Lt. Governor Gilchrist II Honors Four Historic Preservation Projects Across Michigan

MEDC Communications

Thursday, May 2, 2024

Annual Governor’s Awards recognizes historic preservation achievements in Michigan

LANSING, Mich. -- Today, Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II awarded four Michigan preservation projects for the Governor’s Awards for Historic Preservation during a ceremony hosted by the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). Communities represented by the projects include the Hiawatha National Forest region, Inkster, the Keweenaw Peninsula, and Ludington. 

“It’s an honor to recognize this group of outstanding historic preservation achievements,” said Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II. “Today’s honorees represent the rich diversity of our communities, our inclusive heritage and the welcoming culture that has long defined us in Michigan. Across our two peninsulas, these historic sites are critical pieces of the fabric that make us who we are as Michiganders.” 

Now in its 21st year, the Governor’s Awards for Historic Preservation program, held annually during National Historic Preservation Month, was created by SHPO to celebrate outstanding historic preservation achievements that reflect a commitment to the preservation of Michigan’s unique character and the many archaeological sites and historic places that represent our rich past. This year’s event took place in Heritage Hall at the Michigan State Capitol. 

“Each May, SHPO has the distinct honor to help recognize the exemplary historic preservation work being done by groups and individuals across Michigan through the Governor’s Awards for Historic Preservation program,” said Ryan Schumaker, State Historic Preservation Officer. “The four projects receiving awards today demonstrate a deep commitment to highlighting and preserving sites that are important in telling a more complete history of all peoples who have called Michigan their home.” 

The 2024 Governor’s Awards recipients are listed below. For full details and videos of each project, visit here. 


Stewardship of the Hiawatha National Forest lighthouses  

Alger, Delta, and Schoolcraft Counties 

Awardees: Hiawatha National Forest; Round Island Lighthouse Preservation Society; Bay Mills Indian Community; Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society; HistoriCorps; and Youth Work 


Hiawatha National Forest, covering nearly one million acres of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, is the only national forest to contain historic lighthouses, six in total.  

The Round Island Lighthouse Preservation Society has assisted with the preservation of this landmark lighthouse near Mackinac Island, repairing metal doors and outbuildings, and installing riprap to protect it from rising lake levels.  

A new partnership with the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society will help implement public interpretation of the Grand Island North Light near Munising, while a creative partnership resulted in the recent rehabilitation of the Point Iroquois Light near Brimley, built in 1870.  

A new agreement with the Bay Mills Indian Community will soon open an Indigenous history museum at Point Iroquois, sharing important tribal history with lighthouse visitors. With partnerships established, the Hiawatha National Forest historic lighthouses are poised to be illuminating destinations for years to come. 

“I am honored to present a Tribute to the U.S. Forest Service Hiawatha National Forest, Round Island Lighthouse Preservation Society, Bay Mills Indian Community, Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum, HistoriCorps, and Youth Work as recipients of the 2024 Governor's Awards for Historic Preservation,” said Rep. Dave Prestin (108th District). “This award acknowledges those who restore, revitalize, and work diligently to safeguard the Upper Peninsula’s significant historic and cultural resources. On behalf of the residents, my District, and over a million tourists who visit the U.P. every year, I am proud to recognize and express my gratitude for the work done on the majestic maritime icons known as the Hiawatha Lighthouses.” 


Rehabilitation and archaeological documentation of the Malcolm X House 

Inkster, Wayne County 

Awardees: Project We Hope, Dream, and Believe; Wayne State University, Department of Anthropology 


Civil Rights leader Malcolm X lived in this house with his brother’s family from 1952 to 1953. Over the decades, the house fell on hard times, leading it to be marked for demolition. After a multi-year effort, the house was removed from the demolition list, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and a substantial rehabilitation project is now underway. Led by the non-profit Project We Hope, Dream, and Believe, the house is being transformed into a museum that will focus on the life and significance of Malcolm X, advocacy, and as a youth learning center.  

A partnership with the Wayne State University Anthropology Program was established to conduct archaeological studies on the Inkster property, yielding hundreds of 20th century artifacts. The project has been embraced by the community who support the effort and have been getting involved every step of the way. Despite his transient life, few of the places Malcolm resided remain standing today. Although vacant for several years, the form and structure of the modest house are largely intact as it was when the Littles lived here. The rehabilitation project is expected to be completed in 2024 as an important Inkster destination and place of learning in the community. 

“The Malcolm X House is a reminder of Michigan’s special role in the movements for liberation and freedom,” said Governor Whitmer. “Since our state’s founding, Michigan has played host to so much history, and we have a responsibility to keep telling those stories to inspire future generations. Together, we can protect and expand our fundamental rights and keep moving Michigan forward.” 

“The Malcom X House is a core part of the fabric of Michigan’s history, where movements for civil rights, equality, and justice have shaped the nation and the world,” said Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist. “Governor Whitmer and I are proud to recognize the Malcom X House with a Governor’s Award for historic preservation and we will keep working together to tell these stories and make Michigan a place where everyone can thrive.” 

"The preservation of the Malcom X home is a source of pride for city residents. I am pleased it was chosen to restore this important piece of the Inkster’s history,” said Sen. Dayna Polehanki (5th District)

“Malcolm X was a man who broke from the hateful norms of his time to lead a continuous fight toward justice and liberation,” said state Representative Dylan Wegela (D-Garden City). “Malcolm X taught the world that it is not enough to merely ask for justice, but that we must pursue it at all times, and at any cost. I commend Aaron Sims and Project We Hope Dream & Believe for their work to preserve this vital piece of Inkster and Michigan history. May it uplift the legacy of a great man and inspire others to stand up for what is right.” 


Development of the Keweenaw Time Traveler Project 

Keweenaw County 

Awardees: Michigan Technological University, Department of Social Sciences and Geospatial Research Facility; Michigan Technological University Archives; Monte Consulting; Carnegie Museum of the Keweenaw; Keweenaw County Historical Society; and Keweenaw National Historical Park Advisory Commission 


The Keweenaw Time Traveler launched in 2017 as a digital online atlas of Michigan’s Copper Country. The project digitally connects over 2,000 archival maps with historical data sets, including building data, censuses, city directories, and school and mining company employment records.  

Led by Michigan Technological University researchers and students, the effort brings together the efforts of residents and several local and regional heritage organizations. “Citizen Historians” helped to develop the look and feel of the online digital atlas. The project has mapped and linked the homes and schools for every resident of the region from 1870–1940, connecting these with oral histories and building inventory records for every structure from this period.  

Since its inception, the project has included a deeply integrated public engagement program, which includes in-person programming at local festivals, schools, senior living facilities, public libraries, and with many of the heritage sites throughout the region. The online version of the atlas brings Keweenaw history to curious minds around the world. The Keweenaw Time Traveler is leading the way in fostering conversations about how this region’s industrial past continues to affect lives and identities today. 

“The Time Traveler is a very valuable resource to people who move to the community or want to research the local area,” said Rep. Greg Markkanen (110th District). “I've searched my own address on the deep map app; there's a lot to be gained from the interactive and educational tools.” 


Earning National Register designation for East Ludington Avenue homes 

Ludington, Mason County 

Awardee: Raymond Madsen 


East Ludington Avenue has served as the gateway into Ludington since before the era of the automobile. In the late 1800s, it was home to ship captains and lumbering families who built impressive Queen Anne and Classical Revival mansions. In the 20th century, the street became part of highway US-10, welcoming visitors heading toward Lake Michigan or to the nearby car ferries to Wisconsin. After World War II, small motor lodges and tourist cabins were built between some of the grand older homes. Today it is a mix of residential and bed-and-breakfast properties.  

Ludington native Raymond Madsen discovered that despite the celebrated architecture, East Ludington Avenue was not a National Register Historic District. Madsen engaged with the community, offering a feedback survey and hosting several public meetings, inviting preservation experts to meet with homeowners to address their concerns and discuss the benefits of designation. With support from homeowners and the city government, the district was surveyed, and a National Register nomination quickly followed, highlighting the local architecture and tourism industry.  

The National Register effort led to the creation of a new walking tour of the district. Homeowners in the district now have access to preservation tools, including the State Historic Tax Credit program. Madsen’s energy changed the conversation about preservation in Ludington, culminating in community enthusiasm ahead of celebrating the city’s sesquicentennial in 2023. 

“It is a privilege to recognize Ray Madsen for his hard work on the East Ludington Avenue Historic District. His passion for preserving the history of downtown Ludington is truly appreciated by the entire community,” stated state Senator Jon Bumstead (R-North Muskegon)

“I’m excited that we are commemorating our area’s rich history,” said state Representative Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington). “Ludington has so many stories and this designation as a historic district will help us tell them.”  

Learn More National Historic Preservation Month was established in 1973 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation to help local preservation groups, historical societies, and communities promote historic places and heritage tourism and to demonstrate the social and economic benefits of historic preservation. This year’s award recipients spearheaded projects that saved special places, increased economic activity and continue to educate residents and visitors about Michigan’s history. 

To learn more about the Governor’s Awards for Historic Preservation program and explore prior year awards by region or by year on an interactive map, visit here

Focused on the historic preservation of culturally or archaeologically significant sites throughout the state, Michigan's State Historic Preservation Office’s main function is to provide technical assistance to local communities and property owners in their efforts to identify, evaluate, designate, interpret and protect Michigan’s historic above- and below-ground resources. SHPO also administers an incentives program that includes state and federal tax credits, and pass-through grants available to certified local governments. For more information about historic preservation programs and services, visit


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