Possibly one of my favorite parts of my vacation last week in Michigan was stumbling upon the beautifully restored Felt Mansion, located just outside of Holland, Michigan. More than a decade ago, my family and I had driven through the estate, which had fallen into disrepair and was more or less abandoned.
Today, that’s far from the case—the grounds as well as the mansion itself are gorgeous. We arrived outside of tour hours so we didn’t go inside, but the exterior of the estate alone is incredible. Today the mansion is open for tours and you can even rent out the estate for weddings or other types of large events.
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A brief history of the Felt Mansion
In 1919, Dorr Eugene Felt purchased a few hundred acres along the Lake Michigan shoreline and called the estate Shore Acre Farms. Felt was a poor mechanist from Wisconsin invented the first office processing machine (think early calculator) called the Comptometer.
Six years later he began construction on the “Big House”—today the restored mansion—for his wife Agnes. The 12,000-square-foot home was finally completed in 1928, but sadly Agnes died only six weeks after the family had moved in. Felt died a year and a half later. Today, it’s rumored she and husband haunt the mansion and it’s surrounding grounds.
In 1949, the family decided to sell Shore Acre Farms, and the mansion was purchased by a Catholic preparatory school for boys. In the following years, the estate served as a cloister for nuns and a state prison, until finally the Laketown Township bought the property for public use and restoration for $1 in the early ’90s.
If you visit the Felt Mansion
The property is open for tours Sunday – Tuesday from 1 – 5 pm from May through August.
Cost: $10 adults, $8 seniors & students, free for children under 12
Felt Mansion, 6597 138th Avenue in Holland, Michigan