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

Read more

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

Read more

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.

Read more

Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – The Work Of Bloodgood Tuttle.

Having spent the past two weeks exploring two sublime homes on Woodland Place – 2 Woodland Place, and 7 Woodland Place – we now turn our attention to an architect we haven’t featured before – Bloodgood Tuttle.

Bloodgood Tuttle may not have been a prolific architect in Grosse Pointe, but he was an architect who had a stellar reputation across several states. Many such architects, who have created very few homes in our community, had worked on a large number of projects throughout the United States, and given their prominence we are rather fortunate to have some of their work on display.

Born in 1889 Tuttle was originally from Cleveland. He graduated from the University of Chicago and continued his architectural studies at the Beaux Arts in Paris. On his return to the United States Tuttle established himself in Detroit, but also practiced far and wide.

During the 1920’s he had gained a first-rate reputation for the stately residences he had created in Shaker Heights, Ohio. He was one of the best-known architects in the area, designing 36 homes. The images below are a few examples of Tuttle’s projects in Shaker Heights. Source: clevelandhistorical.org

Despite spending much of his time in Ohio Tuttle also continued to practice in Detroit and throughout the State of Michigan. His designs crossed several architectural styles, ranging from Tudor, French Châteaux through to Dutch Colonial and English manor style.

Tuttle worked primarily on residential projects, but also welcomed commercial commissions. One of his more noted projects in Michigan was the Midland County Court House, completed in 1926. Tuttle designed the building in a rustic Tudor Revival style, mainly to adhere to the style of other public buildings in the state and, indeed, the nation. The design was also, in part, influenced by a request from Herbert H. Dow, founder of the Dow Chemical Company, who had provided additional funds and materials for the build.

Midland County Courthouse – Courtesy of waymaking.com

Read more

Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – Welcome to 7 Woodland Place

Last week we presented the striking Federalist inspired home – 2 Woodland Place – by one of Grosse Pointes most prolific architects Robert O’Derrick.

This week we stay on Woodland Place, and explore another of the streets individualistic homes – 7 Woodland Place.

Originally designed by William Buck Stratton, 7 Woodland Place is arguably one of the more unique homes found in Grosse Pointe. It was completed in 1909 as a summer home of 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.

Hazen S. Pingree – Courtesy of Wikipedia

Pingree was a cobbler by trade. Having moved to Detroit in 1865 he established a successful shoe making company. By 1886, it was a 1 million dollar company with 700 employees turning out a half-million shoes and boots a year. It was the second biggest shoe manufacturer in the U.S. Source: Wikipedia.

In 1872 Pingree married Frances A. Gilbert and together they had three children. Hazen S. Pingree died in 1901, and so the summer home commissioned on Woodland Place was created for his wife and children.

It was the first house to be built on this once heavily wooded area. Mrs. Pingree hired one of Detroit’s most prominent architects, at the time, William Stratton, to design her new summer residence.

Stratton was an innovative designer, and has often been described as having a vigorous creative imagination with a diverse range and aptitude for switching between architectural styles. He was constantly at the forefront of the latest trends in commercial and residential design, which allowed him to create buildings that were ahead of their time. He designed many homes in Grosse Pointe, where his approach ranged from the formal to the informal, the traditional to the free flowing. Stratton was also known for his skill at adapting his style to the desires of his client, while stretching the brief as much as possible. You can read his full story by clicking here.

His design for 7 Woodland Place centered on the Dutch Colonial style, complete with gambrel rood and flared eaves – it is not clear how big the original home was.

7 Woodland Place – Courtesy of Grosse Pointe Historical Society.

In 1935 the Pingree family hired renowned Michigan architect Hugh T. Keyes to make extensive additions to the house to convert it from a summer home to a year-round residence. Keyes had a stellar reputation for making significant alterations to existing homes, and had undertaken several such projects in Grosse Pointe.

Read more

Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – Welcome to 2 Woodland Place

Last week we explored the various projects of noted Detroit architect Roland C. Gies. He designed at least 5 homes (that we know of) in Grosse Pointe, and the original Bon Secours hospital.

We now turn our attention to one of Grosse Pointes most prolific architects Robert O’Derrick and his work at 2 Woodland Place, Grosse Pointe City.

Having designed over 25 homes throughout the Grosse Pointe Communities, Derrick was also responsible for two prominent school buildings, the ‘Little Club’, along with the Grosse Pointe Farms water filtration and pumping station.

Alongside Albert Kahn, Hugh T. Keyes, Marcus Burrowes, and J. Ivan Dise, Derrick was pivotal in changing the face of the architectural scene within the community during the 1920’s. The most prominent period of Derrick’s work in Grosse Pointe occurred during 1923 to 1931, and crossed several architectural styles.

Derrick’s work was extremely formal in its approach, and displayed superb attention to detail. The majority of his commissions were large residences for renowned businessmen. He was also a big fan of English stately homes. Having travelled to England in 1927 to study English Domestic Architecture, Derrick returned to the United States and created several wonderful Georgian inspired masterpieces on Vendome, Grosse Pointe Farms – 211, 168 and 70. However, it is his work at 2 Woodland Place that we are going to explore.

211 Vendome

168 Vendome

70 Vendome

2 Woodland Place was completed in 1928 for Frank Woodman Eddy – a prominent businessman in Detroit who had made his fortune from chemical and rubber manufacturing. Mr. Eddy was also the first president of the Detroit Athletic Club in 1887.

2 Woodland Place

Read more

Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – The Work of Roland C. Gies

Having presented the superb Georgian Cottage Hospital Nurses Residence in Grosse Pointe Farms we now focus on the work of noted Detroit architect Roland C. Gies, which includes another significant building in Grosse Pointe – Bon Secours.

Roland C Gies

Roland C. Gies was born in Detroit, 1874. He was educated at the St. Mary School and the Detroit College. He spent the majority of his career in the city where he was ‘favorably known’, and well respected by his peers. Having graduated with a degree in architecture he gained valuable experience in the office of R.E Roseman, and for a long time afterward was identified with the firms of Albert Kahn, and Donaldson and Meier. Source: The City of Detroit, Michigan, 1701-1922, Volume 4

In 1903 Gies completed a significant residential project – the new home for George Stroh, located at 548 East Grand Blvd – which undoubtedly helped forge his career. The striking house contained several unusual features for the time, including a third floor gymnasium, a subway-tiled walk-in refrigerator, and an electric burglar alarm system.

548 East Grand Blvd – Courtesy of Flickr

In 1904 Gies partnered with Maxwell Grylls to form the firm of Grylls and Gies. Together they designed many wonderful formal brick Georgian homes, including several residences in Indian Village – 1072 Seminole (built in 1904), 1106 and 1127 Seminole (1905), 962, 1043, 1038 and 1012 Burns Ave (pictured below) – were all completed in 1906.

1012 Burns Ave – Courtesy of Flickr

In 1906 the firm of Grylls and Gies was dissolved. Maxwell Grylls would join in the formation of one of Detroit’s most famous architectural firms – Smith, Hinchman and Grylls, while Roland C. Gies set up his own firm focusing on projects throughout Metro Detroit. Gies tended to specialize in domestic projects, however his technical training and broad practical experience also allowed him to diversify and create several attractive commercial buildings in Detroit. This included the Comfort Station #8 Riverbank Drive built in 1914 Belle Isle Detroit.

Here in Grosse Pointe Mr. Gies worked on several residential projects. He continued with his recognized approach of creating large brick homes. All were perfectly proportioned, and demonstrated his immense skill for detailed brick designs.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – Welcome to St Clair Avenue – Part 2

Last week we explored several homes on St. Clair Avenue, Part 1 – the early cottages that were constructed at the beginning of the 20th century.

This week we continue our exploration of more homes on the street, along with sharing a brief history of one of Grosse Pointe’s oldest schools.

The homes we have chosen to profile this week continue with the them of the first post – in that they were built between 1900 – 1916, and display characteristics of Colonial, Craftsman and Victorian architectural styles.

However, lets start with one of Grosse Pointe’s oldest schools – located at 389-399 St. Clair Avenue. The Cadieux School – now referred to as the Grosse Pointe Schools Administrative Buildings – was built in 1905-1906, by the renowned architectural firm of Stratton and Baldwin. Based on research by Grosse Pointe Historical Society, the school was named the Cadieux School after the Cadieux family who resided in the Village. Francis Cadieux served as the District No. 1 School Inspector for 33 years.

It was the second school building to be built around this era for the Grosse Pointe School’s (District #1). The original two-story building was home to eight classrooms, and around 240 pupils. In 1916-18, a north building, 399 St Clair, was added for the school to increase its capacity. By 1924 the two buildings catered for students of all ages, from kindergarten through to twelfth grade.

Over the years the buildings have undergone numerous updates and renovations. Between 2002-2003 the buildings underwent major changes, which included fully connecting the two sections. Source: Grosse Pointe Historical Society.

Of the handful of schools built in this era only two original buildings remain – the Cook School on Mack and the Cadieux School on St. Clair.

It wasn’t just the school that was being constructed at the turn of the twentieth century; more homes were also being built. Prior to 1905 five of the oldest homes on the street had been completed – numbers 475, 469, 569 were built in 1901, while 479 and 547 were constructed in 1903.

469 St Clair Avenue – Courtesy of Google.com

547 St Clair Avenue – Courtesy of Google.com

Read more