SAUGATUCK, Mich. (WOOD) — A commercial fishing building in Saugatuck is now an exhibit space to tell the stories of angling in the area.
The Demerest Historic Shanty, located at 730 Water St. near Lucy Street, was purchased by the Saugatuck Douglas History Center in 2020.
“(It) was used from the 1940s up into the 1970s and 1980s,” Eric Gollannek, executive director, said. “The fishing structure, we believe, is one of the last surviving commercial fishing buildings in the Saugatuck area.”
When the history center bought the building, it was sitting in high water and needed some work. It was moved about two doors down and rehabilitated to become an exhibit space.
“The history center put together exhibits which tell the story of fish and fishing on the Great Lakes, of shipwrecks on the Great Lakes and the stories of the families that worked the fishing boats in Saugatuck and Douglas,” Gollannek explained.
The shanty exhibit includes informational story panels, photographs, fishing artifacts and a video, the history center’s website said.
“We had a number of families that had artifacts and materials that they were willing to donate. Many of the items came to us at the museum and we were able to reproduce them or create images of them to use them in the interpretation,” Gollannek said.
Original items like nets, netting tools and floats are on display.
Gollannek said there are a number of photos including a photo of fisherman Demi Demerest, owner of the shanty, taken inside the building.
“And you’re kind of looking at him inside the shanty in the same spot that you’re standing in,” he explained, adding that there are a few of his original tools on display.
The shanty is open during the summer to explore. During the off-season, there are items outside of the building that visitors can see year-round.
For more information, visit the Saugatuck Douglas History Center’s website.