EAGLE HARBOR, MICH. — A former U.S. Coast Guard lifesaving station in Keweenaw County that played a role in hundreds of Lake Superior rescue missions has been converted into a museum.
Descendants of Coast Guard personnel who served at the station in Eagle Harbor attended a grand opening ceremony this month, honoring those who risked their lives to protect imperiled boaters.
The station was established in 1912 and operated until 1950. The current building was constructed in 1939 and is filled with artifacts for the public to see.
“Not only do we have memorabilia that we’ve collected, but we also have the physical items, the surfboats that they used, the equipment that they used,” Mark Rowe, maritime chairman for the Keweenaw County Historical Society, told WLUC-TV.
One of the most notable rescues was the saving of the L.C. Waldo shipwreck crew in 1913. The steamer ran aground at the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula in Michigan’s far northwestern Upper Peninsula. Surfmen from the Eagle Harbor and Portage Canal lifesaving stations rescued 22 men, two women and a dog and received the rare Life Saving Gold Medal for their efforts.
“They had a horrific snowstorm blowing through, 50 to 70 mile an hour winds, 24 degree air temperature, freezing spray, and these surfmen took the challenge, and they went out in the lake and they saved the shipwreck crew,” Rowe said.
One of the rescuers was Anthony Glaza, whose grandson, Timothy Glaza, donated his medal to the museum during the grand opening.
“It’s been a part of our family folklore forever to hear and to retell the story of Grandpa Tony’s time here and his participation in the rescue of the Waldo,” Glaza said.