Family destroys Lake Michigan home before nature gets it

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The owners of a home along Lake Michigan in West Michigan decided to demolish it before nature did the job.

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

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 said. “It was getting scary.”

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

"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.

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