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History’s Gem of the Month

August 2009

Grand Marie Life Saving StationCoast Guard Point

During the late 1800s and early 1900s, ship travel on Lake Superior was at its heyday. To help rescue ships that suffered the wrath of Lake Superior’s storms, the United States Lifesaving Service operated five stations along the southeastern section of the lake’s shoreline. Due to all the accidents, this section is often referred to as the “Shipwreck Coast.” There were stations in: Grand Marais, Deer Park, Two-Heart River, Crisp Point, and Vermillion Point.

The Grand Marais station was located at the west entrance to the harbor. It was built and placed into service in 1899. When it was completed, the station was considered one of the best in all of the Great Lakes. The station had 2 surf boats, a 34-foot self-righting life boat, and a full complement of beach apparatus.

Over the years of service, the crew from Grand Marais made hundreds of rescues. By 1935, 700 cases of assistance had taken place. The most spectacular rescue occurred on November 14, 1919. The Lifesaving crew, along with 4 civilians (Joseph Graham, Ambrose Graham, Ora Endress, and James MacDonald) set out to rescue the crew of the stranded steamer H.E. Runnels. The weather worked against them with blizzard conditions and monstrous waves. The rescue was complicated by ice covering the decks of the steamer. Although some of the rescuers were washed out of the lifesaving boat, no lives were lost. The crew members were awarded a Gold Lifesaving Medal including John O. Anderson, Alfred E. Kristofferson, Leon E. Alford, George Olsen, Glen Wells, Edward J. Spencer, Russell Martin, William Campbell and Joseph G. McShea.

The original lifesaving station was replaced with a new Coast Guard Station in 1940. Although it is still standing, it is now a ranger station for the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.


History's Gems Archives

May 2007
(The Telescope Story)

June 2007
(The Story of the Grand Marais "Meteor")

July 2007
(Hints on Hunting Glacial Agate Article)

August 2007
(Lake Superior Origin from 1957)

Fall 2007
(Tourist Information from the 1920s)

December 2007
(Lake Superior Editorial)

January 2008
(Grand Marais Tourist Signpost)

February 2008
(Unusual Wedding Invitation)

March 2008
(1915 Rules for Teachers)

April 2008
(Cedar Stump article from 1962)

May 2008
(Old Postcards)

June 2008
(Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Proposal Proposal Proposal-Part 1)

Summer 2008
(Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Proposal Proposal-Part 2)

Summer 2008
(Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Proposal Proposal-Part 3)

October 2008
(Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Proposal Proposal-Part 4)

November 2008
(Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Proposal-Part 5)

December 2008
(Agate Leaflet from 1927)

January 2009
(Old Postcards)

February 2009
(Snowstorm Article from 1988)

March 2009
(Lake Superior Agate Poem)

Spring 2009
(History of M77)

July 2009
(Axel Niemi Photo)

August 2009
(Ship Travel on Lake Superior)

September 2009
(Hints on Hunting and Finding Agates)

Fall 2009
(Hints on Hunting and Finding Agates Part 2)

February 2010
(The Story of Grand Marais Part 1)

February 2010
(The Story of Grand Marais Part 2)

April/May 2010
(The Story of Grand Marais Part 3)

June 2010
(Box of Rocks Gets Diploma)

July 2010
(Shipwrecks at Agate Beach)

August/September 2010
(1958 Detroit News Article about Axel Niemi)

Fall 2010
(Reprint from the Douglas Houghton Expedition)

Winter 2011
(Old Postcards and Pictures)

Spring 2011
(1905 Grand Marais Article)

September 2011
(Michigan Log Marks)

March 2012
(John Keating)

January 2012
(Axel Remembered)

March 2012
(John Keating)

June 2012
(The Shark: Post 1)

September 2012
(The Shark: Post 2)

March 2013
(The Shark: Post 3)

August 2013
(All That Glitters. . .)

November 2013
(Excerpts from The Grand Marais Herald)

April 2014
(Souvenir View Book of Sault Ste. Marie)

September 2014
(Michigan Beach Stones)

February 2015
(Michiganís Mystic Dunes)

June 2015
(Vintage Grand Marais Photos)

November 2015
(Gitchee Agomowin)

June 2016
(Grand Marais Poems)

August 2016
(1981 Article about Grand Marais)


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Gitche Gumee Museum.
E21739 Brazel Street
Grand Marais, Michigan 49839

 


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