Check out the latest stories!

Madhatter

Name : Mad Hatter

Location : North Beach

Built in : 2005

Origin of its name

It is named after Eric Steele's cousin - Anne Stern, who died of cancer the year before we built the cottage. Anne acquired many wonderful hats to cover her chemotherapy-induced baldness. She was young, fun, and came to Macatawa in her last years with us. We missed her.

Special attributes

Tammy & Eric Steele built the Madhatter. The cottage was designed by Ray Bayless, architect and brother-in-law of Rowena and Philip Kelley. Ray was married to Cynthia Kelley, sister of Roger, Harry, Philip and Steve Kelley and was the son-in-law of Mother Kelley. The Kelley cottages (there were 3 on North Hill) all looked down on the lot where Madhatter was built. They would bury their garbage in our lot in the early 20th century. The covered bridge leading to the front door was inspired by a bridge in Onteora New York. The cottage was built so that Edith Mullen, who was in a wheelchair for 14 years at Freedom Village, could get in. Of Edie's six children, three had cottages. Of her nieces and nephews there were 5 more cottages. The Madhatter was the only cottage, other than her own cottage, that was accessible.

Historical events

The Madhatter was built on and its garden grows on top of the site where the old Methodist amphitheater was built in the 1890s. It burned down in the early 20th century. Originally people stayed in tents built on tent lots all over the North Hill. They played and prayed and ate at the amphitheater. The Methodists sold off the lots willy-nilly. Tent lots didn't exactly translate and there were two different surveys (Holland Engineering & Nederveld) which disagree. The Madhatter is one of the few Macatawa cottages built on a lot that complies with current zoning rules.

Cottage related family name :

Joseph Mullen Family, Tammy Mullen and Eric Steele owners of Madhatters

Generations in cottage so far :

Five generations of Mullens have owned nine cottages in Macatawa Park.

Family established in cottage at : 2005

Name : Family traditions

  • Mullen descendents have gathered for dinner every 4th of July for the past 40+ years. For many years they gathered at Joe & Edie Mullen's & the Garny Broun's empty lot, or Betty Dallman's or Janet DenUyls parking lot. Since the Madhatter was built, between 45 and 79 Mullens eat watermelon, baked beans, and hamburgers on its deck before walking down to see the fireworks from the beach. For many of those years, Mary Kowal blasted the 1812 Overture from the Kemah's front porch while the fireworks exploded overhead. It is always magical.
  • For nine years Donnan Steele has invited 30+ of his college friends to visit Macatawa for a Yale Camp week. They now bring their families and stay in the Madhatter along with two rental cottages which vary from year to year. They come from San Francisco, London, Jerusalem, Washington D.C., Boston, New York City, Brooklyn, Atlanta, and Chicago. Two of them worked in the White House under Barack Obama, one as the White House correspondent for the New York Times. Two of them have Pulitzer Prizes in journalism (Boston Globe & New York Times). Macatawa got a byline in 2008 when Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac crashed. Others are ministers, educators, computer analysts, and writers. The group has a lot of good cooks and cute children..

Name : Family Memories & stories

The next civil war in the United States will probably start with Macatawa residents fighting over parking and water issues.

When Sissy Luyat fell down her steps she landed in a Madhatter bedroom for six weeks. We were so sad when she got well.

In the 1930s Joe Mullen, Jr., and Roger Kelley flipped over the car they were driving at the intersection of 32nd & 64th near the old windmill gas station. In 1997, they celebrated their 75th birthdays in the Eldean's boatyard with 160 relatives toasting them.

At St. Francis Mass, the priest read the sermon written by Philip Kelley who proclaimed the Kelleys had been summering in Macatawa since 1887. While the Mullens had only been in Macatawa since 1930, they had reproduced like rabbits so there were more of them.