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.
By JASMINE WATTS
Capital News Service
LANSING— State lawmakers are pushing to change a law that preserves historic districts so that residents will have a greater say in how they can modify their homes. A coupleof Republican legislators want to rewrite the 45-year-old Historic Districts Act so that the people it affects will be able to modify their homes without being easily denied by the historic preservation committees in charge of them. Historic districts are areas with buildings deemed significant to a city’s cultural history. They allow communities to preserve the richness of the past, while providing continuity for the present and future, according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. There are 78 in Michigan, including ones in Cadillac, Grand Rapids, Holland, Manistee, Three Rivers and Traverse City, according to the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.
By Kamen Kessler
Bath-DeWitt Connection staff reporter
War is often the first thought that comes to people’s minds when it comes to remembering history. In honoring veterans from the War of 1812, Civil War, and Toledo War the DeWitt City Cemetery is no different. When the City of DeWitt introduced its Historic Site program in 1997, there was little doubt that the city cemetery would be among the first to be recognized. In 1997, the City of DeWitt introduced its historical site program to recognize significant residential, cultural, and commercial history in the city. When the historical site program was introduced, the City of DeWitt sent out letters to 70 property owners asking for their permission to mark the property as a historical site, according to city records.
The Michigan Historic Preservation Network recently put in a bid to purchase and renovate the long-vacant Thelma Joyce Osteen Comfort Station, located at 313 E. Grand River Ave. in Old Town. The MHPN plans to use the second floor of the two-story building as its new headquarters, while leasing out the first floor for retail. The purchase price of the building is currently set at $60,000 and will be be voted upon in the coming weeks. MHPN Executive Director Nancy Finegood said that the Michigan Historic Tax Credit program will provide a tax credit and the organization will also receive a small facade grant from the City of Lansing.