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elcome! For more than a century, Ludington has beckoned visitors to its prime waterfront perch on Lake Michigan. The friendly resort town features a magical beach, a premier state park, Lake Michigan’s historic carferry (now a National Landmark), one of the top charter fishRick Plummer, ing ports in MCHS Executive Michigan, gloDirector rious sunsets, and other remarkable natural resources that make it a highly desirable recreational spot for vacationers. Now it can boast of one of the finest maritime museums in the nation. Maritime history is brought to life through a variety of di-


verse, family-friendly, interactive exhibits at Mason County Historical Society’s new Port of Ludington Maritime Museum. Located in the former U.S. Coast Guard Station, a landmark on the National Register of Historic Places, the museum entertains, enlightens, and instructs. Come pilot the famed carferry Pere Marquette 22 into Ludington’s harbor, meet holograms of both Captains Nels Palmer and Andy Van Dyke, and enjoy many other richly engaging, interactive exhibits. The Port of Ludington Maritime Museum is a year-round attraction that captures for its visitor the opportunity to feel the presence of all the sweet water sailors from the time of the wooden schooners through to the present. The Port of Ludington Maritime Museum opens for the

public on Saturday, June 10, 2017, and is open every day of the week through the summer, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Plans for the museum began over 10 years ago when the USCG decommissioned the historic station and turned it over to the City of Ludington. The city then immediately partnered with Mason County Historical Society and, out of this public and private partnership, the idea for this exciting museum was born. The history of Ludington and Mason County is inextricably linked to the area’s maritime legacy — to the succession of ships and vessels that graced her shores and to the men and women whose lives were spent — and sometimes lost — on Lake Michigan. Come meet the intrepid mariners from yesteryear and sail into the past to relive history for the fun of it!

Big Ship, Best Value! FARES AS LOW AS...



per adult one-way

-OR- $


2017 Sailing Schedule

Call for details!

for two adults with auto, one way

These prices for the 2017 season can be used for any crossing if you book by June 1st. After this date, these “Best Value” fares will be available for the rest of the season on the 9:00 PM and 1:30 AM Crossing

Phone (800) 841-4243


May 19 - June 15 September 11 - October 15

June 16 - September 10

ARRIVE MANITOWOC 12:00 pm-noon (CT)

DEPART LUDINGTON 9:00 am (ET) 9:00 pm** (ET)

ARRIVE MANITOWOC 12:00 pm-noon (CT) 12:00 am (CT)



DEPART MANITOWOC 2:00 pm (CT) 1:30 am*** (CT)

ARRIVE LUDINGTON 7:00 pm (ET) 6:30 am (ET)

Tickets can be purchased online at

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2017 SPECIAL SHORELINE CRUISE & EVENT DATES: May 20 June 3 June 10 Aug. 9 Sept. 2



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“Doppel Dock Beer Festival” at Ludington Dock Manitowoc Caribbean Shoreline Cruise Ludington Pirates of the Caribbean Cruise Summer Shoreline Cruise in Ludington Two Rivers Kite Festival Shoreline Cruise at Manitowoc/Two Rivers Shoreline Sept. 3 Go Green/Go Blue Shoreline Cruise in Ludington

Ludington is Eastern Time Zone (ET); Manitowoc is Central Time Zone (CT) and leaves at 5:00 pm on Sat. 6/3 & Sat. 9/2. **No 9:00 pm sailing on Tues. 7/4, Wed. 8/9, Sat. 9/2 or Sun. 9/3 ***No 1:30 am sailing on Wed. 7/5, Thurs. 8/10, Sun. 9/3 or Mon. 9/4




4:30-5 P.M. Music on the south lawn, channel side, Port of Ludington Maritime Museum — Ludington High School Jazz Band (patriotic music) and LHS Chamber Choir (National Anthem) 5-5:30 P.M. • Greeting by Dr. Rick Plummer • Air & Sea Rescue — USCG Helicopter and Coast Guard Station Ludington Personnel — burning vessel and drowning civilians in channel rescued 5:30-5:35 P.M. Welcome by Dr. Plummer and recognition of many contributors, donors, and key individuals responsible for the project; Dr. Plummer introduces Valerie Van Heest 5:35-5:39 P.M. Brief remarks by Valerie Van Heest, chief exhibit designer, of Lafferty-Van Heest 5:39-5:40 P.M. Dr. Plummer introduces Mr. John Shay 5:40-5:43 P.M. Brief Remarks by Mr. John Shay, Ludington City Manager 5:43-5:44 P.M. Dr. Plummer Introduces Mr. David Lorenz, Vice President, Travel Michigan 5:44-5:48 P.M.

The museum’s information desk takes the form of a historic Ludington Coast Guard vessel.

David Lorenz, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Vice President, Travel Michigan, offers brief remarks 5:48-5:49 P.M. Dr. Plummer introduces Michigan Department of Transportation representative 5:49-5:53 P.M. Economic Development Administrator for MDOT, offers brief remarks 5:53-5:54 P.M. Dr. Plummer introduces USCG MCPO Mark Szoboszlay 5:54-5:55 P.M. Chief Szoboszlay introduces USCG Deputy Sector Commander, Sector Lake Michigan, CDR Dan T. Somma 5:55-6 P.M.

CDR Somma offers keynote remarks 6-6:08 P.M. Ribbon Cutting at PLMM entrance, North side 6:08-7 P.M. Free, small group tours of museum, led by docents, and free and open admission to the public for self-guided tours 7-7:15 P.M. Greet the SS Badger as she enters harbor; trumpet fanfare; Harbor One, Fire & Rescue Boat Water Salute 7:15-8 P.M. Continuation of free, small group tours of museum, led by docents, and free and open admission to the public for selfguided tour





aptains Nels Palmer and Wallace “Andy” Van Dyke, who both sailed into history and folklore in the early 20th century, will be featured in prominent displays in the Port of Ludington Maritime Museum. Both born in the 19th century, the fresh water sailors with a lifetime of salt in their veins spent much of the careers in the Port of Ludington. Their log books are etched with many sea-faring trips across Lake Michigan, including some that were harrowing and just one

large wave short of being disastrous. “The Port of Ludington Maritime Museum is a yearround attraction that captures for its visitor the opportunity to feel the presence of all the sweetwater sailors, from the time of the wooden schooners, through to the present,” said Rick Plummer, Ph.D., executive director of the Mason County Historical Society. Plummer oversees the construction of the museum and as well as Historic White Pine Village. “(Included in the PLMM are displays of) the famed United States Coast Guard Captain Nels Palmer, who began in the life-saving station service and ended his career in 1934 when this station was built, and the

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famed captain of the P.M. 22, Captain Wallace ‘Andy’ Van Dyke, who died in the Pere Marquette Railway Carferry service while sitting at his desk in his captain’s quarters, or ‘Texas.’ “That very desk, along with most of the artifacts from his cabin are on display in the museum,” said Plummer. Plummer said Palmer and Van Dyke both played prominent roles in the development of the Port of Ludington as a significant seaport on Lake Michigan. “Come meet these two intrepid mariners from yesteryear and sail into the past to relive our maritime history for the fun of it,” Plummer said.


orn in Escanaba in 1871, Captain Van Dyke died in his sleep in his cabin aboard the Pere Marquette 22 in 1936. Between 1892 and 1899 Van Dyke and his father owned the Great Lakes schooners Lettie May and Jessie Winters, the latter which was changed to the name La Rabida, on which the younger Van Dyke used primarily to haul lumber. He joined the crew of a schooner at age 15. An avid trapper, sailor and hunter, the young Van Dyke was shot in the hand when he was young, which eventually led to the amputation of his right arm. Not to be deterred by his handicap, Van Dyke went on to become an accomplished sailor and ship’s captain. In 1914 he and his family moved from Pentwater to Ludington, where he began work with the Pere Marquette Railroad to serve as a master of the Pere Marquette 15. After a few years he commanded the Pere Marquette 17, before taking charge of the Pere Marquette 22 in 1930. His printed obituary began: “Death came suddenly and quietly early today for Captain Wallace Van Dyke.” “He had been in the pilot house as usual when his vessel left Manitowoc … and retired after seeing that the course was properly set for Ludington. Officers of the ship summoned him when the carferry neared Ludington and they were alarmed when they failed to get a response,” the obituary continued. “On entering the found he had calmly passed away in his berth.” In a family essay written years later by Captain Van Dyke’s granddaughter, Mary Edith Stram Perreault, she wrote, in part: “Typed and pasted in the scrapbook by Captain Van Dyke was this ­— ‘Say only that I loved old ships, write nothing more upon the stone above my anchorage and they who read will know I loved the roar of the breakers in by-gone sailing days.”


Dr. Rick Plummer portrays Captain Wallace Van Dyke in the museum’s interactive exhibits. Captain Wallace “Andy” Van Dyke in uniform.




Captain Nels Palmer (far left) with his U.S. Coast Guard crew.


almer was born in Sweden in 1874 and died in retirement in Florida in 1957. The former commanding officer of Coast Guard Station Ludington wrote in a 1942 letter to friends in Ludington: “How time flies by. I landed in this good U.S.A. 52 years ago at Manistee, a lad of 16. “I started in fishing with some of the Danish fishermen at Manistee and sailed on the old windjammers up to 1900, when I went into the life-saving service, which is now the Coast Guard,” he continued in his letter. “I put in 34 of my best years in Uncle Sam’s service. “I have a lot to be thankful for and to thank the good Lord for the privilege of being in the land of the free. “Please give all my friends, pals and shipmates my best regards and good wishes,” he concluded in his letter to Fred Beebe of Ludington. In a 1954 letter to the editor to the Ludington Daily News, Palmer wrote from is Gulfport, Florida home: “I wish to take this opportu-


John Gerts portrays captain Nels Palmer in the Port of Ludington Maritime Museum exhibit. Nels Palmer himself stands at the Ludington Coast Guard station. nity to express my deep gratitude to my Masonic brothers for presenting me with a subscription to the Ludington Daily News.” “I love and enjoy the news,” he continued. “First thing is for me

to look and find out how many of my old time friends have let go of their lines. “Today is Memorial Day. My memory takes me back to the good old days when the people

would flock down to the Coast Guard Station at Ludington to watch a boatload of young ladies roll down the boat launch way from the boat room into Pere Marquette River where they would

strew flowers upon the waters and sing in honor of our sea hero dead.” Years earlier, in 1930, Captain Palmer and his crew were celebrated for making their way across Lake Michigan during a historic storm in an effort to save the crew of the disabled ship, Our Son. Though another ship steaming by plucked the crew of the Our Son from certain disaster, Palmer and his crew were lauded for braving 30-foot waves and wrestling winds in their open motorized rescue boat in the valiant effort to save Our Son, only to eventually tie up in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. From his obituary published 60 years ago: “Through his early years on the lakes, Capt. Palmer kept a record of what happened there, which is one of the most complete histories of the Great Lakes during his time. He had also written an autobiography called ‘Tales of Adventure’ which was published serially in the Ludington Daily News.”



‘This project in Ludington is incredibly exciting. A great deal of work has been put into making this museum focused on an interactive, hands-on visitor experience and conveying the captivating and exciting stories of Ludington and the area’s rich maritime history.’



he tumbling surf, the whistling wind, the calling of the gulls and the fluttering and flapping of canvas on an old-world sailing ship deliver a symphony of the seas to Eric Harmsen. Hired to serve as site manager of the Port of Ludington Maritime Museum, Harmsen hopes to orchestrate his knowledge and love of the Great Lakes into to a classic tale-of-the-seas composition that will be enjoyed by others. “Growing up on the lakeshore I have always loved the Great Lakes,” said the 21-year-old Holland native who graduated May 14 from the University of WisconsinLa Crosse with a major in archaeology and a minor in history. “Since I was very young, I have been interested in boats, shipwrecks, diving and history.” And it’s because of his lifehewn interests and education that Harmsen has been selected conduct the day-to-day operation of the new museum. “The Mason County Historical Society is pleased beyond words to welcome Eric into our staff family,” said Rick Plummer, executive director of the Mason County Historical Society. “Eric comes with years of experience, exceptional academic and real-world experience, and an eagerness to see that the Port of Ludington Maritime Museum becomes a year-round educational and entertaining attraction of regional

Eric Harmsen


Eric Harmsen will serve as site manager at the new Port of Ludington Maritime Museum, opening June 10 and national importance.” Harmsen graduated from Black River Public School in 2013, and then attended Texas A&M University at Galveston for one year before moving on to the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. “Maritime history, specifically Great Lakes maritime history, is a passion of mine and I hope to share that passion with others so that our rich maritime history and

heritage on the Great Lakes will continue to be studied and appreciated,” Harmsen said. “I knew very early on that this is what I wanted to do. “This project in Ludington is incredibly exciting. A great deal of work has been put into making this museum focused on an interactive, hands-on visitor experience and conveying the captivating and exciting stories of Ludington and

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the area’s rich maritime history.” In 2011, Harmsen began working as a volunteer crew member on the replica sailing vessel Friends Good Will at the Michigan Maritime Museum in South Haven. Since then he has continued to serve as part of the crew and has sailed several voyages to other ports around the Great Lakes. In 2015, he worked as the artifact collections intern for the Michigan Maritime Museum and, last summer (2016), worked as an intern for the Mason County Historical Society where he specifically worked on preparations for the new maritime museum. “Since I was about 13, I have been involved with the Michigan Shipwreck Research Association (MSRA), based out of Holland,”

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Harmsen said. “In winter of 2012, I volunteered with them to assist in the archaeological survey of the remains of several shipwrecks that had been exposed by low water levels in the Grand River in Grand Haven.” Harmsen said in 2015 while he was serving with the MSRA they teamed up with the Michigan State Police Dive Team to use their ROV (remotely operated vehicle) to explore and identify a large shipwreck in deep water off the coast of Muskegon. “During this expedition, in addition to being an MSRA volunteer, I was also acting as the representative for the Michigan Maritime Museum who planned to feature the story of the wreck in one of their exhibits,” said Harmsen. Harmsen said it was Valerie van Heest, director of MSRA and the Port of Ludington Maritime Museum chief exhibit designer, along with her business partner, Great Lakes maritime scholar Bill Lafferty, who told him about the new maritime museum opening in Ludington. “My responsibilities will be managing the day-to-day operations of the museum,” Harmsen said. “The maritime museum is one of the two museums operated by Mason County Historical Society. “The other part-time staff positions at the maritime museum are being filled now. The staff will include two admissions desk and gift shop clerks, as well as several volunteers who will work throughout the museum as docents.”

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awing gulls and crashing waves greet patrons of the Port of Ludington Maritime Museum. To their left? An 18-foot interactive replica of the North Breakwater Lighthouse, which children can climb. On the right? A reception desk in the shape of the Pere Marquette 36 where admission can be paid and pamphlets are offered. And straight ahead is one of the museum’s main attractions — a near-scale model of a carferry pilot house, complete with a steering wheel and portholes. The pilot house can be boarded from the museum’s second floor, and looks out over the large firstfloor exhibit space and entrance. The interactive exhibit — in line with the rest of the museum’s impressive displays — allows adventurous young visitors to man the helm, telegraphs and chadburns of a carferry as it journeys out of the Ludington harbor and through the azure waters of Lake Michigan. “There will be one visitor to man the helm, and another visitor will man the chadburns, the two telegraphs back to the engine room, there will be two visitors in the engine room, a first mate and second mate. And they are literally bringing the ship into harbor,” said Executive Director Rick Plummer. “There’s nothing like this anywhere. People will be lined up, it’ll be like Disneyland.” The pilot house — modeled meticulously off of the SS Badger and SS Spartan and Midland before it — features eight window-like screens, which display the vast blue of Lake Michigan, the seawalls of the Ludington harbor and skyline of Manitowoc as youngsters work in crews to navigate voyages. The interactive exhibit comes with multiple destinations, so seafarers can choose their journey. “This museum is going to be a hands-on learning experience, bringing our rich maritime history to life,” Plummer said. “That comes from two qualities — not just the interactivity, though many of the exhibits will be participatory


The interactive Pere Marquette 22 pilot house exhibit allows visitors to dock the ship. Authentic birch bark canoes adorn the walls of the main exhibit space.

or technology-driven — but it will also be informed by its authenticity. “When you walk into this museum, virtually every artifact will be original.”

artifacts comprising the exhibit. A holographic image of Capt. Van Dyke will greet visitors as they enter the bulkhead space, he added. “Captain Andy Van Dyke’s granddaughter and grandson have MARITIME HISTORY BROUGHT TO LIFE gifted us a lot of artifacts,” PlumThe massive pilot house isn’t mer said. “And people have really the only notable exhibit the Port of been gracious and come forward Ludington Maritime Museum has with many prized artifacts that are to offer, Plummer says. irreplaceable, one-of-a-kind, that Authentic, birch bark canoes will will help us tell the story of what adorn the walls of the main exhib- it was like to be a sweetwater sailor it space, next to portholes letting here in Ludington.” in natural light. Beneath the pilot Behind Van Dyke’s quarters is a house, guests will find a replica of small theater, which will display a ship’s bulkhead filled with origi- upcoming Ludington events and nal furniture belonging to famed attractions on a 60-inch screen. Captain Andy Van Dyke, includ“We want this to be the hub, so to ing a desk once used by Van Dyke speak, the starting point for one’s aboard the carferry he piloted. (trip to Mason County),” Plummer “That’s the ship’s clock, that’s said. his desk, we have his chair,” PlumOn the main floor, authentic oars mer said, pointing out the valued from the City of Flint and two light-

house lenses will be on display. “We have two really remarkable Fresnel lenses that will be on display,” Plummer said. “A Third Order (Fresnel), which is the largest, is being restored now. The Fourth Order is more unique, there are only 11 of them in the nation, and we have one of them. It’s unique because it was manufactured right here in America.” The Fourth Order was once used in the North Breakwater Light, while the Third Order is from Big Point Sable and will be displayed in a separate exhibit. Past the theater and up the stairs — a steep set Plummer refers to as a “Navy ladder” — are exhibit spaces showing off meticulously-made model ships and an endless array of model lighthouses — one for each in the nation. “We were also gifted with 200 models, mostly to scale, of every

lighthouse in Michigan and the United States,” Plummer said. “The company doesn’t make these anymore, so they are quite collectible.” The second and third floors of the museum are cast in different shades of blue, with rich blue carpet or light wood floors. Miniature, made-to-scale models of famous vessels, including the carferry SS City of Midland, can be found in an exhibit space to the left on the second floor, each exquisitely handmade. “There’s a veteran who crafted each of these models,” Plummer said. “He lives in Royal Oak and he has a tiny little workshop, with tiny little table saws and tiny little drill presses, all of which are on an exhaust system, and he creates these magnificent models. He gave us 21 of these, and they’re just phenomenal.” Up another flight of stairs — or after an elevator trip, if that suits your fancy — is the third floor, a long stretch of hallway bordered on each side by large exhibit spaces. On the left, patrons will find “Mysteries Beneath the Waves: Shipwrecks of the Sunset Coast.” The shipwreck-focused exhibit features large maps, which pinpoint notable wrecks throughout Lake Michigan’s history. The walls spin tales of epic storms and roaring fires, desperate passengers and fearless captains. “The Novadoc is a ship that went down near here during the Armistice Day storm of 1940 — 64 sailors lost their lives that day, two ships were beached from the channel,” Plummer said of one notable wreck. That wreck’s exhibit includes footage from dives down to the historic ship’s skeleton, settled in the sand of the Lake Michigan floor. “(Ludington’s maritime history) is rich, and storied, and needs to be told,” Plummer said. “And I have a cadre of docents, both from the Coast Guard and from the carferry, to help tell the story.” Bill Lafferty has served as a historic guide through the museum’s creation, examining artifacts and providing information to make the museum as authentic as possible.


Track the evolution of sailing ship design with the exquisite models of model ships of Houghton Smith featured throughout the Port of Ludington Maritime Museum.

Take in the view from the window of a 14-foot tall model of the North Breakwater Lighthouse Children’s play area. These are just a few of the many authentic exhibits the museum offers. See the rest on page 13.

c exhibits A model of a U.S. Coast Guard ship serves as a reception desk at the Port of Ludington Maritime Museum.

View authentic wooden oars and lifeboats used at the U.S. Coast Guad Station Ludington in 1934.


The Port of Ludington Maritime Museum will offer visitors the opportunity to pilot and docking the Pere Marquette 22 into Ludingon harbor in the state of the art pilot house exhibit. Other maritime scenarios are slated to be added to the interactive exhibit, including piloting the PM 22 into Manitowoc and piloting the ship across Lake Michigan at night.

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istory is for the living, and the Mason County Historical Society exists to make sure that the people of west Michigan don’t forget that. For 80 years, the Mason County Historical Society has encouraged people to participate in the appreciation of their region’s history through the development and maintenance of programs and destination locations that allow visitors and Mason County natives alike to experience Founded in November of 1937, the Mason County Historical Society is a nonprofit corporation devoted to keeping history alive through the operation of unique cultural assets and experiences that are have as much to offer locals as they do to visitors. Managed by Executive Director Dr. Rick Plummer and a local board of directors, the Mason

James Jensen - President John Morava - Vice President Joan Killion - Secretary Dr. Connie Schwass - Treasurer Tom Calabretta John Holcomb Dr. Kenneth Urban


County Historical Society to brings authentic and interactive historical experiences to local children, parents, families and even local historians. The Mason County Historical Society is an umbrella organization for the Port of Ludington Maritime Museum, the Mason County Historical Society Research Library and Historic White Pine Village.


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The Mason County Historical Society Research Library, housed at Historic White Pine Village, is home to an extensive collection of records, newspaper articles, archival photos and more from Mason County and all of west Michigan. There is also a free online public database accessible at the White Pine Village website where researchers can browse the library’s contents and find the locations of documents from the comfort of their home computer or mobile

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device. Find the database at A research staff is on hand to assist library visitors with queries. The MCHS Research Library is available by appointment. To schedule an appointment, call (231) 843-4808).

Mason County Historical Society Membership at all levels includes free admission to both Historic White Pine Village and the Port of Ludington Maritime Museum for the calendar year, including special events, including unlimited trips to the museum. MCHS membership also includes free admission to the Research Library with Membership at all levels, though fees for copies and scans still apply. Individual memberships are $60, or $40 for veterans. Family memberships are $100. A number of other packages are also available. A membership lasts one year, from January to December. “Becoming a member of the Mason County Historical Society enables people to participate in the preservation of the combined history here,” Plummer said.


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istoric White Pine Village transports visitors back in time. Spanning 13 acres on Buttersville Peninsula, White Pine Village is a living replica of small-town life at the turn of the 20th century. White Pine Village opened its doors in 1976, and over the past 41 years, it has expanded to include more than 30 historical exhibits, including many original Mason County structures that have been moved to the village. Among the on-site attractions is a trappers cabin, an historic one-room school house, general store, blacksmith shop and a fire station. A town hall from this early period in Mason County’s history is featured, along with a post office. Visitors can take in the artifacts from the history of the Scottville Clown Band at Historic White Pine Village’s Museum of Music, and learn about the region’s extensive lumbering history. To visit Historic White Pine Village, Ludington, Michigan, take Pere Marquette Highway, south 2 miles from the Mason County Airport, then west on Iris Road 1½ miles, then north ½ mile on South Lakeshore Drive. If you are arriving via the U.S. 31 expressway, look for the sign and take Exit 166. For more information, contact the Mason County Historical Society at (231) 843-4808 or visit


Children from area schools visit Historic White Pine Village to experience history first hand during the village’s summer History in Action days. Ludington Area Schools third-graders in Mrs. Andrea Raven’s class work together in this 2013 Daily News file photo to build a log cabin in the lumbering museum.

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he Port of Ludington Maritime Museum building honors the long and storied history of both the U.S. Coast Guard and the carferry systems in Mason County. Originally operated and maintained by volunteers from the community, the Ludington Coast Guard location was authorized by Congress in 1878 to become a full-time lifeboat station for the U.S. Coast Guard. The station was completed in 1934, as more life-saving stations were built along the Great Lakes in response to a high rate of maritime accidents at the time. In August of 1934, the station was dedicated by Congressman Harry Musselwhite at a picnic celebrating the 144th anniversary of the founding of the Revenue Cutter Service, a predecessor of the Coast Guard. In its infancy, Life Saving Station Ludington held wooden lifeboats on its walls. Lifeboats and other USCG tools grew in both size and sophistication as advances in engineering technology were made, and the Ludington Life Saving Station began to use the docks to accommodate these changes. In April of 2004, after the original building had become obsolete, construction began on a new station building. The new station was built west of the 60-year-old station, at 214 S. Lakeshore Drive in Ludington. At half the original station’s size, it houses a smaller crew, but uses state-of-the-art communication equipment and rescue vessels. The Mason County Historical Society began planning a maritime museum to celebrate the Coast Guard, carferry and commercial shipping history of Ludington in 2006. In 2010, the Coast Guard turned the old building over to the city of Ludington, which entrusted it to the Mason County Historical Society for the development of the Port of Ludington Maritime Museum. The station is listed on the National Register of Historical Places. A ground-breaking ceremony took place in 2015 to signal the beginning of the work. The Port of Ludington Maritime Museum opens to the public on June 10.


The U.S. Coast Guard Ludington Station had a not so different look in 1985. Now, however, the station is housed in a building west of the museum. The old Coast Guard site is now home to the Port of Ludington Maritime Museum.


The new Ludington Coast Guard Station, located at 213 S. Lakeshore Drive, was constructed in 2004. The Port of Ludington Maritime Museum in 2017.


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BIRTWISTLE FAMILY Boathouse reception desk, modeled after the U.S. Coast Guard boars of the 1930s JAMES & SALLY GUNBERG Family Gift Store PORTHOLE TO THE PAST: United States Coast Guard Station Ludington 1934 (with USCG Captain Nels Palmer holograph greeting all visitors and a look at USCG Station Ludington) BECKONING BEACONS: The Evolution of Lighthouse Optics (Augustine Fresnel video, explore 14-foot tall model of the North Breakwater Lighthouse Children’s play area, and experience the large Third Order Fresnel Lens from the Big Sable Point Lighthouse and the unique Fourth Order Fresnel Lens from the North Breakwater Lighthouse) FLINT & PERE MARQUETTE RAILWAY STEAMERS (Eber Ward Video) PERE MARQUETTE LINE STEAMERS (with the SS Nevada aft wheel interactive exhibit) PERE MARQUETTE RAILROAD CARFERRIES (Captain James Martin Video, the Triple Expansion interactive exhibit, and the 9-foot model of the P.M. 22) CHESAPEAKE & OHIO RAILWAY CARFERRIES (films — “Building the City of Midland 41” and “The Golden Link”) THE GHOST OF CAPTAIN WALLACE VAN DYKE (with Capt. Van Dyke holograph inside

an authentic recreation of his captain’s quarters, called “the Texas”) THE CHUCK AND GLENNA PAUKSTIS THEATER (25 seat theater with videos of interest — Pure Ludington, Pure Michigan, SS Badger documentaries, The Alvin Clark Shipwreck, Piece of a Ship, etc., shown at various intervals throughout the day) PILOTING THE P.M. 22 (visitor-rich experience of actually piloting the P.M. 22 into the Ludington harbor and docking her; coming soon will be two other scenarios — piloting the P.M. 22 into Manitowoc and piloting the P.M. 22 across the lake at night)

THE LANGUAGE OF THE CARFERRIES (P.M. 22 & City of Midland Steam Whistles interactive exhibit) LIFE ON THE CARFERRIES: Photography of Erhardt Peters (Erhardt Peters digital photo album) GUIDING THE WAY: Lighthouses of America (fascinating lighthouse models of lighthouses from across the US and some international lighthouses with special children’s animation) THE AGE OF SAIL: Models of Houghton C. Smith, Jr. (track the evolution of sailing ship design with exquisite models of sailing ships from around the world)

LUMBERING DAYS ON PERE MARQUETTE LAKE: THE JACOB LUNDE SCROLL (view this spectacular, one-of-a-kind, 100’ long painting with narration by Lunde himself, along with accompanying exhibits depicting the lumbering, salt, commercial fishing, shipbuilding, and harbor history) STEAMING INTO THE FUTURE: THE SS BADGER EXHIBIT (with many videos featuring the history and operation of this national landmark, an interactive experience tracking all ships currently operating on Lake Michigan, including the SS Badger) PAINTING GALLERY (featuring many historic paintings and prints, and the original artwork of accomplished painter David Sulewski) USCG 44345 BOAT EXHIBIT (honoring the long career of Ludington’s beloved USCG rescue boat) ARMISTICE DAY BLIZZARD OF 1940 (coming soon) PORTHOLE TO THE PAST: Station Ludington Mess Deck (coming soon) PORTHOLE TO THE PAST: Station Ludington Crews Quarters (corridor on 3rd deck; coming soon) MARITIME HERITAGE TRAIL (13 exterior trail interpretive kiosks highlighting maritime history of Ludington with digital narration; coming soon).

We are a skilled nursing facility providing compassionate skilled long term care and rehabilitation services to Mason County Residents since 1966

All Hands on Deck! Congratulations and Welcome Port of Ludington Maritime Museum

y l i m a F e k i L Oakview Medical Care Facility is very proud to be a part of the Maritime Museum dedication. We will continue to be a strong supporter and advocate.

Oakview is Community Driven; we are “Like Family” because we are family!

1001 Diana Street, Ludington • 231-845-5185 •

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he Port of Ludington Maritime Museum features several model ship installations constructed by Houghton Smith. Born in 1923 in Kansas City, Missouri, to an accomplished artist father and a Chilean mother, ship modeler Houghton Cranford Smith, Jr., spent his childhood in New Mexico, Bermuda, Spain and France before the family settled in New York City. He learned the craft of ship modeling as a boy when he assisted his father in completing a model. At the age of 14, he built his first model, a Greek trireme, from plans he found in Popular Mechanics magazine. His interest in all things maritime flourished during the three years he served as an officer in the United States Navy. He was stationed in the Pacific during World War II. After the war, he attended Olivet College , Western Michigan University, the U.S. Naval Reserve Midshipman School at Columbia University and Wayne State University. Smith has been a member of the Nautical Research Guild since 1976 and has written articles for its journal. Houghton Smith has done reconstruction and restoration work on models for the Dossin Maritime Museum and the Cranbrook Institute of Science, where some of his models have been displayed. Smith preferred working with wood and focused on modeling wooden sailing ships.


Smith’s exhibit is titled “The Age of Sail: the Models of Houghton Smith,” and will be displayed on the second level of the museum. Houghton Smith stands next to one of his models at the Port of Ludington Maritime Museum. He assembled a fully equipped workshop outfitted with a miniature lathe, drill press and table saw for making delicate pieces for his handcrafted models. He sought out many ship plans, many drawn by maritime historian Howard Chappelle, ship modeler Hurdle Halin and chose to build ships that intrigued him. Most of his models are built from scratch, with only a few built from kits. Houghton has built more than 100 models.

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“…throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the wind in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

— Mark Twain



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e need your help to preserve our past and anchor our future. For this museum to entertain and educate residents and visitors alike, we need your help. Through the generosity of thousands of individuals corporations, businesses, and agencies, we have raised an astonishing $4.3 million needed to renovate the USCG station and install visitor-

rich exhibits — we need to raise the last $900,000 to complete the first phase of this ambitious project. Please help preserve our rich maritime history so that we can share it with generations to come. We ask for your backing and financial support. Donate online at, or call (231) 852-0685, or email


mail Mason County Historical Society Business Manager Rebecca Berringer at or call (231) 843- 4808 for exciting opportunities to become a docent volunteer at the Port of Ludington Maritime Museum. Docent volunteers are stationed throughout the museum, offering visitors insight into the United States Coast Guard, serving at Station Ludington, and sailing on the carferry fleet out of Ludington.

All of us at WinBerg Construction would like to thank the museum board for the opportunity to be a part of such a pinnacle project in the community. “Life’s roughest storms prove the strength of our anchors”

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For over five generations, Shelby State Bank has been a community cornerstone. We take pride in supporting community efforts, activities and events from our beginning in 1931…to this day.

| THURSDAY, JUNE 1, 2017








Port of Ludington Maritime Museum  
Port of Ludington Maritime Museum