Felt Mansion swings into summer with free tour dates

New extra days are a way to thank the community for support.
Visitors to the Felt Mansion walk the estate grounds on Sunday, May 12, 2024. Photo courtesy of The Felt Estate

The Mother’s Day tour at The Felt Mansion was a success organizers hope grows throughout the summer with four more free tours ahead.

“Our Mother’s Day event was incredibly well-received! The weather was gorgeous, and we had easily over 100 visitors tour the mansion and grounds that afternoon,” said Elizabeth McEwen, executive director of the Felt Estate.

“It was so fun to see multi-generational groups visiting and learning about the history of the Felt family and the various lives this property has had over the years,” she said.

The Mother’s Day tours were the first of five new “Free-for-All” open house events.

The next free event is Saturday, June 15, from 1-4 p.m. at the mansion, 6597 138th Avenue. Enter the mansion through the entrance with the pillars. Visitors can also tour the chapel and the Carriage House on the property.

Other free self-guided tours are 1-4 p.m.:

  • Sunday, July 28
  • Sunday, Aug. 11
  • Sunday, Sept. 8

Additional tour times were identified as one of the estate’s priorities based on a community survey last fall.

“I am excited to intentionally carve out additional opportunities for the community to enjoy the space that is such a treasured piece of our local history,” McEwen said. “Our Laketown neighbors have been amazingly supportive of the restoration process, and our ‘Free-for-All’ dates are one way we can express our gratitude.”

Extended tours

The mansion is also offering two special extended self-guided tours at regular prices, one for Memorial Day and one for Labor Day.

On Monday, May 27, from 1-5 p.m., and Monday, Sept. 2, from noon to 4 p.m. the estate’s buildings will be open for tours. Admission is purchased at the time of entry. Adults — $10; Seniors (60 years old and up) — $8; Children (8 years old and up) — $5; Children (7 and under) – free.

For more on the tours, visit www.feltmansion.org and sign up for the free mansion newsletter.

The mansion and music

The 25-room Felt Mansion was completed in 1928 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.

The mansion has been restored to its 1920’s grandeur and is now a top destination for weddings and features a summer concert series.

Concerts are July 11 — Zion Lion, a reggae band from Kalamazoo; July 18 — The Schrock Bros, a Michigan based Americana/blues ensemble; July 25 — Bernadette Kathryn and the Lonely Days Band, contemporary young country music drawing on Motown and rock and roll; and Aug. 1 — Lighting Matches, an alternative rock band based in Grand Rapids.

Concerts are free.