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

Built in 1913 house number 246 was designed by F. Gordon Pickell – this respected architected became the first president of the American Institute of Architects, Michigan, in 1914. Influenced by the English architectural style, this 6,682 sq ft symmetrical house features an abundance of varying sized windows on the front elevation.

Bernard C. Wetzel created house number 243 in 1914 for Detroit businessman Joseph J. Crowley. Joseph Crowley was a successful businessman in Detroit, and is believed to have had a great deal of experience in reorganizing struggling ventures. In 1902 he and his brother’s, William and Daniel, opened Crowley Brothers Wholesale Dry Goods Company. In 1909 (along with his brother’s and William L. Milner) he became co-founder of Crowley’s, a department store chain that, at its peak, was the largest department store in Michigan. Source: Wikipedia.

The English Tudor style home is around 9,572 sq ft and features five natural fireplaces located in the living room, dining room, library, family room and in the master bedroom. There are 9 bedrooms in total, along with a ballroom, with a stage (25’ x 23’) located on the 3rd floor.

243 Lakeland – courtesy of Grosse Pointe Historical Society

House number 394 is a 7,000 sq ft English Tudor style home completed in 1923 by architects Marcus Burrowes and Frank Eurich.

During his career Burrows designed over 1000 buildings in and near Detroit, including residential, public and municipal projects. In 1920 Burrowes joined forces with Frank Eurich (a graduate from Cornell University) and together they designed over 10 homes in Grosse Pointe. During this era Burrowes was widely known throughout southeast Michigan for his English Revival Style buildings, an approach he also brought to the Grosse Pointe communities.

394 Lakeland – courtesy of Grosse Pointe Historical Society

394 Lakeland – courtesy of google.com

In 1923 Herman and Simons completed house number 405. This 4,793 sq ft home has a unique front elevation, and presents a rather distinctive design. Based on research from detroityes.com it is believed Detroit based firm Herman and Simons designed around 12 homes in Indian Village during this era.

405 Lakeland – courtesy of Grosse Pointe Historical Society

405 Lakeland

Lakeland is a rather impactful street, with many exquisite homes to examine. Part 1 of our story – an exploration of some of the houses built between 1909 and 1923 – is only the beginning, and there are many more to look into. Next week we reveal some of the homes constructed between 1924 and 1927.

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


Written by Katie Doelle
Copyright © 2017 Katie Doelle