A new museum has opened by the Keweenaw County Historical Society in Eagle Harbor. The old Coast Guard Life Saving Station has been a part of hundreds of rescues since its foundation in 1912.
Hundreds of descendants of Coast Guard surfmen who served at the station came from far and wide for the grand opening of the museum on Saturday to honor those who risked their lives for others.
The station, which ran until 1950, is now filled with artifacts for the public to see.
â??Not only do we have memorabilia that weâ??ve collected, but we also have the physical items, the surfboats that they used, the equipment that they used,â?? said Keweenaw County Historical Society maritime chairman, Mark Rowe.
The current building was constructed in 1939 and has been a part of countless rescue missions on Lake Superior. One of the most notable rescues was the saving of the L.C. Waldo shipwreck crew in 1913.
The entire surfmen crew received gold medals for their heroism, one in particular being Anthony Glaza, who was involved in more rescue missions than any other surfmen of his time. His grandson, Timothy Glaza, was present to donate his grandfatherâ??s medal to the museum.
â??Itâ??s been a part of our family folklore forever to hear and to retell the story of Grandpa Tonyâ??s time here and his participation in the rescue of the Waldo,â?? said Glaza.
â??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,â?? Rowe explained.
Now a Keweenaw Heritage Site, the lives of those who served will forever be remembered.
â??Keeping this part of history alive is very important, and museums like this and the donations that are made to it help to accomplish that goal, even when the events kind of merge farther and farther into the past, because it allows the story to be told to many more people,â?? Glaza added.