Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Felt Mansion

This week for Walk and Click Wednesday I went back to a place I had photographed ever so briefly last fall, it is someplace that I have been longing to go back to.

The first photograph was taken just after I got there, about 5 minutes after sunrise. Yes, I have made two early golden hours in a row. The second photograph was taken about 10 minutes later. I love to see the transformation that the golden light makes to the front of the house.


Chicago inventor and businessman Dorr Felt built this house as a summer home for his wife, Agnes in 1928. Felt held numerous patents, most notably for the Comptometer, the first machine to do complex calculations.


In 1919 Felt purchased more than 750 acres of land here and named it Shore Acres Farm. The family stayed in a farmhouse on the property until this house was completed. The 12,000+ square foot mansion consists of 25 rooms, including a third-floor ballroom.


The estate had extensive gardens, orchards, cornfields, a diary, vineyards, and a small zoo that was open to the public.


Agnes Felt died two months after the house was finished, and Dorr died two years later. The Felt's daughters and grandchildren owned the estate until 1949 when they sold it to an Augustinian order of the Catholic Church.


The St. Augustine Seminary, a Catholic prep school for young men, bought the mansion and grounds. Outgrowing the carriage house, which they used for classrooms, and the mansion which they used for housing, the Seminary built a school on the ridge west of the mansion. After moving into the school in the mid 1960's, a group of cloistered nuns live in the mansion.


In the late 1970's, the State of Michigan purchased the property to use as a prison. Only a portion of the mansion was used during these years as offices. The state owned the grounds until the early 1990's when they sold it to the local township. The township bought it for $1, with the stipulation that the mansion be used for the public, not sold or used for private enterprise.


The mansion and grounds are being slowly restored to their 1920's splendor. They do rent it out for weddings and receptions, as well as, other events. Wouldn't this be a beautiful setting for a wedding.

I have never been inside the mansion, although they do have occasional tours and events that the public can attend. My goal is to get inside one of these days.

16 comments:

  1. I enjoyed my visit with you here. What a fascinating history...and a beautiful estate!

    xoxo

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  2. What a fantastic building with an interesting history! It would be good to go inside and take a tour. It has been my aim for the last few months to capture that golden hour - but I've not managed it yet - I really must make the effort ... the light here is lovely.

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  3. Great building ~ love how you have captured the beautiful light in your photos ~ ^_^

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  4. Another wonderful travelogue! You have a great way with words. I always think I'm going to get up and catch the golden hour, but do better catching the evening one. Thanks for the tour!

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  5. Isn't it wonderful the way good light can bring a photo to life? I shoot more than ever before in the golden and blue hours (and even at sunrise!) and as a result I love my images much more now. I love seeing where you go to shoot.

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  6. A lovely place with a rich history - I enjoyed "taking the tour" with you! Thanks for sharing, Sarah. :)

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  7. This is such an interesting place, and the light of the golden hour that you captured is absolutely beautiful. I really need to try this more. Lovely captures!

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  8. Great post and great photos too.

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  9. What a lovely post. Your photos are great and I love all the info you included. I have visited that part of Michigan and found it quite lovely.

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  10. Beautiful photos or terrific architecture.

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  11. Love your process Sarah, thanks for sharing ....

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  12. Such a beautiful place and you captures are awesome. I really enjoyed reading the history of such a grand estate.

    I have enjoyed my visit; you have a lovely blog....

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  13. You are so right about the golden morning light! It's beautiful on the mansion! I enjoyed the history. Old buildings and their history fascinate me! If these walls could talk they would could certainly tell some tales...family, balls, prison, nuns. What a diverse group of people have entered these rooms. I hope you get to enter them someday! Be sure and share you photos if you do!

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  14. I LOVE you reworked header, Sarah! And this is a fabulous adventure. I love how you are getting around to such wonderful sights in your area and really enjoying the spirit of Walk and Click Wednesday!

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  15. I like your new header. Morning and evening light are so nice. Sometimes it can be too gold... Thanks for the history. I have been struggling a bit with my new blog but I am getting there! I hope you are having a great weekend!

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  16. fantastic! I love your early morning shots and love the history attached to this house. Fantastic shots

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Thank you so much for visiting today and taking the time to read my thoughts on life. :)