LANSING – The Turner-Dodge House held its 10th annual Irish Tea Saturday, March 17 for the Ingham County Irish and Irish-at-heart. With more than 94 guests, Turner-Dodge House Coordinator, Jennifer McDaniels, said this year had been record breaking.
“We do typically average seventy guests for all of our specialty teas, but this year we got the privilege to be in Tea Time Magazine so we’ve had people all over the state of Michigan calling to make reservations,” McDaniels said.
The Turner-Dodge House was home to two generations.
“The house is 154 years old and it was built by James Turner and his wife, Marion,” McDaniels said. “James was a senator for the state of Michigan. He helped get the railroads into Lansing and he helped make Lansing the capital, because at the time the original capital was in Detroit.”
James and Marion’s daughter, Abby, married Frank L. Dodge, a lawyer and Representative for the state of Michigan. The two expanded the house from 1900 to 1903. The expansion included a first-floor kitchen, additional bedrooms to the second floor and a third-floor ballroom.
The Turner-Dodge House holds Girl Scout and Boy Scout programs, year-round camps and specialty teas throughout the year. The house can also be rented for weddings, showers, reunions and other events.
Those who keep the rich history of the Turner-Dodge house alive make it a special place.
Seventeen-year-old Haley Fedewa and her 15-year-old sister, Lydia, are two of those people.
“We’re volunteers,” said Haley. “Lydia and I have been here for quite a few teas just to serve and then for the Irish Teas we do Irish step dancing, so we have danced at five or six of them.”
After showing a dislike for ballet when they were younger, the girls’ father encouraged them to try Irish step dancing.
“Our dad told us to try Irish step dancing because it helps your posture,” said Haley. “It’s true, you know, you stand up straight!”
For the Fedewas, Irish step dancing is a family affair.
“Our family goes around and performs as a group,” said Haley. “We’ve been going around to different places and we saw they were having an Irish Tea and we asked if they needed entertainment and they said they would love to have us!”
“That was about six years ago and this is actually our first year not doing it,” said Lydia.
Sixteen-year-old volunteer Mary Schuck may not have as much experience serving at the teas, but having fun is the more important thing.
“Today is actually my first day!” said Schuck. “I really like it.”