City officials inspect coal tipple’s roof

City officials got a bird's-eye view Wednesday morning of the aging coal tipple along Harbor Drive to help in deciding its future. The Grand Haven Department of Public Safety's aerial ladder truck was used to get a view of the roof condition of the old tipple.
Alex Doty
Jan 13, 2012

City Manager Pat McGinnis said if there is something on the roof that officials can do that seems like it is easy, quick and reasonably affordable, they will do it.

“We’re getting up there and taking a closer look at the roof portion to see if there are some low-cost improvements that we can do to keep it from deteriorating faster than it is,” McGinnis said.

McGinnis said the fire truck was the only way for Department of Public Works crews to evaluate the roof, since it would be hazardous to enter the structure in its current condition due to deterioration and the presence of animal waste.

The tipple was built in 1925 as part of a modernization of the Detroit, Grand Haven & Milwaukee Railway terminal facilities in Grand Haven. Hopper cars loaded with coal were pushed under the tipple’s arches and the coal was dumped into a deep pit beneath the rails.

The coal was then conveyed to the storage vault at the top of the tower, where it would be loaded into an engine’s tender through metal chutes on either side of the tower. Sand for wheel traction could also be loaded into the engine’s domes.

Late last year, City Council sent the issue to the Grand Haven Historical Commission to garner feedback on what to do about the aging structure.
“There is a deadline to have some feedback from the Historical Commission by April,” McGinnis said.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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