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U.P. sites among those left off historic list

It’s with regret that we report that a handful of sites in the state of Michigan — including several in the Upper Peninsula — have been removed from the National Register of Historic Places because, literally, they no longer exist.

Specifically, the U.P. locations include the Beechwood Store in Iron River Township; the Bay de Noquet Lumber Co.’s “burner” in Nahma; and the wooden lumber schooner Alvin Clark which had been docked in Menominee.

Downstate, the sites include Fenton Seminary; the Flint Brewing Co.; and the Grand Riviera Theater in Detroit.

All of the above structures, with one exception, were destroyed by their owners.

The Bay de Noc burner, however, fell over on its own.

Some might be surprtised to learn that a spot on the National Register doesn’t prevent property owners from changing, modernizing or even tearing down their buildings.

“You can alter, you can add, you can subtract, you can demolish,” Todd Walsh, the national register coordinator in the State Historic Preservation Office, said for a recent Mining Journal story on the matter. The agency is part of the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

But destruction leads to loss of the historic designation.

“Once a property is demolished or destroyed, it no longer retains historic integrity and cannot convey its historic significance. As a result, it is no longer eligible for listing in the National Register,” Walsh added.

Regrettably, not every building or struture can be saved. And most often, it comes down to money, in one form or another.

The difficult part of all of this, of course, is that these sites are often a key part of their hosting community’s identity, as the damaged Vista Theater is central to the city of Negaunee.

That stabilization effort is just getting underway.

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