Fishtown among 14 Michigan sites to be included in the National Register of Historic Places

What’s happening: It’s official. Fishtown has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places, opening up new opportunities for grants and tax credits for the preservation of the historic district. While the larger Leland Historic District, where Fishtown is located, was first listed on the Register in 1975, this most recent listing identifies Fishtown itself as its own historic place. 

What it is: Fishtown is a journey back in time, back to the 19th century fishing industry that helped define Michigan’s coastal landscapes. While some fishing operations remain, the historic district, abundant in shanties, fish tugs, and docks, now also serves as a family-friendly tourist destination.

Why it’s important: “Fishtown is the heart and soul of the Leland community, it always has been. Over the decades its meaning and rarity have grown as commercial fishing has disappeared from other Great Lakes shore towns,” says Fishtown Preservation Society Executive Director Amanda Holmes. “Fishtown is more than a series of buildings, it’s a working waterfront that also helps preserve a way of life that has been an active part of this community for more than 170 years.”

But that’s not all: Fishtown isn’t the only historic Michigan site to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places this year. There are 13 other sites to have been accepted in the register, joining nearly 2,000 others already listed throughout the state.

These newly listed sites include Walbri Hall in Bloomfield Hills; the Elijah Bull House in Bloomfield Township; Luther Burbank Elementary School and the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Michigan, both in Detroit; Sisters of the Order of Saint Dominic Motherhouse Complex in Grand Rapids; Iron Mountain Veterans Administration (VA) Hospital in Iron Mountain; Parkwyn Village and the Gibson Inc. Factory and Office Building, both in Kalamazoo; Michigan Central Railroad Middleville Depot in Middleville; the Nathan Esek and Sarah Emergene Sutton House in Northfield Township; Elmer R. Webster School in Pontiac; Garfield School in Sault Ste. Marie; and the Vicksburg Historic District in Vicksburg.