George and Diane Kullis purcha...
HOLLY, Michigan – George and Diane Kullis couldn’t figure out why a perfect stranger would come knocking on their door last spring, offering to them a beautiful Eastlake-period antique bedroom set for purchase. It was only after the stranger explained that the furniture was once owned by the Plumers – a prominent family that once occupied the Kullis’ home in the late 1800s – that the Kullis’ began to see the true gift of the offer.
“At first we didn’t know why he as coming to us, asking if we wanted to buy the bedroom set,” Kullis said. “But when he explained that the bedroom set was once in this house – that it belonged to the Plumer family – then we knew we had to have it.”
Handcrafted between 1875 and 1890, the intricate oak headboard and footboard boast geometric ornaments, spindles and wooden inlays. Standing opposite the bed, the matching marble-topped dresser is equally as attractive, with hand-carved drawers, and an impressive antique mirror.
The Eastlake-period bed is tho...
According to Kullis, the Plumer family originally came to Holly from New York in the early 1870s. Moses Plumer was a dentist, and together with his wife Sophronia, raised two sons, Arthur and Fred, and one daughter, Ada.
“Simonsen - the man who the lake in Holly is named after – he built this house in 1868,” Kullis said. “My guess is Holly needed a dentist – that’s how things happened back then, and he brought Dr. Plumer from New York, and Dr. Plumer said, ‘That’s the house I want.’”
Having researched Holly Herald archives at the local library, Kullis found an old article on the house during the Plumers’ ownership.
“In a 1938 edition of the Holly Herald, they refer to this house as the social center of this town,” Kullis said. Following the death of the Plumers’ last child in 1943, the house and all of its belongings were sold at an estate sale.
“The aunt of the gentleman who sold us this bedroom set bought it for $600 at the estate sale in 1943,” Kullis said. “That was quite a bit of money back then.”
Kullis wondered if the bedroom set could have possibly have been made by Joseph Winglemire, the founder of Holly’s sole furniture store, and one of Michigan’s oldest family-owned businesses, Winglemire Furniture. Joseph Winglemire and his wife Christine moved to Holly in 1858. In addition to being an undertaker, Joseph manufactured hand-crafted furniture.
“When I reassembled the set, there weren’t any markings on it specifically linking it to the Winglemires,” Kullis said. “But I still think it’s entirely possible.”
Pictured with the matching dre...
Although Winglemire Furniture’s owner, Don Winglemire said he hadn’t had a chance to see the antique bedroom set, he said it would be nearly impossible to determine if it is his great grandfather’s work or not.
“Unless it says ‘Joseph Winglemire’ on it, it’s anybody’s guess,” Winglemire said. “I don’t know if they’ll ever be able to figure it out.”
With several rooms of their home honoring US presidents, both in décor and memorabilia, the Kullis’ are happy to report that the Plumers’ former bedroom set will be an integral part of the “Reagan Room,” a second story bedroom. “We’re still working on this room, but when we’re done, it will be in Ronald Reagan’s favorite colors – light blue and yellow,” Kullis said. “We’re happy that the furniture in this room can also carry a piece of significant history for the village of Holly.”