North Manitou Island Lifesaving Station

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North Manitou Island Lifesaving Station
North Manitou Island Lifesaving Station - Michigan.png
North Manitou Island Lifesaving Station is located in Michigan
North Manitou Island Lifesaving Station
Location East Coast, North Manitou Island, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Michigan
Coordinates 45°7′16″N 85°58′39″W / 45.12111°N 85.97750°W / 45.12111; -85.97750Coordinates: 45°7′16″N 85°58′39″W / 45.12111°N 85.97750°W / 45.12111; -85.97750
Area 3 acres (1.2 ha)
Built 1854 (1854)
Architect Francis W. Chandler, Albert B. Bibb
Architectural style Gothic Revival, Queen Anne, Stick/Eastlake Movement
Governing body National Park Service
NRHP Reference # 98001191
Significant dates
Added to NRHP August 5, 1998[1]
Designated NHLD August 6, 1998[2]

North Manitou Island Lifesaving Station, also known as North Manitou Coast Guard Station, is a complex of buildings located on North Manitou Island, which is part of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Michigan, in the U.S. The complex was constructed as a life-saving station. It is the only remaining station which was in use during all three periods of lifesaving service history,[3] from the early volunteer period through operation by the United States Life-Saving Service and the United States Coast Guard.[4] It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1998.[2]

History[edit]

In 1854, the United States Congress allocated money to establish volunteer life-saving stations on the Great Lakes.[4] The North Manitou Island Lifesaving Station was established that same year.[3] Nicholas Pickard, a resident of North Manitou Island, requested and received from the government a lifesaving boat and the standardized plans to construct the station.[4] The boathouse on North Manitou Island is the only remaining boathouse constructed using the 1854 standard plans.

The United States Life-Saving Service was established in 1871, and the previously all-volunteer lifesaving stations were converted to house paid crews.[4] In 1874, they took over operation of the North Manitou Island station.[3] A new station was constructed in 1877, and a paid crew installed the following year.[4] The crew initially boarded with local residents, but in 1887 a crew quarters was built as part of the life-saving station. Additional structures were built at the station as needed. These included private homes, built by crew members; many of these were later moved to other locations on private lots.

The Life-Saving Service was merged into the United States Coast Guard in 1915, and the Coast Guard operated the station continuously until 1932, when it was determined that the station, lacking a protected boat launch, was no longer needed.[4] The station continued operation with a skeleton crew until 1938,[3] when it was sold to the Manitou Island Association, a private corporation.[4] The Association used the buildings to house employees, and for general operation of their island hunting preserve. The National Park Service acquired the station in 1984.

Description[edit]

Panorama of district

The North Manitou Island Lifesaving Station is a complex of buildings located on 3 acres (1.2 ha) of land on the northeast shoreline of North Manitou Island.[3] The structures in the district date from 1854 to about 1916, and represent a range of historic architectural styles, as well as the three distinct periods of lifesaving history.

The Lifesaving Station is located on a broad flat plain facing a sandy beach, separated from structures in the nearby village by a grassy field.[4] An access road runs nearby. A number of structures were built at the station over time; some have been removed or demolished. Remaining structures in the district include:

Volunteer Rescue Station (1854)[edit]

1854 Volunteer Station

The Volunteer Rescue Station is a 1-1/2 story frame boathouse clad in cedar boards, approximately 17 feet (5.2 m) wide by 36 feet (11 m).[4] A single first-floor room was used to house the surfboat, and a small loft above was used for the storage of other equipment. The structure has been restored to its original appearance.

U.S. Life Boat Station (1877)[edit]

1877 Boathouse

The U.S. Life Boat Station was constructed using a modified version of the floor plan designed by Francis W. Chandler in 1876.[4] It is a two-story structure with a clipped gable end, providing shelter for a lookout balcony on one end. It is covered with vertical batten siding, with bracketry beneath the eaves. The Manitou Island Association converted the structure into a quarters and a storehouse, and the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore adapted this boathouse into a dormitory in 1990.

U.S. Life-Saving Service Dwelling (1887)[edit]

1887 Crews Quarters

This dwelling, believed to have been developed by Life-Saving Service architect Albert B. Bibb, is believed to be the only one constructed of its type in the country.[4] It is a two-story structure with cross-gables, and originally housed the captain on the first floor and the crew on the second. In 1932, the Coast Guard renovated the structure, placing it on a basement, adding a front porch, and reworking the location of the stairs. In 1992, the Park Service adapted the building to house staff.

Hans Halseth House (1890s)[edit]

The Hans Halseth House was originally located some distance north of the station, and was moved to its current location in 1912.[4] The house is a 1-1/2 story side-gabled structure with a gabled dormer centered in the front. The house has been modified several times, including the addition of a hip roof front porch and two additions on the side. In 1990, the Park Service renovated and restored this building to house employees.

Crew Ready Room (1895)[edit]

The Crew Ready Room is a pyramidal hipped roof building where the on-duty crew would wait.[4] The building has lost much of its historical integrity, and is considered non-contributing to the historic district.

Root Cellar (1899)[edit]

The root cellar is promarily constructed of field stone and mortar, with a wood shingled gable roof on top.[4] Access into the cellar is an inclined double wooden cellar door at the surface, down a set of stairs, and through a second wooden door at the bottom of the stairs. The cellar has a round air vent on one side and a square screened hole on the other, providing air movement into the cellar.

Storm Tower and Flag Locker (c. 1905)[edit]

The storm tower is a four-sided metal-framed structure, made of open trusses with taper to a point 50 feet (15 m) above the ground.[4] A 20 feet (6.1 m) tall mast with sidearms projects above. Te mast flew an American flag from the top, and storm flags from the yards. Flags were stored in a metal locker at the base of the tower.

Generator Building (1914-16)[edit]

The Generator Building is a small single story shed with gabled ends.[4] It has three windows and a single door.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23. 
  2. ^ a b "North Manitou Island Lifesaving Station". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-05-03. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "North Manitou Island Life-Saving Station". Michigan State Housing Development Authority: Historic Sites Online. Retrieved January 25, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p William Herd; Kimberly Mann; Candace Clifford; Patricia Henry (January 26, 1994). National Historic Landmark Nomination: North Manitou Island Lifesaving Station / North Manitou Coast Guard Station. National Park Service.  and Accompanying eight photos, from 1893, 1897, c.1916, 1996 PDF (32 KB)

External links[edit]