Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – Welcome to 1005 and 1305 Whittier

Last week we introduced you to 750 Whittier, the spectacular residence completed, in 1920, for Detroit Lumber baron, Frederic M. Sibley.

This week we stay on Whittier, and head up the road to investigate two beautiful homes, number 1005, and number 1305. These two residences were completed in the same year, in two very different, yet equally popular, architectural approaches.

1005 Whittier
Beckett & Akitt designed this beautifully styled Mediterranean home, in 1927, for Frederick W. Dalby. The Mediterranean approach was incredibly popular throughout Grosse Pointe, and the United States, during the 1920’s’, and there are some suburb examples throughout the community. It is a unique style, but also very similar to the Spanish Revival buildings that were also popular during this era. Properties were created to emulate the feeling of being in a luxurious Mediterranean villa.

The majority of homes designed in this style are based on a rectangular floor plan. Typical characteristics include – stucco exterior walls, low pitched red tiled roof, tall arched windows and door ways, wrought iron balconies and window grilles, high ceilings, and heavy use of wood and patterned tiled floors.

1005 Whittier is 8,271 sq ft, set on three lots, and is one of the larger homes Beckett and Akitt created in the Grosse Pointe communities. The stucco exterior features a stone trim, and a striking green tile roof. The interior displays stunning wood and plasterwork throughout.  The hallway is a grand two-story 30’ x 14’sq ft entrance hall, with a 20’ ceiling, and a striking staircase with intricate wrought ironwork. The 18’x21’ sq ft library features a large bay window, and paneled walls, as does the 20’ x 31’ sq ft living room. Upstairs there are four main bedrooms, and two smaller bedrooms for maids. The property includes multiple balconies, screened porches, and a three-car garage. An ornamental brick wall enclosed the formal garden.

The work of Beckitt and Akitt was incredibly popular in Detroit from 1920 until the mid 1930’s. They primarily specialized in designing large residences in Michigan, including Metro Detroit, and at least six homes in Grosse Pointe. The majority of the firms’ work in Grosse Pointe occurred, predominantly, during the late 1920’s. They created some wonderful residences, in a myriad of architectural styles (Mediterranean, Colonial and English Tudor), on some of the more prominent streets, including: 711 Balfour, 930 Lake Shore, 97 Vendome, and 803 Lake Pointe.

The original owner of 1005 Whittier, Frederick W. Dalby, was born in 1879. He was the former president of the American State Bank, in Dearborn. He was married to Belle Murdick, and together they had two children. 1005 Whittier was recently sold, having been listed for the first time in 58 years. It was previously listed, in 1961.

1305 Whittier
This is a striking Tudor inspired brick home, completed by Rupert W. Koch for James E. Sheridan. The design of this 3,230 sq ft house is quite unusual. The triangular section (on the left) is a particularly dominant feature, as is the ornate brickwork across the front elevation. Inside, the magnificent 15’ x 30’ ft 2-story living room features a barreled ceiling and a beautiful large palladium window.

The architect, Rupert Koch, was a graduate of the University of Michigan and spent most of his career in Ann Arbor, where he was one of the cities leading architects. One of his most noted projects was the Ann Arbor mansion created for Leander J. Hoover, in 1918. Set in an extensive 24 acre site the stunning French chateau cost over $350,000 to build (around $6million today).

In Grosse Pointe Rupert Koch created several homes. One of his earliest projects in the community took place, in 1917, at 305 University Place. His next projects all came in the late 1920’s, and were spread across several of the Grosse Pointe communities. Most of these homes were inspired by the Tudor architectural approach, and were roughly around 3,500 sq ft in size. 

Whittier is arguably one of Grosse Pointes more prestigious, and architecturally interesting streets. It is filled with an abundance of homes, in a broad spectrum of architectural styles, created by some of Detroit’s leading designer’s including – Richard H. Marr, Clarence E. Day, George V. Pottle, J. H. Gustav Steffens and Charles Kotting.

So next time you are on Whittier, take a slow walk and enjoy the magnificent residences that are on display, you won’t be disappointed.

*Photos courtesy of the Higbie Maxon Agney archives unless stated.

 

Written by Katie Doelle
Copyright © 2019 Katie Doelle

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