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Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – The Many Faces of Albert Kahn

Several of the architects who created residential work in Grosse Pointe also worked in commercial, industrial and municipal architecture. Albert Kahn was not only capable of working in all these different disciplines, but he was indeed world renowned for some of his innovations.

There are numerous other architects who were as equally diverse, however what makes Kahn almost unique in the world is that he had a separate design language for each type of building – he created modern/ground breaking industrial designs, was open to following the latest trends for his commercial projects, and developed very traditional residences. In a limited group of architects who possessed these skills this makes him quite remarkable.

Kahn’s early career was dominated by residential projects. He then ventured into commercial buildings, added factories to his repertoire, whilst continuing to work on many grand homes throughout Metro Detroit, albeit in a more limited capacity.

In 1894, whilst working as a draftsman for Mason and Rice, Kahn was part of the team who were asked to create the new offices for Hiram Walker and Sons in Windsor, Ontario. One year later, in 1895, at the age of 26, he founded the architectural firm of Albert Kahn Associates. In 1901 he had completed his first industrial project – the Boyer Machine Company in Detroit is the first industrial building attributed to Kahn. Source: The Legacy of Albert Kahn by W. Hawkins Ferry.

In 1903 Kahn was hired to build a new automotive plant for the Packard Motor Company. A contemporary magazine at the time praised Kahn’s design as a new style of factory, bright, clean and cheerful.

The first nine buildings of the plant were of conventional mill construction. Kahn, realized the system could be a fire hazard, and so for the design of building number 10 (in 1905) he switched to the system of reinforced concrete that his brother had perfected – the first of its kind in Detroit. ‘The “Kahn” system soon became established and popular throughout the country’. Source: The Legacy of Albert Kahn by W. Hawkins Ferry.

Packard Plant’s building number 10 during expansion circa 1911 – courtesy of Wikipedia.

Over the next few years Kahn threw himself into industrial design, creating numerous factories for the ever-expanding automobile companies – including the Ford Motor Company Highland Park Plant. This left him with a limited about of time for residential projects which he reserved for a few select clients.

By 1910, his work fell into several defined styles – his industrial work was innovative and groundbreaking, his commercial work was commanding attention for its ‘simplicity and excellence’, while his residential projects were grand traditional masterpieces.

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Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – Welcome to Lakeland – Part 3 (1928 – 1955)

Welcome to part three of our Lakeland exploration in Grosse Pointe City. Over the past couple of weeks we have investigated some fabulous homes. Part one explored several residences completed between 1909 and 1924, while part two presented numerous houses constructed between 1924 and 1927.

Lakeland has a wonderfully diverse selection of architectural styles that have evolved during a period of significant growth in the Grosse Pointes. We are fortunate enough to be able to see the transition that is so clearly evident on this street – from the grand 12,000 sq ft Georgian home created for John M. Dwyer in 1909, to the exquisite French provincial residence completed in 1927, through to the modern colonial home completed in 1955.

We begin our final review of Lakeland with number 340, completed in 1928. Crombie and Stanton, who had completed number 355 Lakeland the previous year, designed it for Arthur B. McGraw.

Built on a large 1.14-Acre lot the stunning English manor house is a brick construction, with slate roof, and 3 stunning interlocking brick chimneys on the front elevation. The front of the 3-storey home features a magnificent bay window, and a wonderfully detailed front entrance with five rows of brick set within a step formation leading to the front door. The large windows result in huge amounts of light flooding each room, thus emphasizing the magnificent architectural detailing that includes a dragon holding a compass in its talons on the textured ceiling in the living room.

In 1933 two bedrooms and a bathroom for the maids were added to the first floor, along with a bedroom suite on the second floor.

340 Lakeland – Courtesy of Grosse Pointe Historical Society

340 Lakeland

Completed in 1929 is number 315. This magnificent 7,274 sq ft Tudor residence was designed by one of Detroit’s most significant architects George D. Mason. As renowned Detroit historian Clarence M. Burton once wrote, quite simple George DeWitt Mason was “the dean of Detroit architects”.

315 Lakeland

315 Lakeland

 

With a career spanning over 50 years Mason created many historic buildings in and around the city, along with several superb homes in Grosse Pointe. Over a period of 21 years he designed 10 homes in the community – grand structures, very distinctive style, with individual personalities. You can read his full story in by clicking here – part 1; part 2; and part 3.

Also finished in 1929 is house number 521 – a 3,179 sq ft Colonial residence. Hilary Micou, who constructed an enormous amount of homes in the Grosse Pointes, built it. Many of his properties span several decades – from the late 1920’s through to the late 1950’s. This is quite possibly one of his earliest projects in the community.

521 Lakeland

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Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – Welcome to Lakeland – Part 2 (1924 – 1927)

Last week we introduced you to the distinguished street of Lakeland (Part 1), and its array of architecturally significant homes created between 1909 and 1924 by a range of talented designers.

This week we continue our exploration as we reveal some of the homes constructed between 1924 and 1927. There are some wonderful works of art, compiling a rich collection of differing architectural approaches.

Lets start with number 411, completed in 1924, by the noted firm of Maul and Lentz. It is a striking 4,882 sq ft brick home with exquisite limestone detailing on the front elevation. The interior features high ceilings, a marble floored foyer, a beautiful wood paneled library along with seven spacious bedrooms. The home was built for Dr. Thaddeus Walker (1870-1939), who was a prominent physician in Detroit.

411 Lakeland – Courtesy of Grosse Pointe Historical Society

411 Lakeland

Walter Maul and Walter Lentz also designed 1007 Bishop Road, Grosse Pointe Park – one of the largest lots on the street. Maul and Lentz, the previous partners of – Walter MacFarlane, both graduated from University of Michigan. Together they designed many historic homes in Indian Village, and the affluent suburbs of Metro Detroit during this era.

John W Case designed number 455 in the same year, 1924. It is 4,494 sq ft and created in a Spanish architectural style with a white stucco exterior and terracotta tiles on the roof – popular in Grosse Pointe during this era.

455 Lakeland – Courtesy of Grosse Pointe Historical Society

Also completed in 1924, is number 430, a splendid 2,848 sq ft brick residence designed by Lancelot Sukert. This architect was a key advocate of the arts and crafts movement in the city during this era. One of Sukert’s more noted projects was the Scarab Club. Completed in 1928 it is an artist’s club, gallery and studio in Detroit’s Cultural Center. It was designated a Michigan State Historic Site in 1974 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. Source: Wikipedia.

430 Lakeland

Completed in 1925, number 440 is a Tudor style home designed by Murphy and Burns.

440 Lakeland – Courtesy of Grosse Pointe Historical Society

The Detroit based firm were also responsible for the Graphic Arts Building in 1928. Located at 41-47 Burroughs, the 50,000 sq ft, four-story Italian Romanesque style building (the façade is faced with cream-colored terra cotta) was created to house individuals and businesses associated with the graphic arts.

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Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – Welcome to Lakeland (1909 – 1924)

Over the past couple of weeks we have presented you with the history of the golf course at the Country Club of Detroit, along with a superb mid century modern home located at 906 Lake Shore.

This week, in the first of a three part series, we return to profiling one of the distinguished streets in the community, and its array of architecturally significant homes – welcome to Lakeland, in Grosse Pointe City.

The homes on Lakeland span a multitude of decades – from the beginning of the 20th century through to the 1950’s and beyond. As you can imagine the architectural styles vary a great deal, which provides us with an exciting collection of designs to explore. A talented range of designers who have worked on a substantial number of residences across the Grosse Pointe communities during their respective careers created the homes.

Lets start with possibly the oldest, and largest house on the street number 372. The house was built for John M. Dwyer in 1909. At just under 12,000 Square feet, it is one of the largest residences in Grosse Pointe, and one of the finest examples of Georgian architecture in the community. It was designed by Boston architect George Hunt Ingraham who worked in Detroit for a limited number of years from 1907 – 1910 (we believe).

372 Lakeland – courtesy of google.com

372 Lakeland – courtesy of Grosse Pointe Historical Society

The estate, surrounded by a lush formal garden, originally sat across what is now Lakeland Avenue. When the property was constructed a brick wall swept around the entire block from Jefferson to Maumee, and the property was encased by a stunning garden, including a tennis court on the side yard lawn.

372 Lakeland – courtesy of Grosse Pointe Historical Society

At some point in the history of the home, and it is not clear when, the land was sub divided and bisected by Lakeland Avenue. The gigantic Georgian Mansion was moved approximately 100’ and rotated 90 degrees to face Lakeland Avenue, where it still stands.

The house itself became 372 Lakeland, the carriage house now has the address of 17330 Maumee, while the guesthouse became 382 Lakeland. The original wall and iron gates that were part of the original estate still remain and are located on the piece of land at the corner of Lakeland and Maumee.

House number 266 is one of the fabulous Albert Kahn homes that can be found in the community. Built in 1912, the 5,474 sq ft home was constructed for Benjamin F. Tobin, president of Continental Motors. Tobin was one of the many auto executives who chose to locate to the thriving new community in the suburbs during the early 1900’s. The English Tudor style home features 18-rooms, and was recently awarded a bronze historic plaque by the Grosse Pointe Historical Society for its architectural significance to the community.

266 Lakeland – courtesy of Grosse Pointe Historical Society

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Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – 906 Lake Shore

Many houses on Lake Shore are somewhat of an enigma, grand homes, hidden by a shield of trees and located away from the road – it takes a vivid imagination to envision what they are like.

There is a wonderful blend of the old and the new – the grand mansions built at the beginning of the 20th century, and the mid century modern homes that present us with a glimpse into a unique architectural style that remains popular in Grosse Pointe.

The Pointes feature a number of modern buildings, which are the work of many artists who lead the way in popularizing modern design, including: the Grosse Pointe Central Library (Marcel Breuer); 203 Cloverly (The Saarinen’s); the 3 residences by Alden Dow, along with the modern home created by William Kessler – located at 874 Lakeshore.

It is the modern style that we focus on today as we introduce you to 906 Lake Shore.

Built in 1954, this 3,692 sq ft house is located on the shores of Lake St. Clair. During a period when the popularity of mid century modern architecture was arguably at its peak, the design displays the key features that make this style so distinctive – an understated look, melding clean lines, gentle organic curves, the coming together of numerous, and sometimes contrasting materials.

The pure white clay brick of 906 Lake Shore enhances the unique appearance of this house. According to our files, this was the first house in Grosse Pointe to use this material, with each brick being hand chipped on all exposed surfaces.

The front curved terrace, expanded stair area and entrance planting area are all faced in brick and topped with Indiana limestone.

The interior of the house features high ceilings and incorporates several unusual finishes. The majority of the wood throughout the house is natural-finished mahogany, selected to give a tropical effect. Mahogany wood paneling is present on the living room and living terrace ceiling, along the hallways and in the study area.

The 12 Shoji doors and 5 windows were imported from Japan. The floor to ceiling windows on the rear elevation measure 11’ x 6’, weigh 800 lbs, and provide a magnificent abundance of natural light – always an integral component to this architectural style.

Floor to ceiling windows on the rear elevation – courtesy of Realtor.com

As is the case with so many mid century modern homes, the house is filled with many planned built-in storage areas – magazine shelves and storage drawers in the reception area, a hobby storage cabinet in the living room, built in music area, cabinets for shoes and clothes in the bedrooms, while the kitchen features an array of multi purpose cabinets and storage options to ensure clean lines and a minimalist feel can be maintained.

Intricate wooden detailing is present throughout – cane paneling in the living room, woven wood tapestry in the guest room, and custom made natural walnut wood shutters in the housekeeper’s room.

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Grosse Pointe Open Houses for this weekend – Sunday, September 25, 2016 from 2-4 p.m.

HMA has an open house this weekend—Sunday, September 25, 2016 2-4 p.m.:

Cathy Cain will be holding open 515 Shelden, Grosse Pointe Shores

This wonderful family home is located a stone’s throw from Lake St Clair and is within walking distance to Grosse Pointe Yacht Club and Shores park.  This home is offering a fenced back yard, spacious bedrooms, eat in kitchen and a large three season sun porch.   The dining room and living room have large bay windows. There are built in cabinets in dining room and family room. A curved stairwell greets you in the foyer. The home has two newer AC and furnace units. Come take a look at this house. It only needs your updating touches. This 3,622 sq. ft. home is listed for $550,000.

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For more detail please visit: http://ow.ly/xKyr304lzqP

 

We look forward to seeing you!

 

For a full list of this weekend’s Open House’s visit: http://ow.ly/OfcZr

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grosse Pointe Open Houses for this weekend – Sunday, September 18, 2016 from 2-4 p.m.

HMA has an open house this weekend—Sunday, September 18, 2016 2-4 p.m.:

Melissa Dagher Singh will be holding open 76 Vernier, Grosse Pointe Shores

Charming Farm house with warp around porch, attached garage with work room. Beautiful grounds surround the house and patio with gazebo roof. Close walking distance to Lake Shore and the lake front community park. This house shows very well, move in condition and very well maintained. House received Grosse Pointe Shores Centennial designation in 2015. This 1,722 sq. ft. home is listed for $264,900

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For more detail visit: http://ow.ly/fjjj301BQoQ

We look forward to seeing you!

 

For a full list of this weekend’s Open House’s visit: http://ow.ly/OfcZr

Grosse Pointe Open Houses for this weekend – Sunday, August 28, 2016 from 2-4 p.m.

HMA has an open house this weekend—Sunday, August 28, 2016 2-4 p.m.:

Melissa Dagher Singh will be holding open 76 Vernier, Grosse Pointe Shores

Charming Farm house with warp around porch, attached garage with work room. Beautiful grounds surround the house and patio with gazebo roof. Close walking distance to Lake Shore and the lake front community park. This house shows very well, move in condition and very well maintained. House received Grosse Pointe Shores Centennial designation in 2015. This 1,722 sq. ft. home is listed for $274,900.

76 Vernier

For more detail visit: http://ow.ly/fjjj301BQoQ

 

We look forward to seeing you!

 

For a full list of this weekend’s Open House’s visit: http://ow.ly/OfcZr

 

Grosse Pointe Open Houses for this weekend – Sunday, August 7, 2016 2-4 p.m.

HMA has an open house this weekend—Sunday, August 7,  2016 2-4 p.m.:

Melissa Dagher Singh will be holding open 19937 E.Williams Court, Grosse Pointe Woods

Spacious semi-Ranch located on a quiet cul-de-sac! Family room overlooks beautifully landscaped backyard! First floor bedroom! Two full baths! Solarium with hot tub and sauna! Paver lined walkways! This 2,320 sq. ft. home is listed for $269,900.

19937 E. William

 

For more detail visit: http://ow.ly/pTvi302YkB6

 

We look forward to seeing you!

 

For a full list of this weekend’s Open House’s visit: http://ow.ly/OfcZr

 

Higbie Maxon Agney Open Houses for this weekend

HMA has two open houses this weekend—- Saturday, July 16, 2016 1-3 p.m. and Sunday, July 17, 2016 2-4 p.m.:

Darlene D’Amico will be holding open 19019 Wicklow Drive, Macomb Township

Saturday, July  16, 2016 from 1-3 p.m.

Exceptional brick colonial located in desirable Brook Run subdivision. Four bedrooms, Enormous First floor master with vaulted ceilings, bay window and walk in closet. Oversized Master Bath with jetted tub and extra-large shower. Living Room with dramatic two story foyer, fireplace and views of stairway balcony. First Floor library with wainscoting and large windows. Eat in gourmet kitchen with two bay windows and granite counter tops, island, stainless steel appliances, and extra cabinets. Three additional oversized bedrooms. Beautiful patio and awesome three car garage. This 2,800 sq. ft. home is listed for $339,000.

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For more detail please visit: http://ow.ly/2Q9e3027Mgp

 

Melissa Dagher Singh will be holding open 76 Vernier, Grosse Pointe Shores

Sunday, July 17, 2016 from 2-4 p.m.

Charming Farm house with warp around porch, attached garage with work room. Beautiful grounds surround the house and patio with gazebo roof. Close walking distance to Lake Shore and the lake front community park. This house shows very well, move in condition and very well maintained. House received Grosse Pointe Shores Centennial designation in 2015. This 1,722 sq. ft. home is listed for $285,000.

76 Vernier

For more detail visit: http://ow.ly/fjjj301BQoQ

 

 

We look forward to seeing you!

 

For a full list of this weekend’s Open House’s visit: http://ow.ly/OfcZr