Welcome to the Detroit Towers – 8162 E Jefferson Ave, Detroit

Probably one of the most elegant and sought after residential buildings in the community is the Detroit Towers.

Constructed in 1925, the distinctive eighteen-story red brick and cast stone tower, overlooks the Detroit River – offering some of the best views in the city.

Built in the Roaring Twenties for luxurious living (at an estimated cost of $1.6 million – around $22m today) the 18-story building contains thirty-four large units, two per floor. Each unit contains 9 rooms including servant’s quarters, and is around 2,400-2,800 sq ft.

Chicago architect Walter W. Aschlager designed the structure. He had a stellar reputation, and was nationally known for his design of hotels, skyscrapers and motion picture palaces. Having established an office in Detroit at the beginning of the 1920’s Aschlager was arguably at the peak of his career when he designed the residence.

Given its prominence and luxurious apartments the new Tower on the river attracted many prominent and wealthy figures from the community, including –

  • Benjamin Gotfredson (Unit 5-B) – president of American Automobile Trimming Company of Detroit. He lived in the Towers for five years from 1925 until 1930.
  • Charles E. Sorensen (Unit 6-A) – vice president and general manager of the Ford Motor Car Company. He lived in the Towers from 1926 until 1945.
  • James Scripps Booth (Unit 15-A) – is the eldest son of George Gough Booth, the director and president of the Detroit News. In 1913, working alongside his uncle William E. Scripps, together they formed the Scripps-Booth Cyclecar Company, which subsequently became a division of Chevrolet in 1916. Booth continued to design automobiles until the mid 1930s, also serving as a trustee for the Cranbrook Foundation and the Detroit Institute of Arts.
  • Howard Crane (Unit 12-B) – a prominent architect throughout Metro Detroit, Crane is arguably the nation’s most accomplished theater designer; he designed over 50 in Detroit alone. He lived in the Towers from 1925 until 1934.

The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1985. Very little has changed since its construction, and the Towers remain an extremely desirable address.

Unit 6-B is now for sale – the next owner of this superb apartment will have the opportunity to live in one of the most sought after residences in the City of Detroit. Please click here for full details, or to schedule a tour please call Higbie Maxon Agney: 313 886 3400

Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – George D. Mason – A Master at Work – Part 1.

As renowned Detroit historian Clarence M. Burton once wrote, quite simple George DeWitt Mason was “the dean of Detroit architects”.

In a city that boasts the sublime skills of Albert Kahn, and Louis Kamper, Mason takes his place alongside these two great designers as the men responsible for many of Detroit’s iconic buildings. Between them this trio have created some of the finest structures in the city and are credited with having a national reputation in their profession.

With a career spanning over 50 years George D. Mason created many historic buildings in and around the city, including several homes in Grosse Pointe, 9 of which (that we know of) are still standing.

33 oldbrook lane

Born in Syracuse, New York in 1856 the family moved to Detroit in 1870. After graduating from high school in 1873 he stated working for the architectural firm of Henry T. Bush. It is reported he advanced quickly and it is also believed he spent some time at the office of Smith, Hynchman and Grylls (owned by founder Sheldon Smith during this era) which was a popular place in the city for up-and coming architects to train and gain experience.

It wasn’t long before Mason was ready to form a practice of his own; in 1878 he joined Zachariah Rice to form the firm Mason & Rice. The partnership would last around 20 years, during which the duo created many iconic structures including:

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Grosse Pointe Open House For Sunday, August, 24, 2014

HMA has one open house this weekend- Sunday, August 24, 2014, 2-4 pm:

Melissa Singh will be holding open 424 Lincoln, Grosse Pointe.

Classic center Entrance Colonial! Spacious room sizes! Freshly painted! Hardwood floors! Deck! Great location close to schools, shopping and Waterfront Park! This 2490 sq. ft. house is listed at $379,000

For more details please visit: http://ow.ly/ACGLm

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We look forward to seeing you!

For a full list of this weekend’s Open Houses visit: http://ow.ly/ACMiY

Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – 15410 Windmill Pointe

Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – 15410 Windmill Pointe

15410 Windmill Pointe – childhood home of stage actress Julie Harris, and venue of the Junior League of Detroit 13th Designers’ Show house in 2000.

15410 Windmill Pointe - date unknown

15410 Windmill Pointe – date unknown

The sprawling estate on Windmill Pointe was commissioned by William P. Harris (an investment banker and father of Julie) in 1923. Harris hired prominent New York Architect Alfred Hopkins to design a grand home for his family on the shores of Lake St. Clair – Hopkins’ specialized in creating distinctive European-style estates for wealthy Americans – his clients included Louis Comfort Tiffany.

Hopkins championed the use of stucco in domestic architecture, and is noted for the architectural detail he included in the design of his homes, his project on Windmill Pointe did not disappoint –

The home, which features cut sandstone juxtaposed with rough stucco, provides a wonderful play of textures and colors. Rainspouts are capped off with elegant clipper ship carvings, and hand carved gargoyles watch over the archways. The initials of William P. Harris appear on a second corner stone of the house, while Alfred Hopkins left his own initials and professional signature on a high corner stone.

Design details

Design details

Design details

Design details

Design details

Design details

 

In 1929 Harris hired Detroit architect Hugh Tallman Keyes to double the size of the house and accommodate Harris’ growing family. The east wing was expanded upward and outward, additional bedrooms were added, along with a second floor nursery, basement game room, taproom and a sunken rose garden. Keyes ensured the original limestone details, windows and doors were reused in the new work, and the focal points of the living room and garden courtyard maintained their prominence within the property.

15410 Windmill Pointe Floor Plan

15410 Windmill Pointe Floor Plan

 

The Harris family lived at Windmill Pointe until 1951, and the property has since been home to many families who have shared the joy of living on this grand estate.

 

15410 Windmill Pointe Present Day

15410 Windmill Pointe Present Day

This stunning English Manor home with the medieval charm is currently for sale, listed at $3.2m, you can find full details on the Higbie Maxon Agney website.

For more stunning images of this fabulous home, view the video by clicking on the image to the left!

 

 

We will be profiling another feature property 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).

 

A Tale of Five Cities

The historical architecture of Grosse Pointe.

Through the best of times, through the worst of times, the one thing Grosse Pointe has is an abundance of stunning architecture.
 
Recognized for its historic reputation for scenery and landscape, Grosse Pointe has grown from a colonial outpost to a community of prime real estate with the reputation as a notable American suburb.

Situated on the shores of lake St. Clair, the five communities (that make up Grosse Pointe) share an array of architectural gems – a significant architecture collection designed by many noted architects:

Eero Saarine

Eero Saarine

Albert Kahn

Albert Kahn

Marcel Breuer

Marcel Breuer

Louis Kamper

Louis Kamper

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over the coming weeks, Higbie Maxon Agney will be profiling some of the most renowned work by these talented designers along with sharing the history of some of the homes within Grosse Pointe that have an interesting story to tell (to name but a few) –

  • Buck-Wardwell House
  • Paul Harvey Deming House – “Cherryhurst”
  • Charles A. Dean House – 221 Lewiston Road “Ridgeland”
  • J. Bell Moran House – “Bellmoor”
  • Sutton Residence
  • F. Caldwell Walker House
Buck-Wardwell House

Buck-Wardwell House

Charles A. Dean House

Charles A. Dean House

F. Caldwell Walker House

F. Caldwell Walker House

Sutton Residence

Sutton Residence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We will be beginning the series next week with 15410 Windmill Pointe – childhood home of stage actress Julie Harris and venue of the Junior League of Detroit 13th Designers’ Show house in 2000 – until then Happy 4th July!

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).

 

Photos courtesy of: houses (wikipedia.org); Albert Khan (britannica.com); Marcel Breuer (design-museum.de); Eero Saarinen (wikipedia.org); Louis Kamper (historicdetroit.org)

Rise in metro Detroit home prices oupaces U.S.

While our home prices are still below year 2000 levels, we are moving in the right direction! The Detroit area’s 10% gain in 2012 was the 2nd highest rate in the country, which is great news. Check out the rest of the article here!

Go Tigers!

Fall in Michigan is a wonderful time of year! The air feels crisp, the trees are constantly-changing and beautiful, pumpkins are beginning to appear on front porches–and the Tigers are in the playoffs!

Go Tigers!

Everywhere we’ve gone around Grosse Pointe in the last couple weeks (the HMA office included!) people are chatting to each other about our hometown baseball team, and it’s served as a nice reminder that even a winning baseball team gives a city a boost and helps bring our community together.

So don’t forget to watch Justin Verlander pitch Game 3 tonight — and Go Tigers!