​​Christmas at the Bonine House 2015 

"Christmas at the Bonine House full of smiles"

​ Press Release 12/15/2015
The 4th Annual Christmas at the Bonine House December 11, 12 and 13 was full of smiles.  Balmy weather drew over 1200 people  to tour the historic Victorian home of James E. and Sarah Bogue Bonine on Penn Rd and M-60 in Vandalia, MI, each room decorated for Christmas by members of the Underground Railroad Society of Cass County (URSCC).  Toy soldiers greeted visitors at the back entrance where the latest construction showed progress on the restoration of the house connected with the Underground Railroad (UGRR).  They marveled at the new front porches recently added and the new library upstairs, showcasing families involved in the UGRR.  Santa and Mrs Claus and their elf spread Christmas cheer to children of all ages, and singers filled the house with carols. 
URSCC has been restoring the Bonine House and the Carriage House across the street for five years.  Spokesperson Cathy LaPointe said many people return year after year to see the unique decorations as well the progress on the house.  "They have changed from saying we have a long way to go, to saying how far we've come."  "There were many new people from around the region that came this year, word has spread."

We've Come a Long Way Baby!


                          Sunday, January 3, 2016   The Bonine House
About 30 URSCC members gathered at the Bonine House for the 2015 Annual Meeting and closed out the fiscal year with  pride in a year full of progress, and optimism for the year ahead.  

Thank you for supporting our Capital Campaign to complete the restoration of the Bonine House and the Carriage House by 2017.

These structures are architecturally significant as fine examples of Second Empire and Gothic Revival, with historically important connections to the Underground Railroad.

Perhaps even more meaningful, they stand as symbols of a community that did what was right under the most difficult conditions and at great personal risk.  The courage of freedom seekers who came here to escape slavery, and Quakers, free blacks and other abolitionists who helped them on their journey, represents the best of us.  It is who we are as Americans.

Thank you for joining us in becoming caretakers -- not only of the buildings, but of the story they embody, and the legacy of freedom they represent.


For more photos and updates on the Bonine House restoration,                              

For Carriage House restoration,


Cassopolis Sam Adams Elementary School and Portage Angling Elementary School presented their versions of the Underground Railroad in Cass County at the Bonine House.


Dynisha Hackworth, shown here with coach, Felomina Patton, was selected as an alternate to the National History Day Finals in Washington D.C.

State Champions left to right, Kennady Brooks, Collin Bogue, Kendon Williams, Keith Porter and Anna Leach.

Press Release 4/27/2015

Cassopolis – The Sam Adams Team 5th grade team of Collin Bogue, Kennady Brooks, Anna Leach, Keith Porter and Kendon Williams won first place in the Youth Group Performance Category for the their play, The Legacy of Nathan and Pamela Thomas. They also received a special award for the Best Entry in African American/People of African Descent World History (Sponsored by Hispanic Latino Commission of Michigan in Partnership with Lansing Area Sister Cities Commission).


"It's Time" Capital Campaign!

​James E Bonine Carriage House M-60 and Calvin Center Road,across M-60 from Bonine House.  (Photo is from the back of the building.)

James E. Bonine House Corner of M-60 and Penn Rd., Vandalia, MI  49095 


Preserve and restore the James E. Bonine House and Carriage House as outstanding examples of Victorian domestic architecture.

Create an education and community events center in the Bonine House as a focal point for understanding the role of local Quakers, African-Americans and other abolitionist groups played in the UGRR.  Restore the Carriage House as a period museum and station on the Underground Railroad.

Create a cultural tourism destination for Underground Railroad enthusiasts that will bring visitors and tourism dollars into the community.

Content copyright© 2014 URSCC. All rights reserved.

URSCC Mission

The mission of the Underground Railroad Society of Cass County (URSCC) is to provide a focal point for exploration into the origins and activities of the Underground Railroad; the unique role the people of Cass County and the surrounding region played throughout its existence, and how it impacted local, state and national history.

Underground Railroad Society

of Cass County, Michigan




URSCC celebrates the lives and legacy of African Americans who helped make our country what it is today.

Get a "Take a Stand! Testify!" t-shirt or tote as our thanks.

Press Release  7/16/2015

Underground Railroad Days 2015 a Great Weekend

The sixth annual Underground Railroad Days, sponsored by the Village of Vandalia, Michigan and the Underground Railroad Society of Cass County was held July 10,11 and 12 and by all counts was a great success.

Friday was “Opening Night” at Ross Beatty High School.  Cassopolis Sam Adams Elementary Michigan History Day State winners presented their 10 minute play “The Legacy of Nathan and Pamela Thomas” and perennial favorites Dr. Von and Fran Washington continued their saga of the Conner family of Vandalia and their role in the Civil War.

Cassopolis Takes Firsts in Michigan History Day Finals!

Underground Railroad Days 2015 a Great Weekend