Last week we explored 226 Provencal. Completed in 1940 Frank A. Miles designed this striking Regency manor for John Lord Booth – founder, owner and chairman of numerous broadcasting companies throughout Michigan and the United States during the 1940’s.
This week we stay with the work of Frank Allen Miles and present several of his other projects that are located throughout the Grosse Pointe communities. As we mentioned last week very little is known about the career of Mr. Miles but we do know he designed close to 20 homes that we know of, throughout Grosse Pointe between 1926 and 1948. Much of his work is on some of Grosse Pointe’s more noted streets such as Provencal, Lothrop, Touraine, and Renaud.
The majority of Frank Miles projects were completed during the 1930’s. His work crossed a broad range of architectural approaches, including formal Regency inspired properties, a stately English Colonial through to Cape Cod, and Spanish Revival styles. He was particular active on Renaud, designing at least six homes between 1935 and 1941. John L. booth was arguably his most prominent client, along with the property for George O. Johnston at 76 Lothrop.
So lets start with his first project in the community 60 Cambridge. This is a striking Spanish Revival inspired residence, created during an era when homes inspired by Mediterranean architecture were particularly popular in Grosse Pointe. It displays many of the classic traits associated with this approach – brick finished in white stucco, low pitched red tile roof, and multiple small windows with awnings.
291 Mount Vernon – Colonial
1016 Berkshire – A French Chateaux inspired home. According to our files part of this property was rebuilt, in 1954, following a fire. Muchlmann and Farrar designed the new addition.
60 Merriweather – Colonial
16 Renaud – the original house was demolished; a new house was built in 1984.
296 Touraine – peeking through the trees.
323 Grosse Pointe Blvd – Cape Cod.
44 Renaud – Colonial style.
36 Renaud – French Regency style.
41 Renaud – Colonial – At some point, after 1982, this house was demolished, and a new house was built in 2002.
76 Lothrop (formerly 20 Lothrop) is a wonderful stately English Colonial designed for George O. Johnston. It is a striking home with exquisite detailing inside and out. The marble foyer leads through to a 2-story sweeping staircase that features a skylight at the top. Many of the first floor rooms feature wood paneling, dentil moldings, and carved trim. The home includes separate powder rooms on the first floor, a large living room (30’ x 23’), a substantial dining room (18’ x 24’), four large main bedrooms, and three additional small bedrooms for maids. The historical photos below are from the archives at the Library of Congress.
331 Lake Shore is arguably one of Frank A. Miles more significant projects. It is a superb Georgian brick built home on Lake Shore overlooking the lake with a dominant entrance, large windows, and intricate limestone detailing. Inside, the hall features an Italian marble floor, and a winding staircase to the second floor. The living room contains an Italian marble fireplace, and large floor to ceiling French inspired windows, as does the library and the dining room. The second floor includes four main bedrooms, along with an additional bedroom for a maid, and service stairs.
42 Moross – A fabulous Art Modern inspired home.
226 Provencal was created for John L. Booth, (the founder, owner and chairman of numerous broadcasting companies throughout Michigan and the United States) who was probably Frank A. Miles most prominent client. Constructed of brick, the front elevation has a unique ironwork portico, supported by four grand columns, which dominate the entrance of this symmetrical residence. The front of the property is also filled with an abundance of large windows. Particularly striking are the two bay windows on each side. The low-pitched slate roof has three small dormers – at the front and on the rear, while a large terrace (44’ x 6’ sq ft), on the second floor, makes the most of the beautiful surroundings.
40 Renaud – Colonial style.
22 Renaud – Regency style.
34 Edgemere – French inspired.
440 Lothrop – Colonial style.
Frank A. Miles was clearly a talented architect. He created some exquisite homes around Grosse Pointe, and was a prolific designer in the community for at least twenty years. As with so many of these designers, who clearly had extremely successful careers, creating multiple residences, across many years, it can prove difficult to trace their history, and find out more about the projects they completed in and around Metro Detroit. However, his work that remains on display in Grosse Pointe today is a testament to how talented he was.
*Photos courtesy of the Higbie Maxon Agney archives unless stated.
Written by Katie Doelle
Copyright © 2019 Katie Doelle