Signature Sponsor
Grand Haven, Michigan Continues Coal Tipple Reservation

 

 

By Alexander Sinn

July 8, 2019 - Time and the elements are chipping away at the historic coal tipple building in Grand Haven, Michigan.

City officials on Monday agreed to continue preservation work to the 1925 structure on Harbor Drive to prevent it from further deterioration.

 

The City of Grand Haven will continue preserving the historic coal tipple building on Harbor Drive, but the structure will remain fenced off due to falling debris.

Photo by Alexander Sinn, Tribune

 

The City of Grand Haven will continue preserving the historic coal tipple building on Harbor Drive, but the structure will remain fenced off due to falling debris.

Photo by Alexander Sinn, Tribune


The city has about $81,000 in a fund that began in 2012 with community donations, a portion of which will go toward completing an epoxy coating of the tipple’s concrete exterior. The new work picks up from a project in 2015 that has since proven effective in preventing deterioration in treated areas.

City Manager Pat McGinnis said the public shouldn’t expect to see notable differences to the outside of the structure, but scaffolding will be necessary for the touch-up job.

A fence currently surrounds the tower with signs warning pedestrians of falling material. The work will not allow for the public to get any closer, but Mayor Geri McCaleb said Monday she would like to see the fence removed through further improvements, such as a net to protect people from falling debris.

The city in 2014 explored a project that would make it safe to remove the fence, which was estimated to require around $400,000.

The city has committed to preservation of the tipple, McGinnis said, but not full restoration. Previous interior work included closing off places where birds and bats nested.

The coal tipple provided steam-driven trains with coal supply from the 1920s through the 1950s. Coal was loaded into the tower and delivered to trains by a scuttle.

The State Historic Preservation Office calls the Grand Haven landmark the only publicly accessible coal tipple in Michigan.

Nearing a century in Grand Haven, officials say preservation should keep the coal tipple standing for another 100 years.

“There are no other structures accessible like it,” McGinnis said. “It happens to be by the waterfront. It’s very rare in that respect.”