Gretel Hartmann Is Back

The good news is: Gretel Hartmann’s bench is back on Canal Beach.

Alert “06880” reader Gene Borio reports that Saugatuck Shores residents thought Hurricane Sandy swept it away forever. But there it is, right where it was before the storm 2 years ago.

Gretel Hartmann bench 1

The interesting news is: Gene and his neighbors don’t know how it got there.
“Apparently someone salvaged it from the massive destruction, and now restored it,” he says. “It’s a little worse for wear, but it’s in its proper place on in the sand.”

The bad news is: He doesn’t know who Gretel Hartmann was. The bench was there for about 10 years before Sandy, Gene says.

Gretel Hartmann bench 2

If any “06880” readers have info on Gretel, let’s give her — and her bench — some due. Click “Comments” to share.

12 responses to “Gretel Hartmann Is Back

  1. Michael Calise

    For many years Greta was a Real Estate broker, member of the Independent Brokers of
    Westport

  2. Gretel is the great grandmother of Rob Hartmann of Saugatuck shores

  3. Deborah Green

    Greet and Herb Hartman were among the earliest of Island residents, as were their son and his wife, Carol. They raised three wonderful sons here, one of whom, Rob, lives here with his wife, Lisa, and their children (fourth generationers).
    I am thrilled Grete’s bench is back where it belongs. Perhaps it was unearthed during the construction taking place on the promontory at the end of Canal Road. Rest in peace, Grete.

  4. I believe that Grete was a realtor in Westport. She and her husband Herb were friends of my parents.

  5. William Adler

    Rob Hartmann’s wife Lisa this morning confirmed the bench’s origins: “We had placed the bench years ago when Rob’s grandmother died. She lived with her husband at 36 Harbor Road and the sea gave them both great joy,” Lisa wrote. Rob is a lifelong resident of Saugatuck Island. The bench has been back at Canal Beach for the past couple of months.

  6. Greta and Herb Sr. were long time Westport residents. Greta was a realtor. The bench was placed on the beach after Greta passed away but was washed away in hurricane Sandy. It disappeared for 2 years returning in November of 2014 on the one year anniversary of of the passing of my father Herb Jr.
    Thank you to the person who found repaired and returned the bench.

  7. Betty Lou Cummings

    I was just down at the beach with Chanel 12 News, about the lost and found bench dedicated to Greta Hartmann on Canal Beach; (Rob Hartmann ask me to do this since he is away).It is so appropriate that the family donated this bench since Greta, a very elegant lady, was a long time resident of Saugatuck Island….some of her family still lives here. A loving miracle since Sandy took it away & found its way back. Happy Hugs to all the Hartmann’s
    Betty Lou Cummings

  8. William Adler

    There is one more remarkable thing about the bench’s mysterious return just before Christmas – the inscription of the plaque on the bench says Glaedelig Jul, which is “Merry Christmas” in Norwegian. Lisa Hartmann says Gretel passed around Christmas time, as did her husband and son.

  9. Hi! I’m Grete Hartmann’s daughter. My husband and I are on the road, returning to georgia after a trip throughout Texas to visit all of our children and grandchildren. Mom was Danish and held true to her Danish traditions, ESPECIALLY at Christmas, so spending Christmas with family has always been very special, because of all of the wonderful Christmases she shared with us. Having her bench reappear at this time of the year is nothing short of a miracle!

  10. William Adler

    Thank you for sharing a crucial piece of information about your mother’s heritage – so, Glædelig Jul is to celebrate “DANISH” Christmas! I had Googled the phrase and found the Norwegian – must be similar spelling. Channel 12 did a nice story on the “Christmas Miracle” of the bench this afternoon. Those of us on Saugatuck Island who visit the bench regularly will think of your mother and send warm vibes to her, and all of your family. The bench and the plaque about your mom are in great shape. The timing truly is a Christmas miracle !!!

  11. THANKS to every one for the enlightening and touching comments. The Hartmann bench is MUCH appreciated by us all!