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Mason County Memories

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History Columns are arranged by year of publication in the Ludington Daily News

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Ludington landmarks part 3 History Column Dave Petersen We'll continue to take a look at some the past and current landmarks that decorate our architectural landscape here in the Ludington area. They are assets and speak to the architectural character of our community. Over the years we have lost a number of distinctive buildings and quite honestly we can't afford to lose any others for any reason. Pic 1 The Big Sable Lighthouse although outside the city limits is an important landmark and has been a part of our community since 1867. Originally a conical brick tower the lighthouse was encased in steel plates in 1900. As a result almost every existing picture shows the black and white steel cased tower. Most cameras prior to 1900 were commercial, large and bulky. It wasn't until after 1900 that cameras became affordable easy to use and embraced by the masses. Pic 2 The first city hall was destroyed by fire in 1881, they temporarily located to a building built by Bennett Goodsell until the City Hall featured in our photograph was completed. The old city hall building was a magnificent looking building, located on the Northwest corner of Rath and Loomis street it was built in 1883 and razed in 1949. The Phoenix Hose Company Ludington's firefighting unit was housed on the main floor. The Municipal building was built in 1948 and subsequently razed in favor of the newest city Hall located at the site of the old St Simon's Church. Pic 3 The Coast Guard Station was built in 1934 and is on the way to becoming a Maritime Museum. This photograph taken by Erhardt Peters was not too long after the building was completed. Fundraising, collecting maritime artifacts, planning, and research for the restoration of the building is ongoing. Ron Wood of Historic White Pine Village is looking for photographs of both inside and outside views, particularly of the North side and west side of the building. Once completed a Maritime Museum will add a place for us to showcase and preserve our Maritime Heritage. Pic 4 The City of Midland is coming into the channel on its maiden voyage in this photograph taken by Harold Holmes on March 14th 1941. She was built at a cost of two million dollars and had sixty staterooms. One of the finest carferries ever built. She was converted to a Barge in 1997, renamed PM 41 and is still in operation. Pic 5 The Stearns Hotel is over 100 years old and takes its place as one of the architectural greeters to residents and visitors coming into the downtown area. Built by lumberman Justus Smith Stearns in 1901 it has been in continuous operation and is currently the Stearns Motor Inn. Stearns also was managing the Epworth Hotel during this time and built a Hotel in Stearns Kentucky in 1909 where he had extensive lumber and coal operations. Pic 6 This is an early circa 1905 view of the Star Watchcase Company building prior to any additions. The building was razed and is the current site of Condominiums and the Marina Park. If you have any photographs or stories to share with our readers please feel free to call Dave Petersen 757-3240 email davep@blackcreekpress.com or mail in care of the Ludington Daily News.

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