Posts

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