The Two Hearted River Coast Guard Station is a historical site. It is located along the Two Hearted River on the shores of Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The station is part of the United States Coast Guard’s history. The station was established to provide life-saving services and maritime assistance.

North Country Trail suspension bridge over Two Hearted RiverThe Two Hearted River Coast Guard Station was once responsible for responding to distress calls, and providing assistance and rescue services to mariners and vessels in distress, particularly in the often challenging waters of the Great Lakes. These stations played a critical role in ensuring the safety of sailors and passengers on Lake Superior.

The Two Hearted River area is known for its beautiful wilderness, pristine waters, and is famous for being mentioned in Ernest Hemingway’s short story “Big Two-Hearted River.” It has been suggested that Hemingway used the name because of its appeal. The geography of the story indicates that Hemingway was really describing a different trout stream, the Fox River near Seney.

Visitors to the area can often explore the site, which may include historical exhibits and information about the station’s past.

The historical site is located in the Mouth of the Two Hearted River State Forest Campground. The campground is closed November 30th through May 1st. The North Country Trail crosses the river via a suspension bridge that leads to the Lake Superior side. Day visitors are welcome to visit and enjoy all the amenities.

Life Saving Station Historical Marker

Two_Hearted_River_Lightsaving_Station_markerIndustry and Invention (1875 – 1915) – Registered in 1979 and erected in 1980 – ID # L758B

Located at Two-Hearted River Forest Campground at Lake Superior – Lat: 46.69944000/Long: -85.42230000

Here stood the Two-Hearted River Life Saving Station, built in 1876. This station, like many others on the Great Lakes, was of the second class—erected at a cost of $4,790 and manned by volunteer crews. The facility, a simple two-story building with a small lookout tower, housed a lifeboat and other necessary equipment for recovering endangered sailors. An average crew consisted of six to eight experienced surfmen. In 1915 the Life Saving Service was integrated into the U.S. Coast Guard.

Several shipwrecks occurred near the mouth of the Two-Hearted River, also referred to as the Twin River and the Big Two-Hearted River. Among these were the Cleveland (1864), the W. W. Arnold (1869), and the Sumatra (1875). After construction of the lifesaving station here in 1876, the lifesavers were responsible for brave rescues in the Satellite (1879) and the Phineas S. Marsh (1896) disasters. The station was decommissioned in the 1930s and the structure was razed in 1944.

Learn more about the rich history of the Eastern Upper Peninsula.