Walking into this historic hotel you are immediately enveloped by the extraordinary neoclassical architecture courtesy of architect Charles Maass. The reception hall is complete with a hand-carved oak triple grand staircase that leads up to the 1300 square foot 3rd floor ballroom. Don’t be fooled by your twin at the end of the hall, there is an original mirror installed in the wall. The mirror makes the reception hall look even larger than its already impressive 12 ft by 40 ft.
Off the reception hall, directly to your right, the library. It boasts a fireplace made of Italian marble, hand-carved oak, and gilded leather. The ceilings are covered in meticulously hand-painted canvas. Unfortunately, the library’s original bookcases and light fixtures were removed by a prior owner who also happened to be an antique dealer. You can see from the markings left on the ceiling where the massive chandelier once was.
There are bookshelves with hundreds of classic novels and stacks of Life magazines dating all the way back to the 1930s. On the front wall are photographs of the Hoatson family: Pictures of Captain and Mrs. Thomas Hoatson, and their six children. One particular photograph is of the two youngest girls reading what looks to be an L. Frank Baum novel in the library. Below the family photos is a television set that plays a slideshow of the current owners, Dave and Julie Sprengers’, restoration efforts. It’s one thing to read about what they’ve restored but it’s another to see the before and after photos. The Sprengers certainly had their work cut out for them when they purchased the derelict manor in 1989.
Walking around the manor, it’s an incredibly surreal feeling to be immersed in the same physical space that a past U.S. President, business tycoons, and other distinguished individuals have occupied.
There are 45 rooms in the manor and each room has its own style and personality while being careful to maintain the delicate balance of providing modern comforts and keeping its old world charm.
There is so much for the eye to see that it’s easy to overlook some of the smaller details found in the rooms. For example, the dining room: Yes, the highlight of the room is the elephant hide wall coverings. The dining room chairs also had elephant hide coverings (they have since been removed as they were antiquated and in delicate condition). But, the details in this room are equally as impressive. The ‘H’ in the stained glass, the eye-catching iridescent tiles around the fireplace, the push-button on the floor beneath the dining room table (which, by the way, is the original Hoatson dining table), the hand painted canvas on the ceilings, and the meticulous woodwork are a beautiful representation of a by-gone era.
The kitchen has been updated but the icebox remains. It’s a massive icebox that’s crafted of marble and oak. The ice blocks were carried in from the back entrance. The ice would keep everything below it cool. It was top-of-the-line and incredibly efficient in 1908.
Exiting the kitchen and entering the back hall, there are dozens of pictures on the wall. You could spend an hour or more standing here just trying to take in all the history here. The vault is located under the back staircase. It’s impressive in size and one can only imagine what Captain Hoatson kept inside of it!
Walking into the den you might get a faint whiff of bourbon or smell the subtle hint of an extinguished cigar (…over a century ago), for this was the men’s room. The panoramic outdoors scene painted on the canvas covered walls, the stained glass (the thistle designs is reference to their Scottish roots) and gilded tile fireplace, the dark woodwork…this was without a doubt a place where business was discussed. There is not a feminine detail in this room. The perfect location for a game of cards or to curl up with a good book.
The music parlor has a breathtaking silver-leaf covered domed ceiling and stunning original light fixtures. The deep red sofa with hand-carved woodwork and gold fringe is striking. There is a harmonious balance between the intimate Tiffany-style stained glass fixtures and the bold furnishings.
You might notice the black and white photographs displayed on the pump organ and piano. These are not actually of the Hoatsons but of the current owner’s family. Julie Sprenger’s father, Jean-Pierre Barbe, is the hockey player on the pump organ. He was a well-known Michigan Tech University hockey player. He was called “the fastest man on skates”.
Going up to the 2nd floor, you reach the landing which has a 9 ft by 14 ft window overlooking the north lawn and carriage house. The window is undergoing restoration work, to return it to the original stained-glass design, using photographs of the original window. Unfortunately, like many other original fixtures and objects of value, the previous owners removed it. When the window restoration work is complete, it’s going to be a beautiful marriage of turn-of-the-century extravagance and awe-inspiring art.
The 2nd floor is where the family bedrooms and guest bedroom were located. The oldest girls shared the Allouez (Room #2), directly across from the guest room, The Laurium Suite (Room #1). The nursery was the Ahmeek (Room #3). Both rooms are bright and cheerful and have ornate plaster crown molding. They overlook the north yard. The guest room (Laurium Suite, Room #1) is the only room with access to the spacious balcony with views of Tamarack Street. The mahogany bedroom furniture is original. The fireplace has been converted into a gas fireplace. It adds the perfect touch of warmth and romance to the room.
Capt. and Mrs. Hoatson’s bedroom, the Calumet Suite (Room #6), is next to the guest room, directly at the top of the grand staircase. It’s the epitome of understated elegance. Rich neutral shades and original green canvas wall coverings give this room a relaxing, cozy ambience.
The youngest Hoatson boys shared the spacious Delaware (Room #4) and the eldest son had his own bedroom, the Hecla (Room #5). Both rooms have distinctive masculine energy. The forest green Delaware (Room #4) has a more relaxed feel to it. The Hecla (Room #5) holds an air of sophistication with the rich rust color and original deer and antelope frieze. It’s easy to imagine this being the bedroom of the studious eldest child.
Going up the staircase outside the Delaware (Room #4) there’s such an eclectic collection of paintings. They are quite entertaining to the eye. The 3rd floor has the Quincy (Room #7), the Osceola (Room #8), and the Ahmeek (Room #9). These 3 bedrooms were for the help. The Quincy (#7) is a beautiful cranberry color. It’s a darker bedroom but that’s balanced with a very bright bathroom. The Osceola’s (Room #8) light blue color makes this room feel calm and fresh. The last of the bedrooms, the Ahmeek (Room #9) is spacious and beautiful. The buttercup yellow walls give it an uplifting feeling.
The ballroom is a place to allow your imagination to go wild. 1300 square feet of space that held social gatherings and formal dances. Who’s Who of the Copper Country would convene here and socialize over music and dancing.
Laurium Manor Inn, where old world charm meets new world comforts. Come and experience the beauty of the Keweenaw.