The third-floor ballroom at the Felt Mansion in Laketown Township was filled with the sounds of “Please” and “Thank you” as almost 70 Douglas Elementary School students were served a sit-down meal for the school’s 12th annual Eloquence Day on Thursday, April 27.
“Thank you to the Felt Mansion for the use of the beautiful grounds,” said Casey Lokker, an organizer and staff member from Douglas Elementary School. “The mansion sets the perfect stage for the event.”
All students also participated in a guided tour of the building and had professional pictures taken.
The 25-room Felt Mansion, 6597 138th Ave., was completed in 1928 by Dorr Felt, inventor of the Comptometer, a basic adding machine. Several examples of his invention are on display in the mansion.
The mansion features unique fixtures with intricate mahogany woodwork, original hardwood floors, and art-deco style colorful tile. There is an impressive foyer, a formal dining room, a library housing original books, a parlor featuring a mahogany fireplace mantel, and a variety of family bedrooms and bathrooms.
After Felt’s death, the property was purchased by the St. Augustine Seminary for a school then, in the 1970s, by the State of Michigan to use as a prison. After the prison and Michigan State Police post that was in the mansion closed in the 1990s, Laketown Township purchased the property.
For the past 20 years, the Friends of the Felt Estate, led by Patty Meyer, has restored the mansion to its 1920’s splendor.
For more information, visit www.feltmansion.org.
The Eloquence Day event is planned by parent volunteers who select a theme and menu. This year’s theme was “Adventure in Wonderland” featuring items including The Caterpillar’s Salad, Queen of Heart’s pork tenderloin, Cheshire Cat’s chicken cacciatore with the Dormouse’s dessert.
“Prior to the event, students participated in lessons related to table manners and dining etiquette, as well as the art of conversation prior to our formal luncheon,” Lokker said. “This event serves as an opportunity for our maturing students to demonstrate the learning they’ve completed in the classroom.”
The event is community sponsored.
The PTO sets aside funds every year for volunteers to use as they plan the event. Local businesses support the effort by donating food and other goods. This year’s donors include Phil’s Bar & Grille, Wick’s Park Bar & Grill, Spectators, Farmhouse Deli, DeBoer Bakery, Everyday People Cafe, Pennyroyal, Jeni Groenewood, Sam’s Club, Lauren Almdale, Palazzolo’s, and Saugatuck Center for the Arts.