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Relocation and rehabilitation of the Orchard Beach State Park Shelter Building, Manistee Township
Completed in 1947, the Shelter Building at Orchard Beach State Park is one of the finest examples of rustic park architecture found in Michigan’s state parks, perched on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan. Because of rapidly changing water levels, significant erosion and slope failure caused the bluff to erode toward the building.
In 2020, the Department of Natural Resources made the dramatic decision to move the building to a safer location in the park. While moving a historic building is rarely a first choice, sometimes conditions make such a decision necessary. The total project included relocation of the Shelter to a new site 1,200 feet away, construction of a new foundation, and re-construction of terraces and breezeways using carefully cataloged historic limestone from the original site. The move also presented the opportunity to install new utility services and ADA accessible bathrooms. The effort was carefully coordinated to minimize both cost and impact to park operations, and in consideration of the public use season and overall visitor experience.
Decorated with holiday lights, the Shelter was carefully rolled to its new site further from the bluff at the end of 2020. The progressive decision to move the Shelter to a new, nearby location preserved its unique lakeshore views while also allowing for nature and park-users to co-exist in the best way possible.
The Governor’s Awards for Historic Preservation recognize standout projects across both peninsulas, exemplifying the collaboration and deep impact preservation can have in Michigan communities. Congratulations to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Parks & Recreation Division; Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget, Design and Construction Division; Hallack Contracting; GEI Consultants Inc.; Sanders & Czapski Associates; and Wolfe House Movers on your 2022 Governor's Award for Historic Preservation!