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Ludington native honored for his work to preserve the East Ludington Avenue Historic District

On Thursday, 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). Ludington native Raymond Madsen was honored for his preservation efforts on East Ludington Avenue.

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.

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.”

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.

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