Chicago inventor and businessman Dorr Felt built this as a summer home for his wife, Agnes. 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 1928, when this house, designed by Frank P. Allen and Son of Grand Rapids, was completed. The estate had extensive gardens, orchards, cornfields, a dairy, 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 a Augustinian order of the Catholic Church.
The Dorr Felt Estate became the St. Augustine Catholic Seminary preparatory school in 1949. The mansion served as a chapel and housed priests and students. In 1962 the Augustinian order built a school and leased the house to Dominican cloistered nuns. The State of Michigan bought the property in 1977, using the house as a state police post and converting the school into the Saugatuck Dunes Correctional Facility. In 1995 the state sold fort-four acres, including the house and prison buildings, to Laketown Township for one dollar, stipulating that the mansion be preserved and that it be owned and operated by the public. The Friends of Felt Estate formed in 2002 and began restoring the house and grounds. The property is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Registered Site S0697
6597 138th Street
Laketown Township, Allegan County Topics:Historic HomesHome
Latitude: 42.696949741, Longitude: -86.19382739