This week we conclude our exploration of the lost estates of Lakeshore. Over the past few weeks we have reviewed some wonderful homes that have been lost over time, including: 431 Lakeshore, 111 Lakeshore, 415 Lakeshore, The Ford homes by Albert H. Spahr, and 525 Lakeshore.
The final home we would like to review is 123 Lakeshore, known as ‘Drybrook’. Built in 1914 for Truman H. Newberry, this superb home was designed by the noted New York City firm of Trowbridge and Ackerman.
In an edition of Country Life, 1916, 123 Lakeshore was listed No. 8 on Henry Saylor’s ‘Twelve Best Country Houses in America’.
The home was built on the site of the former Newberry home - an expansive lot that was 300 feet wide, and more than a mile in depth - located within a picturesque setting under the branches of many elm trees that had graced the property for years. To mirror the eloquent surroundings the house was designed in the Georgian architectural style, and was truly an elegant home.
It was constructed of brick and limestone. The palatial entrance featured a dominant central motif, along with a grand portico leading into a grand two-storied hall, which was the focal point of the house – inside and out.
The interior was just as gracious. Many of the downstairs rooms were created in the Georgian style, apart from the music room, which had more of an Italian Renaissance feel to it – in terms of moldings, carvings and painted ornaments. It is believed this created an environment that was more appropriate in which to enjoy music. Source: Architecture, 1915.
Many of the rooms on the first floor were paneled in an assortment of wood - butternut graced the music room, stair hall, two-story hall and dining room. The loggia was Italian walnut; the library was mahogany, and the office featured California red wood. Teak, laid in planks eight inches wide, covered the majority of the floors on the first floor, while the floors on the second floor were enamel.
Intricate carvings, moldings, and panels were dominant features throughout the house, as were luxurious Axminster rugs (on in the stair hall, the corridors, the dining room, and in some of the bedrooms). The home also featured light fixtures that were especially designed, providing examples of some of the finest workmanship money could buy in terms of construction, and beauty of finish. Source: Architecture, 1915.
Renowned architect William Pitkin Jr. created the superb gardens. From the beginning the gardens were an integral part of the overall plan for the estate. The driveway was looped around to the rear of the house, so not to impede the view, while many of the rooms on the first floor (breakfast room, dining room, library and loggia) overlooked the magnificent 300-foot wide lawn, and the uninterrupted view of the lake.
Truman H. Newberry was born in Detroit in 1864 to John Stoughton Newberry (one of the most influential figures in the industrial growth of Detroit) and his second wife Helen P. Handy. Having graduated from college Newberry became superintendent of construction, paymaster, general freight and passenger agent, and eventually manager of the Detroit, Bay City & Alpena Railway from 1885 to 1887. He was then president and treasurer of the Detroit Steel & Spring Company from 1887 to 1901.
Aside from being an astute businessman he also held a senior rank in the United States Navy, serving on the U.S.S Yosemite during the Spanish-American War. Between 1905 and 1908 he served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, becoming secretary of the Navy in November 1908 – March 1909. He continued active service until 1919, when he retired and entered politics, as a senator, until 1922.
Newberry’s brother John Stoughton Newberry Jr. also resided on Lakeshore – another beautiful Georgian home – known as Lake Terrace, located at 99 Lakeshore.
Truman H. Newberry died in 1945. Upon his death the house was offered for sale but private buyers were discouraged by the maintenance costs of such an estate. In the early 1950’s the house was demolished, and the land sub divided.
As with so many of these beautiful homes on Lakeshore it was the sheer size of the properties that lead to their subsequent demise. All that remains are the wonderful historic photo’s, and the ever lasting street names that grace our community.
It has been a sheer joy to share the stories of these wonderful homes; the architects who created them, and the families that graced them. We hope you have enjoyed our series on the lost mansions of Lakeshore.
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).