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W. K. Kellogg Manor House History PDF Print E-mail

Manor House in 1920'sThe W. K. Kellogg summer estate was built in 1925 - 1926 on the highest point overlooking Gull Lake. Kellogg and his second wife, Dr. Carrie Staines Kellogg, commissioned the Grand Rapids architectural firm of Benjamin and Benjamin to design a Tudor style house on 32 acres of eroded cornfield.

Throughout the house there are many Tudor-inspired design elements: half-timbering, random brickwork on exterior window and door trims, leaded glass windows, quatrefoil detailing, coffered ceilings and oak paneled rooms.

The entryway, breakfast room, kitchen, and all of the bathrooms are tiled in Rookwood tile, as are the faces of two of the fireplaces. The billiard room fireplace is an especially unusual example of Rookwood showing two knights jousting with a castle in the background.

Staircase inside Manor HouseThe entry stairway is ornately and beautifully hand carved oak. Ceilings in both the living room and the dining room are molded plaster in "Rose and Thistle" and quatrefoil designs respectively.

The Manor House was used by W.K., Carrie, and the Kellogg children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren as a summer home until 1942, when Mr.& Mrs.Kellogg vacated the estate to allow it to be used by the Coast Guard as an induction and training center. As the war drew to a close, the site was used by Percy Jones Hospital in nearby Battle Creek as a rehabilitation center for wounded servicemen.

WK Kellogg After Mr. Kellogg's death in 1951, the estate was given to Michigan State University and became part of the Kellogg Biological Station.  Initially used as a girls dormitory, it then became offices and work spaces for the staff of KBS.

In 1998, with a generous grant from the Kellogg Foundation, the restoration of the Manor House was begun. Clay roof tiles were made using the original molds, paint was tested to uncover original colors, windows and doors were either replaced or repaired, and the Rookwood tile, which in some cases had been painted over, was restored to its original beauty. Using photographs of the house when the Kelloggs were in residence and lists of original furnishings purchased from Marshall Fields, interior furnishings were found to resemble the originals as closely as possible.

The gardens surrounding the house have also been partially restored PagodaKBSand the house is once again a beautiful and stately residence in a lovely lakeside setting. The site also includes a carriage house with chauffeur's residence, a greenhouse with potting shed, a caretaker's cottage, a boathouse, an authentic Dutch windmill, and a lakeside pagoda. Although these are not open to the public, they are all intact and look much as they did in the 20's.

Near Battle Creek and Kalamazoo, the Kellogg Manor House is a wonderful day trip for those interested in history and historic homes.  Please refer to our map page for excellent directions to the Manor House and to our tour page to plan your visit.