History Next Door

History Next Door
A series of house histories and videos in which Society member John Marshall shares the story of some of the historic houses found in Bloomfield Township and the City of Bloomfield Hills.

The series was featured originally on BCTV and in the Bloomfield Township eNewsletter.

 

Adams Castle – 1927
One of the most recognizable houses in Bloomfield Township is Adams Castle set back to the west of Adams Road just North of Big Beaver Rd. In 1924 prominent Detroit commercial realtor, Harry A. Stormfeltz, purchased a narrow parcel of approximately 12 acre that ran from Adams Road to Kensington Rd. On this he and wife, Myrtilla, built a 12,000 sq. foot estate house designed by architect Richard Marr, completing it in 1927.  Continue reading…

Strandcrest – 1924
In 1924 Carl A. Strand purchased a 14.3 acre strip parcel that extended from Adams Road the main branch of the Rouge River that passes a few hundred yards to the west. He built a stately frame house on the hill on the property as well as a large garage and several other out buildings. A photograph of the house was feature in the 1928 issue of Oakland Highways the annual report of the Road Commission for Oakland County.  Continue reading…

Thornbrook – 1921
In the 1920s many estate were built on strip lots of about 10 – 15 acres that ran between Adams Rd. and the main branch of the Rouge River. One of these is Thornbrook the house built in 1921 by Dr. George E. Phillips, executive director of Herman Keifer Hospital in Detroit and his wife, Genevieve, as a “summer home”. (His other residence was in Detroit near the Hospital.) There were several outbuildings including a stables, barn, guest cottage and workers house on this 13 acre parcel.  Continue reading…

Eastover – 1910
One of the oldest and grandest houses along Kensington Road just north of Big Beaver is Eastover. It was built in 1910 by Traveler’s Insurance executive Walter Thompson. Walter and his wife Marjorie (Calkins) had three children: Barbara, John and Jane. Jane, the youngest, was born the year after the house was built.  In addition to the grand house on a hill midway between Adams Road and Kensington Road the Thompsons built stables and a studio for Marjorie to practice her painting.  Continue reading…

Mary Fay House – 1925
In 1924 Developer Judson Bradway platted the large initial portion of his Bloomfield Village Subdivision which is between Maple Rd. and Quarton Rd. and Cranbrook Rd. and Lahser Rd. The 3rd or 4th house built in the subdivision is located on Lot No. 11 near the south west corner of the intersection of Quarton Rd. and Cranbrook Rd. The colonial style house was designed by architects J. Ivan Dice and Clair W. Ditchy, who designed many homes in the area.  Continue reading…

Highgate – 1913
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.  Continue reading…

Roosevelt House – 1915
In 1915 developer Judson Bradway platted the large Bloomfield Estates subdivision north of Big Beaver Road. One of the first homes built in the subdivision is on the southwest corner of the intersection of Charing Cross Road and Kensington Road on 4 acres overlooking the former Grand Trunk railroad commuter parking lot. The English Tudor house was designed by architect Marcus R. Burrowes who designed the Cranbrook Greek Theater, Birmingham City Hall and the Baldwin library. A detailed landscape plan was done by T. Glenn Phillips and implemented in 1924.  Continue reading…

Hickory Grove Farm – 1917
In 1916 Sherman Depew purchased a 145 acre farm on the south side of Hickory Grove Road between Lahser Rd, and Telegraph Rd. Sherman is listed among the founders of the Bloomfield Open Hunt (BOH) club in 1917. Depew (1880-1924) was the nephew of Chauncey Depew (1834-192) who was an attorney for Cornelius Vanderbilt. Hazel (1881-1976) was the daughter of Hazen Pingree, Mayor of Detroit (1889-1897) and Governor of Michigan (1897-1901).  Continue reading…

L.A Young House – 1917
In 1914 one of the earliest subdivisions platted in Bloomfield Township was created by Herbert and Elizabeth Broughton the South West corner of the intersection of Quarton Rd. and Wing Lake Rd. adjoining the north shore of Wing Lake. The Broughton’s Park Subdivision contained 29 lots. In 1916, the Broughtons sold five (5) lots to E.W. & Allice McGookin. The original portions of the house may well have been built by the McGookins in 1917, as noted in the township assessor’s field sheets.  Continue reading…

Raymond Bower House – 1929
In 1927 Edward Butler had a grand scheme to create an English Style (residential) village in Bloomfield Center on E. Long Lake Road just to the east of the newly built Fox & Hounds Inn. He platted a subdivision of 48 small lots. Builder Frank Couzens (son of US Senator from Michigan, James Couzens) purchased several of the lots. He built a lovely English cottage designed by prominent Detroit area architect, J. Ivan Dice and sold it to Max Stringer in 1929.  Continue reading…

Griswold House- 1939
Lone Pine Road Estates along the south side of Lone Pine Rd. between Lahser Rd. and the Township Library was platted in 1925 containing 111 residential building lots. About 1938 the Griswolds, Arthur and Bessie, purchased Lot No. 18, on the corner of Ponvalley Rd. and Lone Pine Rd. Their houses was completed a year or two later, certainly by 1941.  Continue reading…

Hillwood – 1922
Edward P Hammond was the son of George Hammond who made a fortune at the end of the 19th century with refrigerated train cars for transporting meat from Chicago to the east coast.  Edward managed the Hammond Building the, first “sky scraper” (10 stories) in Detroit, and was the president of Gemmer Manufacturing Co.   Continue reading…

Robins Hood’s Barn – 1900
In 1902 Jay Bassett purchased a 20 acre farm along the south side of E. Long Lake Rd. a short distance west of Kensington Rd. On the farm was a large cow barn to which in 1910 he attached the old wooden one-room Schoolhouse from the corner of Long Lake Rd. and Woodward Ave., which was being replaced by a new brick school building.  Continue reading…

Taliaferro House – 1925
In 1916 Judson Bradway platted Trowbridge Farms, his second large subdivision in the Bloomfield area. He immediately laid out the gravel roads with concrete gutters and storm sewers. When the City of Bloomfield Hills was incorporated in 1932 it became part of the City. About this same time the relocation of the GTWRR R.O.W. cut right through the east side of Trowbridge Farms eliminating several of the lots.  Continue reading…

Lyon House – 1925
At the beginning of the 20th century, Millard T. Conklin owned a 30 acre estate, Oakhurst, where the current Woodward Ave. entrance to Cranbrook Educational Community (CEC) is today. In 1924 he sold a 3.6 acre triangular parcel on the west side of Cranbrook Rd, to Ralph Stone. This parcel and the house that was built on it has been known by four (4) different name over the past 93 year.  Continue reading…

Kennoway House – 1853
This House history is a bit different than the previous ones I have featured. The house is located in Beverly Hills on West Kennoway Rd. next to the Groves High School football stadium. In 2008 I met Jay Meehan, professor of Sociology at Oakland University. In the course of our conversation he told me that his house had been moved to its present location on what was the Thompson 69 acre estate, Kennoway, in 1946.  Continue reading…

Beaudette – 1918
In 1912 Judson Bradway registered the plat map for the Bloomfield Highland Subdivision with its 59 residential lots. This was almost certainly his earliest of Bradway’s developments in the Bloomfield Area. It preceded Bloomfield Estates and Trowbridge Farms by at least 3 years. It is located off the west side of Woodward Avenue less than one quarter of a mile north of Square Lake Rd. and is traversed by North and South Berkshire Roads. Continue reading…

Red Oaks – 1913
In the middle of Judson Bradway’s gigantic Bloomfield Village Subdivision is a small independent Subdivision of 10 lots named Red Oaks of Bloomfield Village. In that subdivision is a grand century old estate house which itself is has been known as Red Oaks since it was first built. What is the story?  Continue reading…

Glenmere – 1924
In 1918 George E. Edmunds (b. 1878) and his wife, Margaret (b. 1885) purchased 18.3 acres on Lone Pine Road adjacent on the west to what is now High Gate, the estate of the Polk Family. According to the records of the assessing department of the City of Bloomfield Hills, the Edmunds’ house at 350 Lowell Court was built in 1924. Continue reading…

Raquet House – 1927
Carl R. Raquet and his first wife Florence purchase Lot No. 71 in the large Lone Pine Road Estates subdivision in July 1926. The Lot is located at the very southern end of Ponvalley Rd. where it meets Timberlake Dr.  Carl was vice president of the Detroit Steel Products Co.  Continue reading...

Five Oaks – 1840
In September 1822 thirty year old Samuel Satterlee purchased 160 acres in the southwest corner what is today the intersection of Adams Road and Long Lake Road. He travelled to Michigan with his wife Susan (age 24) and infant son, George (age 2 years). They became one of the earliest pioneer families to settle in Bloomfield Township.  Continue reading…

Thornlea – 1927
The 1927 house at 700 N. Cranbrook Rd. may be the only house in the Bloomfield Area that has had only a single owner during its 90+ years of existence. George G. and Ellen Scripps Booth are known for the creation of the Cranbrook Educational Community. They had five children all born in Detroit prior to the purchase of their large track of property in Bloomfield.  Continue reading…

Bow Lane – 1924
n 1923 Perry A. Vaughan and Judson Bradway collaborated on platting a 100 acre farm parcel on the south side of W. Long Lake Rd. just east of Lahser Rd. into the Country Club Estates subdivision containing 25 building lots. The western most lot no. 18 (originally, 5.3 acres) was purchased in 1924 by John Wright Watling almost immediately. Watling and his wife Sallie commissioned prominent local architect, Wallace Frost, to design their 5,960 sq. ft. French – Norman style house which they named Bow Lane, currently 431 W, Long Lake Rd. Continue reading…

O’Shei – Bee 1929 Property
The property between Opdyke Rd and the GTWRR R.O.W. where E. Hickory Rd. abruptly ends has an interesting history. Back at the turn of the 20th century it was part of the huge Charles Stinchfield estate. In 1924 Stinchfield sold a 38 acre parcel to Anna Vhay and in 1929 it was platted into Assessors plat No. 1 containing 10 building lots. On a couple of these lots Charles H. O’Shei in 1929 built a handsome estate compose of the main Estate House with garage and an indoor swimming pool, as well as, an interesting combination Stables and Guest House structure. Continue reading…

Century Houses Book – 2006, Bloomfield Township Public Library
A couple of years after the Bloomfield Historical Society (BHS) was formed Joan Case who worked in the Township Assessor’s Department presented us with a list of all of the houses in the Township that were built prior to 1906 – Century Houses. There were 41 houses on the list. Many of these were originally farmhouses that were built in the mid-19th century. Of course many have been significantly modified and updated over the years. Continue reading…

Old Oak – 1829
One of the oldest houses in Bloomfield Township is Old Oak on Wing Lake Rd. mid-way between Maple Rd. and Quarton Rd. It was built by pioneer Elijah E. Bull for his first wife, Melinda, and later his 10 children. Deacon Bull, as he was known, came from New York State by way of Monroe, Mich. He acquired the 160 acres on the south east side of Wing Lake in 1829 from the original owner Austin E. Wing who went down to Monroe. Examination of the basement of the House indicates that originally it may have been a much smaller stone structure.  Continue reading…

Stonecrest – Vaughan -1839
John and Polly Vaughan came to southeast Michigan from Pennsylvania and purchased 320 acres of land in Bloomfield Township in 1828. They built their homestead on the west side of what is now Lahser Rd. near the point where Vaughan Rd. meets Lahser. The Vaughans had ten (10) children. Their first house was a frame structure. Both Polly and John Vaughan died by 1837. In 1839 their son Abraham enlarged the house with the distinctive fieldstone addition to the front of the house. Continue reading…

Oak Hill (a.k.a Shadow Wood) – 1923
Brady Lane is a short gravel road running essentially east and west between Woodward Avenue. The nine lots were platted and developed by real estate developer Judson Bradway out of the George Brady Farm. One of the first houses was built in 1923 for Harry W. Taylor, wife Florence and their five (5) children. Three boys were born a few years before moving into the house. Twin daughters, Jane and Joan, were born a few years after moving in. The house was called Shadow Wood by the Taylors.  Continue reading…

John Endicott Farm – 1911
John Endicott came to Detroit from Massachusetts in 1891 at the age of 24 to work for his uncle Charles Endicott in the Newcomb – Endicott Department store.  John was first married in 1893 but Elizabeth died suddenly in 1900.  He then married Mary E. Booth in 1902.  Three years later he purchased the 115 acre farm of William Smith on the north side of Quarton Road west of Woodward and east of Cranbrook Road.  Continue reading…

Magnolia (Rocky) Terrace – 1928
In 1926 developer Judson Bradway collaborated with the Vaughans, Vernors and Hodges to create the Chelmsleigh Addition to Bradway’s County Club Estates. The two former 80 acre farms of C.W. Hodges and the Vaughan Family on the north east corner of Lone Pine Rd. and Lahser Rd. were platted into 71 residential building lots. Carl E. and Ruth H. Huyette were the first to buy and build in Chelmsleigh. Their Colonial house designed by architects, Benjamin and Straight, was constructed in 1928 on lot No. 22 right in the center of the new subdivision. They called their property Rocky Terrace.  Continue reading…

Whittlesey Estate 1919
At the very beginning of the 20th century Charles Stinchfield owned a huge parcel (290 acres) of land between E. Long Lake Rd. and Hickory Grove Rd. west of Opdyke Rd. to Woodward Ave. In 1915 Stinchfield sold 8.3 acres to Matthew B. and Ellen R. Whittlesey. This parcel was on the south side of Hickory Grove Rd. In 1919 the Whittleseys built a larger English Revival style estate house with four car garage and a commercial size greenhouse. The buildings were designed by prominent Michigan architect, Marcus Burrowes. Their estate was named “Eight Acres”.  Continue reading…

Coventry Crest – 1929
Coventry Crest (a.k.a. Hill House) stands prominently on top of a high hill on the east side of Woodward Ave. between Long Lake Rd. and Hickory Grove Rd. It has held that position for 90 year. It may be the only Bloomfield estate house from the 1920s that has had only two owners. The original owner was Alfred Stephens and his wife, Zillah. The house was designed by architect Alva M. Hull with construction starting in 1927 and completed in 1929. Continue reading…

Heineman Estate – 1911
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.. Continue reading…

Ideal Home – 1927
During the exciting 1920s the Detroit Free Press often sponsored and promoted building projects that were named “Ideal Home.”  In April 1927 the Ideal Home promoted in the Free Press was one built by Frank Broock, son of Max Broock who founded the Birmingham Real Estate Company that bears his name.  Frank was a builder living in Birmingham.  The house was located in a large new subdivision that was formerly the 80 acre farm of William Milldebrendt at the south east corner of Adams Rd. and Square Lake Rd. It was named Middlesex Country Home Sites.  Continue reading…

Hillbrook (Fred E. DeGaw) – 1923
At the time the Bloomfield Manor subdivision was platted in 1915 a lane was cut in to reach it directly from Woodward Ave., since Big Beaver Rd. did not exist between Adams Rd. and Woodard until 1951. A few parcels of various sizes were marked off along this gravel lane, named Manor Rd. because of its destination. A few houses were built along Manor Rd. in the 1920s. When first built in 1916 Manor Rd. actually passed under the railroad tracks that were until 1930 still along the west side of Woodward Ave. Manor Rd. is still gravel today. Continue reading…

Apple Lane Farm (Gustavus Pope) – 1912
Gustavus Debrille Pope was born in 1873 and raised in Fort Stockton, TX. After working in Chicago for a few years he married Mary Soper and moved to Detroit in 1904. A few years later he and Mary bought several separate parcels of farm and orchard land at the northeast corner of Franklin Rd. and Lone Pine and combined them into a single 140 acre farm that also contained Sodon Lake. The Popes named their property, Apple Lane Farm.  Continue reading…

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