Last week we brought you the story of 735 Lake Shore, the old and the new. The original home that was located on the property, when it was razed, and the new residence that has taken its place.
This week we take a more in-depth look at the work of Anne (Krebs) Crane. Ms. Crane was responsible for the design of the new home at 735 Lake Shore for Estelle and Courtney Rankin. The contemporary glass front house was completed in 1974, and was just one of several projects Ms. Crane worked on.
As we previously reported, Anne Crane was born in Belleville Illinois, in 1924. She graduated from the University of Illinois School of Architecture, in 1946, and moved to Grosse Pointe, in 1950, where she would reside for 62 years. When she moved to the area we understand Ms. Crane wanted to further her studies at Cranbrook under the tutorship of internationally renowned modernist architect Eliel Saarinen. Sadly Mr. Saarinen passed in the summer of 1950, so Anne Crane accepted a job offer from world famous designer Minoru Yamasaki, who was a huge fan of her work.
Yamasaki employed Anne Crane in his prestigious firm – Hellmuth, Yamasaki and Leinweber from 1950-1954. The firm had offices in Detroit and St. Louis – Anne was a registered architect in Illinois, Missouri and Michigan. One of Anne’s colleagues at the firm was William Kessler – an extremely talented modernist architect who designed several homes in Grosse Pointe, and also resided in the community. The two designers’ became lifelong friends. Anne’s boss, Minoru Yamasaki had a stellar career and became one of the most respected modernist artists in the United States.
In 1955, Anne Crane, after leaving the firm of Hellmuth, Yamasaki and Leinweber, partnered with Lester Fader to form the firm of Krebs and Fader. Together they created numerous commercial buildings and modern residences throughout Metro Detroit, and the United States. Their work incorporated innovative building techniques that were popular during the mid-century modern era – extensive use of glass, open floors plans, and zigzag roofs (see example below – location unknown. The image is courtesy of Newsapers.com). Mr. Fader was a respected contemporary architect. In 1959 he joined the Department of Architecture at the University of Michigan, where he taught until he became a professor emeritus, in 1992.
After Ms. Crane parted company with Mr. Fader she set up a private practice in conjunction with her husband, George C. Crane. The couple was responsible for the design and build of several distinctive homes in Grosse Pointe, including their own property – 15 Moorland, Grosse Pointe Shores.
The 3,000 sq ft ranch style residence was completed, in 1958. It is a contemporary piece of architecture, the approach Anne Crane was known for. The front elevation is dominated by the triangular roofline that was in keeping with Crane’s favored style during this era. The house has a modern open floor plan, which includes a spacious 38’ x 17’ sq ft living room, a 15’ x 20’ sq ft dining room, a 22’ x 13’ sq ft workroom and three bedrooms. (color photo courtesy of Google.com)
Other projects (design, build or both) in Grosse Pointe by Mr. and Mrs. Crane include –
- 15 Moorland – 1958 (above)
- 25 Moorland (first home of William Hawkins Ferry) – 1959
- 591 Woods Lane – 1962
- 874 Lake Shore (built by George C. Crane, and designed by William Kessler for William Hawkins Ferry) – 1963
- 379 and 381 Neff Road – 1966
- 414 and 416 Neff Road – 1969
- 3 Cameron Place – (built by George C. Crane, and designed by Paul Rudolph for Frank and Anne Parcells – image courtesy of archpaper.com) – 1970
- 735 Lake Shore – 1975 (image courtesy of realtor.com)
- 737 Lake Shore – 1981 (image courtesy of realtor.com) Please note the photo was taken in 2017 – the house has undergone two extensive renovations, the first was in 1993, and again in the last couple of years.
Anne Crane retired in 1991. During her career she held leadership roles in a number of organizations, this included serving as the board president of the Northeast Guidance Center, for two years. An avid sports fan, and gardener she was also a respected, and notable member of the community. She passed in 2012. Courtesy of: The Detroit News.
During a long and distinguished career Anne Crane worked with some of the most skilled, and respected modernist architects in the United States, creating some beautiful contemporary homes in and around Metro Detroit. She is yet another unsung hero who contributed to the wonderful architectural collection of modernist homes in the Grosse Pointe communities.
We would like to thank Janet (Crane) Conant for taking the time to share the information about her parents work.
*Photos courtesy of the Higbie Maxon Agney archives unless stated.
Written by Katie Doelle
Copyright © 2020 Katie Doelle