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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Grand Haven in Ottawa County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Life Saving Service

 
 
Life Saving Service Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 27, 2017
1. Life Saving Service Marker
Inscription.  Grand Haven has been an important base for life-saving on the Great Lakes. In the 1800s, vital transportation on the lakes was challenged by loss of life in storms and accidents. When Congress responded by forming the United States Life Saving Service in 1871, Grand Haven Station No. 9 was established to oversee the operations of 12 stations on Lake Michigan. Surfmen drilled in life-saving techniques at the station and responded to disasters offshore. In 1915 the U.S. Coast Guard was formed and continues its operations in Grand Haven to this day.

Lesson learned: "You Live Best in Your Life Vest — WEAR IT!"
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: DisastersWaterways & Vessels.
 
Location. 43° 3.484′ N, 86° 14.833′ W. Marker is in Grand Haven, Michigan, in Ottawa County. Marker can be reached from South Harbor Drive 0.4 miles west of Sherman Avenue, on the right when traveling west. Marker is located along the Grand River Boardwalk, beside the parking lot, just west of Lighthouse Connector Park. Touch for map.
Marker detail: A lifeboat capsizing drill in the Grand River in front of the Life Saving Station image. Click for full size.
Courtesy of the Tri-Cities Historical Museum
2. Marker detail: A lifeboat capsizing drill in the Grand River in front of the Life Saving Station
Marker is at or near this postal address: 1001 South Harbor Drive, Grand Haven MI 49417, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Boardwalk (approx. 0.3 miles away); Escanaba Memorial Park (approx. 0.3 miles away); In Memory of the Coast Guard Men and Women (approx. 0.3 miles away); Escanaba Park (approx. 0.4 miles away); To The Enlisted Men of the United States Coast Guard (approx. 0.4 miles away); Shipwrecks and the Coast Guard / The Escanaba (approx. 0.4 miles away); Coast Guard Cutters on the Great Lakes (approx. 0.4 miles away); Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Grand Haven.
 
Also see . . .
1. Coast Guard Station Grand Haven History. On May 1, 1877, the USLSS opened the first station on the north side of the Grand River. The first station had assigned to it one six-ton self-bailing, self-righting lifeboat, one six-man surfboat, and a life car. Grand Haven's second station was built just west of the old station. It opened its doors on December 22, 1922 and at this time Grand Haven had its first power boat. The third, and present day station, is located on the south side of the Grand River, further upriver from the previous two stations. It opened its doors on June 5, 1989. (Submitted on July 27, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

2. Grand Haven Life Saving Station. The original
Marker detail: Practice image. Click for full size.
Courtesy of the Tri-Cities Historical Museum
3. Marker detail: Practice
Surfmen practice rescuing seamen from a stranded vessel with rigging from the beach. Their reputation for bravery in rescues gave them the nicknames
"Heroes of Peace" and "Storm Warriors."
Grand Haven Chatham style station built in 1922 is still standing, although heavily modified from its original appearance. The old station, now in private hands without a historic preservation covenant in place, was able to be modified into whatever anybody wanted. The basic station style is still reminiscent in the new design following the old design. The four bay boathouse is also still in original condition which is nice to see, although it has not seen any maintenance in some time. (Submitted on July 27, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
Marker detail: Life Saving Station image. Click for full size.
Courtesy of the Tri-Cities Historical Museum
4. Marker detail: Life Saving Station
The station had an observation tower and a two-stall boathouse. It housed important life-saving equipment like lifeboats and
beach-apparatus carts.
Life Saving Service Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 27, 2017
5. Life Saving Service Marker
(Grand River Boardwalk parking lot in background)
Former Grand Haven Life Saving Station and Boathouse image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 27, 2017
6. Former Grand Haven Life Saving Station and Boathouse
Located directly north across Grand River from marker. The former Life Saving Station buildings have been transformed into a private residence.
U.S. Coast Guard Station, Grand Haven image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 27, 2017
7. U.S. Coast Guard Station, Grand Haven
The current station is located 4/10 mile east of this marker, on the south side of Grand River.
Grand Haven, MI, has been given the honorable distinction of "Coast Guard City, USA".
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 27, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 26, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 49 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on July 26, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.   7. submitted on July 27, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.
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Feb. 26, 2021