schmiechen in "Raising the Roof" 2nd ed., page 6, "The staff lines up for public inspection — from the cleaning lady on the right to the hotel barber (or barman) on the left. Is that Mrs. Cordelia Keltner, the proprietress seated near the entrance? The village's first hotel, stage stop, and virtual village center, was built on land donated by a local resident who wished to relieve village residents of the burden of boarding visitors. Its motto was "feed the hungry and rest the weary." Saugatuck House was often a beehive of political and social activity and controversy — including some heated exchanges over the merits of serving whiskey. In 1884 it was the location of a battle between supporters and opponents of the newly elected Democratic presidential candidate, Grover Cleveland, resulting in the hotel's landlady chopping down a flag which had been hung on the hotel roof in Cleveland's honor. "Not for Cleveland in this house" she said [Commercial Record, November 14, 1884.] It had a ballroom and "sample" rooms where traveling salesman displayed their goods. The builder was George Hames, a ship carpenter. Later called the "Hotel Hamilton," was used until it was razed in 1913 to make room for a new drug store. Now the site of Saugatuck Drug Store."

Buildings: CommercialBuildings: Lost1830 Settlement, pioneer era

Winthers, Sally

Photograph, Black-and-White


Graphic Documents

Documentary Objects

Category 08: Communication Objects


8 in

10 in

Files Properties


Photo and card are yellowing. The card was torn away from some sort of stitched-on matting but is still robust.

Saugatuck Drug/Rexall/Parrish's Drug/Hotel Hamilton/Saugatuck House 1852-1913

Heath, May (Francis) 1873-1961

From "Early Memories of Saugatuck" by May Francis Heath: Stephen Nichols kept a boarding house at Singapore but the only place at "The Flats" where travelers could stop was the Morrison home, and they kept open house until 1852 when by donating a lot to R. S. Smith, a carpenter from Battle Creek, Mr. Morrison persuaded him to build the old Saugatuck House. Mr. Smith was drowned at New Richmond. Whitney and Strong were the next landlords and the slogan in their Ad was "Feed the hungry and rest the Weary." (This hotel was wrecked in 1913 and replaced by Parrish's drug store). The old Union House was built in 1865 and stood for many years when it too was torn down. It was at the corner of Culver and Griffith streets. George Hames was the carpenter who built the Saugatuck House for R. Smith.