Chapin Mansion to be subject of lecture on Wednesday

The Chapin Mansion in Niles was completed in 1884, and for a time served as Niles' city hall. It is the subject of Dowagiac's final Fall Lecture Series program of 2019.

DOWAGIAC — The Dowagiac Area History Museum 2019 Fall Lecture Series concludes this Wednesday with a program highlighting the Chapin Mansion of Niles.

The event will be at 6:30 p.m., with Mollie Kruck Watson, assistant director of the Niles History Center, presenting A Look Inside the Historic Chapin Mansion of Niles, according to a news release.

Henry and Ruby Chapin constructed their magnificent home at the corner of 5th Street and Main Street between 1882 and 1884. Donated to the city of Niles in 1933, it served as city hall for more than 50 years and is now maintained and curated by the Niles History Center.

“The Chapin Mansion is an stunning example of the American Aesthetic style, which emphasized art for art’s sake,” the release noted. Ornate stained glass windows, beveled mirrors, extraordinary brass chandeliers, beautiful hand-carved woodwork and nine fireplaces transport visitors back to this ornate period of the 1880s.

According to Kruck Watson, “I will talk about the history of the family and the house, but also will examine the building’s transition from private residence to City Hall and eventually part of the Niles History Center.”

The History Center recently undertook a major renovation project to restore the front porch and make the facility accessible to all visitors. This will be an opportunity for attendees to get a virtual look inside the mansion.

The program is free to museum members and $5 for non-members. Children under 18 are admitted free. Membership will be available at the museum. The museum is at the corner of Division and West Railroad streets. For more information, call the museum at 783-2560, or visit