The Two Lives of a Chesaning Mansion and Bonnie's Blueberry Muffins

A Chesaning Landmark: A Home and A Restaurant


Constructed for the George Nason family, the c. 1907 colonial revival home at 605 Broad Street has long been a Chesaning landmark. Its history is recorded on a state historical marker in front of the structure:

“George Nason House: George M. Nason (1859-1929) built this house in 1907-08. The Nason family had emigrated from Northampton, England, to Buffalo, New York, in 1832. George’s father, Robert (1831-1907), came to Chesaning in 1852 and engaged in farming and lumbering. In 1861 he purchased fifteen hundred acres of land about five miles from Chesaning and erected a sawmill. For over a decade, he also engaged in prosperous land speculative activities and by 1881, he was considered to be one of Chesaning’s wealthiest men.”


“George Nason House: George Nason (1859-1929) built this Georgian Revival-style house as a monument to his family’s success in the lumbering business. Its exterior features stately Ionic columns. A grand circular opening between the first and second floor dominates the interior. Nason family members lived in the house until 1945. The building remained a private residence until 1980, when it was opened to the public as an elegant dining establishment called the Chesaning Heritage House.”



Owned and operated by Bonnie and Howard Ebenhoeh, for nearly three decades the Chesaning Heritage house was a popular dining destination.


Bonnie's Blueberry Muffins


Taste of Home magazine was founded in 1993 on the premise that home cooks are the best cooks. The magazine was created with a goal to provide readers with recipes and cooking inspiration. One of their first editions had a section called “I Wish I Had That Recipe”. The magazine received a request from a woman in Perry, MI asking for the recipe for the best muffins she had ever eaten; blueberry muffins from The Heritage House in Chesaning, MI.


The Heritage House, a stately mansion in historic downtown Chesaning, MI, is known for their generous portions of home-cooked food. Owners Howard & Bonnie Ebenhoeh were happy to share Bonnie's muffin recipe. Bonnie recalled, “I combined a favorite yellow cake recipe with a muffin recipe to come up with this light, sweet muffin when we first opened the restaurant in 1980. At that time, we were the only ones in the area who served muffins.”

Here is the recipe for Bonnie’s Blueberry Muffins, as it appeared in the Taste of Home Collector's Edition in 1997.


Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour


2/3 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder & salt.

In another bowl, beat eggs then add milk, butter, nutmeg & vanilla. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients & mix until just moistened.

Fold in blueberries.


Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Brush tops with melted butter & sprinkle with sugar.



Note: If using frozen blueberries, rinse and pat dry before adding to batter

 

After the restaurant closed, attempts have been made to convert the structure back into a private home. The landmark remains vacant.


To learn about other State Historical Markers, please follow this link:

https://www2.dnr.state.mi.us/HistoricalMarkers/