The Bonine House will be open for tours May through September 2016. We look forward to seeing you.
Contact us for information about tours for groups of ten or more.
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."
URSCC and Lucky wish you Happy Spring!
We took some liberty with photoshop but hopefully by the end of next year the Bonine House will be landscaped with lovely gardens. Enjoy the season, hope to see you soon!
URSCC Annual Meeting
Underground Railroad Days 2015 a Great Weekend
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 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.
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
Press Release 4/10/2016
Underground Railroad Days set for July 8, 9, 10.
The Village of Vandalia, MI and the Underground Railroad Society of Cass County (URSCC) will partner for the 7th year on Underground Railroad Days, their annual celebration of the legacy of the Underground Railroad (UGRR) in the area. It is said that over 1500 fugitive slaves (now called freedom seekers) came through Cass County MI on their way to Canada. They were helped by Quakers and free blacks who settled in the area from 1830-1850.
URSCC sponsored events include Friday’s 7 p.m. "Opening Night" presentation at historic Chain Lake Baptist Church. Saturday and Sunday feature presentations and displays in the Vandalia Youth Center, guided tours of UGRR sites, a Civil War living history encampment, and music at the Ramptown Cabin in Milo Barnes Park. The historic Bonine House will be open for tours.
The Village of Vandalia will sponsor a soul food dinner, family entertainment and vendor booths on Saturday and Sunday. There is a car show on Saturday from 10 a.m to 2 p.m. and a Sunday morning church service in Milo Barnes Park at 11 a.m.
Hours for Underground Railroad Days are Saturday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission and parking are free. For information on the car show and non- food vendor booths, call Vandalia Village president, Beverly Young at 269-476-2344.
A full schedule will be posted closer to the event.
We've Come a Long Way!
"It's Time" Capital Campaign!
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.
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.
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.)