Aug 082010

We love touring small town historical sites, and we spent part of yesterday doing just that, here in Muskegon, Michigan. Rocky and Berni picked us up at the campground and took us downtown to introduce us to a little of their community’s past.

Charles H. Hackley came to Muskegon as a 20 year old man, in 1857, with just $7 to his name. Through hard work and a vision of the future, he parlayed that money into a fortune of over $12 million by the time he died in 1905. In the process, he transformed Muskegon from a sleepy little logging town into a major industrial and commerce center.

Hackley made his fortune in lumber, and built an impressive Queen Anne style mansion in Muskegon that is a showplace of opulence. 

Hackley House

Even his carriage horses lived in style! No simple barn or stable would do for the steeds of such a prominent citizen as Charles H. Hackley!

Hacklay carraige house

Inside, the house is decorated with elaborate carvings in the woodwork, paneling, and stair rails. This carving on a coat rack shows some of the intricate details.

Hackley coatrack carving

As does this China cabinet.

China cabinet

All told, Hackley kept sixteen woodcarvers busy for four years creating the interior of his home.

Many of the home’s windows are beautiful stained glass works.

Hackley House stained glass window

No detail was spared, and it truly is a showplace, and an example of how the timber barons of America once lived.

Right next door is the home of Hackley’s business partner, Thomas Hume. While still very impressive, the Hume house was designed for comfort and to accommodate Hume’s large family.

Hume house

While the Hackley House was more impressive, in terms of showing just how well the wealthy live, we found the Hume house more comfortable. Charles Hackley built his home to be a showplace, and it certainly is. But I could never be comfortable living in a place like that. Hume’s house just had more of a welcoming feel. You just know that kids slid down the banister and ran through the third floor rooms playing hide and seek, while no such nonsense would have been tolerated in the Hackley house.

We have enjoyed our time here with Rocky and Berni, but unfortunately, all good things must end. Today we are heading for Elkhart Campground, in Elkhart, Indiana, to get the new issue of the Gypsy Journal ready to go to press, and to get all of the last minute details ready for our upcoming Eastern Gypsy Gathering rally.

Rocky and Berni, we sure do appreciate your hospitality, and you making time for us in your busy schedules. We love you guys.

Thought For The Day – The rewards of age are not for wimps.

Click Here To Register For Our Eastern Gypsy Gathering Rally!

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  3 Responses to “Lumber Baron Mansions”

  1. I like the comparison of opulent vs. comfortable. We make the same comparison in motorhomes. Many beautiful and expensive rigs are just that. I would be afraid to sleep in one. While others invite comfortable living. It takes all kinds.

  2. I’m curious, Jim Guld…what “livable” motorhomes have you found in recent model years? The last few years we’ve looked, the weird floor plans just do not work for us. One even had a recliner right next to (1 foot away from) the flat screen TV! What’s up with that? We decided not to trade.

  3. Susan, try checking out some of the many models & floor plans that Winnebago has to offer. I’m sure you’ll see they go from “livable” to opulent.

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