Heineman Estate – 1911
185 Dourdan Place
In 1911 Solomon E. and Beatrice Heineman purchased a 70 acre farm from Herbert and Amelia Lamson located on the north side of Hickory Grove Rd. to the west of the Grand Trunk Railroad. Solomon was in the pharmaceutical products business, being the president of the Merz Capsule Co. Almost immediately the Heinemans built a large estate house reportedly designed by famed architect, Albert Kahn. Solomon died just 14 years later in 1925 at age 67. Beatrice continued living in the house until 1942 when she sold the house and all of the property.
The new owners were Fred and Lola Tushbant. Fred Tushbant operated a sporting goods and hardware store located at 1134 Griswold St. in Detroit. In 1945 Lola Tushbant sold a small 1.092 acre parcel to Walter and Louise Sherman right in the middle of their estate. The Shermans built a house to the east of the Tushbant’s large estate house. Part of the sale was the provision of an easement for a narrow private road giving access to the parcel from Hickory Grove Rd.
In 1949 Dr. Harley J. Robinson and his third wife, Anna, purchased all of the estate from Fred and Lola Tushbant. Dr. Harley Robinson was a prominent osteopathic physician with an office on Lawrence Ave. in Detroit. In 1959 Dr. Robinson carved out and sold two 1 acre parcels along the north side of E. Hickory Grove and sold them for private homes.
In 1951, two years after buying the Tushbant Estate, Dr. Robinson purchased the Brae Burn estate of Joseph Hunter on the east side Woodward Ave. just south of Long Lake Rd. He converted it to the Brae Burn Convalescent Hospital which was later replaced with the present Woodward Hills Nursing Center.
Dr. Robinson converted much of the original Tushbant estate to residential subdivisions: Hickory Grove Hills (48 lots) in 1962 and HGH No. 2 (also 48 lots) in 1964. Also, in 1970 he sold a 1.5 acre parcel adjacent to his estate house that is now the site of 230 Woodedge Dr. He retained the several acres around the historic Albert Kahn estate house until he died in 1990. His trust then sold the house and remaining surrounding property and it was developed into the Dourdan Place subdivision with 18 lots. The original 1911 House still stands on the 1.5 acre Lot No. 5 – 185 Dourdan Place.
By: John F. Marshall, Long-time Township Resident and member of the Bloomfield Historical Society