Sector Field Office Grand Haven History



The history of the Coast Guard in Grand Haven dates back to at least 1876 when the Eleventh District of the U.S. Life Saving Service established headquarters in town. Following the reorganization of the Life Saving and Revenue Cutter services into the Coast Guard in 1915, Grand Haven became headquarters for the Tenth District.

In 1932, Station Grand Haven opened its doors and a bond with town soon took hold. The CGC ESCANABA was the first cutter to call Grand Haven home. During WWII, the ESCANABA was on duty escorting convoys across the Atlantic Ocean and was torpedoed. Of the 103 crew onboard, only two survivors were rescued. To honor these friends, neighbors, and sailors a memorial was placed along the shoreline where the ESCANABA had moored its lines.

With the reorganization of 1939, Cleveland succeeded Grand Haven as headquarters of the Ninth District, but Grand Haven remained an important location with a Coast Guard Station, a lighthouse, and the cutter ESCANABA, which exploded and sank on June 13, 1943 while on convoy duty in the North Atlantic.

Group Grand Haven (April 6, 1997)

The Group office moved to its current location in Grand Haven in 1988. Prior to that time it had been located at various sites in Muskegon and Ludington.

Rifle Range

In February 1973, federal surplus property known as Grand Haven Coast Guard Rifle Range, Ferrysburg, MI, was assigned to the Department of the Interior for conveyance to the city of Ferrysburg for parks and recreation purposes. It was officially transferred to the city on July 13, 1973.

Coast Guard Festival

The festival unofficially began in 1924 as a Coast Guard personnel only picnic when the local Coast Guard station held rowing competitions for those service members stationed in Grand Haven. Today, the Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival has become a premier event with attendance of over 350,000 people, including the nation's highest ranking Coast Guard dignitaries from Washington, D.C.