Crew working to save second cottage from falling into Lake Michigan.

January 3, 2020

This cottage in northern Muskegon County fell off the Lake Michigan bluff on New Year’s Eve.

Crew working to save second cottage from falling into Lake Michigan.


By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.

WHITE RIVER TOWNSHIP — After one cottage in northern Muskegon County near Montague met its demise due to erosion along the Lake Michigan shoreline, a construction crew is working feverishly to try to save the adjacent cottage from the same fate.

The first cottage fell off the steep bluff created by record high water levels New Year’s Eve around 4 p.m., said contractor Dave Callender. Homes and cottages along the shoreline in West Michigan have been in peril of falling into the churning waters of Lake Michigan for several months. In addition to the Big Lake’s rising water level, storms with strong winds have created a huge erosion problem that residents have not seen since 1986.

Related story here 

Related story here

A construction crew is working to stop the cottage on the left from collapsing into Lake Michigan like the one on the right.

Callender, who is based in Howard City, said his crew is building a step retaining wall out of treated lumber to protect the cottage that is teetering over the edge. “We started on it yesterday,” he said Friday, Jan. 3.

The National Weather Service has issued a hazardous weather statement for much of West Michigan that calls for gale force winds and beach erosion on Lake Michigan Sunday and Sunday night, Jan. 5.

Strong winds earlier this week toppled trees that went through the cottage roof, he said, and his crew had just finished repairing the roof. “Most of the deck is gone already,” Callender said.

The nextdoor cottage that fell off the bluff is totally destroyed. Callender began efforts to save it, but it was too late. “I was working on it, but before we could get the retaining walls, winds took over and took it down.”

An excavator at the site works on a seawall made of large limestone rocks.

Neighbors said they heard a loud “groan” before the house tumbled over the edge.

White Lake Dock and Dredge Inc. has excavating machinery on site creating a large limestone seawall.

Callender, who has worked in the construction business for nearly 50 years, is confident the tiered retaining walls will stop the erosion and spare the cottage from sliding down the steep bluff. “I ain’t leaving until this is right.”

This story is copyrighted © 2020, all rights reserved by Media Group 31, LLC, PO Box 21, Scottville, MI 49454. No portion of this story or images may be reproduced in any way, including print or broadcast, without expressed written consent.

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