Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – Welcome to 1007 Bishop

For the past couple of weeks we have been reviewing the historic homes on Lake Shore, in Grosse Pointe Shores – in particular the homes that were built before 1911.

This week we head to Grosse Pointe Park to one of the largest lots on Bishop Road, number 1007.

Michael J. Murphy, president of the Murphy Chair Company in Detroit, commissioned the home in 1923, hiring the firm of Walter Maul and Walter Lentz (the former partners of – Walter MacFarlane, who died in 1919). Maul and Lentz, both graduates from the University of Michigan, designed many historic homes in Indian Village, and the affluent suburbs of Metro Detroit during this era. Here in Grosse Pointe, we believe they designed at least 3 other homes – 411 Lake Land, Grosse Pointe (1924), 699 Lake Shore (1924), and 805 Whittier (1934).

The English Tudor Manor is set on 1½ acres, and the home itself is 8,000 sq ft – one of the largest homes on the block. The house has a distinctive style, the steeply pitched rooflines dominate the design, while the patterned brick work (a particular trait of these two architects) and decorative chimneys add to its charm. Large windows fill many of the rooms with an abundance of light. It is noted in the history of the home, by the Junior League of Detroit, Michael J. Murphy specified the house be constructed of poured concrete with masonry walls, “that would never leak, sag or crack”. He wanted a home that was built to last.

The house has three stories; the first floor includes an expansive living room (21’ x 32’ sq ft), a large dining room (18 x 30’ sq ft) a huge kitchen (15’ x 22’ sq ft), a library (15’ x 22’ sq ft), family room (11’ x 15’ sq ft), and a games room (13’ x 20’ sq ft). Each of these rooms contains a natural fireplace; of which there are a total of eight fireplaces in the home. The second floor contains 5 family bedrooms, each with its own bathroom, a sitting room (14’ x 20’ sq ft), and a servants’ wing, complete with a bedroom, bathroom, living room and a kitchen. There is also an additional maids room located on the 3rd floor. An elevator, located in the black marble foyer, was installed at the time of the build to assist Elisa, Murphy’s wife who was sick, reach the second floor.

1007 Bishop – 1st Floor

1007 Bishop – 2nd Floor

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HMA has an open house this weekend – Sunday, October 22, 2017 2-4 p.m.:

HMA has an open house this weekend – Sunday, October 22, 2017 2-4 p.m.

Melissa Singh will be holding open 762 Bedford, Grosse Pointe Park

Lots of architectural detail in this Mediterranean style home located just off Windmill Pointe Drive! Two story living room with interior balcony! Updated kitchen! Updated master bath! Updated windows! Newer roof!  This 3,100 sq. ft. home is listed for $399,900.


For more detail please visit:


We look forward to seeing you!


For a full list of this weekend’s Open House’s visit:


HMA has an open house this weekend – Sunday, October 1, 2017 2-4 p.m.:

HMA has an open house this weekend – Sunday, October 1, 2017 2-4 p.m.

Melissa Singh will be holding open 762 Bedford, Grosse Pointe Park

Lots of architectural detail in this Mediterranean style home located just off Windmill Pointe Drive! Two story living room with interior balcony! Updated kitchen! Updated master bath! Updated windows! Newer roof!  This 3,100 sq. ft. home is listed for $399,900.


For more detail please visit:


We look forward to seeing you!


For a full list of this weekend’s Open House’s visit:


Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – Welcome to 1051 Berkshire

Welcome to one of the most individual homes in Grosse Pointe – 1051 Berkshire. Not only does the house have a very individualistic design it was also one of the few residences created by the Detroit based firm of Donaldson & Meier.

Donaldson & Meier were well known for their church work in Detroit and southeastern Michigan. John M. Donaldson and Henry J. Meier founded the firm in 1880. Donaldson was born in Scotland in 1854 and immigrated to Detroit with his family as a child. He had a wide and varied architectural education – after graduating from school he returned to Europe to study at the Art Academy in Munich, Germany and at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris.

John Donaldson – Courtesy of Wikipedia

Henry Meier – Courtesy of Wikipedia

Much of their early work together centered on designing churches, employing the Richardson Romanesque style in many of their designs. However, as architectural styles evolved so did their approach, which is certainly reflected in the Art Deco David Stott Building Donaldson completed in 1929.

David Stott Building – Courtesy of Wikipedia

In 1917 Henry J. Meier passed. Donaldson continued to run the firm, creating many unique buildings. This includes the rare residential project located at 1051 Berkshire.

Based on research at the Grosse Pointe Historical Society we understand the home was designed to resemble a château that French born Victor R. Heftler had admired on a visit to France.

Known as the “Coin de France” Heftler commissioned the home for his family in 1929. The 4,159 sq ft 3 story house is designed with a French Normandy architectural approach, which is evident in its central turret, slate roof and stucco and stone façade.

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Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – Gardeners World – Landscape Architect Ellen Biddle Shipman

As you know Grosse Pointe has a phenomenal array of architecture. Aside from having an abundant collection of residential and commercial structures from some of the nations leading architects, Grosse Pointe was also a hotbed for some of America’s leading landscape architects.

This week we focus on a landscape architect who helped transform the community in a monumental way. In terms of prominence this designer was considered a pioneer in her field during the first half of the 20th century.

Welcome to the work of Grosse Pointe’s most prolific landscape architect Ellen Biddle Shipman.


Courtesy of:

Ellen Biddle Shipman was an American landscape architect known for her formal gardens and lush planting style. Throughout her career, she created over 650 gardens, including 60 in Grosse Pointe – more than any other community in the United States.

Born in Philadelphia, 1869, Shipman spent her early childhood in Texas, before moving with her family back to the east coast where she would attend a boarding school in Baltimore. By 1910, having recently divorced, Shipman had begun to establish herself nationally as a talented garden designer. She was living in New Hampshire, close to the Cornish Art Colony, and had recently met architect, and fellow artist Charles A. Platt.

From the 1920’s through to the 1940’s Shipman ran an all-female office in New York, specializing in residential design. During the 1920’s Shipman’s natural skill as a designer and determination allowed her to break into the largely male occupation, while her work was receiving national recognition.


Ellen Shipman in Grosse Pointe
We believe Shipman’s first project in Grosse Pointe was in 1911 – the design of a formal garden at Lake Terrace – the estate owned by John S Newberry. She created a formal garden that often provided a wonderful setting for outdoor weddings, and parties for Newberry’s friends and family. The photo’s below shows some of the stunning floral displays at Lake Terrace (courtesy of the Library of Congress).


Image courtesy of:


Image courtesy of:


Image courtesy of:


Image courtesy of:

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Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – An Exploration – Part 4: Bedford Road

Continuing with our review of individual streets in Grosse Pointe, we proceed in our exploration of Grosse Pointe Park and the intriguing street of Bedford.

Many of the houses in the Park were built prior to World War II, created for high-flying executives looking to relocate their families to Grosse Pointe. By the 1940’s the Park had an abundance of architecturally significant homes, located on many prestigious streets, including: Bishop, Kensington, Yorkshire, Edgemont Park, Three Mile Drive, Berkshire, Balfour, Middlesex, Westchester and Bedford (to name but a few).

Bedford has many interesting houses for us to profile including a number of homes created by several noted designers including: John C. Stahl, J. Ivan Dise, Robert Calder, Walter Mast, and William Kuni.

While these designers might not be household names, these architects made a difference to the architectural scene in Metro Detroit. They worked diligently throughout the area, creating houses that left a mark on the communities they touched.

John C. Stahl designed two homes on Bedford – 1006 and 729. Stahl (in collaboration with Donald L. Kinsey) designed 1006 Bedford in 1919 for one of Detroit’s most prominent realtors, John H. Tigchon and his family. The home was one of only a few homes in Grosse Pointe to be designed by the architectural firm of John C. Stahl and Donald L. Kinsey. Very little is known about Donald Kinsey, however John C. Stahl was recognized as one of the most skilled church and school architects in the state.


1006 Bedford

This Colonial style 4,000 sq ft home is constructed from brick with a slate roof. It has a classic oversized entrance associated with this architectural style, which is flanked by a row of two columns either side of the door, supporting a roof above the entrance. At the time of completion the house was featured in an edition of Michigan Architect and Engineer as depicted by the black and white image below. You can read the full story of this home by clicking here.


1006 Bedford – Courtesy of Michigan Architect and Engineer

House number 729 was completed in 1938. It is a 4,205 sq ft English Tudor style brick home that features a cathedral ceiling in the great room, along with beautiful natural woodwork throughout. At some point the home was expanded. We believe the expansion, in part, featured an update to the second floor – the master bedroom was altered to be equivalent in size to the living room (18’ x 24’sq ft) and a large master bath (11’ x 14’ sq ft) was also added.


729 Bedford

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Grosse Pointe Open Houses for this weekend – Sunday, October 23, 2016 from 2-4 p.m.

HMA has an open house this weekend — Sunday, October 23, 2016 2-4 p.m.:

Liana Schissel will be holding open 1100 Devonshire, Grosse Pointe Park

Spectacular Move-In ready 4000+ sq. ft Colonial on a large corner lot with an oversized attached garage.  Come and enjoy the expansive center entryway, large dining room, and stunning details throughout this show stopper home.  Tastefully remodeled kitchen (2014) with large butcher block island, newer appliances and a beautiful butler’s pantry complete with secret storage drawers and a gardener’s sink. Refinished hardwood floors and completely new interior paint (2014).  Three fireplaces – Living Room, Master Bedroom and Library. The master bedroom has a large walk-in closet and ensuite bathroom. Beautiful lushly landscaped English garden with a lovely private outdoor patio.  The finished basement has a rec room with laundry, bonus back room, 2 walk in closets for storage as well a half bath.



For more detail visit:


We look forward to seeing you!


For a full list of this weekend’s Open House’s visit:




Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – Grosse Pointe’s Best Kept Secret – Edgemont Park

Located between Ellair Place and Park Lane in Grosse Pointe Park is a small unassuming dead end street called Edgemont Park. The secluded road is lined with an abundance of trees, so much so that many of the homes are almost hidden from view. At the end of the street is a small lakefront park, it is believed each family has a key, providing residents with a place to call their own. Edgemont Park is quite beautiful.

The road is home to a handful of residences; there are some superb architectural examples on display created by a number of skilled designers.

The houses are somewhat unique to Edgemont Park. The styles range from French Colonial, English Tudor, through to several excellent examples of Italian Renaissance Revival design. Many of the homes were constructed during the 1920’s and were created by some prominent architects, including: Louis Kamper, Hugh T. Keyes, Clair W. Ditchy, and two homes by Marcus Burrowes,

The Homes:

820 Edgemont: designed by Hugh T. Keyes in 1927, this 9,204 sq ft house is a beautiful property on the shore of Lake St Clair. Keyes was a prolific designer of fine homes in the Grosse Pointes and was arguably one of the most diverse architects to ply his trade in the community.


Courtesy of Grosse Pointe Historical Society


835 Edgemont: A Colonial home designed in 1925. The architect is not known.


Courtesy of Grosse Pointe Historical Society

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Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – Detroit’s Premier Architect– Louis Kamper

When we stop and consider which designers have had the greatest influence on the architectural scene in Detroit, it is quite possible there would be three reoccurring names – Albert Kahn, George Mason and Louis Kamper.

These three architectural masters worked during a golden era, creating residential and commercial structures that left not only a permanent mark but helped position Detroit as the home to some of the most remarkable buildings found in the United States.

All three of these special architects not only work in Detroit but also created homes in and around Grosse Pointe. Having previously featured the projects of Kahn and Mason lets now turn our attention to Louis Kamper.

Louis KamperKamper was born in Bavaria, Germany in 1861. He emigrated to the U.S. with his family in 1880. Having arrived in Detroit in 1888 he quickly established himself in the architectural scene, joining the firm of Scott & Scott, and becoming partner within a year.

His list of wealthy clientele grew quickly and he soon established a relationship with the Book family, becoming their chief architect. According to research on Kamper created several buildings for the Book Brothers. The first came in the form of the Book Building (1916) – an Italian Renaissance-style building. This led to further commissions from the family; a key project was transforming Washington Boulevard with the addition of a number of high-rise buildings, including the construction of the Book Tower (1926) on the southwest corner of Grand River Avenue and Washington.

Book Building

Book Building – courtesy of states – ‘J. Burgess Book Jr. found in Louis Kamper an architect who was entirely sympathetic to his ideas,’ William Hawkins Ferry wrote in his book The Buildings of Detroit – ‘Kamper, too, had journeyed about Europe studying the architectural monuments of the past. In America he saw the opportunity to impart to the new skyscraper the beauty of these masterpieces.’

In 1923 Kamper created the Book Cadillac Hotel. explains ‘the Neo-Renaissance hotel incorporates a variety of architectural elements from Europe’. When it opened ‘it was the largest and tallest hotel in the world and became a benchmark for all hotel designs that would come after it’.


Book Cadillac Hotel – courtesy of

Following the completion of the Book Cadillac Hotel Kamper was commissioned by hotelier Lew Tuller to design three hotels in Metro Detroit – all three were designed and built in 1924.

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Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – the manor on the lake – 15366 Windmill Pointe Drive

Located on Windmill Pointe Drive house number 15366 was recently awarded a historic plaque by the Grosse Pointe Historical Society. I was honored to be asked to conduct the research of this residence, and give a presentation at the annual awards ceremony.

The Grosse Pointe Historical Society kindly gave Higbie Maxon permission to share the research (edited for this blog post) in order to present the story of this historic home along with some wonderful photo’s of the property – courtesy of Robin Maghielse.

This home is also the venue for the Historical Society’s ‘Moonlight at the Manor’ Gala Party – on June 9th – tickets are available- please click here for details.

The Architect – William Buck Stratton
It is believed William Buck Stratton first appeared in the Detroit City directory in 1889 while he was working as a draughtsman for the prestigious architectural firm of Mason & Rice.

strattonStratton was an innovative designer and has been described as having a vigorous creative imagination. He had a reputation for staying abreast of the latest trends in commercial and residential architecture; thus allowing him to create designs that were ahead of their time. Stratton was a huge advocate of the Art & Crafts movement in Detroit, along with several others prominent architects including Albert Kahn. As part of the dedication to this movement Stratton helped organize the first and second annual exhibitions of arts and crafts held at the Detroit Museum of Art in 1904 and 1905.

His work in Grosse Pointe demonstrates his diverse range and aptitude for switching between architectural styles. Stratton was very good at adapting his style to the desires of his clients.

During his career, he worked with several partners, creating a number of homes in Grosse Pointe that varied extensively in style. During the 1920’s he worked on numerous commissions in the community including 4 Woodland Place (1922), 365 University Place (1923), 15366 Windmill Pointe, 341 Lakeland (1927), and 938 Three Mile (1927 – Stratton’s own home).


365 University Place

341 Lakeland_a

341 Lakeland

938 Three Mile_a

938 Three Mile

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