Centennial House is a charming vacation rental home that is located in downtown Beulah, Michigan, just 1 block from scenic Crystal Lake in the paradise that is the northwest corner of Michigan's Lower Peninsula. The house has actually been owned by the Wellman family ever since it was built by Robert Wellman more than 100 years ago! Starting in May, 2018, the Wellman family is now working with us to rent it out for vacation rentals to share the natural beauty of the area with others.
The house is approximately 2000 square feet in size. It has four bedrooms (all of which are upstairs and two of which have views of Crystal Lake) and one bathroom (which is downstairs). Two of the bedrooms have queen-size beds in them, one of them has two twin-size beds in it, and one has a twin-size bed as well as a trundle bed in it. The bathroom has a tub/ shower combination, toilet, sink, and mirror. Bedding (sheets and comforters) as well as towels are provided free of charge! In addition to the bedrooms (which sleep 8), the house has two futons downstairs that sleep an additional 4 people as well as a fold-out bed that sleeps one additional person. (Thus, in total, up to 13 people can sleep in the house.) The house also has a large kitchen with a sink, refrigerator, range (stovetop and oven), microwave, toaster, and coffee pot. The kitchen also has a portable dishwasher that connects to the kitchen sink. (Directions for its use are provided.) There are a good selection of cooking and dining utensils in the kitchen that are all available for guests to use. Near the back door there is also a stackable washer and dryer.
The Centennial House has a large living room and a large dining room that seats up to 8 people. It has both a front porch with a view of Benzie Blvd. as well as a newer back porch which has a nice view of Crystal Lake as well as a gas grill and outdoor chairs. Right next to the back porch is a lovely four seasons room that also has a nice view of Crystal Lake. With Crystal Lake just west of the house, both the back porch and the four seasons room provide beautiful views of the sun setting on Crystal Lake.
The house is located in an incredible location! It's right on Benzie Blvd. in the heart of the cute little northern Michigan town of Beulah on Crystal Lake. It's very close to a number of wonderful attractions in the area:
* It's less than 100 yards from Crystal Lake and the Four Seasons Room, back deck, and two out of the four bedrooms all have nice views of Crystal Lake!
* It's one-half of a block from the Beulah fishing pier on Crystal Lake. The lake is renowned for yellow perch, rock bass, and smelt fishing. Coho salmon, smallmouth bass, and brown, lake, and rainbow trout are also catchable in the lake.
* It's one block from the Beulah Beach. With its sandy bottom and sandy shores, the lake is great for swimming and the beach is very family-friendly with a shallow shoreline.
* It's two blocks from Betsie Valley Trail, which is great for biking, rollerblading, hiking, dog walking, and snowmobiling and cross-country skiiing in the winter.
* It's two blocks from Beulah Park, which has music in the park every Thursday evening during the summer.
* It's two blocks from Cold Creek, a cute little creek that goes right through downtown Beulah and has contributed to the success of smelt in Crystal Lake.
* It's two blocks from downtown Beulah, which offers an eclectic smalltown mix of shopping and dining, including two restaurants, a coffee shop, a bakery/delicatessen, and several art and specialty shops.
* It's four miles from the Cherry Bowl Drive In Theater, a fun family tradition in northern Michigan for more than 60 years and one of just a handful of drive-in theaters that are still in operation in Michigan.
* It's five miles from the start of internationally famous Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and of the natural beauty and splendor that the national lakeshore provides.
* It's eight miles from the lovely beach town of Frankfort and Lake Michigan. Frankfort has its own beach on Lake Michigan, several marinas, and its own unique selection of cute shops and restaurants.
* The hilly terrain in the area results in the Betsie River as well as the Platte River both winding through the nearby area and they provide great group and family opportunities for kayaking, canoeing, tubing, and fishing.
* Depending upon the destination, the cottage is 45 to 60 minutes from Traverse City, which is the entertainment, shopping, dining, business, and cultural center for all of northern Michigan! Traverse City is great for a day trip for some "bigger city things" in terms of shopping, dining, and entertainment.
The house has a very rich and fascinating history, which is intertwined with the history of the Wellman family and Benzie County itself. The Wellman family first arrived in Benzie County in 1862 when Emery Wellman came to the area to be a part of the homestead movement. The area was encouraged as a destination for homesteading because of the lumbering that was going on here at the time. Emery then left the area to join the Michigan troops that were fighting in the U.S. Civil War. When Emery returned to the area after the war was over, he returned to farming and literally married the “girl next door”, Olive Marshall, who was a daughter of the homesteaders on an adjacent farm, the Marshall family.
The Marshall family had arrived by ox cart from Canada and has their own significant history in Benzie County. The mother was a widow and she and her children that come to northern Michigan to get a new start in life. One of Olive's brothers, Neil Marshall, was a Sheriff's Deputy and is the only law enforcement officer in the history of Benzie County to be killed in the line of duty. Neil Marshal was murdered in 1889 by the owner of a lumber camp when Neil went to the camp to attempt to collect taxes that were owed by the owner. As shown in one of the photos, there is a nice memorial to Deputy Marshall at the Benzie County Sheriff's Office.
Emery and Olive Wellman had seven children. One son died of influenza at the age of 2 and a daughter died at the age of 18 of tuberculosis. The farm was divided between the surviving children who continued to operate the farm until they died. The family farm (located outside of Beulah) has continued to stay in the family through the generations even up to the current day! One of Emery and Olive's sons, Robert Wellman, met and married the local school teacher, who was named Cora. Robert and Cora began a farm in the area and lived there until he got the job of Postmaster in Beulah. The job of Postmaster in Beulah required that Robert move into town, so the couple moved into town and Robert built the house that we are now calling Centennial House.
Robert and his wife had a son, W. Emory Wellman, who attended the nearby Interlochen Center for the Arts in 1930 for music and he actually performed with John Phillip Sousa. After graduation from high school, W. Emory attended Michigan Agricultural College (MAC, which is now Michigan State University) and studied to become a Landscape Architect. One summer in the 1930's while home from MAC W. Emory planted a birch tree in back of the house for his mother. As shown in the photo to the left, this is the same birch tree that the back deck for the house is now built around!
After his time at MAC, W. Emory moved to southeast Michigan for work and he worked in Pontiac, Birmingham, and then completed his career as head of the Parks department for the City of Detroit. He married a woman named Flora and had 5 children. After retiring, W. Emory and Flora moved to Beulah to retire to the house (now called Centennial House) that he had first lived in as a child. A cute childhood photo of Flora Emory is shown in one of the photos and is hanging in the upstairs hallway of the house.
After the death of W. Emory Wellman and his wife Flora, the 4 surviving siblings (who are now senior citizens and are the grandchildren of the original builder, Robert Wellman) along with the son of the oldest sibling (who has passed away) have come together to form an LLC to manage the historic family home and share it with others who come to see the incredible beauty of northern Michigan. The Wellman family has lovingly decorated the house with a number of old photographs and historical documents that are hanging in the house and that add to the wonderful historic character of the home. We are truly honored to be working with the Wellman family on marketing and managing such an incredible home!