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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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