Clear day. Slight breeze. Great view from more than 550 feet above the Straits of Mackinac.
“The view was spectacular! I knew it would be good, but it was amazing to be up there with such perfect conditions,” said Art Tolsma who, along with friend Steve Langeland, climbed to the top of the Mackinac Bridge on Thursday, Aug. 10, 2023.
Tolsma of Holland won the Friends of the Felt Estate fundraising raffle in December for a certificate for two tickets to tour the south tower of the Might Mac.
The Felt Estate was one of 25 non-profits around the state selected by the Mackinac Bridge Authority to receive a tower tour certificate to be raffled or auctioned for charitable purposes.
“I am super thankful to Patty Meyer and the Felt Estate for getting everything in place for this tour,” Tolsma said. Meyer is Felt Estate operations director.
The bridge tour started with a drive to the tower with the bridge guide who unlocked a hatch door to a tiny elevator.
“Not really big enough for three people,” Tolsma said, but they fit. “We rode it as far as it would go and got out and had to go up through four more hatch doors and stairs to get up to the top. …
“It truly was a once in a lifetime experience,” Tolsma said.
The Friends of the Felt Estate is a 501c3 non-profit membership organization bringing people together to protect, to enhance and to enjoy the places that matter.
The Felt Mansion was built in 1925 by Dorr Felt, inventor of the Comptometer, a basic adding machine. 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 Meyer, has restored the mansion to its 1920’s splendor. For more on the mansion, visit www.feltmansion.org.