[Adapted from a Holland Sentinel article by Jim Hayden. Photos by Jim Hayden.]
The former Gibson Christian Reformed Church was moved in April from its site at the corner of 65th Street and 140th Avenue to its new home across from the Felt Mansion.
The Gibson congregation built a new facility adjacent to the old church. In November 2009, the congregation offered the building to Laketown Township. The board accepted the donation earlier this year. Inspired by its architectural integrity and history, a handful of determined volunteers began the process of restoring the chapel to its original condition. The July 11th session topped off a weekend of work. The church’s bell was installed Saturday.
The church will be used for weddings to complement the reception business at the mansion. The church can hold 80 people. The Felt Mansion ballroom seats 100, so people could be married at the church and hold the reception at the mansion.
The daughter of Dorr Felt, builder of the mansion, was married in the church. Felt’s daughter had the church painted for the affair. Felt build the mansion in 1928.
From the website for The Felt Estate:
The Felt Estate is a preservation project located between Holland and Saugatuck, Michigan. Our mission is to preserve history through preservation of the Estate; protect the environment with responsible use of the natural and built environments; and educate through tours, classes, field trips, and seminars. The Felt Estate and Shore Acres will be an integral part of West Michigan Landscape – aesthetically and economically, by providing and educational and beautiful location for residents and visitors.
We believe strongly in making an economic, environmental, and social investment in our West Michigan Community by being responsible stewards of each other and the world we share.
Preservation is, in the end, not just about places. It is first and foremost about people. Life is like a restoration project.