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Love is in the air at the Tri-Cities Historical Museum

• Feb 22, 2019 at 12:00 AM

With February being the month of love, it’s time to reflect on some of the great love stories of the Tri-Cities.

One in particular is the union between two prominent local families, the Robbinses of Grand Haven and the Savidges of Spring Lake. The wedding of Nathaniel Robbins Jr. and Esther Savidge happened on an early fall evening in September 1891. The Evening Tribune newspaper was on hand to report the event in so much detail that upon reading the description you feel as if you were there firsthand to be a part of the ceremony.

“The quiet but elegant wedding of Nathaniel Robbins Jr. of Grand Haven, and Esther Savidge, of Spring Lake, took place Thursday evening at the home of the bride. None but the relatives and a few of the intimate friends of the family were present. Miss Savidge is the only daughter of the late Hunter Savidge, well known as one of the prominent lumbermen of Western Michigan, and partner of the Hon. Dwight Cutler, of Grand Haven. The high esteem in which the memory of her father is held in the hearts of the people of Grand Haven and Spring Lake, added to the respect and regard for the family of the bride, made it an event of unusual interest. The bride by her many noble traits of character has justly won an enviable place in her large circle of friends. 

“The groom is the son of Capt. N. Robbins, superintendent of the lifesaving stations of Michigan; he is one of Grand Haven’s prominent business men and social favorite.

“The elaborate decorations of the house and the beauty and style of all the arrangements have never been surpassed in this part of Michigan. As one entered the house the soft strains of music which greeted the ear from Hanu’s orchestra, of Chicago, secluded in the deep recess of the hall, the brilliantly lighted rooms, the beauty and perfume of the flowers, and the handsome evening dress of the company impressed one like a glimpse of fairy land. The drawing room was decorated with roses, carnations and smilax; that part arranged for the ceremony was festooned with smilax scattered over with white roses and carnations. A white silk cushion was placed for the bride to kneel upon to receive the blessing.

“The ceremony was solemnized by Reverend J.H. Sammis, D.D., pastor of the Presbyterian church, of Grand Haven, assisted by Rev. A.S. Kedzie, D.D. At the base of the pier glass were arranged banks of red and white roses.

“At 8 o’clock the bridal party entered the room. George P. Savidge, brother of the bride, and Dwight Cutler Jr., followed by misses Francis Cutler and Jennie Smith, who preceded the bride and groom. The bride entered on the arm of the groom, and was followed by Mrs. Hunter Savidge, mother of the bride, Mr. William Savidge, Hon. Dwight Cutler, and Captain and Mrs. Robbins. After the ceremony and congratulations, the guests proceeded to the dining room and partook of refreshments. The caterer was Kingsley, of Chicago.

“The dining room was decorated in pink. A large basket of pink flowers and maiden hair ferns graced the center of the table; candles shaded by pink shades gave a subdued pink light to the room and added much to its beauty.

“The bride was robed in white faille silk covered with silk embroidered flounces, veil and orange blossoms, with diamond ornaments, and carried a bouquet of white carnations. Mrs. Savidge wore a dress of black broadened silk with train, trimmings of lace, diamond ornaments and carried a bouquet of white roses. Mrs. Robbins was dressed in black silk and point lace.

“The bride and groom were the recipients of many beautiful presents from their friends. After an extended trip to the Yellowstone Park, and other points, they will make their future home at Grand Haven.”

The Tri-Cities Historical Museum is fortunate to have several items from this momentous occasion in our collection. Including the famous cake top from the Robbins-Savidge wedding, which was a fruit and rum liquor cake. The cake was soaked in so much rum that it is forever preserved in a metal tin and will be on display this summer in a new temporary exhibit, “Tri-Cities A to Z.” This exhibit will highlight never-before-seen artifacts in a fun way representing each letter of the alphabet.

The Tri-Cities Historical Museum is located at 200 Washington Ave. in downtown Grand Haven and is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 12-5 p.m. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for up-to-date information on exhibits and events.

About the writer: Julie Bunke is the director of the Tri-Cities Historical Museum.

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