Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – The Lost Estates – Part 3

Having recently featured the Whitcomb Estate, we continue with our series of the lost estates of Lakeshore. Last week we explored several large estate(s) close to the former Whitcomb residence – the bygone Roy Chapin, William P. Stevens, and Richard Webber properties. All of which have been razed over time, and have been replaced in one-way shape or form.

This week we continue along Lakeshore to an area between Harbor Hill and Kerby. Prior to 1950 this particular area of Lakeshore featured several magnificent residences including those of Frank P. Chesborough, Henry B. Joy, and David C. Whitney.

Starting in the early 1950’s these three residences were demolished within 10 years of each other – The Whitney Residence was one of the first of the grand mansions on Lakeshore to go, demolished in 1954. The Joy residence came down shortly after (in 1959), followed by the Chesbrough Estate (in the 1960’s).

Given the demise of these mansions happened within 10 years of each other, it is interesting to note that they were also built within 10 years of each other, during a time of grandeur, opulence, and a time when Lakeshore was becoming a popular destination.

Lets begin with the David C. Whitney summer residence – Ridgemont – built in 1902, located at 237 Lakeshore. Designed by accomplished Detroit architect Walter MacFarlane, this was a beautiful residence created in a classical Georgian style featuring, columns, pilasters and the central triangular pediment above the entrance.

Whitney Residence – Courtesy of the Burton Collection, Detroit Public Library

David C. Whitney’s new home was one of several white clapboard Colonial Revival homes that were being built in Grosse Pointe at that time. Along with the William C. McMillan house (designed by Mason and Rice) it was described as being ‘one of the most formal and stylistically pure of these homes’. The formal emphasis of Walter MacFarlane’s creation undoubtedly came from the White House in Washington. The home featured a two-storied portico (often found in the South), which was extremely popular at the turn of the century, and sunrooms at either end of the home. Source: Tonnancour, Volume 1.

David C. Whitney (son of David Whitney Jr, famous lumber baron, and owner of the house on Woodward, now known as The Whitney) was a banker, and real estate developer.

The Home was razed in 1954, and the estate subdivided.

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Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – The Lost Estates – Part 2

Last week we featured the Whitcomb Estate, a fascinating story that began life as the Theodore Parsons Hall estate and now exists as the Cracchiolo residence.

Given the extensive changes to Lakeshore, and its estates over the years we decided to continue with our exploration of some of these exceptional properties. This week, in part two, we investigate the large estate(s) close to the former Whitcomb residence – the bygone Roy Chappin, William P. Stevens, and Richard Webber properties. All of which have been razed over time, and have been replaced in one-way shape or form.

So lets start with 431 Lakeshore. Built in 1914 it was reportedly designed, by leading Detroit architectural firm Smith Hinchman and Grylls for William P. Stevens. It was a magnificent Georgian Revival home constructed from brick. The Georgian approach was extremely sought after during this era, particularly in the larger estates that were being built in Grosse Pointe Farms.

431 Lakeshore

431 Lakeshore – 1954

Mr. Stevens worked with his father in real estate development, and spent a lifetime developing Highland Park and other industrial centers. He also served a term on the old Detroit Board of Estimates, and was a councilman at Grosse Pointe Farms for several years.

The house was demolished in 1984 due to structural problems, and ongoing maintenance issues. Source: Information held at the Grosse Pointe Historical Society.

In 1925 the Detroit firm of J. Martin Brown, Robert O. Derrick and Martin Preston completed 437 Lakeshore for Richard H. Webber, nephew of Joseph L. Hudson (Richard H. Webber became head of J.L. Hudson’s upon his uncle’s death).

It was an impressive 5,641 sq ft home, designed in a traditional Tudor style (popular throughout the Grosse Pointe communities) constructed of stone, with limestone detailing around the windows. The three-story home featured superb detailing throughout that you would expect to find in a house of this grandeur. The first floor contained several rooms with natural fireplaces – the morning room, living room, and the library. The second floor included a master suite, complete with sitting room, along with four additional bedrooms and three bedrooms for maids. The third floor featured two bedrooms, two further bedrooms for maids along with a ballroom with a natural fireplace. Sadly we were unable to find any interior photo’s of this stunning residence.

437 Lakeshore – Courtesy of

It was demolished in 1984, and the property was redeveloped, along with the former Chapin residence, to create the Windemere Place Condominium’s.

Robert O. Derrick, was one of Grosse Pointe’s most noted architects. In 1921 he held the title of Vice-President at the firm of Brown, Derrick and Preston, before going on to complete many solo projects throughout the community. You can read the full story about Robert O. Derrick by clicking here.

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Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – The Lost Estates – Part 1

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.

Tonnancour – Courtesy of the Grosse Pointe Historical Society

The Hall Family – 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.

Anna Scripps and Edgar Whitcomb – Courtesy of the Grosse Pointe Historical Society

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Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – 55 Tonnancour

Last week we featured one of the oldest homes in Grosse Pointe, the Cadiuex Farmhouse. This week we turn our attention to another notable residence – 55 Tonnancour Place – one of Grosse Pointe’s more distinctive homes.

The stunning Georgian revival home sits on one of the most distinguished streets in the Grosse Pointe communities, Tonnancour Place, which was originally part of the historic Theodore Parsons Hall estate. Mr. Hall had purchased the 63 acres of land, which stretched back 2 ½ miles from Lake St. Clair, in the early 1880’s, and set about building an elaborate estate called Tonnancour. This included an eye-catching summer residence on the property – a Victorian Swiss Chalet style mansion. Source: Thomas W. Brunk, courtesy of the Grosse Pointe Historical Society.

Tonnancour – Courtesy of the Grosse Pointe Historical Society

The name Tonnancour is thought to have been taken from the 18th century stone mansion (of the same name) built by René Godefroy de Tonnancour (1669-1738) on the St. Lawrence River at Trois Rivières, Québec. Research by: Thomas W. Brunk, courtesy of the Grosse Pointe Historical Society.

Theodore Parsons Hall died in 1909. Around five years later the beautiful Victorian home burned down, and much of the land was then subdivided. Three of Hall’s daughters each built new houses on the divided lake front property, which included Marie Hall, who was married to Frederick Fuger. Mr. Fuger, born in Fort Slocum, New York in 1868, was a captain in the U.S. Army, and professor of military science and tactics at Michigan Agricultural College, 1905-1909.

The new Fuger home, completed in 1914, originally had the address of 395 Lakeshore. However, over the years the land was sub divided, resulting in the homes current address – 55 Tonnancour Place.

55 Tonnancour Place

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Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – The Cadieux Farmhouse

Once upon a time, many years ago, 1850 to be exact, a young man by the name of Isadore Cadieux built a house in Detroit. 168 years later the home is still going strong, and now sits in its fourth location. Lets take a look at the story of the Cadieux Farmhouse.

In 1701 the first French settlers arrived in Detroit. As you could imagine the country was vastly different to the shores of France, not only geographically, but also culturally, and environmentally. They started to build residences, but the challenges were monumental. The materials they used in their homeland were unavailable, they had to figure our a way to keep out the bitter cold, and a method had to be perfected to stabilize their structures in order to prevent them from sinking into the mud in spring.

Having developed an architectural style to overcome the many challenges they first encountered, the French had perfected the French frame architectural style that became so popular in Detroit’s ribbon farm era.

In 1850, French descendant Isadore Cadieux relied on the building methods, perfected by the French settlers, to build a clapboard farmhouse in Detroit. Shortly after it was completed Isadore Cadieux had his new home transported by barge to a piece of land owned by his father, Michael Cadieux. Located on the waterfront at Bishop Road in Grosse Pointe Park the land was one of the many ribbon farms that dotted the waterfront of Grosse Pointes during that era.

In 1870, it is believed ‘one of the Cadieux women felt that it was unhealthy to live on the shores of Lake Saint Clair, and to alleviate her allergies had the home moved to 16939 East Jefferson, on the corner of Notre Dame’. Source: Grosse Pointe Historical Society.

The house was now in its third location where it would remain for 144 years. Constructed from wood, the original floor plan of the single story home measured only 800 square feet. It had pine floors, a narrow staircase, and hand-hewn balusters. Shortly after it was settled in its new location a second floor was added. Much of the original structure, and wood remains to this day.

Cadieux Farmhouse in 1983

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Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – Welcome to Woodland Place

Last year we featured two homes on Woodland Place, number 2 and number 7. This week we thought we would delve into some of the other properties on this picturesque street in Grosse Pointe Farms.

Woodland Place, once a heavily wooded area on the shores of Lake St. Clair, is a narrow street, paved with bricks, and home to eight unique residences. The majority of the homes were built in the 1920’s by a handful of noted architects. Each of these architects worked on a couple of projects on the road, which is quite remarkable given that only 6 homes were built during this era.

Number 7 was the first home to be built on Woodland Place. It was completed in 1909 as a summer home for 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.

7 Woodland Place

7 Woodland Place

Mrs. Pingree hired noted architect William B. Stratton, an innovative designer who has often been described as having a vigorous creative imagination with a diverse range and aptitude for switching between architectural styles. His design for 7 Woodland Place centered on the Dutch Colonial style, complete with gambrel rood and flared eaves. Renowned Michigan architect Hugh T. Keyes extensively remodeled it in 1935. You can read the full story of this home by clicking here.

William B. Stratton and Dalton Snyder designed 4 Woodland Place in 1920. The fabulous 5,450 sq ft colonial home features high-beamed ceilings, intricate detailing throughout, and six bedrooms. This was Stratton’s second project on the street having completed 7 Woodland Place eleven years earlier.

4 Woodland Place

4 Woodland Place

Stratton and Snyder worked together from 1918 – 1925, and completed several homes in Grosse Pointe, including 365 University Place, 341 Lakeland, and 15366 Windmill Pointe. You can read the full story about William B. Stratton by clicking here.

1 Woodland Place was completed in 1921 by the Detroit firm of Brown, Derrick and Preston. Robert O. Derrick, one of Grosse Pointe’s most noted architects, was admitted to the firm, as a partner, in 1921, and held the title of Vice-President.

1 Woodland Place

Dr. Walter R. Parker commissioned the home, and at 9,050 sq ft it is the largest residence on the street. It is a stunning brick home with ornate limestone detailing on the front elevation – a typical trait of Robert O. Derrick’s work.

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Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – Architect Henry F. Stanton

Last week we welcomed you to 330 Provencal, an opulent mansion designed in 1927 by Henry F. Stanton. Having enjoyed his work so much we thought we would delve into some of Stanton’s other projects that can be found throughout the Grosse Pointe communities.

There seems to be very little information on Stanton’s career, however, we do know Stanton was a faculty member of University of Michigan, and formed at least three partnerships with noted architects during his career – including Charles Kotting, Charles Crombie and James Hillier. Charles Kotting was ‘recognized as an architect of pronounced skill and ability whose designs combine in most attractive form, utility, convenience and beauty’. Source: the book ‘The City of Detroit, Michigan, 1701-1922, Volume 3’ (by Clarence Monroe Burton, William Stocking, and Gordon K. Miller).

Kotting created several stunning homes in Grosse Pointe, and over 100 structures in Metro Detroit. You can read his full story by clicking here.

It is not clear how many homes Stanton designed with Kotting, but they were responsible for 1034 Bishop in 1917.

Prior to his work with Kotting, it appears, in 1914, Henry Stanton formed a firm with Charles Crombie. Over a significant period they worked on many projects together, creating a rather eclectic portfolio. Not only did they design one of the largest homes in Grosse Pointe City (340 Lakeland) they also claimed third place in a national competition for the design of a low-cost brick house with 4-6 rooms. The award winning small brick home on Woodward Ave, Detroit, was contained within a rectangle measuring no more than 28 x 30 ft. and its success resulted with their work being featured in a book entitled ‘500 Small Houses of the Twenties’, which was published in 1923.

Crombie and Stanton had a stellar reputation for elegant, beautifully detailed brickwork, and impactful limestone entranceways. Their work is present in several of the Grosse Pointe communities including:

320 Washington (1920)
An elegant 5,947 sq ft Colonial brick home, the property features a walnut paneled library, spiral staircase, 6 bedrooms and a two-bedroom carriage house located over the three-car garage.

320 Washington

1036 Bishop (1923)
This is a 4,985 sq ft home designed in the Colonial Revival style.

1036 Bishop – Courtesy of

1094 Grayton (1924)
This is a 3,511 sq ft home designed in the Colonial Revival style.

1094 Grayton

165 Cloverly (1925)
This is a 4,309 sq ft home.

165 Cloverly – Courtesy of

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Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – Welcome to 330 Provencal

Last week we introduced you to a distinctive Tudor Revival home in Grosse Pointe Park, located at 1007 Bishop. The home was completed in 1923 by the architectural firm of Walter Maul and Walter Lentz.

This week we explore a superb colonial home in Grosse Pointe Farms, 330 Provencal, which was completed in 1927, a mere four years later from the home on Bishop, but as you will agree presents a vastly different architectural approach.

Henry F. Stanton designed 330 Provencal during an era when grand homes were being constructed in Grosse Pointe Farms. It was a period when the Farms underwent a major architectural transformation.

Stanton, a faculty member of University of Michigan and master of exquisite brickwork, was a diverse designer, and was particularly adept at switching scale between large and much smaller residential projects. In 1923 his work was featured in a book entitled ‘500 Small Houses of the Twenties’. Two years later, in 1925 he had turned his attention to the other end of the scale designing a 9,500 sq ft residence at 340 Lakeland in Grosse Pointe. Many of his residential projects were created in partnership with other noted architects, including Charles Crombie and Charles Kotting. The partnerships were responsible for creating a number of grand homes in the Grosse Pointe Communities during the 1920’s, including 1034 Bishop (Kotting and Stanton) and 340 Lakeland (Crombie and Stanton). Henry Stanton was also an accomplished designer in his own right, and worked on his own for some of the projects he created here in Grosse Pointe, which included – 87 Kenwood (1926), 125 Kenwood (1927), and 330 Provencal (1927).

87 Kenwood – Courtesy of

125 Kenwood – Courtesy of

Many of Stanton’s homes featured elegant brickwork, and beautiful detailing inside and out. His work at 330 Provencal was no exception.

The large 8,625 sq ft brick property, displays many of the typical characteristics often found in Stanton’s work – ornate detailing, massive brick chimneys, an elaborate front entrance – in this instance carved limestone scrolls – along with a steep slate roof.

Entrance Way – Courtesy of

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2017 Annual Report – Grosse Pointe Real Estate

Higbie Maxon Agney is pleased to offer our 2017 Grosse Pointe Real Estate Annual Report – Within this report you will find information on average sale prices, sales volume, real estate trends, and much more.

The report presents an extremely positive picture of the continually improving Grosse Pointe housing market. 2017 saw the biggest increase in the average sales price over the past five years, up $35,244 over the past 12 months. The increase was reflected across most of the cities, while the number of sales also rose in many of the communities. Over the past twelve months residential sales topped $302 million, and the number of transactions improved to 855.

The sale of luxury homes (over $1 million) in 2017 far surpassed previous years with an impressive 24 sales in the last 12 months. That’s an increase of 60% over 2016. During the past year Detroit was frequently listed in the top 10 of the nations ‘hottest real estate markets’, and given its ever increasing popularity it is hardly surprising the sales of multi million dollar homes continued to grow, and far surpassed our expectations.

Please click here to access the full report.

Our goal is to give you an accurate and complete picture of the 2017 Grosse Pointe housing market. All of the graphs were produced internally for Higbie Maxon Agney using MiRealSource multiple listing service.

We are confident that these are the best statistics currently available on the Grosse Pointe housing market, and we hope that you will find the contents of this report readable and useful. As we look forward to the coming year, we will use this information to help our clients make informed, educated real estate decisions.

We look forward to assisting you with any real estate needs you may have in 2018.

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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