Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – Lothrop, an elegant street

Last week we explored the superb lost estate of 15440 Windmill Pointe, the former home to real estate mogul Herbert V. Book, and later Charles Helin, the fishing lure entrepreneur.

This week we head to Grosse Pointe Farms, and to one of the communities most elegant streets – Lothrop. Running from Grosse Pointe Blvd the street meanders through Grosse Pointe Farms, ending at the top of Moran Rd, close to Mack Avenue.

We will be focusing on several homes on the first block, built within a period of 20 years – between 1928 and 1948. Despite being constructed across three different decades each of these homes has a wonderful individual elegance to them.

Lets start with number 99, created by distinguished architect Charles A. Platt. He was a self-trained architect, and is considered one of America’s more influential landscape designers. Allen F. Edwards commissioned 99 Lothrop, and it was Edwards second project with Platt. It is reported the project cost roughly $2m (roughly $29m today) when the project was completed in 1928.

99 Lothrop

It is a stately manor home, in the colonial style, constructed of brick with a slate roof. The 8,000-sqft residence features a large living room (21ft x 36ft), dining room (21ft x 19ft), kitchen (12ft x 21ft) and a library (19ft x 17ft) on the first floor. There are 9 bedrooms in total, 7 on the second floor (which included 2 bedrooms for the maids) and 2 further bedrooms on the third floor. Platt brought in renowned landscape designer Ellen Shipman – known for her formal gardens and lush planting style – to create the garden. Shipman was a familiar face in Grosse Pointe having previously worked on the gardens at Rose Terrace (in 1926), and ‘Lake Terrace’ – the John S Newberry House (in 1911).

Prior to his work at Lothrop, Charles Platt had created several prestigious homes in the community, including: –17315 East Jefferson (for Mrs. Arthur McGraw House, 1927), 241 Lake Shore (for Henry Stephen’s, 1913) and 32 Lake Shore (Alger House, now the Grosse Pointe War memorial in 1910).

Number 75 is a 4,714 sq ft home built in 1937 by the partnership of Derrick and Gamber. Robert O. Derrick was one of Grosse Pointes most well known and prolific architects with over 25 buildings to his name across the Grosse Pointe communities. Having previously held the position of Vice President at the Detroit firm of Brown, Derrick and Preston, he embarked on several solo projects before teaming up with Branson V. Gamber.

75 Lothrop

Born in 1893 Gamber was educated at the Drexel Institute of Art and Science in Philadelphia. It is unclear when he relocated to Detroit, but it is believed he joined the firm of Robert O. Derrick in the early 1930’s. Together they received several prestigious commissions across the Detroit Metropolitan area. Arguably their most noted project came from Henry Ford I, who hired the duo to create an exact copy of Independence Hall (in Philadelphia) at Greenfield Village, in Dearborn. Source: A History of Detroit’s Palmer Park, by Gregory C. Piazza. A further project of note was the art deco inspired Theodore Levin U.S. Courthouse (231 W. Lafayette Blvd, opened in 1934). You can read the full story about Robert O. Derrick by clicking here.

Theodore Levin U.S. Courthouse – courtesy of historicdetroit.org

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Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – The Lost Estates – Part 1

Last week we featured 55 Tonnancour Place, the distinctive home that occupies a division of land that was once part of the extensive Theodore Parsons Hall estate.

After researching this home we became more intrigued about the Hall estate and the subsequent development(s) of the original Hall property.

Based on research by the Grosse Pointe Historical Society we know Mr. Theodore Parsons Hall purchased 63 acres of land in the 1880, and set about building an elaborate estate called Tonnancour. Mr. Hall had retired early, having made his fortune in the grain business, and dedicated much of his time to his estate, which he shared with his wife, Alexandrine, and their nine children. Part of the property included an eye-catching summer residence – a Victorian Swiss Chalet style mansion, designed by Mortimer L. Smith, along with a Swiss style boathouse. Source: Thomas W. Brunk, courtesy of the Grosse Pointe Historical Society.

Tonnancour – Courtesy of the Grosse Pointe Historical Society

The Hall Family – Courtesy of the Grosse Pointe Historical Society

The Victorian architectural style and elaborate summer residences were particularly popular in Grosse Pointe during this era, and many such homes were being constructed on Lakeshore towards the end of the 19th century.

In 1909 Theodore Parsons Hall passed away, survived by his wife, and three remaining children. Around five years later their beautiful Victorian home burned down. Following the fire Alexandrine moved to a residence in Detroit while her new home, 383 Lakeshore was completed. During this time the Hall estate was sub divided. A section of the land became part of the Country Club’s golf course, while each of Hall’s three surviving children (Josephine, Nathalie and Marie) built homes on the lake front sections of the property – Josephine Hall Irvine (403 Lakeshore – completed in 1915, now razed); Nathalie Hall Scott (moved into her mother’s home 383 Lakeshore, the original home is now razed), and Marie Hall Fuger (395 Lakeshore – completed in 1914, now 55 Tonnancour Place). Source: Thomas W. Brunk, courtesy of the Grosse Pointe Historical Society.

In 1922 the house (383 Lakeshore), and land owned by Nathalie Hall Scott, – was purchased by Anna Scripps (daughter of the Detroit News founder James E. Scripps), and her husband Edgar B. Whitcomb. The couple paid a colossal for $235,000 (around $3.5 million today) for the property, and set about creating a magnificent estate.

Anna Scripps and Edgar Whitcomb – Courtesy of the Grosse Pointe Historical Society

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Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – 55 Tonnancour

Last week we featured one of the oldest homes in Grosse Pointe, the Cadiuex Farmhouse. This week we turn our attention to another notable residence – 55 Tonnancour Place – one of Grosse Pointe’s more distinctive homes.

The stunning Georgian revival home sits on one of the most distinguished streets in the Grosse Pointe communities, Tonnancour Place, which was originally part of the historic Theodore Parsons Hall estate. Mr. Hall had purchased the 63 acres of land, which stretched back 2 ½ miles from Lake St. Clair, in the early 1880’s, and set about building an elaborate estate called Tonnancour. This included an eye-catching summer residence on the property – a Victorian Swiss Chalet style mansion. Source: Thomas W. Brunk, courtesy of the Grosse Pointe Historical Society.

Tonnancour – Courtesy of the Grosse Pointe Historical Society

The name Tonnancour is thought to have been taken from the 18th century stone mansion (of the same name) built by René Godefroy de Tonnancour (1669-1738) on the St. Lawrence River at Trois Rivières, Québec. Research by: Thomas W. Brunk, courtesy of the Grosse Pointe Historical Society.

Theodore Parsons Hall died in 1909. Around five years later the beautiful Victorian home burned down, and much of the land was then subdivided. Three of Hall’s daughters each built new houses on the divided lake front property, which included Marie Hall, who was married to Frederick Fuger. Mr. Fuger, born in Fort Slocum, New York in 1868, was a captain in the U.S. Army, and professor of military science and tactics at Michigan Agricultural College, 1905-1909.

The new Fuger home, completed in 1914, originally had the address of 395 Lakeshore. However, over the years the land was sub divided, resulting in the homes current address – 55 Tonnancour Place.

55 Tonnancour Place

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Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – Welcome to Woodland Place

Last year we featured two homes on Woodland Place, number 2 and number 7. This week we thought we would delve into some of the other properties on this picturesque street in Grosse Pointe Farms.

Woodland Place, once a heavily wooded area on the shores of Lake St. Clair, is a narrow street, paved with bricks, and home to eight unique residences. The majority of the homes were built in the 1920’s by a handful of noted architects. Each of these architects worked on a couple of projects on the road, which is quite remarkable given that only 6 homes were built during this era.

Number 7 was the first home to be built on Woodland Place. It was completed in 1909 as a summer home for the Hazen S. Pingree family. Hazen S. Pingree was a four-term mayor of Detroit, a successful businessman, and the 24th Governor of the State of Michigan.

7 Woodland Place

7 Woodland Place

Mrs. Pingree hired noted architect William B. Stratton, an innovative designer who has often been described as having a vigorous creative imagination with a diverse range and aptitude for switching between architectural styles. His design for 7 Woodland Place centered on the Dutch Colonial style, complete with gambrel rood and flared eaves. Renowned Michigan architect Hugh T. Keyes extensively remodeled it in 1935. You can read the full story of this home by clicking here.

William B. Stratton and Dalton Snyder designed 4 Woodland Place in 1920. The fabulous 5,450 sq ft colonial home features high-beamed ceilings, intricate detailing throughout, and six bedrooms. This was Stratton’s second project on the street having completed 7 Woodland Place eleven years earlier.

4 Woodland Place

4 Woodland Place

Stratton and Snyder worked together from 1918 – 1925, and completed several homes in Grosse Pointe, including 365 University Place, 341 Lakeland, and 15366 Windmill Pointe. You can read the full story about William B. Stratton by clicking here.

1 Woodland Place was completed in 1921 by the Detroit firm of Brown, Derrick and Preston. Robert O. Derrick, one of Grosse Pointe’s most noted architects, was admitted to the firm, as a partner, in 1921, and held the title of Vice-President.

1 Woodland Place

Dr. Walter R. Parker commissioned the home, and at 9,050 sq ft it is the largest residence on the street. It is a stunning brick home with ornate limestone detailing on the front elevation – a typical trait of Robert O. Derrick’s work.

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Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – Welcome to 330 Provencal

Last week we introduced you to a distinctive Tudor Revival home in Grosse Pointe Park, located at 1007 Bishop. The home was completed in 1923 by the architectural firm of Walter Maul and Walter Lentz.

This week we explore a superb colonial home in Grosse Pointe Farms, 330 Provencal, which was completed in 1927, a mere four years later from the home on Bishop, but as you will agree presents a vastly different architectural approach.

Henry F. Stanton designed 330 Provencal during an era when grand homes were being constructed in Grosse Pointe Farms. It was a period when the Farms underwent a major architectural transformation.

Stanton, a faculty member of University of Michigan and master of exquisite brickwork, was a diverse designer, and was particularly adept at switching scale between large and much smaller residential projects. In 1923 his work was featured in a book entitled ‘500 Small Houses of the Twenties’. Two years later, in 1925 he had turned his attention to the other end of the scale designing a 9,500 sq ft residence at 340 Lakeland in Grosse Pointe. Many of his residential projects were created in partnership with other noted architects, including Charles Crombie and Charles Kotting. The partnerships were responsible for creating a number of grand homes in the Grosse Pointe Communities during the 1920’s, including 1034 Bishop (Kotting and Stanton) and 340 Lakeland (Crombie and Stanton). Henry Stanton was also an accomplished designer in his own right, and worked on his own for some of the projects he created here in Grosse Pointe, which included – 87 Kenwood (1926), 125 Kenwood (1927), and 330 Provencal (1927).

87 Kenwood – Courtesy of Google.com

125 Kenwood – Courtesy of Google.com

Many of Stanton’s homes featured elegant brickwork, and beautiful detailing inside and out. His work at 330 Provencal was no exception.

The large 8,625 sq ft brick property, displays many of the typical characteristics often found in Stanton’s work – ornate detailing, massive brick chimneys, an elaborate front entrance – in this instance carved limestone scrolls – along with a steep slate roof.

Entrance Way – Courtesy of Realtor.com

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Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – The Work Of Harrie T. Lindeberg

Happy 2018!

In our last post we profiled nationally recognized architect Bloodgood Tuttle – an architect whose work was recognized nationwide, and who came to Grosse Ponte to work on a few select projects.

This week we continue with this theme, by profiling another architect in the same mold with a designer who only created one home in our community, however during his career had worked on a large number of projects throughout the United States

Welcome to the work of Harrie T. Lindeberg, a nationally recognized architect best known for designing spectacular country houses in the United States for prominent families during the 1910’s, 20’s and 30’s. Many of his projects centered on designing residences in the upscale suburbs and countryside around New York City, Houston, Chicago, Minneapolis and Detroit. His commissions came from many noted families including the Du Pont’s, the Havemeyer’s, and the Doubleday’s to name but a few.

Doubleday Estate – Courtesy of architecturaldigest.com

Doubleday Estate – Courtesy of Wikipedia

The son of Swedish parents, Harrie T. Lindeberg, was born in New Jersey, 1879. He studied architecture at the National Academy of Design from 1898 to 1901, and began his career as an assistant draftsman with the noted firm of McKim, Mead and White. Source: Wikipedia. In 1906 Lindeberg and fellow McKim, Mead & White draftsman Lewis Colt Albro, started their own firm. It was a partnership that lasted until 1914, after which Lindeberg established his own practice, and worked on a wide variety of projects, from large country estates to suburban villas.

Lindeberg Design (1916) – Courtesy of blogspot.com

Lindeberg Design (1918) – Courtesy of Pinterest.

Wyldwoode, Clyde M. Carr Estate, in Lake Forest, Illinois – Courtesy of galeriemagazine.com Photo: Jonathan Wallen

His approach crossed many popular architectural trends. He was probably best known and respected for working in a traditional approach while introducing crisp modern elements to his creations. Source: Wikipedia. Many of his homes were grand, yet quite simple in their form, displaying clean lines, high rooflines, and straightforward layouts. It is believed Scandinavian design remained a constant inspiration throughout his career. Source: ‘Reflecting on the Work of Architect Harrie T. Lindeberg’ – deringhall.com. (The article is based on the reserach of Peter Pennoyer, and Anne Walker for their new book Harrie T. Lindeberg and the American Country House (The Monacelli Press))

The excellent article continues to reveal that many of Lindeberg’s creations were constructed from brick and stone, but incorporated elements and forms from traditional English, French and Swedish architectural approaches, including the Art’s and Crafts movement. He liked to have fun with his work and pushed boundaries – in a couple of his designs he enjoyed using shingles to mimic thatched roofs. Lindeberg was also a big fan of symmetry, and was known for the gracious restrained elegance that featured throughout several of his highly detailed homes. You can read the full article by clicking here.

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Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – Cottage Hospital Nurses’ Residence

Last week we explored several of the sublime houses on Ridge Road, Grosse Pointe Farms. This week, we stay on Ridge Road and visit the Cottage Hospital Nurses Residence – now home to the Services for Older Citizens (SOC).

The building, located at 158 Ridge Road, was originally built for the newly constructed Cottage Hospital as a nurse’s residence. Cottage Hospital (now the Henry Ford Medical Center) was built in 1928 and was designed by the renowned firm of Stratton and Snyder.

Cottage Hospital – Courtesy of The Village of Grosse Pointe Shores By Arthur M. Woodford

The nurses’ residence, a separate building from the hospital, was the brainchild of Helen Hall Newberry Joy – daughter of Helen Handy Newberry and John Stoughton Newberry, and wife of Henry Bourne Joy. Ms. Newberry donated the funds so the dormitory could be built for the 20 nurses who would reside there at any one time. A grand opening took place in June 1930, and the residence became known as Newberry House.

The superb 10,000 sq ft three-story residence is a superb Georgian Colonial style design. Its symmetrical design, intricate brickwork, and perfect proportions is down to the creative skills of architect Raymond Carey.

Cottage Hospital Nurses Residence

Raymond Carey was a prominent architect in Grosse Pointe Farms, designing many luxurious homes during the era of substantial growth in the community.

Raymond Marwood-Elton Carey was born in England in 1883; he grew up in Bath surrounded by some of the finest examples of Georgian Architecture in the world, most of which still exist today. These Eighteenth Century architectural works of art made a huge impression on Carey and during his career he would design some of Grosse Pointe’s finest Georgian Homes.

Having graduated from the University of Bath, he arrived in Detroit at the beginning of the 20th Century. The city would be his home for just a few years. In 1909 he created what is arguably his finest Georgian masterpiece, the John M. Dwyer House, located at 372 Lakeland.

Shortly after completing the Dwyer House Carey relocated to Winnipeg, Manitoba. However, by the mid-1920’s Carey had returned to Detroit. During his second stint in the city Carey’s work began to become extremely sought after and he became a key figure in creating Georgian style homes. His work helped transform the architectural scene in Grosse Pointe Farms, through the golden era for Georgian design. Within 20 years he had created at least 12 homes (that we know of). You can read the full story of Raymond Carey by clicking here.

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Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – The Sublime Homes On Ridge Road

Having recently explored the early 20th century cottages on St Clair Avenue, this week we focus on the imposing 1920’s constructions on Ridge Road.

Ridge Road, in Grosse Pointe Farms, is one of the communities more distinctive streets, running through the heart of the Farms.

Based on research by the Grosse Pointe Historical Society, we understand, in 1885, most of the land between Ridge and Mack Avenue in Grosse Pointe Farms, was a heavily wooded swamp that extended several miles north and south. The land near Ridge was also used for farming purposes. The nuns at the Grosse Pointe Academy (known as the Sacred Heart Academy in that era) owned the land from the convent, via Kenwood, all the way to Ridge Road, and used much of it for farming.

Fast forward 30 years and the 1920’s in Grosse Pointe Farms were a time of change, prosperity, and architectural transformation. It was a golden era for the area in terms of growth.

The following homes are a handful of properties we have selected to feature. Many noted architects who had a substantial reputation, both locally and in some cases nationally, were commissioned to design them.

Number 175 – Burrowes and Eurich – 1922
The duo of Marcus Burrowes and Frank Eurich created their firm in 1920, and together they designed around 10 homes in Grosse Pointe. During this era Burrowes was widely known throughout southeast Michigan for his English Tudor Revival Style homes, however his 6,0101 sq ft house on Ridge was more in keeping with a stately Georgian Colonial approach. It features superb architectural detailing inside and out.

175 Ridge Road

Number 174 – Robert O’Derrick – 1923
Designed by one of the most prominent architects in Grosse Pointe, this 4,018 sq ft displays one of the most popular architectural styles in Grosse Pointe Farms during this era – a large, symmetrical brick built Colonial home.

174 Ridge Road – Courtesy of Google.com

This was O’Derrick’s signature style. He designed over 25 homes throughout the Grosse Pointe communities, along with the ‘Little Club’ and the Grosse Pointe Farms water filtration and pumping station. You can read his full story here.

Number 166 – D. Allen Wright – 1927
D. Allen Wright designed at least 15 houses (that we know of) in Grosse Pointe. Many of these residences are large French inspired homes, which include this house 4,945 sq ft house on Ridge.

166 Ridge Road

Wright’s designs, between 1926 and 1930, were based on French architectural styles, typically French Normandy and Provencal. The French Normandy country house was the primary inspiration for the American Norman style. It began to become popular shortly after the First World War when French chateaus were a model of inspiration. Typical traits of this approach include a round stone tower toped by a conical cone-shaped roof, a steeply pitched roof, stone façade, an arched opening to the main entrance, tall narrow chimneys along with an asymmetrical configuration to the home.

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Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – The Grosse Pointe Projects of Alexander Girard

Last week we covered the exceptional home, 232 Lothrop, created by the extremely talented artist Alexander Girard.

Described as one of the most important, prolific and influential textile designers of the twentieth century, Girard was also extremely skilled as an architect, interior, product, and graphic designer.

Alexander Girard (early 1950’s) – Courtesy of Vitra Design Museum

This week we focus on Girard’s other architectural projects in Grosse Pointe. Aside from designing the modern contemporary home located at 232 Lothrop (1951), Girard also created two further homes on Lothrop – number 222 (1948) and 234 (1949), along with 55 Vendome in 1951. All of his projects were created in his signature contemporary modern style, which was particularly prominent throughout the United States during this era.

Having re located in 1937, with his family, from New York to Detroit, Girard began the next phase of his career. In 1938 Girard designed the Junior League of Detroit’s Little Shop in Grosse Pointe. Shortly after, in partnership with H. Beard Adams, he opened his first store, located at 16906 Kercheval. The firm of Girard and Adam’s specialized in interior architecture, design and decoration.

Courtesy of – Alexander Girard, A Designer’s Universe.

In 1945 Girard utilized the former space he had held with Adams to open his own studio and store, to sell products, and stage small exhibitions of painting, sculpture and jewelry. In 1947 Girard relocated his shop to 379 Fisher Road. The new location provided Girard with a building to not only sell products, but also incorporate an office, and a space to showcase his irrepressible talent – offering, “complete architectural and design services for home, office and industrial fields”. Source: Alexander Girard, A Designer’s Universe.

379 Fisher – Courtesy of Alexander Girard, A Designer’s Universe.

379 Fisher Floor Plan – Courtesy of Alexander Girard, A Designer’s Universe.

Girard worked with many wealthy and celebrity clients in Metro Detroit, decorating and designing the interiors of their homes. This included several projects in Grosse Pointe:

222 Lothrop. Completed in 1948, this was Girard’s own home. It was located on a large lot close to the Pine Woods, a heavily wooded area in Grosse Pointe Farms. Based on research from the Vitra Design Museum we understand Girard created his new residence out of two old houses. Constructed from California redwood, the home featured innovative lighting solutions, plywood furniture designed by Girard as well as first samples of wall displays that would become a constant feature of his interiors. Source: Vitra Design Museum

As the floor plan below demonstrates the first floor was an open configuration, dominated by a large central living area – a typical feature of homes designed using this architectural approach. At some point in the homes history the house was raised – the floor plan and the photo below are from 1969.

The image below presents a superb representation of the interior of this home. Source: Atlas of Interiors

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Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – 232 Lothrop – An Exceptional Home

This is the story of an exceptional home in Grosse Pointe Farms. Some of you might remember this work of art, while for others this will be an introduction to a modern contemporary masterpiece.

232 Lothrop was built in 1951, but was razed several years ago. This one of a kind home was commissioned by Dr. George Rieveschl, a research chemist, and was the product of two masters of modern architecture. Alexander Girard designed the original home, while William Kessler extensively remodeled the property in 1959 (at a reported cost of $250,000 – around $2million today).

Situated on a secluded wooded ridge of over one and a half acres the residence was located on the highest point of land in Grosse Pointe Farms on a magnificent pine shaded site. Each room had its own view of the woods and gardens, filled with over 360 trees – the majority were towering pines and hemlocks.

Front of the home

As with many contemporary residences, the design of the home was based on clean lines, and a substantial amount filing every room. In the case of 232 Lothrop, this was achieved via the large 12’ ft high Thermopane window walls, patios, and the five skylights that were located throughout the property.

Rear of the home

Atrium looking west

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