George R. Burt, son of Michigan lumber baron, came to Battle Creek to pursue a business career. He and his wife, Nellie Zinn, vowed to build a home in their favorite picnic spot overlooking St. Mary’s Lake. Throughout the process of purchasing the property, Burt tragically passed away. His widow fulfilled their dream and completed the structure in an authentic French-Normandy style, surrounded by extensive formal gardens.
In the early 1960’s, the estate was purchased by the Catholic Church and was used as a seminary for nearly 20 years. The manor was then sold, and subsequent owners allowed the property to fall into disrepair.
In 1987 the estate was purchased by Tom and Kathy VanDaff, who dedicated their lives to returning the property to it’s former glory. Two years of renovations followed. At last, in the spring of 1989, the property proudly re-opened to the public in it’s current role as a bed & breakfast.