Ornate gingerbread, Moorish arches, stained glass and turrets cover the elaborate homes of Muskegon's most accomplished lumber baron, Charles Hackley, and his business partner, Thomas Hume. The guides say that Hackley's aim in building these two homes (constructed between 1887 and 1889) was to prove his fabulous wealth. On that point, he definitely succeeded.
Considered by some to be the finest examples of Gilded Age arts in the world, the Hackley and Hume houses hint at the amounts of money that must have passed through Muskegon in the late 1800s, when the lumber industry established this port city as an economic force to be reckoned with. The Hackley House captures the home's original splendor, and the Hume House has been restored to look the way it did in 1915. Between the two houses sits City Barn, a building Hackley and Hume shared to accommodate horses, carriages, equipment and staff. On the Hackley side, the lower level has been renovated to re-create its 1897 appearance; the upper level offers a few historical exhibits and classroom space. On the Hume side, City Barn now holds museum offices, a theatre and a shop.
Open May through October, the Hackley and Hume Historic Site is part of Muskegon's Lakeshore Museum Center. A guided tour that covers both homes and City Barn costs $5.