The History of Douglas, Michigan
The Village of Friendliness – Since 1870
Douglas began as two communities separated by present day Center Street. Jonathan Wade platted Dudleyville, named for his brother Dudley Wade, on the south side of “Centre” in 1860. In 1861, William F. Dutcher platted the town of Douglas on the north side. Dutcher named it for his hometown on the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea. The original plat consisted of the area bounded by Union, Chestnut, Water and Centre Streets. The two towns were incorporated as the village of Douglas in 1870. Dutcher’s son Thomas, a prosperous lumber mill owner built a three-story commercial and residential structure downtown around 1867. The building, the town’s first Masonic hall burned in 1870.
Masons from Douglas, Fennville and Saugatuck chartered Dutcher Lodge, at the corner of Center and Union Streets, in 1867. The first floor of the Lodge was used for government and civic meetings while the Masons used the second floor. The building was doubled in size in 1902. This new section became known as the village hall. Douglas’ fire truck was parked in the lower level until 1969.
Dutcher Lodge is a rare example of a Masonic Lodge still in use, now as the City Hall, a century after its construction.
In December 2004 Douglas residents voted to become The City of the Village of Douglas electing its first Mayor and six council members.
First Council of the City of the Village of Douglas. Elected December 2004.
Matt Balmer, Mayor
Paul Marineau, Mayor Pro Tem