Robert H. “Harry” Fort (1875 – 1954)Submitted by Edward Bentley, private researcher from Lansing, Michigan
Robert H. Fort was born in Bloomington, Illinois, in 1875 (the census for 1900 states October of 1876) and went to Chicago in 1890 where he worked as a commercial artist. He first visited the Saugatuck, Michigan area in 1904 with friends from the city and, according to his obituary, was so impressed by the beauty of the village and countryside that the family decided to make Saugatuck home. By 1915 they had done just that.
When eye trouble threatened his art work he took up boat building and carpentry, but later returned to painting. He lived, in later years, with his sister, Mrs. Harry Newnham, in her rooming house on Griffith Street and painted many views of the Methodist church and the Brittain house, scenes he could see from the front porch.
The family later presented a canvas to the village of Saugatuck of a local scene that included two local churches. It now hangs in city hall.
Painting the Town: A History of Art in Saugatuck and Douglas, The Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society, 1997