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About The Hotel Saugatuck

Built in 1865, The Hotel Saugatuck, formerly the Twin Gables Inn, is the only original mill in the area still standing from the busy lumbering era.  A Michigan Historic Landmark, it is rich in history having undergone several changes and functions, always being an integral part of the evolvement of the Saugatuck Community. It is dated in documents to 1865 when the Inn started out as an Ice House for the Clipson Brewery, which was situated in the back, at the bottom of the hill.  It had a lot of rapid turnovers; it became a Tannery, a Door & Sash Company, and a Barrel Stave Mill owned by Francis B. Stockbridge and O.R. Johnson (Francis B. Stockbridge, an affluent businessman from the East Coast, had moved to Kalamazoo after he dissolved his partnership with O.R. Johnson.  He entered politics and became a State Senator; he was also one of the builders of the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island.  O.R. Johnson moved to Racine, WI and founded a company that exists to this day – the Johnson Wax Company.)  It also was a boat building factory owned by the Charles & Henry Bird Family.  At the turn-of-the-century, it became a boarding house owned by Jocoba Cappon, 2nd wife (a widow) of the first Mayor of Holland, Isaac Cappon.

In 1922 it opened as The Twin Gables Hotel & Restaurant by Tom Carey, a vaudeville banjo player.  Tom would invite his musician friends from Chicago and they set up an orchestra for dancing at the Twin Gables.  During Prohibition of the 1920s, some gangsters from Al Capone’s gang would frequent the Hotel.  Local legend is that there is a bullet hold in the wall of the Sandpiper (formerly the bar), which was made by one of Al Capone’s men.  He (one of Al Capone’s men) had a sweetheart who worked here in the kitchen.  The speculation is that someone made a pass at the sweetheart while Al’s gang was here and he didn’t like the gesture.  The grandson of the “sweetheart” lives here in Saugatuck (not a young man anymore).  Though he can verify that there was something illicit going on, family values prevented discussion of the topic when he was a boy and there is no one left who can fill in the details of the affair.  The Tall Man’s Club of Chicago also vacationed at the Hotel.  Former Michigan Governor Van Wagner owned the Hotel for a brief time in the 1940s.

Originally, the hotel was halfway on the street and halfway on the front lawn and driveway, since Blue Star Highway did not yet exist. However, in 1936 the State built the Highway and extended Lake Street to meet the new highway; since the building was in the way, the State moved it to its present location. The building functioned as a successful Hotel & Restaurant for several years under different owners, the longest being Jack Janush who owned it for almost 40 years, when the Simcik’s bought it from his estate in 1982.  When the Simcik’s bought it, the Hotel & Restaurant had been closed for over 15 years and was is a sad state of disrepair.  However, they restored it returning its dignity and a respectable place in society.  It was entered into the Michigan State Historic Register and started a new life as a Bed & Breakfast.  

The Twin Gables Inn experienced a tremendous amount of success as a Bed & Breakfast through the late 2000’s.  Unfortunately, the Inn had fallen into disrepair and was vacant for a 3 year span.  The historic landmark was purchased by two brothers, Tim and Al Heminger, with the vision to bring the hotel back to life as Saugatuck’s premier boutique hotel and luxury bed & breakfast.  Al is no stranger to hospitality.  He and his wife, Karrie, are the owners of the Huron House Luxury Bed & Breakfast in Oscoda, Michigan, which has been featured by Business Insider, Yahoo Finance, and Midwest Living to name a few.   He also serves on the board of the Michigan Bed and Breakfast Association.  In October of 2016, after extensive renovations, the property has been brought back to life as The Hotel Saugatuck.  

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