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Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – Hugh T. Keyes, The Versatile Architect

Posted by Darby Moran on Monday, June 25th, 2018 at 7:27am.

Last week we presented three superb homes by the architect Hugh T. Keyes that have sadly been demolished. This week we stay with this multi-talented designer and present four further homes.

These homes still exist today – 379 Lakeland, 174 Touraine, 17845 Jefferson (25 Fisher Rd), and 60 Renaud. What makes these homes particular interesting is the diverse range of their architectural style.

We have discussed, on several occasions, the rich and varied repertoire of this particular architect, but we have yet to explore these four homes in depth, and present Keyes ever-evolving style(s). 

Early on in his career Keyes spent time in Europe, traveling in England, France, Italy and Switzerland gathering inspiration - evident in much of his work throughout his career. Many of his designs were known for being ‘built for the ages’; and as the architectural world around him evolved, so did his designs, adapted to his own personal style. 

Keyes played a significant part in the Art Deco, and mid-century modern architectural movement in Detroit. However, prior to 1930 his style was quite different to the curves, glass walls, and the clean white brick façades found in his more modern projects.

Lets begin with 379 Lakeland, built in 1926 for investment banker Jerome E. Keane, and his wife, Annette (the daughter of John M. and Anna Dwyer).

Keyes designed the 6,810 sq ft home in the Tudor Revival style, particularly popular in Grosse Pointe during the 1920s. The design included Keyes's first use of a massive wall with slate-roofed pillars surrounding the estate, which matches and is incorporated into the brick façade of the house. Source: Wikipedia. During this period of his career Keyes began to introduce multiple gables with intricate brick corbelling to support the structure above it. It was a feature he would use on numerous designs, including this home, and the house located at 174 Touraine Road. Source: Wikipedia. 

The interior of 379 Lakeland features decorative plasterwork, and oak paneling hand carved by English craftsmen. It is located on the former Dwyer estate (the house, 372 Lakeland, still exists), and its formal gardens were part of the original Dwyer estate landscaping. The greenhouse (visible in the photos below) was added during the 1930’s, when the home was sold. Research and the photos below are courtesy of: Grosse Pointe Historical Society.

174 Touraine, was completed in 1928, and was similar in its design to 379 Lakeland – intricate brickwork, high gables, and created in a formal English architectural style.

The 1930’s heralded a new period in the career of Hugh T. Keyes. At the start of the decade he had started to migrate away from his traditional work to what would become his mid-century modern era.

17845 Jefferson (now 25 Fisher) was one such modern styled project. It was designed shortly after the Buhs House (41 Lochmoor) - a beautifully designed International home.

With the design of 17845 Jefferson Keyes continued to be influenced by functionalism (popular in Scandinavia during the 1930s), and a favorite style of internationally acclaimed Franco-Swiss architect Le Corbusier. The home is constructed of white brick, features a simple flat roof, large windows, rounded walls, and a unique curved entranceway. 

The 4,828 sq ft home was created for Herbert B. Trix, President of automotive supplier American Injector Company, Director of several banks, and one-time mayor of Grosse Pointe. Source: Wikipedia. The estate, situated on a large lot, was originally located on Jefferson, but over the years has been subdivided, and now has the address of 25 Fisher Road.

60 Renaud, completed in 1939, was also created in Keyes signature Regency style. The 6,099sq ft home is constructed of white brick has a flat roof, and features ornate detailing. The house also features a large central window - an early example of what would become Keyes's ‘signature element’ on many of his future projects. (Photo courtesy of Google).

The home was built for Richard Joy, Jr.; the grandson of James F. Joy, the railroad magnate, and "one of the foremost business men of the U.S”. His uncle was Henry B. Joy (President of the Packard Car Company). Source: Wikipedia. 

We hope you have enjoyed our review of some of Hugh T. Keyes wonderful creations.

Keyes was one of the most versatile architects to have worked in Detroit. His work crossed many significant periods of architectural styles during a long career that ended in the 1950’s. His work in Grosse Pointe produced over twenty homes, most of which still exist today.

 

Written by Katie Doelle
Copyright © 2018 Higbie Maxon Agney & Katie Doelle

 

If you have a home, building or street you would like us to profile please contact Darby Moran – Darby@higbiemaxon.com - we will try and feature the property.

(For more historical information on Grosse Pointe, visit Grosse Pointe Historical Society).

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