Highgate – 1913
R.L. Polk Homestead
Lone Pine Rd.
From the 1870 until 1911 the Tibbals Family owned and operated a narrow 12 acre farm site along the south side on Lone Pine Rd. running west from Woodward Ave. In 1911 the farm was platted into twelve 1 acre residential lots and today this area is the location of many fine Bloomfield Homes. One of the earliest and finest houses built is the one constructed for Frank H. Whelden (1867- ) in 1913-14 on two 1.0 acre lots. Frank was the secretary – treasurer of the Detroit-Star Grinding Wheel Company. He named his grand house Kintra Hame which is Scottish for Country Home.
In 1923 Whelden sold his estate to Ralph L. Polk – II (1882 – 1947). Mr. Polk was the son of R.L. Polk who created the well-known City Directory publishing company bearing his name. Polk re-named the estate, Highgate. The estate is still called Highgate today and remains the Polk family homestead. In 1932 the Polks greatly increased the size of their property on Lone Pine from 2 acres to over 6 acres, when they acquired a significant parcel from the neighbor to the south, John Endicott. This expansion allowed for the creation of a lovely park like setting including frontage on Endicott Lake. Highgate is the largest property along Lone Pine Rd. between Woodard Ave and Cranbrook Rd.
One of many very interesting features in Highgate is the “Polk Pleasure Map of Bloomfield Hills”. It was commissioned in 1947 by R.L. Polk – III. The painting is done in acrylic on wood and is 54 inches long by 47 inches Tall. It is mounted on a wall in the family room. It was painted to show the houses of the particular friends of the Polks. In addition schools, churches, clubs, restaurants, and other businesses that were of special interest to the Polks are depicted. From it one can learn a bit of the history of the City of Bloomfield Hill of 70 years ago.
By: John F. Marshall, Long-time Township Resident and member of the Bloomfield Historical Society
Bloomfield Township E-News presents History Next Door: Highgate from Bloomfield Township 2 on Vimeo.