Tuesday, April 23, 2024

This historic Lansing house replica is up for grabs

December 12, 2023
The Turner-Dodge House float auction is a collaboration between the Friends of the Turner-Dodge House, the city of Lansing, and Epic Auctions, said Friends of the Turner-Dodge House head of acquisitions and furnishings Barbara Jersey. Photo courtesy of Barbara Jersey.
The Turner-Dodge House float auction is a collaboration between the Friends of the Turner-Dodge House, the city of Lansing, and Epic Auctions, said Friends of the Turner-Dodge House head of acquisitions and furnishings Barbara Jersey. Photo courtesy of Barbara Jersey. —

A replica of Lansing’s historic Turner-Dodge House has been used as a Christmas and Fourth of July parade float for nearly 25 years in the community. Now, this piece of history is up for auction until Dec. 14.

This sale comes after the city sold the storage barn it is kept in. 

“As time has gone on, we don’t have anyone to drive the truck and haul and store the float,” Barbara Jersey, Friends of the Turner-Dodge House head of acquisitions and furnishings, said. “It’s huge. We just had to move on because it would be sitting in a storage building for the rest of its life.”

The 24 foot-long, 14 foot-wide float was built in the 1990s by a Friends of the Turner-Dodge House board member and it became an annual tradition to display it in community parades. But the float has not been used for about three years due to a shortage of volunteers to maintain and drive it, Jersey said.

The Friends of the Turner-Dodge House formed in the 1970s as a group of volunteers that help to care for the mansion, which was built in 1855 by the Turner and Dodge families. The property stayed in the Turner-Dodge family until 1958 when ownership was passed to the Great Lakes Bible College to use as its campus until 1972.

Two years later, the city of Lansing purchased the house, and it is now used as an event space and historical center.

“When the group formed, they needed to do a lot of work because the house was in shambles,” Jersey said. “They helped the manager of the house put it back together and make plans for what would happen to it.”

Now, the group of volunteers is aging or busy with family and professional life, Jersey said.

“It would have been great if we could have kept having it in the parade, but that just wasn't going to happen,” Jersey said. “Getting volunteers is very hard these days.”

The auction opened on Dec. 2 and closes on Dec. 14 at 7 p.m. The maximum bid is $75 and the winner will be notified via email. Along with the replica house, the trailer that it rests on is included in the sale.

Jersey said she is hopeful there is someone in the Lansing community that could repurpose the house as a doll house, a playhouse, or even a chicken coop.

“It’s going to take someone who loves history and sees the value in saving the structure that could be used for several other purposes,” Jersey said. “There are lots of people out there that like strange things that would put a house on their front lawn for Christmas. You just have to find them." 

The house is open for viewing at 1526 E. Mount Hope Ave. near the entrance to the former Sycamore golf course.

“Whoever buys it needs to look at everything,” Jersey said. “We can’t guarantee what condition the trailer is in and we don’t want anyone to be surprised when they pick it up and think it’s the size of a dollhouse." 

The auction is a collaboration between the Friends of the Turner-Dodge House, the city of Lansing and Epic Auctions, Jersey said.

Interested community members can place a bid for the float online until the auction closes.

Support student media! Please consider donating to The State News and help fund the future of journalism.

Discussion

Share and discuss “This historic Lansing house replica is up for grabs” on social media.