Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – Beverly Road Historic District, 23 – 45 Beverly Rd, Grosse Pointe Farms.
Nestled on the edge of Grosse Pointe Farms is a small private road. It looks pretty normal from the outside, but venture down the cul-de-sac and you will enter ‘designers row’, a wealth of architectural gems from some of Detroit’s best designers of the early 20th century.
Beverly Road is one of the few private streets in Grosse Pointe Farms. It covers the original area of the Beverly Park Subdivision, which was platted by Henry B. Joy in 1911. The district was one of the earliest upper-class subdivisions in the Grosse Pointes, and played a major part in the transition of the area from a farming and summer-home community to an upscale year-round community for wealthy Detroiter’s. Residents of the district included prominent corporate executives and lawyers such as William P. Hamilton, William Cornelius Crowley, Edwin R. Stroh, Sidney T. Miller, William Van Dyke, and Edwin B. Henry.
Today, the cul-de-sac consists of 15 houses, located between 23 – 45 Beverly Road, and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1995. Homes line both sides of the road that runs from Grosse Pointe Boulevard to Jefferson Avenue, separated from Jefferson by a stunning iron fence and gates. The gates were designed by Albert Kahn believed to be around 1907, however some records indicate their construction to be closer to 1912-1916.
The gates were built specifically to protect the private thoroughfare, and were in themselves a work of art. Kahn, who was fond of floral motifs, added detailed scrollwork and floral and leafy patterns, which made the gates more of a sculpture than a functional element. Sadly, as the photos show, much of the beautiful ornamental details that topped the gates are now gone. The large spheres (believed to have been lights) are no longer, and the wonderful scrollwork at the top of the gates has been removed, although it is unclear when these modifications were made (to read more about the Gates of Beverly Road, click here).
However, it wasn’t just the gates that were designed by a renowned architect, the houses themselves were created by some of the leading architects (of that era) who were working in and around Detroit. Albert Kahn, Robert O. Derrick, Raymond Carey and Marcus Burrowes all contributed to creating the large-scale, high quality, wonderfully styled homes that are still present today. Many of the houses were built after 1910; the architectural style was predominantly late 19th and 20th Century Revivals, but also included Colonial, Neo-Renaissance and Tudor Styles. As with other homes nearby, the owners believe some elements were shipped to the area from some grand homes in Europe, which was a regular occurrence in many of the mansions built in Grosse Pointe between 1900 and 1930.
The Beverly Road Historic District is a wonderful example of some of the best architectural work that was on display in the Grosse Pointe area in the early 20th century. It still exists in all its glory, so take a walk down the cul-de-sac some time you will not be disappointed at what is on display.
We will be continuing the series with another extraordinary building next week.
If you have a home or building you would like us to profile please contact Darby Moran – Darby@higbiemaxon.com – we will try and feature the property.
(For more historical information on Grosse Pointe, visit Grosse Pointe Historical Society).