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Family destroys Lake Michigan home before nature does

Associated Press

Ganges Township — The owners of a home along Lake Michigan decided to demolish it before nature did the job in western Michigan.

Relentless waves and high water have scoured the lakeshore, destroying or threatening properties that have been in families for generations.

A view of the remains of the home that is being demolished in the 2200 block of Lakeshore Drive in Ganges, Michigan on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020.

Helen Curtis-Foster and family members decided to bring their house down in Allegan County’s Ganges Township, between Saugatuck and South Haven. The house was just feet away from the edge of a collapsing dune.

“We really felt we were in the fight against time,” Curtis-Foster told MLive.com. “It was getting scary.”

The demolition was completed this week, leaving only a cement pad. The job cost less than $20,000, Curtis-Foster said, compared with hundreds of thousands of dollars necessary to move the house or recover the pieces if it collapsed into the lake. 

The collapsing dune in the 2200 block of Lakeshore Drive in Ganges, Michigan on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. The property owners decided to demolish the house before the home fell into Lake Michigan.

“It’s a sad thing,” Curtis-Foster, 68, said.

The home was made with cinder blocks in the 1940s but was greatly enhanced with additions and better materials over the years. The family plans to put a gazebo on the site.

“If you needed a place to stay, my parents would be there for family, friends, whatever,” Curtis-Foster said.