How old is the city marina?

Sherm of Grand Haven asked, "Seems like the Grand Haven city marina is updating or fixing something up every couple of years. When was it first built?"
Mark Brooky
Nov 15, 2013


The first Municipal Marina docks along the Grand River, just north of the area of what is now Waterfront Stadium, were built in the late 1950s. There were 54 slips at the beginning, says Dr. Dave Seibold in his local history book, "Grand Haven in the Path of Destiny."

The marina is a joint venture between the city and the state Waterways Commission, which is part of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. With a state grant, the city added 16 slips in 1984 for the charter fishing boats, along with a fish cleaning station and restroom.

The city is now preparing for a $1.1 million project to improve the marina's shoreline protection system and protect the floating docks. The project includes a new seawall, storm sewer improvements, a small amount of dredging and stone revetment removal, and a new energy-efficient ice suppression system.

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Grand Haven Happy

Please check your records and add/correct them!

The Grand Haven Municipal Marina was at the end of Columbus street from the end of the big red Grand Trunk North Warehouse to the Grand Trunk railroad turn table for the ferry dock. It was leased and operated by Robert M. Sovis (Bob) and his wife Rose (Kline) Sovis from 1954 until 1962 when they did not renew their lease as the were moving to Florida where they had wintered several years with their 21' travel trailer. The marina was closed for winter anyway.

I know this for a fact as Robert (Bob) is MY older brother and also I had worked there several years after school and on weekends/holidays pumping gas, helping dock boats etc, and doing what ever he wanted or needed me to do.

Not only did Bob & Rose run the marina totally but also had a business there named "Bob's Marine Sales & Service - Grand Haven Municipal Marina" The business was a boat/motor sales and repair, a ship's store, live bait sales of minnows/shiners/and worms, and an in and out boat storage from the large building he put up between the marina store and the north end of the GT Warehouse. Boats with yearly slip rental mostly were stored inside the build in winter. The hoist, Bob and my Father built, was sold to Hank Roossien for his marina next to Rycenga Lumber Yard and is still being used today as it's Keenan Marine today.

Bob sold Glastron and Whitehouse fiberglass boats, Meyer aluminum fishing boats, Evinrude and Oliver outboard motors, boat trailers, just to name a few.

I have several black & white pics of the marina taken from a boat back in the late 1950's. They are faded but plenty clear enough to read even the Gulf Gas signs on the "T" 65' "T" gas dock with two gas pumps. My Brother and his wife are standing on the dock also.

Shortly after Bob & Rose closed the business and moved to Florida, the old marina including the buildings and the big red GT warehouse were torn out including the turntable and the new Michigan Waterways Commission marina was built. It has been enlarged and changed several times and now is undergiong another revision.

Mark and/or Dr Dave Seibold or Dr Ewing, If you want copies of the the pics, feel free to contact me. It's a part of Grand Haven's visual and factual history.

Mark Brooky

Interesting history. Thanks for filling us in, 'Happy.

If you can, send me some of the photos:

(BTW, I removed your phone number so every Tom, Dick and Harry doesn't start calling you.)


Tom, Dick and Harry all read the Muskegon Chronicle! Lol

Grand Haven Happy

Thanks, will do. They are scans in .jpg of the old pics we had in a box and forgot to put them in an album so they are faded.

I was born here and have lived here for nearly 72 years and been married to my wonderful wife for over 52 years now. Also, my parents and grand parents have lived here since over 110 years ago so I and we know a lot about Grand Haven and the area's past. My grandpa and his sons and hes brother built many homes and businesses in the area and done the electrical, heating, and plumbing too. A lot more info also. He'd just finished doing some rebuild/renovation on opposite end of "The Barn" that caught fire on the other end and destroyed it. I remember it so well as it something you don't forget and I was a little kid back then.

My dad rush home from work and we walked as fast as we could to in front of what is now Harbor House entry stairs area and the heat from the fire roasted our faces and drove us back almost to 1st street. Made my grandpa just sick seeing it as he'd worked so hard to make it perfect for Pop Davis. I have some very old photos scanned of Grand Haven that hardly anyone has even seen. Like my parent's home close to 100 years ago with horses plowing deep snow and of the First Reformed Church steeple viewed from the top of 3rd street hill about 1905 after the chruch was just rebuilt. That was before they took the peak off it and spread it out like it is now. The same was done to Dewey Hill back in the 1930's. Lots more memories too.

I have the pics stored on several different portable hard drives and I'll have to find them if they interest you or the Dr's.

Duh, probably best we get together and talk face to face sometime and/or involve the Dr.s too because i'm not a kid anymore and too much about the area has already been lost.


@Grand Haven Happy, you should consider sharing some photos with the Tri-Cities Museum. I've always enjoyed seeing such excellent photos of the past of what our community looked like. Thank you for sharing!


Hey Happy, I would love to hear more about the history of the area. Have you ever thought of having a presentation or even sitting down with a local historian to record it?


Thanks Happy

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