Coast Guard Station Portage History

The history of Coast Guard Station Portage begins in 1885 when the government built the Portage Canal Life Saving Station. The station was built across the canal from the North Entry Light Station. It was built to aid vessels that ran aground on the beach or sand bars on the outside of the break walls, or vessels which hit the pier on the inside of the break wall as it was difficult to navigate into the canal entrance at night. Portage Canal Life Saving Station was the fifth Life Saving Station built on Lake Superior.

In 1935, the break walls' interior piers were removed and the station demolished in order for the canal to be widened. A new station was constructed a couple hundred yards from the upper entrance on the canal, where it remained until 1991. A temporary station was constructed just west of the Houghton Lift Bridge and was active until a permanent station was constructed in 1997 in Dollar Bay, where the station remains today.