Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Coast Guard City USA #13

The City of Grand Haven is located on Lake Michigan at the mouth of the Grand River, for which it is named. The city was first called "Grand Haven" in 1835 and the community was incorporated as a city in 1867. It was founded by French settlers and a fur-trading outpost was established. In the mid 1800s the city developed into a logging lumber business and ship building. During the early 1900s Grand Haven was a manufacturing hub for the area building everything from automobiles to car parts to furniture to lighting and pianos.

The Grand Haven Lighthouses were first built in 1839 on the south pier marking the channel into the river. The current lighthouses, painted red were built in 1875 (had an outer light) and 1905 (inner light). The lighthouses are connected by a lighted catwalk which runs along the pier to the shore. The very first lighthouse they built right on the beach, it washed away with a violent storm. They decided to build another one up high up on a sand dune across the street from the first one with the light keepers home attached. When the pier was built they built a new lighthouse at the end, which is still there today. The one built on the dune was torn down, leaving only the keepers home, which is still standing today.

The city has around 100 miles of bike trails, a state beach, boardwalk, charter fishing fleet and a Great Lakes port, where it imports limestone, slag, cement and coal while exporting sand. Our Grand Haven State Park was recognized for having one of the top 5 beaches in the US by Good Morning America. In the summer months our lakes water temperatures can reach the low 70s. The State Park hosts the AVP Pro Volleyball Tournaments throughout the summer months. There is a campground at the state park near the pier and lighthouses. The waterfront locations bring tourists from all over the state for boating, sailing, jet skiiing and wind surfing.

Grand Haven is home to the United States Coast Guards "Group Grand Haven", which c cordinates all Lake Michigan Coast Guard activities. The city hosts the annual Coast Guard Festival, which draws U.S. and Canadian vessels along with parades of bands and other activities. The yearly attendance for this event exceeds 100,000 people over the two week period of the festival. Grand Haven is also officially designated as "Coast Guard City, USA" by an act of Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton. The act was Public Law 105-383 enacted by the United States Congress and signed by the president on November 13, 1998. I would like to say the Coast Guard activities when first started only family and friend's could attend. In the early 1900s they changed them to include the city residents.

The town also has a large Musical Fountain was built on the opposite bank of the Grand River from the city center in 1962. It plays nightly in tourist season. When it was built, it was the world's largest such fountain. It purportedly is still the largest fountain with colored lights, although the largest fountain overall is now in Las Vegas. During the summer months if you don't go down early to watch the fountain, you will have to hunt for a space to put your blanket or lawn chairs.

All this is in a town with a total area of 7.4 square miles of which 5.8 square miles of it is land and 1.6 miles of it is water. Route US-31 runs through the city along a boulevard and goes over the drawbridge over the Grand River at the northern city limits. Route M104 runs easterly from US-31 in Ferrysburg, through Spring Lakr and toward 1-96 which runs north and south.

All this information can be found on Wikipedia. One more thing I would like to tell about the Coast Guard ifestival, there is a large arts and crafts in the city park during the festival, vendors from all over come to sell and they have such a variety you can't imagine. We are so glad we choose this town to move to and we are still here, I love the activities in the summer, this town is so packed with tourist down town it is hard to walk. One more thing they have is a large carnival and where do they put it righ smack in the middle of town on main street.

I will be back with my stories, but just had to tell you about this beautiful town. There is one problem we are having too many condos built and some of them are right down town. I don't like to see the old building torn down to make room for them. If they take the old look away from Grand Havens town I am afraid it will effect the tourist trade, this is why people come here, it is so quaint. Thanks for taking a trip down memory lane, I only scratch the surfaced the surface with the history of Grand Haven, if you will look on a US map you will see us between Muskegon and Holland.


14 comments:

WELCOME TO MY WORLD OF POETRY: said...

A real educational blog, thanks for sharing.
It always a pleasure to know what has/and is going on in other parts of the world. well done.

Take care.

Yvonne

Steppa and her Babys +Lover Guy said...

Wow iam coming up to spend the sumer with you

Patty said...

Thanks for sharing. I know what you mean about tearing down the old and putting up new. Leave it to the higher ups and everything old would be removed. They don't know when to leave well enough alone.

Here in our little town the once a year that we call the Community Picnic is held at our larger park that is called Golden Gate. Once a year our Fireman's Parade/ breakfast and then the chicken dinner is held right smack in the middle of our little town. The streets all get blocked off, the firetrucks and ambulances are parked on a side street in case they are needed. But we live in a very small town.

Have a great week-end.

Hootin' Anni said...

Ha!.....My mother in law [bless her soul] was born in Grand Haven, Michigan.

Happy Saturday to you, Margaret.

GARAGE SALE GAL said...

Hi Margaret,
Thank you for your prayers for my family. I think it's great that you are writing down your history. The "older" I get the more history, and family history means to me.
Warmly,
Deb

ancient one said...

Love history... this was very imformative.. thanks for coming by to see my "yellow" post...

kasey said...

sounds fabulous.
xoxo

Denise said...

Just stopping by to see what you are up to and see if you are enjoying SPRING!!!!!!!! I am ready to play in the dirt! I got that from my grandmother...... she was a dirt digger and passed that along to me.....

Hootin' Anni said...

Margaret: I just sent you an email to your email that you have on your blog profile.

The subject line will be GRAND HAVEN

Hope it gets to you.

Karla @ Ramblin' Roads said...

Thanks for following my blog! I am honored! I know I'll enjoy reading yours as well.

Merle said...

Dear Margaret ~~ I enjoyed your post about your home town. It sounds great. A good place to live.
Thank you for your good wishes about the passing of my friend Gwen and also the accident. I am gradually getting over it, and so is Kerry. Her car was ruined. The Home Care company are great and replaced everything and even bought me a box of chocolates. I guess they are insured for that sort of thing. Glad you enjoyed the post and jokes.
Take great care, my friend, Love, Merle.

Kathleen said...

Grand Haven sounds wonderful! It sounds like a place I'd like to visit on vacation.

caspersmom said...

Well, I bet Grand Haven isn't the way you remember it now. Bet it's grown a lot more. Our son (the one who burned his leg) lives near Lake Huron and everytime we go back there we have to go there. There is a light house that we have been too, but don't remember the name of it. It was very pretty around in that area. Dale lives in Mayville Michigan. I would like to go to the peninsula part of Michigan but haven't as yet.

Margaret Cloud said...

I am glad you are enjoying my story, thank you for stopping by.

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