Muskegon’s Historic Sites

Hackley and Hume Historic Site

The Hackley and Hume Historic Site, located at 484 West Webster Avenue, was originally constructed between 1887 and 1889 (“Hackley & Hume Historic Site” pp. 1). The land on which the homes were built was purchased by Charles H. Hackley in 1887, with the intentions of creating residences for himself “and his business partner, Thomas Hume,” (Ibid pp. 1). Muskegon residents unanimously voted for the restoration and preservation of both homes after the “Muskegon County Museum obtained ownership of the Site in 1986,” (Ibid pp. 1).

The man responsible for designing the beautifully crafted homes was David S. Hopkins of Grand Rapids. Architecture enthusiasts have praised Hopkins for his embodiment of the “Queen Anne architectural style of the late nineteenth century,” (Ibid pp. 1). Some of the defining characteristics of the architecture include: “the complex polychromatic paint schemes, varied roof lines, [and] elaborate chimneys,” (Ibid pp. 1).

The Hackley House was originally constructed as an elaborate retirement residence (Ibid pp. 1). Hackley personally recruited thirteen of Muskegon’s most respected carvers from the infamous Kelly Brothers Manufacturing Company  to create unique pieces resembling “human faces, animals, dragons, lions, and flowers,” (Ibid pp. 1) which can be found throughout the home. Other distinguishing features of the home include: “the Moorish arches, japonesque stenciling details, and majolica tiles,” (Ibid pp. 1). The home was inherited by Erie Caughell Hackley, daughter of the late Charles and Julia Hackely, in 1905. She upheld ownership of the residence for nearly 38 years before she donated the house “to the Muskegon chapter of the American Red Cross in memory of her father,” (Ibid pp. 1).

The Hume House is depicted as having a more spacious and modern design than the Hackley House (Ibid pp. 1). In fact, Hopkins utilized “machine carved woodwork to exhibit a distinct Aesthetic style,” (Ibid pp. 1) in hopes of creating a style that distinguished the homes from one another. Although the homes original construction was comprised of nine bedrooms, the Hume family soon expanded the home by adding an elaborate library and expansive dining room (Ibid pp. 1). The Hume home remained in the possession of extended family members until Con Hume, daughter of Thomas Hume, “sold the house to a not-for-profit children’s day care center [in] 1952,” (Ibid pp. 1). Nearly 19 years later, the home was purchased by the Hackley Heritage Association in 1971,” (Ibid pp. 1).

The USS Silversides Submarine Museum, located at 1346 Bluff Street, is an additional historic site that should not be overlooked in Muskegon. The Museum has been in operation for over 27 years, and features a plethora of exhibits ranging from “displays focusing on the USS Silversides, World War II, the Pearl Harbor attack, submarines, the Cold War, marine technology, and Great Lakes shipping,” (“USS Silversides Submarine Museum” pp. 1). Although the museum features a number of stunning exhibits, many patrons find the tours of the USS Silversides Submarine and USCGC McLane to be the most exciting part of their visit.

The USS Silversides has been “officially crediteUSS Silversidesd with sinking 23 major Japanese ships” during World War II, which ranks “the third highest total for any U.S. Navy Submarine,” (Ibid pp. 1). The submarine was utilized for nearly 23 years by the United States Navy Reserve in Chicago after it was “decommissioned from active service in 1946,” (Ibid pp. 1). The Silversides made it ways to Muskegon to in 1987 to become the main feature of the Museum (Ibid pp. 1). The infamous “Prohibition-era U.S. Coast Guard Cutter McLane joined the Silversides on display at the museum” in 1993 (Ibid pp. 1).

Open tours are available to the public, allowing patrons to explore the entirety of both vessels. In fact, the “tours permit guests to walk the deck topside as well as the major internal compartments below deck,” (Ibid pp. 1). Visitors have the opportunity to explore the vessels under the guidance of a tour guide, or they may choose to have a self-guided tour. One of the most unique features of the tour allows children to have an overnight encampment on the USS Silversides for an additional fee. The simulation allows attendees to “become an honorary crew member for the night,” which involves “walk[ing] the decks, tak[ing] command of the bridge and sleep[ing] in the berths where brave men once served our country,” (Ibid pp. 1).