Continuing with our review of individual streets in Grosse Pointe, we proceed in our exploration of Grosse Pointe Park and the intriguing street of Bedford.
Many of the houses in the Park were built prior to World War II, created for high-flying executives looking to relocate their families to Grosse Pointe. By the 1940’s the Park had an abundance of architecturally significant homes, located on many prestigious streets, including: Bishop, Kensington, Yorkshire, Edgemont Park, Three Mile Drive, Berkshire, Balfour, Middlesex, Westchester and Bedford (to name but a few).
Bedford has many interesting houses for us to profile including a number of homes created by several noted designers including: John C. Stahl, J. Ivan Dise, Robert Calder, Walter Mast, and William Kuni.
While these designers might not be household names, these architects made a difference to the architectural scene in Metro Detroit. They worked diligently throughout the area, creating houses that left a mark on the communities they touched.
John C. Stahl designed two homes on Bedford – 1006 and 729. Stahl (in collaboration with Donald L. Kinsey) designed 1006 Bedford in 1919 for one of Detroit’s most prominent realtors, John H. Tigchon and his family. The home was one of only a few homes in Grosse Pointe to be designed by the architectural firm of John C. Stahl and Donald L. Kinsey. Very little is known about Donald Kinsey, however John C. Stahl was recognized as one of the most skilled church and school architects in the state.
This Colonial style 4,000 sq ft home is constructed from brick with a slate roof. It has a classic oversized entrance associated with this architectural style, which is flanked by a row of two columns either side of the door, supporting a roof above the entrance. At the time of completion the house was featured in an edition of Michigan Architect and Engineer as depicted by the black and white image below. You can read the full story of this home by clicking here.
House number 729 was completed in 1938. It is a 4,205 sq ft English Tudor style brick home that features a cathedral ceiling in the great room, along with beautiful natural woodwork throughout. At some point the home was expanded. We believe the expansion, in part, featured an update to the second floor – the master bedroom was altered to be equivalent in size to the living room (18’ x 24’sq ft) and a large master bath (11’ x 14’ sq ft) was also added.
Number 780 was designed by J. Ivan Dise in 1935. Dise created a large number of homes in Grosse Pointe (17 that we know of) and the distinctive Farms pumping station in 1929. The majority of his work in Grosse Pointe occurred during the 1920’s and 30’s including three collaborative projects with fellow Detroit architect Clair William Ditchy. His houses are some of the most attractive in the area, and include 2 homes on Kenwood, Grosse Pointe Farms. You can read the full story of J. Ivan Dise by clicking here.
The architectural style Dise chose to employ on 780 Bedford was Regency; the design displays many typical characteristics of this style including a classic symmetrical face along with a hipped roofline (partially concealed by a parapet, which gives the appearance of being flat) and a slate roof. The interior features a large foyer, high ceilings and a wood paneled library.
Robert A. Calder designed house number 1105 in 1941; it is a classic center entrance colonial brick home. Very little is known about the career of Robert A. Calder, however we do know he created a couple of homes in Grosse Pointe Farms including a beautiful English Tudor inspired residence on Kenwood (1927), and 386 McKinley (1947).
Prominent Grosse Pointe Architect Walter H. Mast created house numbers 850, 1045 and 1145. Number 850 is a brick a Colonial home completed in 1938. House number 1145 was completed three years later, in 1941; it is also a classically designed symmetrical central entranced Colonial home. Finally, house number 1045, completed in 1950, was built for John H. Tigchon, the prominent Detroit realtor who moved into 1006 Bedford in 1919.
Finally William Kuni, a very active architect in Grosse Pointe, designed house number 1060 in 1925 – also for the realtor John H. Tigchon. This exquisite home has some stunning features, including the tall leaded glass windows on the first floor, an arched ceiling in the den and a barrel ceiling in the breakfast room.
This glimpse into some of the homes on Bedford gives us an excellent opportunity to explore the infinite range of housing styles that were part of the construction boom in this area during the 1920’s-1940’s. We will be featuring more streets over the coming weeks.
Written by Katie Doelle
Copyright © 2016 Higbie Maxon Agney
If you have a home, building or street 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).