HICKORY CORNERS, Mich. (February 11, 2014) — Everybody knows the Kellogg name. Perhaps what is lesser known is the beautiful summer cottage perched on Gull Lake that was built-in the middle 1920s by Will Keith (W.K.) Kellogg himself.
Kellogg was a giving man. Not only a successful businessman (especially in breakfast cereals) he was vibrant through the West Michigan community and was a strong believer in giving back and in education. Upon his death in 1951, he donated the entire cottage and surrounding property to Michigan State University for educational purposes and future study intentions. In fact, the property is also home to a natural bird sanctuary in Hickory Corners.
His summer cottage (or manor) sits on about 30 acres and has a Scottish castle feel indicative of his heritage. We learned that the number seven (7) was of particular significance to Kellogg for a variety of reasons that come to mind in the mansion. Upon entering the foyer you’ll notice seven wood panels in the front door, seven rows of cofford oak across the ceiling, plus his father was born in 1807, Kellogg himself was born on April 7, he had seven grandchildren, there are seven letters in his name, and Kellogg was the seventh son of the seventh child.
The grand staircase was hand-carved by two Europeans that took two years to complete the job. The dining area with its ornate woodwork, original light fixtures, and warm atmosphere once hosted our 31st President Herbert Hoover. The main living area now plays host to various private events like weddings, meetings, and even public lunches and brunches from time to time.
Upstairs you’ll find the master bedroom and Kellogg study, Mrs. Kellogg’s bedroom and sun porch, guest bedrooms, and several bathrooms (some still original). Most of the rooms have a fabulous view of Gull Lake as well as the patio and pagoda just outside the back of the property. It’s a spacious cottage…really more like a mansion, that cost a whopping $727,000 to build in the 1920s.
We were told one story of Mr. Kellogg that he occasionally would visit his employees unannounced at their home. One day he did this he found kids in the home were playing on a cold floor. It apparently upset him, so the next day there’s a knock at the door and a man with a big rug so the kids can play on the floor on the carpet. Fast forward to the year 2000 when the cottage received a phone call from the family telling of the story and asking if they would like the rug returned for show purposes. Today that same rug sits in Kellogg’s master bedroom.
If you’d like more information on the W.K. Kellogg Manor click here for their website. A special thanks to our volunteer tour guide (or docent as they’re professionally known) Joelyn De Lima.