Coal tipple money would be better spent elsewhere

If there’s one thing about this area that seems to be true, it’s that there are a lot of things residents can identify with and can claim as their own.
Jan 17, 2014


Waterfront Stadium, the lighthouses, the Musical Fountain and the boardwalk are just a few of the treasures found in our Tri-Cities that make this area the unique gem for us to cherish.

One artifact that’s been getting a handful of attention recently is the coal tipple — a relic from Grand Haven’s industrious past.

The tipple, which looms over Harbor Drive, has been abandoned for many years. Since the last train steamed out of town, there hasn’t been any use for it.

That was until recently.

Several years ago, talk came up at a Grand Haven City Council meeting about what to do with the concrete tower. Should it be demolished, or should it be saved? That was the question.

At a meeting earlier this month, City Council decided to spend money out of its budget to clean and screen the structure from animals. Once that is done, officials may look at conducting an analysis of the structure to see if or how the tipple could be preserved.

While it’s neat to see some grassroots enthusiasm about the concrete tipple, there’s no argument that there are also more pressing needs in the community. Perhaps the community could spend money and lead an effort toward a revitalization project at Waterfront Stadium. With talk about doing a project to upgrade and modernize this space in the coming years, why not spend the money that would be used on the tipple on something the community can use?

We’ve all seen the tremendous efforts that have been put into making our waterfront beautiful, and making the stadium a top-notch attraction would be icing on the cake. Preserving something that, for all intents and purposes, is obsolete seems like an idea that could use some second thought.

While it’d be nice to save every possible artifact in the community, we can’t swoop in and save everything. Let us look ahead and save the things that are most beneficial to our downtown.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.



"The tipple, which looms over Harbor Drive, has been abandoned for many years. Since the last train steamed out of town, there hasn't been any use for it." Wow. That is the majority opinion of the editorial board? Really? In that case, lets get of the clock tower instead of repairing it. With today's technology telling us the time, why waste money on that useless antique. The 1223 just sits there also serving absolutely no purpose, it just takes up valuable waterfront space. Heck scrap it and use the money on the waterfront. There is another building downtown that by today's technological standards is obsolete, you know the one you work in.


It sounds like editorial board is obsolete; didn't they just decide to refurbish the old Holland windmill to working order? Don't electric motors do the grinding these days? he says...cut the train up for scrap and spend the money on courting developers to build 6 story condo's from 31 to the state park
I think there are bronze memorials here and there that if scrapped would bring in some bucks That could be used as your bonuses for such a great idea…There are more than a handful of rail fans, history buffs or those that simply appreciate our rich history in Western Michigan who would gladly volunteer to clean it and maintain it if you asked.


I would volunteer if they would allow it.


Me too, but if there's lawyers involved it'll never happen. They're more of a blight on the town then the coal tipple.

great lakes chick

I'd be there with bells on! Railroad goes back several generations of my family along the lakeshore. It gives me a puff of pride when I drive by the 1223 knowing that my Great-Grandfather had been an engineer on it back in the day. I'd go polish that pretty baby any day. I'm so tired of seeing historical places being torn down for condos or more strip malls that we don't need! Look at the condos on Jackson/US 31 taking up unused space even if it's revamping it's business currently. Frustrates me that people make a decision on historical buildings without thinking of anything other than the almighty dollar. RR are what made this area other than the port of Grand Haven.


Preserving something that, for all intents and purposes, is obsolete seems like an idea that could use some second thought, oh well, better watch out senior citizens we could be next?


Oh Noes - A Coal Tipple Death Panel.

Real estate maven

Dead wrong on this one editorial board. 1223 and its cars and caboose provide a real image of how life used to be in our community and give us a glimpse into who we are , how we got here and our proud past. The tipple is an important piece of this portrait and few relics of this kind still exist. If anything we need to figure out a way to make the train and tipple more accessible for events, photos,etc. and more of a destination for visitors to town,as a way to build awareness and pride of this past.


I agree 100% Maven. While the coal tipple isn't the prettiest thing to set your eyes on it is a representative example of a important time in Grand Haven's history. I'm not sure where I read it now, but not long ago I read that we have one of the last public accessible tipples in the entire country. Tried to find the article again, but no luck.

I don't understand what they're drinking over at headquarters to come up with this ill advised commentary. It seems 3 out of 4 times with these editorials that they're completely out of touch with the communities ideals. Along this line of thought maybe we should get rid of the Transportation Museum and turn the Akley (sp) building back into a clothes store, selling inferior, overpriced Chinese goods?

It's not all their fault though, we have the burn and rebuild mentality in this country. If it's over 50 years old it needs to be tore down so something bigger and most likely uglier can be built in it's place. When I was living in Germany years ago I had friends there that were living in an apartment building that was built in the 1500's! Perfectly good building, that had been maintained and in service for 500 years!


I dont know why they pretend this was written by an editorial board. It is obvious that these are all written by Cheryl Welch who is out of touch with the area because she is from Sandusky where they like this kind of gutter journalism. Prior to her editors were people who had lived in the community long enough to be in touch with the community.


Excellent point. We seem to have an issue with finding local people to fill positions of importance around here. I find it hard to believe that it's necessary to import politicians and other folks to fill spots that could easily be filled by people locally, assuming whoever was doing the hiring wanted to look around a bit.


Yeah. How dare she come in and make our little hometown paper the best newspaper in Michigan. The nerve.


"the best newspaper in Michigan"????

You can't possibly be serious.....


SOL must be Cheryl's hubby.


Maybe we could 'revitalize' the waterfront by tearing down everything and creating the world's largest roller coaster city bigger than like Sandusky's Cedar Point! Just think, roller coasters all up and down the waterfront. And deep fried foods! It would bring tourists from all over the world!!


Those Pronto Pups have gone to your head...(and probably other places as well, but let's gloss over that.)


This reminds me, I haven't seen signalmaintainer in a while.


He changed his handle to his real name. A brave man in these parts.


I'm here.

I have a bone to pick with the GHDPS and the drunk idiot who smashed my car tonight and took off once the Tribune posts an article about the Wine about Winter event that was going on tonight. Stay tuned...


Dang son, we're gonna have to take up a collection to get you a bus pass. First the bike and now the car....what you got left that ain't been hit?


I am right here. Just decided to have a fresh start to 2014

EDIT: Removed giant wall of text and shrunk it down.

I was asked to play music over the Musical Fountain sound system for the Wine About Winter event by the City. I took all my audio equipment up to Dewey Hill, set it up, got it playing and volume adjusted. I then went downtown to listen and make sure that the sound was adequate while trying to avoid annoying local residents (we will see if there is a huge story in the paper tomorrow like there was last year).

While I was away from the car, which was parked at the marina, somebody backed into my car at a decent rate of speed and caused this damage:

The person did not even have the courtesy to leave a note saying sorry. If they would have, I would not be mad. However, what absolutely infuriates me is when someone refuses to take responsibility for their own actions. I doubt the person that hit me will come forward, but if they did and apologized, and paid the ~$350 (did some research on costs... MUCH lower than my $1,500 deductible) for replacement parts they damaged, I would not be upset at all or report them.

I do have a funny feeling that they were drinking downtown at the wine event and did not want to stick around with alcohol on their breath.

I called the police to make an accident report and they told me to drive down to the police station and had me fill it out myself. I have always praised the great work GHDPS does, but it seems odd that they could not have the officer sitting in his car less than 75' from the accident scene come fill out a quick report. EDIT: see my later post on the last page, the issue has been taken care of. Not GHDPS's fault.


$1500.00 deductible???? What the??? I drive a 2012 GMC 2500 LTZ and my deductible on comprehensive is only a hundred bucks through State Farm, is that a typo or are you getting screwed big time?


Insurance runs me about $140/month with a very clean record (1 ticket for 5 over on the highway in the past ten years and no wrecks where I was at fault ever) on this car through AAA. I raised the deductible to $1,500 a couple months ago when they tried jacking it up to $189/month.

I have shopped around and have gotten similar quotes elsewhere. Not sure why it is so high, but if anyone knows some way to get cheaper full-coverage insurance, I am all ears...


Man that is a lot of coin, my daughter is 27 and pays $76.00 a month full coverage. We pay under $140.00 for our car and truck full coverage through State Farm with a $100.00 comp deductible.

Check with Michael Heck State Farm on Franklin St.


Ill check him out. Thanks for the tip!


I pay that for 2 cars, rental insurance, Full Coverage on my bike, and my snowmobile through State Farm. That's with an 18 year old driver on it. $170/mo.



Barry Soetoro

Try eSurance or Progressive or something online. That way you don't have to deal with salesman tools like Mike Heck. You know they're just out to pad their commission.


What?????? Listen pal I checked multiple Ins companies before I switched to State Farm. When you go from over $280.00 a month for two vehicles down to $140.00 with the same coverage I had before. State Farm was the best price in this area. what's the problem with Mike Heck? His office staff has always been nice to deal with as well as Mike. Do the math from what I just posted, see how much were saving a year.....

Barry Soetoro

Is that you, Mike?



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