On the Road Again!
MAF Fall Architecture Road Trip:
Following Michigan Festivals-Part 5


Are you thinking about a fall color tour?  This month we continue our series of identifying a few of the major festivals being held in the coming month and then explore some of the unique Michigan architectural buildings and historical areas near each specific festival, that reinforce MAF’s mission of “Advancing awareness of how architecture enriches life.”  If you are still planning a fall trip in Michigan, please consider some of the following festival and tour options to learn more about Michigan Architecture.

Ready to hit the road? Let’s go!


Pumkinfest, October 7-8, Lansing:  Pumpkinfest – Tollgate Farm and Education Center (msu.edu)

Come, take a wagon ride to the pumpkin patch to pick your perfect pumpkins. Food, music, farm animals, educational exhibits, wagon rides, and children’s activities all make for a fun fall outing on this historic 160-acre farm. Tollgate Farm and Education Center is a 501(c)(3). Proceeds from Pumpkinfest help to support educational programming, along with schools and individuals who might otherwise not be able to attend programs and camps.

How to Halloween, October 7, Lansing:  How-To Halloween |

How-To Halloween is a family-friendly festival that celebrates creativity, imagination, and the innovative spirit of the frightfully fun holiday season.  Discover a wicked wonderland of interactive exhibits, unique vendors, spookalicious food and amazing entertainment!  The robo-tastic theme for this ninth annual event is a showcase of the incredible technological world of ROBOTS including actual engineering marvels along with stunning recreations from science fiction.

Great Architecture of Michigan 2020 Fall Road Trip

Some of our first Road Trips focused on the Michigan buildings featured in the Michigan Architectural Foundation’s book, ‘Great Architecture of Michigan,’ written by John Gallagher with photos by Balthazar Korab. The Fall 2020 Road Trip explored the central and southwest regions of the state, starting in Lansing and traveling southwest to Hillsdale. A link to that original Road Trip can be found here:

  1. MAF Road Trip #5: Lansing to Hillsdale: Michigan Architectural Foundation

Michigan State Capital:

No trip to Lansing would be complete without a tour of our State Capital.  This is one of our nation’s finest state capitol buildings.  The opulent interior borrows freely from classical and High Victorian motifs.  Thanks to the 1990’s restoration, the capital shines in all its glory (see the Michigan architecture feature on this the Capital in this month’s MAF newsletter).  The third link below will connect you to a self-guided tour which is packed with historical and educational information regarding the Capital.

  1. Michigan State Capitol Tours
  2. Michigan State Capitol plantour
  3. 2015-YSC-text-9-15-15.indd (michigan.gov)

MSU Broad (The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum):

For an experience that is a complete opposite of a visit to the Capital, look no further than the MSU Broad, on the campus of Michigan State University in East Lansing.  In June of 2007, Michigan State received a $28 million donation from businessman Eli Broad and his wife, Edythe, for the construction of a new art museum, to replace the old Kresge Art Museum.  A design competition was held among five pre-selected international architectural firms.  The winning design by London based Zaha Hadid Architects, is a masterpiece of contemporary design.  The angular facade is composed of pleated stainless steel and glass and was conceived to give the building “an ever-changing appearance that arouses curiosity yet never quite reveals its content.”

  1. MSU BROAD (About)
  2. MSU BROAD (Visit)

Michigan State University:

Michigan State University (Michigan State, MSU) is a public land-grant research university in East Lansing, founded in 1855 as the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan, the first of its kind in the United States.  The sprawling campus is perched on the banks of the Red Cedar River.  Development of the campus started in 1856 with three buildings: a multipurpose College Hall building, a dormitory later and a barn. Today, MSU’s contiguous campus consists of 5,300 acres, 2,000 acres of which are developed. There are 563 buildings: 107 for academics, 131 for agriculture, 166 for housing and 42 for athletics.  Connecting it all is 26 miles of roads and 100 miles of sidewalks.

  1. Visit | Michigan State University (msu.edu)
  2. Self-Guided MSU Campus Tour | Experience MSU
  3. MSU_Self-Guided_Walking_Tour.pdf

Michigan Library and Historical Center Building:

This five-story, 250,000-square-foot Postmodern building, designed by William Kessler, FAIA, serves as the home for the interpretation and conservation of the state’s history. Its distinctive stepped design is faced with alternating horizontal strips of light and dark limestone above a base of polished black granite.  A courtyard with a white pine, Michigan’s state tree, in the center and surrounded at the base by a fountain sculpture depicting the Great Lakes is the light and airy focus of the building. Copper covers the walls of the building enclosing the courtyard. The interior color scheme is blue, green, and brown to match the state’s lakes, woodlands, and beaches. A conceptual storyline of Michigan’s history in the museum flows through enlarged displays and dioramas of prehistoric times, mining, lumbering, farming, and industry.


Pumpkinfest 2023, October 14, Montague:  Pumpkinfest 2023 – White Lake Area Chamber & Visitors Bureau

Pumpkinfest is a family-friendly day in Downtown Montague with many pumpkin-inspired events, contests, and features. There will be Artisan Market and Farmer’s Market, bake sale, best pumpkin pie contest, biggest pumpkin weigh-in contest, pumpkin painting, cider mill, pumpkin seed spitting contest, pet costume contest, carved pumpkin contest, pumpkin chucking, hayrides, kid’s activities, entertainment, food vendors, and more!  When you are at the Pumpkinfest, please consider taking a short trip to nearby Muskegon to see the following wonderful examples of Michigan Architecture.

Hackley House: Muskegon

Millionaire lumber baron Charles Hackley built this house in 1889 for himself and his wife.  The Queen Anne style mansion, designed by David S. Hopkins is a picturesque blending of asymmetrical massing, polychromatic exteriors and a wealth of gables, chimneys, porches, and bays.  The wood carvings are exquisite and the leaded glass windows are exceptional.  The Muskegon County Museum has restored the house and operates it today.

  1. Hackley and Hume Historic Site (Charles H. and Julia E. Moore Hackley House, and Thomas and Margaret Ann Banks Hume House) | SAH ARCHIPEDIA (sah-archipedia.org)
  2. Charles H. Hackley House – Wikipedia
  3. Hackley & Hume – Lakeshore Museum Center

Hackley Public Library: Muskegon

The Muskegon community was gifted this sturdy stone structure by Charles Hackley, one of the wealthiest men in America.  The deep-cut arched entrance, the octagonal tower, and the large gable on the upper level all contribute to the Richardsonian Romanesque style building.  The building was completed in 1890 and was designed by Patton and Fisher of Chicago.  Compare this structure to the Grand Rapids Public Library.  Both are examples of millionaires’ gifts that took different stylistic paths to the same end of public-spirited generosity.

  1. History of the Library – Hackley Public Library (hackleylibrary.org)
  2. Hackley Public Library | SAH ARCHIPEDIA (sah-archipedia.org)

St. Francis de Sales Church: Muskegon

The internationally acclaimed mid-century modernist Marcel Breuer designed only a couple of buildings in Michigan, but this Catholic church in Muskegon, finished in 1966, ranks high among his world triumphs.  The church was designed about the same time he designed the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City.

  1. About Us | St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church | Norton Shores, MI (stfrancisns.org)
  2. Saint Francis de Sales Church | Architectural
  3. Michigan Modern
  4. Francis de Sales Church | SAH ARCHIPEDIA (sah-archipedia.org)

Union Depot: Muskegon

A small-town train depot takes on fairy-tale proportions in this picturesque composition by architect Sidney J. Osgood.  The great squat tower could easily pass for a samurai castle, the baby turret at its side fit for a maiden’s rescue, and the deeply recessed entry within the massive Romanesque arch a dragon’s lair.  Muskegon County acquired and restored the station in the early 1990’s after Amtrak discontinued service between Muskegon and Holland.  Today the Depot serves as the home of the Muskegon County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

  1. Muskegon Union Depot | SAH ARCHIPEDIA (sah-archipedia.org)
  2. Union Depot (Muskegon, Michigan) – Wikipedia



Bowers School Farm Fall Festival, October 14-15, Bloomfield Hills:  Fall Fest 2023 — Bowers Farm (schoolfarm.org)

Bowers School Farm offers a unique opportunity with its Fall Festival to increase community engagement and celebrate the best our Michigan fall season has to offer. The Fall Festival brings together the most cherished farm activities such as pumpkin picking, wagon rides, animal visits, live music performances, food, straw tower, crafts, games and much more to provide a great opportunity for community engagement and relationship building within a family friendly atmosphere.  Adults looking for a break to rest their feet, can make a visit to the Beer Garden

Halloween Science at Cranbrook, October 21-22, Bloomfield Hills:  Seasonal & Special Events | Cranbrook Institute of Science

You’re invited to the annual fan-favorite, Halloween Science, at Cranbrook Institute of Science!  Join in the fun by wearing a costume to this spooktacular, interactive experience that the entire family will enjoy.  The experience includes pumpkin launching with a three-ton trebuchet, a spooky selfie station, creepy critters, Halloween themed hands-on activities, electrifying stage shows, and so much more!

Christ Church Cranbrook: Bloomfield Hills

Newspaper publisher George Booth, already hard at work developing his Cranbrook school, decided that a church was needed nearby for neighboring families.  Booth lavished the same care on this Episcopal structure that he did on his other projects where he utilized numerous crafts masters to contribute to the design.  The church, designed by New York architect, Bertram G. Goodhue was completed in 1928.  Perhaps more than anywhere else in Michigan, the church and nearby Cranbrook show the importance of the patron, and not just the architect in creating beautiful buildings:

  1. History – CCC (christchurchcranbrook.org)
  2. Architecture Main – CCC (christchurchcranbrook.org)

Cranbrook Educational Community: Bloomfield Hills

It’s not just the individual building, many designed by the great Eliel Saarinen, that make Cranbrook so memorable.  It is the whole package—buildings, gardens, fountains, outdoor sculpture, and landscape design–that have earned Cranbrook it’s international fame.  Many architects contributed, but pride of place must go to newspaper publisher George Booth, one of Detroit’s great art patrons, who bought this rolling farmland early in the 20th century and spent the rest of his life building and shaping it.

  1. History of Cranbrook | Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research
  2. Cranbrook |
  3. Cranbrook Educational Community – Wikipedia

Cranbrook Institute of Science: Bloomfield Hills

Built in 1938, the Cranbrook Institute of Science is the most visited of Cranbrook’s buildings.  The institute is really two structures in one, the original by Eliel Saarinen and a larger wing designed by Stephen Holl in the 1990’s.  Saarinen showed a transitional style here, an essay in horizontal lines and flat roofs that is about halfway between his richly detailed Kingswood School of a few years earlier and the even more pared-down modernish of his later Museum and Library.  Holl’s addition, modestly tucked away behind the original building is more about handling big crowds.  Do not miss the 42-foot tall “light laboratory” in which different colored and shaped pieces of glass reflect sunlight in ever-changing ways.

  1. A Unique Educational Institution About | Cranbrook Institute of Science
  2. Cranbrook Institute of Science History and Mission | Cranbrook Institute of Science

Cranbrook Museum and Library: Bloomfield Hills

Toward the end of his long association with Cranbrook, the Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen pared down his multi-layered style to an almost abstract modernism.  The resulting composition of the 1942 Cranbrook Museum and Library, more than any other, defines not only Cranbrook but also the zenith of Michigan architecture for many people.  Almost always photographed with either the Triton Pool or the Orpheus fountain in the foreground, the Museum and Library vista remains the incomparable Cranbrook photo shot and an inspiration to generations of visitors.

  1. Cranbrook Art Museum (Cranbrook Museum and Library) | SAH ARCHIPEDIA (sah-archipedia.org)
  2. Michigan Modern
  3. History and Mission | About | Cranbrook Art Museum

Cranbrook Natatorium: Bloomfield Hills

New development at Cranbrook slowed for almost 50 years after Saarinen’s Museum and Library.  Then in the 1990’s, a burst of creativity saw five major new buildings built, of which the Natatorium ranks as perhaps the best.  Created by the husband-wife team of Tod Williams, a Cranbrook graduate, and Billie Tsien crafted an exquisite interior that features a pair of cylinder-like openings in the ceiling and vertical baffles along the walls that can be opened and closed as needed.  The random pinpoint lighting pattern on the ceiling mimics a night sky.  The pool surface flanks a curtain wall that offers views of the surrounding landscape.  Both functionally and visually, this building is outstanding.

  1. Cranbrook Schools Williams Natatorium
  2. Cranbrook Natatorium – Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects (twbta.com)
  3. History and Mission | About | Cranbrook Art Museum

Gregor Affleck House: Bloomfield Hills

This house, built in 1941, came relatively late in Wright’s long career, when the master was already in his seventies.  By then Wright was designing with an ease and assurance that is remarkable even today.  The home is L-shaped in plan and is arranged so that the bedroom wing fits at a right angle to the living room.  The most prominent feature is a deck thrust into nature, reminiscent of Wright’s masterpiece Fallingwater.  The home was donated to Lawrence Technological University who have become worthy caretakers.  This is probably Wright’s best-known home in Michigan.  (also click here for our story on Affleck House in this month’s MAF newsletter, and on our website)

  1. Places: Affleck House | CoAD (ltu.edu)
  2. Michigan Modern
  3. Gregor S. and Elizabeth B. Affleck House | SAH ARCHIPEDIA (sah-archipedia.org)