Please note that location entries may feature older photos or post card views that may not represent the current appearance or features of the attraction. This site is intended to be a historical as well as current record of various attractions but it is not always possible to have up-to-date information due to the vast number of locations featured here. We ask you consult the propietor for current information.
The following article by Nick Buckley, Battle Creek Enquirer from January 2020, provides a nice overview of this lodge:
Brook Lodge, the former summer home of the Upjohn family and longtime hospitality and retreat center, is officially on the market.
The asking price for the 82-acre property at 6535 N. 42nd St. in the village Augusta is $1,999,500. It includes 16 buildings and eight cottages with a combined 48 guest rooms, a conference hall and dining hall.
"Brook Lodge had been on the market for about 10 years when purchased in 2018," said Diane Kenney, director of marketing and development for DHBC Holdings P, LLC, which owns the property. "Investments and improvements were made to stop damage and to repair the property’s historic buildings."
Located 10 miles west of Battle Creek, it was originally a 40-acre dairy farm when purchased by William Erastus "W.E." Upjohn and his wife, Rachel, in 1895 for $800. It came to be known as Brook Lodge because of the stream running through the estate.
Each summer, the Upjohns and their five children moved to Brook Lodge from their city home in Kalamazoo, where they were neighbors with James Gilmore - of the Gilmore Department Store - and his wife, Carrie.
Rachel Upjohn died of cancer in 1905 and James Gilmore died in 1908. In 1913, W.E. married Carrie, uniting two of Kalamazoo's most prominent families. Three years later, a 21-year-old Donald Gilmore married his 22-year-old stepsister, Genevieve Upjohn.
Genevieve recalled the Upjohn family summers in her 1984 book, "Memories," writing, "With a lovely new wife and a thriving business, my father became more interested than ever in Brook Lodge. He had something to live for and to love once more. The peony fields grew and became more and more numerous. He had to buy extra land to take care of them."
In 1932, W.E. Upjohn suffered a heart attack and died in the Main Lodge at age 79. At his request, the posh estate in Ross Township was left to his daughters.
In 1949, Louis and Grace Markley were hired to manage Brook Lodge, where they lived in the caretaker's cottage across the stream from the other buildings. When the Upjohn Company took over the property in 1956, they were hired to stay on as the managers as the estate transitioned into a full-service conference center for Upjohn employees.
Rena (Markley) Armstrong remembers an enchanted childhood living at Brook Lodge with her parents.
"I moved from a little house in Augusta to Paradise," she said by phone from her home in Arizona. "Before the company took it over, I pretty much had the run of the place. I could play in the swimming pool all summer, skated all summer on the pond, threw parties for the kids... All of the greenhouses were still there and I could be Jane swinging from the irrigation pipes. I was Cleopatra on the pond. It was a great childhood."
Walt Disney was among the notable guest to visit Brook Lodge. He stayed at the estate in 1964. He and Donald Gilmore were friends and neighbors in the Smoke Tree Ranch of Palm Springs, California, and the Upjohn Co. was an original sponsor of Disneyland.
Brook Lodge continued to function as an exclusive corporate retreat when Pharmacia Corporation merged with Upjohn in 1995 and became the Pharmacia & Upjohn Company, what is today known as Pfizer.
Due in part to the expensive upkeep of the estate, Brook Lodge was given to Michigan State University along with 557 acres of undeveloped land surrounding the property in 2000, when it was made open to the public for retreats, meetings, weddings and special events. At the time, it was valued at about $7 million.
MSU closed the facility during the Great Recession in 2009, citing nearly $10 million lost revenue.
DHBC Holdings P, LLC purchased the property from MSU for $950,000 in 2018, with hopes of establishing a medical marijuana facility called the Brook Lodge Cannabis Company, before Ross Township voted to opt-out during that November election.