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.
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.