| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter Youtube RSS Feed

Muskegon Lakeshore

Features

A trip back in time: Muskegon's historic homes take center stage at Nelson neighborhood tour

The Emery House Bed & Breakfast at 446 W. Webster Avenue in downtown Muskegon.

Some of Muskegon's oldest, and grandest, homes were on display during the Nelson Neighborhood Improvement Association's Christmas tour. Along with people from throughout West Michigan, our photographer got to explore the houses that have played host to downtown residents for more than a century.

A tour of historic homes in downtown Muskegon’s Nelson neighborhood drew people from throughout the city, and much of West Michigan, to the event that showcases some of the area's oldest, and grandest, houses.

 

The Nelson Neighborhood Improvement Association held the Heritage Home Tour, which raised $500 for a reading program at Nelson Elementary, says April Thompson, an association board member who organized the event that featured eight historic buildings. Thompson’s 19-room home that was built in 1891 was one of the houses included in the tour, which allowed members of the public to meet the homeowners and get a glimpse inside the houses that have played host to downtown residents for more than a century. Two businesses housed in historic buildings were also included in the event: an incoming salon, The TISH, and CityHub Cyclery.


The NNIA generously allowed Rapid Growth Media to photograph the tour, held Saturday, Dec. 9, and Rapid Growth Media’s On The Ground Muskegon Lakeshore photographer, Jenna Swartz, captured the following world filled with history and holiday magic.
The Emery House Bed & Breakfast, 446 W. Webster Avenue
Photo by Jenna Swartz


Built in 1903 by John Emery Jr., an electric engineer who made sawmill machinery, the Emery House Bed & Breakfast at 446 W. Webster Ave. is now owned by Lori and David Loring. Like the home's previous owners, Bill and Barbara Frame, the Lorings operate a bed and breakfast in the 8,500-square-foot mansion that once was a social hub for Muskegon's elite.

Photo by Jenna Swartz

Emery House owner Lori Loring greets tour goers in the home's expansive dining room.

Photo by Jenna Swartz

The tables are set for visitors.

Photo by Jenna Swartz

Emery House tour guide Ben Warhead poses in the home's third floor ballroom, with the blueprints for the historic house behind him.

Photo by Jenna Swartz

A painting from the Emery House's third floor.

Photo by Jenna Swartz

The glow of one of the Emery House's Christmas trees warms the bed and breakfast's living room.

Photo by Jenna Swartz

The view from the Emery House's third floor ballroom.

Photo by Jenna Swartz

The Emery House's festive front porch.

Photo by Jenna Swartz

The Emery House was built in the brick Georgian Colonial style.

464 W. Clay Avenue

Photo by Jenna Swartz


The house at 464 W. Clay Ave. is a Queen Anne-style Victorian home built in 1888 by Sarah Rand, whose husband, Thomas Rand, started Muskegon's first bank, Lumberman's. Rand built this home, and the green home next to it, following her husband's death. The two homes together are often called "the twins."

Owned by the Bright family for years, the home at 464 W. Clay is sometimes referred to as the Bright Mansion. Before the historic house was sold this year, Florence Bright owned it and ran a bridal salon in the space. She also hosted teas and small luncheons there.

The house was recently purchased by Kimi George, a rehab specialist and community development catalyst at the nonprofit Community enCompass, and a new business is set to soon debut in the house. The TISH will offer "a healthy, sustainable space for beauty/spa/photography/art services and offer a range of natural products," according to its Facebook page.
Photo by Jenna Swartz

A view of 464 W. Clay's entrance from the home's second floor.

Photo by Jenna Swartz

The interior of The TISH.

Photo by Jenna Swartz

The home's original stained glass windows.

Photo by Jenna Swartz

A festive Christmas tree in The TISH.

Photo by Jenna Swartz

The front entrance.

Photo by Jenna Swartz

The interior of The TISH.

Photo by Jenna Swartz

The original stove remains in the home's kitchen.

Photo by Jenna Swartz

The salon area in The TISH.

Photo by Jenna Swartz

Kimi George, the new owner of 464 W. Clay Avenue.

1413 Jefferson Street

Thompson, from the Nelson Neighborhood Improvement Association, says the organization was thrilled to feature a home never before included on the tour: 1413 Jefferson Street. Owned by Tracy Montgomery, the historic house is awash in gorgeous details, from wooden paneling to vintage wood windows.

Photo by Jenna Swartz

Tracy Montgomery, the owner of 1413 Jefferson Street.

Photo by Jenna Swartz

The Jefferson Street home's dining room.

Photo by Jenna Swartz

The living room is filled with holiday cheer.

Photo by Jenna Swartz

A peaceful winter scene outside the Jefferson Street home.

585 W. Clay Avenue

Photo by Jenna Swartz

Housed in the old Carlson's Market building at 585 W. Clay Avenue, The CityHub Cyclery opened in 2014 and the space offers patrons a glimpse into the building's long history, including iconic tin ceiling panels, a historic facade, and original hardwood floors. Julie Miller and Jennifer Wever own the shop, which has helped to grow the city's bicycling community and aims to make women feel more comfortable in a biking culture that has often been male-dominated.

Photo by Jenna Swartz

The CityHub Cyclery displays photos of the building's former life as a grocery store. Moses Duqette originally built the two-story shop at Seventh Street and Clay Avenue in 1891, and he ran a food market there until 1906. D.P. Roche then purchased the store in 1906 and in 1909 sold it to Oscar Peterson, who operated the grocery store until 1915. At that time, Martin Carlson, a Whitehall native who operated a milk route for the Dalton Creamery, purchased the market and the Carlson family ran the store for a little more than 53 years. The family sold the building to the Muskegon Heritage Association in 1979.

Photo by Jenna Swartz

CityHub Cyclery co-owner Jennifer Wever, her dog Lucy, and employee Todd Thedorff.

Photo by Jenna Swartz

The interior of the bike shop.

Photo by Jenna Swartz

CityHub Cyclery employee Todd Thedorff with Lucy.

1693 Jefferson Street

Photo by Jenna Swartz

April Thompson, who organized the tour, owns this 19-room mansion, which was built on Jefferson Street in 1891.

Photo by Jenna Swartz

April Thompson in her back living room.

Photo by Jenna Swartz

The main stairwell.

Photo by Jenna Swartz

The home's front living area.

Photo by Jenna Swartz

One of Thompson's gorgeous trees brightens the back living area.

Photo by Jenna Swartz

The dining room.

Photo by Jenna Swartz

A bust of Charles Hackley and his beaver top hat.

Photo by Jenna Swartz

A large format film camera owned by April Thompson's late husband, John Thompson.

390 W. Muskegon Avenue

Photo by Jenna Swartz

This home at 390 W. Muskegon Avenue is close to 130 years old, having been built in 1890.


Photo by Jenna Swartz

A Christmas tree shines in the living room.

Photo by Jenna Swartz

The dining room.

Photo by Jenna Swartz

A vintage Royal typewriter.

Photo by Jenna Swartz

Nicholas Dejong is excited to explore 390 W. Muskegon Avenue.

453 W. Webster Avenue

Photo by Jenna Swartz


Brandon and Liz Morrison own this home at 453 W. Western Avenue, which was built in 1917 and still has a number of original features, including a butler's pantry.

Photo by Jenna Swartz

Owners Liz and Brandon Morrison.

Photo by Jenna Swartz

The festively decorated dining room.

Photo by Jenna Swartz

The home's living area.

Photo by Jenna Swartz

Garland winds its way down the staircase.

Photo by Jenna Swartz

The breakfast nook.

Photo by Jenna Swartz

This chandelier was made by the same manufacturer that created the chandeliers on the Titanic.

Photo by Jenna Swartz

A framed photo of Myrna and Mural Steele, left, twin sisters who lived at 453 W. Western Avenue for 40 years.

Photo by Jenna Swartz

The sisters who previously owned the home decorated the bathroom floor with wheat pennies, which were minted in the U.S. from 1909 to 1956.

1347 4th Street

Photo by Jenna Swartz


The home at 1347 4th Street was built in 1900.

Photo by Jenna Swartz

Christmas decorations fill the home's living room.

Photo by Jenna Swartz

The owner of the 4th Street house, David Erickson.

Photo by Jenna Swartz

The dining room is decorated for guests.

For those interested in either showing their home or attending next year's tour, connect with the Nelson Neighborhood Improvement Association on the group's website and Facebook page.
 

This story is part of Rapid Growth's "On the Ground-Muskegon Lakeshore" series, which aims to amplify the voices of the community members who make up Muskegon's waterfront neighborhoods. Over the next three months, our journalists will be embedded in the city's lakefront communities in order to dive deeper into topics important to residents, business owners and other members of the community. To reach the editor of this series, Anna Gustafson, please email her at AKGustaf@gmail.com, or connect with her on Facebook.

 

Support for this series is provided by Downtown Muskegon Now, the Muskegon Business Improvement District, the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Pure Muskegon, Watch Muskegon, and the Community Foundation for Muskegon County.
Photography by Jenna Swartz. To connect with Jenna, visit her
website and Facebook page.

Signup for Email Alerts
Signup for Email Alerts