top of page

Tours of The James Dempsey Mansion - one of Manistee's Most Popular Visitor Attractions

HOUSE MUSEUM TOURS are available year-round!

September 2015


The historic James Dempsey Mansion is the only 19th Century Victorian lumber-baron House Museum in the Victorian Port City of Manistee, MI., offering public tours of the interior not just for special events and occasions, but year-round.


The Dempsey Mansion is the largest remaining Victorian single-family residence in the city, and has been preserved and restored to its opulent nineteenth century grandeur.


It contains and exhibits the Lifetime Collections of Rev. James Colburn, B.A., M.A., IATSE, Member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Genres include antique furniture, paintings, sculpture, historical artifacts, ceramics, handcrafts, and objets d'art.




  • Regularly scheduled tours are available for persons over 18 years of age at 11:30am and at 2:00pm on the First and Third Thursday of each month (holidays excepted).

  • All tours are arranged by scheduling a Reservation in advance. 

  • Group maximum is normally 12 persons per tour.


To reserve your tour, Please call the The Dempsey Manor office at (616) 802-4588 or (231) 510-4430. Alternatively, you can make inquiry by emailing us at:


It is best to give as much advance notice as possible of both your requested date and the size of your party (two weeks is suggested). On occasion, tours may be booked at shorter notice, so please inquire.


The duration of the tour varies according to the following:

A. The Architectural Tour (exterior and interior):  1 hour to 1 1/2 hour.

B. The Highlights of the Collections Tour (interior only): 1 1/2 hour to 2 hours.


TOUR A:  The Architectural Tour

Adults:          $15.00

Seniors:        $13.00


TOUR B:  Highlights of the Collections Tour

Adults:          $23.50

Seniors:        $21.50


Light refreshments are available at an additional $8.50 per person for group tours of six persons or more.  Advance arrangements are required by calling the The Dempsey Manor office at (616) 802-4588 or (231) 510-4430 at the time of your Reservation.



The James Dempsey Mansion was designed for Mr. Dempsey by the prominent Chicago firm of Holabird & Roche, in construction from 1893 to 1894. The exterior of the three-story mansion is brick and in the French Neo-Renaissance Style, uncommon in the USA and employed for dramatic public and commercial buildings. The use of this Victorian castle-like architectural style may be unique for a private residence, and has given the mansion its local moniker as "the Queen of Manistee."


The home has eight thousand square feet of living space -- room for Mr. and Mrs. Dempsey's many children (and staff).


The interior contains: 33 rooms (not counting storage and closet spaces), 29 patterns of wallpaper, and original oak and parquet flooring thoughout, two original dining rooms, two butler's pantries, two parlors (a ladies' parlor and a gentlemen's parlor),  a formal library, a first floor living suite with private entrance, a three-story atrium open to a skylit roof, ten bedrooms, a former billiards parlor (now a suite), an attached glass conservatory, six and one-half baths, ten original fireplaces, two formal entries and three service entries, a large finished basement with servant quarters, 48 interior doors, 5 landings from the 1st to the 3rd floor, and sixty-one windows.

The Collections and Furnishings


Period furnishings are used throughout, and are an eclectic representation of furniture from the Renaissance Revival, French Revival, Arts and Crafts, Eastlake and early Art Nouveau styles.


Art from the sixteenth to early twentieth century adorns the walls and includes a diverse range of artists from Carl Block to marinescapist Francois Etienne Musin to George Brandriff of the Au Plein Aire school. There are 278 paintings displayed throughout the mansion.


The Collections of period antiques include over a hundred examples of Chinese Export Porcelain; many examples of nineteenth century English copper-, pink-, silver- and silver-resist lustreware; early Sunderland, Staffordshire (including pieces from George and Martha Washington's Mount Vernon estate), Spode, Minton, Leeds, Bristol, Welsh Gaudy, and American antique ceramics.


The Mansion also houses Collections of antique nineteenth century lace, ornamental tole and metalware, brass and copper domesticware, crystal, fine oil and whale-oil lamps and lighting, and hybrid Edwardian period gas-electric fixtures and chandeliers.



A TOUR of The James Dempsey Manor is a must-see for any visitor to Michigan's beautiful Northwest.


To top off this day you took your peek into the lifestyle of the rich-and-famous from a century ago -- give yourself a real treat: stay the weekend in the James Dempsey Mansion itself in one of its sumptuous and uniquely appointed

Victorian guest rooms!


If you click HERE to book your two-night Weekend Guest Accommodations

when you arrange your tour of The James Dempsey Mansion

          -- your tour of the Mansion is on the house!








                   The James Dempsey Mansion,

                                  " The Queen of Manistee."

For GUIDED TOURS of Historic Manistee by covered Surrey, click the carriage:

Red Fringed Surrey Outline 2.jpg
bottom of page