HOLLAND – Van Raalte, Vander Broek, Keppel. Names like these can be found on buildings, businesses and street signs across the city of Holland – the surnames of men and women who were instrumental in its founding and growth.
With such a story, there are bound to be time capsules. This includes the two-and-a-half-story brick house at 36 E. 12th St.
Construction of the house began in 1891 under the direction of Teunis Keppel, who intended to live in the house with his wife, Mina, daughter of Holland’s founding father, Albertus Van Raalte.
Keppel was a key figure in Holland’s founding. He established Keppel’s Village, providing affordable housing at the start of the town’s boom.
Although they started and oversaw much of the building project, Teunis and Mina never lived in the 12th Street house. Both died before its completion in 1902.
Anna Van Raalte – granddaughter of Albertus Van Raalte – and her husband, Bastian Keppel, moved into the house.
Today, the nearly 6,000-square-foot, four-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom home sits atop a small hill in Holland’s historic district, four blocks south of downtown Holland. . When it was originally built, it was on the outskirts of town and surrounded by orchards.
More than a century later, the historic house still has touches that tell its story. The original hardwood floors are found throughout the house. The same goes for the original main staircase, which was completely renovated in 2013.
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Other unique touches include kitchen pantry doors imported from France, three pocket double doors, a fireplace, and Anna’s childhood high chair.
One feature that brought people all the way to Chicago to see the house in the 1900s: the warped glass windows. Still original to this day, the canopies were unique at the time due to their size which, at the time, was the largest in the region.
The house remained in the Keppel and Vander Broek families for nearly 80 years until it was purchased in 1976. Today it stands in the historic district of Holland as a monument to the city’s history.
“One of the reasons Holland is so charming is that we have original buildings, built according to the designs of our ‘homeland’ and landscaping that has been honored every year,” said Nikki DuPont, real estate agent of Five Star Lakeshore.
“I sincerely believe that the city would not be so special if all the historic houses were replaced. I am very happy that Holland has put in place protections so that the houses retain their character and charm.
— Austin Metz is a former Holland Sentinel reporter.