Efforts Started to Stop Deterioration of Grand Western Coaling Tower in Grand Haven, Michigan

The city of Grand Haven, Michigan, is working to stabilize a former Grand Trunk Western coal dock.

City engineers have created a plan to preserve the structure, which closed in 1958, and a fund-raising campaign has begin.

Plans are to slow the deterioration of the coaling tower by treating steel reinforcement bars that are exposed to the weather in an effort to slow or stop corrosion.

City Councilman Mike Fritz said that if the treatment process works, it make the structure easier to maintain.

“The whole thing is that we want to preserve it,” he said. “We don’t want to restore it – it will lose its identity.”

A U.S. Department of Interior guide to historical preservation says that deterioration occurs because of corrosion of embedded reinforcement bars.

Corrosion and rust cause the steel to expand, which leads to cracking and spalling of the concrete.

Repeated freezing and thawing can also result in concrete cracking, and scaling and micro cracking can extend into the concrete.

Portions of the structure’s interior were cleaned in January 2014. Screens were placed on the coaling tower to prevent animals from nesting and depositing waste inside.

Pere Marquette 2-8-4 No. 1223 is on display next to the structure. Recently, the site has received new picnic tables, benches, a paved walkway and educational signs.

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