By ERIC FREEDMAN
Capital News Service
LANSING — The roster of Lower Peninsula sites on the National Register of Historic Places has grown by four with new designations in Saugatuck, Elk Rapids, Alpena and Detroit. Among them are a 1904 pump house and a turn-of-the-20th-century church, both now serving as local history museums.
“The National Register is the official list of the nation’s historic places worthy of preservation,” according to the National Park Service (NPS), which administers the program. Sites must be significant “in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering and culture” and “possess integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling and association.”
Under NPS guidelines, they are “associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history or with the lives of significant persons in our past.”
In West Michigan, the brick Saugatuck Pump House on the bank of the Kalamazoo River marks where Saugatuck developed its water system after devastating fires wiped out a hotel and other buildings. No organized fire department existed at the time, and the village was gaining popularity as a tourist destination, connected by steamship to Chicago and by rail to Grand Rapids, according to the nomination. The building was abandoned in the 1930s because its pumping and generating functions were inadequate, and it was later renovated as a cottage by private tenants.