Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – The Lost Estates – Part 3

Having recently featured the Whitcomb Estate, we continue with our series of the lost estates of Lakeshore. Last week we explored several large estate(s) close to the former Whitcomb residence – the bygone Roy Chapin, William P. Stevens, and Richard Webber properties. All of which have been razed over time, and have been replaced in one-way shape or form.

This week we continue along Lakeshore to an area between Harbor Hill and Kerby. Prior to 1950 this particular area of Lakeshore featured several magnificent residences including those of Frank P. Chesborough, Henry B. Joy, and David C. Whitney.

Starting in the early 1950’s these three residences were demolished within 10 years of each other – The Whitney Residence was one of the first of the grand mansions on Lakeshore to go, demolished in 1954. The Joy residence came down shortly after (in 1959), followed by the Chesbrough Estate (in the 1960’s).

Given the demise of these mansions happened within 10 years of each other, it is interesting to note that they were also built within 10 years of each other, during a time of grandeur, opulence, and a time when Lakeshore was becoming a popular destination.

Lets begin with the David C. Whitney summer residence – Ridgemont – built in 1902, located at 237 Lakeshore. Designed by accomplished Detroit architect Walter MacFarlane, this was a beautiful residence created in a classical Georgian style featuring, columns, pilasters and the central triangular pediment above the entrance.

Whitney Residence – Courtesy of the Burton Collection, Detroit Public Library

David C. Whitney’s new home was one of several white clapboard Colonial Revival homes that were being built in Grosse Pointe at that time. Along with the William C. McMillan house (designed by Mason and Rice) it was described as being ‘one of the most formal and stylistically pure of these homes’. The formal emphasis of Walter MacFarlane’s creation undoubtedly came from the White House in Washington. The home featured a two-storied portico (often found in the South), which was extremely popular at the turn of the century, and sunrooms at either end of the home. Source: Tonnancour, Volume 1.

David C. Whitney (son of David Whitney Jr, famous lumber baron, and owner of the house on Woodward, now known as The Whitney) was a banker, and real estate developer.

The Home was razed in 1954, and the estate subdivided.

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Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – The Lost Estates – Part 2

Last week we featured the Whitcomb Estate, a fascinating story that began life as the Theodore Parsons Hall estate and now exists as the Cracchiolo residence.

Given the extensive changes to Lakeshore, and its estates over the years we decided to continue with our exploration of some of these exceptional properties. This week, in part two, we investigate the large estate(s) close to the former Whitcomb residence – the bygone Roy Chappin, William P. Stevens, and Richard Webber properties. All of which have been razed over time, and have been replaced in one-way shape or form.

So lets start with 431 Lakeshore. Built in 1914 it was reportedly designed, by leading Detroit architectural firm Smith Hinchman and Grylls for William P. Stevens. It was a magnificent Georgian Revival home constructed from brick. The Georgian approach was extremely sought after during this era, particularly in the larger estates that were being built in Grosse Pointe Farms.

431 Lakeshore

431 Lakeshore – 1954

Mr. Stevens worked with his father in real estate development, and spent a lifetime developing Highland Park and other industrial centers. He also served a term on the old Detroit Board of Estimates, and was a councilman at Grosse Pointe Farms for several years.

The house was demolished in 1984 due to structural problems, and ongoing maintenance issues. Source: Information held at the Grosse Pointe Historical Society.

In 1925 the Detroit firm of J. Martin Brown, Robert O. Derrick and Martin Preston completed 437 Lakeshore for Richard H. Webber, nephew of Joseph L. Hudson (Richard H. Webber became head of J.L. Hudson’s upon his uncle’s death).

It was an impressive 5,641 sq ft home, designed in a traditional Tudor style (popular throughout the Grosse Pointe communities) constructed of stone, with limestone detailing around the windows. The three-story home featured superb detailing throughout that you would expect to find in a house of this grandeur. The first floor contained several rooms with natural fireplaces – the morning room, living room, and the library. The second floor included a master suite, complete with sitting room, along with four additional bedrooms and three bedrooms for maids. The third floor featured two bedrooms, two further bedrooms for maids along with a ballroom with a natural fireplace. Sadly we were unable to find any interior photo’s of this stunning residence.

437 Lakeshore – Courtesy of Detroityes.com

It was demolished in 1984, and the property was redeveloped, along with the former Chapin residence, to create the Windemere Place Condominium’s.

Robert O. Derrick, was one of Grosse Pointe’s most noted architects. In 1921 he held the title of Vice-President at the firm of Brown, Derrick and Preston, before going on to complete many solo projects throughout the community. You can read the full story about Robert O. Derrick by clicking here.

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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 – The Cadieux Farmhouse

Once upon a time, many years ago, 1850 to be exact, a young man by the name of Isadore Cadieux built a house in Detroit. 168 years later the home is still going strong, and now sits in its fourth location. Lets take a look at the story of the Cadieux Farmhouse.

In 1701 the first French settlers arrived in Detroit. As you could imagine the country was vastly different to the shores of France, not only geographically, but also culturally, and environmentally. They started to build residences, but the challenges were monumental. The materials they used in their homeland were unavailable, they had to figure our a way to keep out the bitter cold, and a method had to be perfected to stabilize their structures in order to prevent them from sinking into the mud in spring.

Having developed an architectural style to overcome the many challenges they first encountered, the French had perfected the French frame architectural style that became so popular in Detroit’s ribbon farm era.

In 1850, French descendant Isadore Cadieux relied on the building methods, perfected by the French settlers, to build a clapboard farmhouse in Detroit. Shortly after it was completed Isadore Cadieux had his new home transported by barge to a piece of land owned by his father, Michael Cadieux. Located on the waterfront at Bishop Road in Grosse Pointe Park the land was one of the many ribbon farms that dotted the waterfront of Grosse Pointes during that era.

In 1870, it is believed ‘one of the Cadieux women felt that it was unhealthy to live on the shores of Lake Saint Clair, and to alleviate her allergies had the home moved to 16939 East Jefferson, on the corner of Notre Dame’. Source: Grosse Pointe Historical Society.

The house was now in its third location where it would remain for 144 years. Constructed from wood, the original floor plan of the single story home measured only 800 square feet. It had pine floors, a narrow staircase, and hand-hewn balusters. Shortly after it was settled in its new location a second floor was added. Much of the original structure, and wood remains to this day.

Cadieux Farmhouse in 1983

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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 – Architect Henry F. Stanton

Last week we welcomed you to 330 Provencal, an opulent mansion designed in 1927 by Henry F. Stanton. Having enjoyed his work so much we thought we would delve into some of Stanton’s other projects that can be found throughout the Grosse Pointe communities.

There seems to be very little information on Stanton’s career, however, we do know Stanton was a faculty member of University of Michigan, and formed at least three partnerships with noted architects during his career – including Charles Kotting, Charles Crombie and James Hillier. Charles Kotting was ‘recognized as an architect of pronounced skill and ability whose designs combine in most attractive form, utility, convenience and beauty’. Source: the book ‘The City of Detroit, Michigan, 1701-1922, Volume 3’ (by Clarence Monroe Burton, William Stocking, and Gordon K. Miller).

Kotting created several stunning homes in Grosse Pointe, and over 100 structures in Metro Detroit. You can read his full story by clicking here.

It is not clear how many homes Stanton designed with Kotting, but they were responsible for 1034 Bishop in 1917.

Prior to his work with Kotting, it appears, in 1914, Henry Stanton formed a firm with Charles Crombie. Over a significant period they worked on many projects together, creating a rather eclectic portfolio. Not only did they design one of the largest homes in Grosse Pointe City (340 Lakeland) they also claimed third place in a national competition for the design of a low-cost brick house with 4-6 rooms. The award winning small brick home on Woodward Ave, Detroit, was contained within a rectangle measuring no more than 28 x 30 ft. and its success resulted with their work being featured in a book entitled ‘500 Small Houses of the Twenties’, which was published in 1923.

Crombie and Stanton had a stellar reputation for elegant, beautifully detailed brickwork, and impactful limestone entranceways. Their work is present in several of the Grosse Pointe communities including:

320 Washington (1920)
An elegant 5,947 sq ft Colonial brick home, the property features a walnut paneled library, spiral staircase, 6 bedrooms and a two-bedroom carriage house located over the three-car garage.

320 Washington

1036 Bishop (1923)
This is a 4,985 sq ft home designed in the Colonial Revival style.

1036 Bishop – Courtesy of Google.com

1094 Grayton (1924)
This is a 3,511 sq ft home designed in the Colonial Revival style.

1094 Grayton

165 Cloverly (1925)
This is a 4,309 sq ft home.

165 Cloverly – Courtesy of Google.com

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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 Pre 1911 Homes on Lake Shore, Grosse Pointe Shores

Having featured the superb historic homes of 980 and 976 Lake Shore last week, we were curious to find out how many other homes on Lake Shore, Grosse Pointe Shores were constructed around the beginning of the 20th Century.

There is an abundance of homes from this era on St Clair Avenue, Grosse Pointe City, but what about the Shores?

In 2011 the Village of Grosse Pointe Shores celebrated its centennial year. Based on research by Arthur M. Woodford in his book The Village of Grosse Pointe Shores we learnt that as part of this centennial celebration the Village honored the homes built before 1911 – there are at least a dozen.

Mr. Woodfood revealed four of these homes, and we have been able to find six others – to present 10 of these historic residences.

The majority of these homes still exist today, however throughout the course of history, several of these properties have undergone significant alterations, and so it is extremely difficult to find photo’s of the original properties. Nonetheless these homes are prized finds and play a huge part in the early development of our historic community.

Grosse Pointe Shores in 1915. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.

In 1911 the Village of Grosse Pointe Shores was a vastly different community to what we see today. Lake Shore Road was unpaved, and the only way to reach downtown Detroit was by horse and buggy, by boat, the interurban railway (the Detroit, Lake Shore, and Mount Clemens Railway), or if you were wealthy enough, by motorcar. Year round homes were few and far between, and much of the community consisted of rural ribbon farms and a few summer cottages. Source: The Village of Grosse Pointe Shores by Arthur M. Woodford.

Lake Shore 1880 – 1901. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.

1911 also witnessed the election of the first president of the newly established Village, George Osius. During this era, and under Mr. Osius’s guidance, the village quickly began to change. The once rural farming community became a haven for wealthy families who began to build expansive homes on the shores of Lake St. Clair.

The majority of the following pre 1911 homes still exist today. The oldest home in the community is 980 Lake Shore. Part of the home dates back to 1849, which makes it possibly the oldest clapboard house in Grosse Pointe to be still on its original foundation. You can read the full story by clicking here. 

971 Lake Shore: – completed in 1890

971 Lake Shore. Image courtesy of Arthur M. Woodford, The Village of Grosse Pointe Shores.

860 Lake Shore: The original home was completed in 1898 (the photo below, from 1972), is of the original Victoria style home. The architectural approach of the property was similar to many of the wonderful mid Victorian style homes found on St. Clair Avenue, and was extremely popular during this era. We believe it was razed around 1990, and a new home built on the lot.

860 Lake Shore

858 Lake Shore: – completed in 1900.

858 Lake Shore

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Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – Welcome to 980 and 976 Lake Shore

Having focused the last couple of blog posts on nationally recognized architects – Bloodgood Tuttle and Harrie T. Lindeberg – and their rare projects in Grosse Pointe, we now turn our attention to one of the oldest homes in the community 980 Lake Shore.

The origins of this property can be traced back as far as 1808. According to research by the Grosse Pointe Historical Society the patent title for the property was given to the French “Habitant” family of Julien Forton at the beginning of the 19th century.

The original property was a large farm bordered by Lake St. Clair, Mack Avenue and the Macomb County (Milk River) line. It is believed the landowner; Mr. Forton then deeded part of property to his daughter Monique and her husband. Several years later, in 1848, the couple sold a potion of the land to Pauline Van Antwerp, who, in 1849, built a permanent property on the land. Source: Grosse Pointe Historical Society.

In 1910 parts of the land, from the large farm, were sold. The new owner, Frank Biscoe, built an Arts & Crafts inspired motor garage and apartment on the property. In 1914 the property was sold again, the new owners, William and Lois Mertz, would reside there until 1953, when they decided to the divide the property. The Mertz’s sold the main house (980 Lake Shore) and moved into the original Biscoe home – the “Carriage House”, now recognized as 976 Lake Shore.

Fast forward to 2018, and part of the original home, from 1849, still exists on the lot. The remaining part of the structure, we understand, makes up the middle section of the existing structure – 980 Lake Shore. This would possibly make this home the oldest clapboard house in Grosse Pointe to be still on its original foundation. Understandable throughout the course of history the original construction has undergone significant changes, as has the immense 3.76-acre lot on the shore of Lake St. Clair that surrounds both buildings.

980 Lake Shore

The main building, 980 Lake Shore, has witnessed some major changes, and has been sold a number of times. Extensive renovations, took place in 1953 and 1973. The floor plans below provide us with a visual explanation as to how the home has changed over the course of around 20 years. The first floor plan (of both the first and second floors), shows the layout in 1972, while the second is from 1979 – after the extensive alterations were completed. The center of the home, believed to be the original middle section from 1849 remains the same configuration with the large (14’ x 19.7’ sq ft) dining room and staircase. However there are significant changes on the first floor. The porch was removed, and replaced by a nicely sized breakfast room (12’ x 20’ sq ft), while a substantial garden room (22’ x 28’ sq ft) was added to the rear elevation. Both ends of the home were remodeled, which included the installation of a large (19’ x 24’ sq ft) living room on the right hand side of the home.

980 Lake Shore Floor Plan – 1972

980 Lake Shore Floor Plan – 1st Floor – 1979

980 Lake Shore Floor Plan – 2nd Floor – 1979

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