The weather outside was frightful – thunderstorms, lightning and sheets of rain – but inside the Felt Mansion in Laketown Township, it was delightful on Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2023, as volunteers strung holiday lights and wove strands of garland to prepare the historic building for upcoming holiday tours.
“I love this place. It’s just beautiful,” said Judy Conner as she and Sally Gibson draped greenery over the grand staircase at the home, 6597 138th Ave.
“We are so grateful for the support of our local volunteers who help make our community programming a reality. From the summer concert series to Winterfest, and all the small events in between, we could not preserve this incredible piece of local history for Laketown and the surrounding areas without the time, talent, and treasure of the community,” said Elizabeth McEwen, executive director of the Felt Estate.
Volunteers have another chance to deck the historic hall from 3 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14. For information, visit www.feltmansion.org or call (616) 335-8982.
On Wednesday night, volunteers spread out over the 12,000-square-foot mansion, making sure the two dozen rooms glowed with holiday cheer.
Kent and Rebecca Viening wrapped lights on seven trees in the third-floor ballroom. The couple married at the estate in 2022.
“We want to build memories,” Rebecca said about why they returned to the mansion to help decorate.
Down a flight of stairs and across the house, Kris and Rachel Yonai listened to holiday tunes as they decorated the room of Agnes Felt, wife of Dorr Felt, who had the mansion built in 1925.
“We’re very excited to help,” Rachel said about the decorating. “We love this property.”
They were married in October 2022 at the mansion.
The mansion glows for Christmas.
Holiday cheer starts out with the annual Winterfest from 9-11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2. The free event includes face painting, Santa and Mrs. Claus and horse-drawn wagon rides. Grab bags available for the first 500 children.
The event is sponsored by the Laketown Township Parks and Recreation Commission.
Explore the mansion and grounds in their holiday grandeur at the many special tours. Arrive at least 45 minutes prior to closing time to allow enough time to take the tour.
Wednesdays, Dec. 6, 13, and 20: Tea and Tours from 10 a.m. to noon. Come in, sit down, and warm up. Take a trip back in time and enjoy a hot cup of tea from antique and vintage teacups. Enjoy a self-guided tour. Cost is $25 for adults; seniors and students $20; children 10 and under free.
Thursdays, Nov. 30, Dec. 7, 14, and 21: Regular self-guided tours from 4 to 8 p.m. Adults $20; seniors and students $17; children 10 and under Free; family rate $50.
Fridays, Dec. 1, 8, 15, and 22: Candlelight Tours from 6 to 8 p.m. Explore the mansion with a hand-held electronic candle. Adults $25; seniors and students $20; children 10 and under free; family rate $60.
Sundays, Dec. 3, 10, and 17: Coffee and Cocoa Tours from 2 to 4 p.m. Grab a hot coffee or hot chocolate for self-guided tour of the mansion. Participate in a holiday scavenger hunt. Adults $25; seniors and students $20; children 10 and under free; family rate $60.
No free self-guided tour passes accepted during Christmas tours.
See all events and purchase tour tickets at https://www.feltmansion.org/current-events
Dorr Felt was the 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 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 mansion has been restored to its splendor.