407. The Abbey

"The Abbey Sculpture"

Rasmus Rasmussen was a business man and civic leader whose enterprising spirit spurred him to commission the construction of the last schooner built in Ludington.  Launched in 1886, the Abbey had a successful commercial life particularly transporting tanning bark until its fortunes change when the ship sank near Onekama, Michigan in 1905. When the lifesaving crew reached the site only the vessel’s cabin remained above water with several crew members clinging to the sides. One of the crew had swan to shore seeking help and the other three were rescued. The four survivors included Captain George Cron, Chicago; V. S. Lowrey, Grand Rapids; John Carey, Milwaukee; R. Rider, Holland.

Born in Langland, Denmark, Mr. Rasmussen came to the United States in 1870 at age 19. Settling in Manistee, he became engaged in the tanning bark business. Rasmus later moved to Ludington where he built a hotel named the Lake View House on the corner of Sixth Street and Madison in 1876. He loved his new community and became involved in public service at both the city and county level. Ludington had a sizeable aggregation of Scandinavian immigrants and because of his popularity was often called the “King of Denmark” which he naturally appreciated. In concert with his two of his sons, the Rasmussen’s established a growing dairy farm in Pere Marquette Township.

Local businessmen owned a minor league baseball team named the Ludington Mariners. Rasmus was frequently seen watching a professional ball game at Culver Park located at the corner of Lewis and Loomis Streets. The 1921 season was very special for ball fans in Ludington for their team dominated the Central League which included opposing teams in Grand Rapids, Lansing and other much larger cities in Michigan. Rasmus Rasmussen died suddenly at the ballpark on August 26, 1921 while enjoying a game he loved in his adopted country.