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Officially known as the City of the Village of Douglas, the city of Douglas, Michigan borders Lake Michigan to the east and the Kalamazoo River to the northeast.

I-194/US-31 cuts through a portion of the city in the west, and the Blue Star Highway runs roughly parallel to the Interstate, crossing through the center of the city. The City of Saugatuck is adjacent to Douglas, in the north. Other cities within twenty-five miles include Fennville, Holland, Zeeland, South Haven, and Allegan.

The city began as two communities separated by what is now Center Street. In 1851, Jonathan Wade bought land south of Center Street and built a home. In 1860, he platted a village that he named Dudleyvile, in honor of Dudley Wade, his brother. Around the same time, William F. Dutcher platted a village north of Center Street that he named Douglas, for his hometown on the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea. An alternate report came from Fred Wade, a nephew of Jonathan Wade, who said that it had been named for Stephen A. Douglas, a Democrat candidate for president in 1860.

The original plat for the village of Douglas was bounded by Union, Chestnut, Water, and Center Streets.

Later, Dutcher bought the northern portion of Wade's land, and, in 1870, the two communities were together incorporated as the Village of Douglas. A post office was established on March 27, 1866, with Dyer C. Putnam as the first postmaster.

Area sawmills provided much of the lumber used to rebuild Chicago after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. When the harvestable trees in the area were exhausted, the economy shifted to growing and shipping fruit, particularly peaches. Due to its position between the Kalamazoo River and Lake Michigan, the importance of tourism and resorts increased considerably.

In 1867, Thomas Dutcher, who owned a mill on the Kalamazoo River, built a three-story commercial and residential structure downtown, a portion of which was leased to the Masons, as the town's first Masonic Hall. Masons from Douglas, Saugatuck, and Fennville chartered Dutcher Lodge, at the corner of Center and Union Streets, using the second floor, while the first floor served as a venue for government and civic meetings. The building was added to in 1902, doubling its size. The new section became the village hall, and the town's fire truck was parked in the lower level until 1969. Today, the building is the City Hall.

In 2004, Douglas was incorporated as a city but chose to be known as the City of the Village of Douglas.

Other than decreases in the population at the time of the 1890 and 1920 census years, Douglas has increased in population every decade since it first appeared on the census rolls in 1880, with a population of 522. Its current population is above 1,300.

The focal point of this guide is on the City of the Village of Douglas, Michigan. Online resources representing the municipal government, as well as individuals, businesses, industries, schools, places of worship, organizations, attractions, and events within the city, are appropriate for this guide.


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