The Turner-Dodge House and Historical Center is celebrating its 150th year, 1858-2008. It is an important part of Michigan’s history for both the contributions of the two generations of family members who lived in the house for the first 100 years and for its architecture. This is the home of Michigan pioneers who helped develop the Capital City and the state. They were progressive leaders, supporters of higher education for women, abolition, liquor control, the Saginaw mill strikers (Knights of Labor), and the development of the arts, history and culture in the new state capital.
Gracefully situated high on the banks of the Grand River, this National Historic Place is a fine example of Classical Revival style architecture and is noted for its exceptional hand-crafted oak woodwork, French leaded glass windows, classical entrances, elegant Ionic columns, five fireplaces, and 12 foot embossed, tin ceilings. It was authentically restored in 2002 to the 1903 period.
The grand old home is part of Lansing’s historic and artsy Old Town at the north end of Lansing’s Riverfront Park and Trail System. Stroll, hike or bike along the eight-mile (13-km) scenic path bordering the Grand River. You can also visit the beautiful Turner-Dodge Heritage Garden which includes one of the four Women’s Temperance Union fountains in the state.
The original home was built in 1858 by Marion and James Turner who came here in 1847 from Mason to create a city in the forest in just seven months so that the legislature could meet here on January 1st of 1848. In 1903, architect Dauris Moon enlarged the house to its existing grandeur for daughter Abby Turner and her husband, Frank Dodge. James Turner helped found the Republican Party in 1858, while son-in-law Frank Dodge was a leader of the Democratic State Central Committee for many years. Both were legislators and champions of the common people. Marion Turner was interested in organizations that worked to help people who were suffering from the effects of the industrial revolution and a member of the Pioneer History Society while Abby was a gifted pianist and cultural leader whose piano was sent by railroad car to Washington D.C. when she was eight to play for the President.
The 8,500 square foot house and surrounding 8.5 acres of park land are now owned by the people of Lansing and maintained and operated by the Lansing Parks and Recreation Department as a cultural center.
Turner-Dodge House offers historic tours, heritage lectures and programs, school tours, teas, children’s birthday parties, a Heritage Badge Program for Scouts, special events and receptions. A unique history camp, designed for elementary age children and Harry Potter Days for kids are offered in the summer. The house is also available for rental for weddings and special occasions.
The Turner-Dodge web site offers a great deal of historical information about the Turner-Dodge House & Heritage Center.