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Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – The Lost Homes of Hugh T. Keyes

Posted by Darby Moran on Tuesday, June 19th, 2018 at 9:28am.

So many of the architects we have written about have not only left a lasting impression on the architectural scene in Grosse Pointe, but across many of the communities in Metro Detroit. One such example is Louis Kamper, who we reviewed last week, and his work at 175 Merriweather. This week we continue the theme with three homes by Hugh T. Keyes. 

Hugh T. Keyes was a phenomenal architect; we have featured his work on many occasions. His work centered on creating grand estates for the industrialists of Metropolitan Detroit (clients included Ford, Hudson-Tannahill, Bugas and Mennen) and he is considered to be one of the most versatile architects of the period.

Born in Trenton, MI in 1888, he studied architecture at Harvard University and worked under architect C. Howard Crane. After graduating he quickly became an associate of Albert Kahn working on Kahn’s “signature project” the Detroit Athletic Club.

After briefly working at Smith, Hinchman & Grylls, Keyes opened his own Detroit office in 1921. His style was wonderfully diverse and ranged from Tudor Revival (highly popular in the metropolitan area during the early 20th Century) to rustic Swiss chalets.  Keyes was a prolific designer of fine homes in the Grosse Pointes and was arguably one of the most diverse architects to ply his trade in the community. 

This week we would like to take the opportunity to feature three of his homes that have been lost over time – 707 Lakeshore; 665 Lakeshore; and 41 Lochmoor. 

Each of these homes varies in style significantly. They were created during a period of Keyes career when he had clearly transitioned away from his traditional Georgian/Palladian work, to what would become, post 1930, his distinctive ‘white brick’ Regency style.

707 Lakeshore was built for George W. Trendel. The Detroit radio and television pioneer was best known as the producer of both The Lone Ranger and The Green Hornet radio and television programs. Source: detroithistorical.org. Set on a large 176’ x 451’ sq ft lot the home was completed in 1938, and was created in a Mediterranean/Spanish architectural style. The large foyer (25’ x 18’ sq ft) was marble with a circular stairway that leads to a sunken living room. The second floor contained six bedrooms, and five bathrooms. It was demolished during the 1990’s. (image courtesy of Grosse Pointe Historical Society).

41 Lochmoor was one of the superb homes Keyes created in the international architectural style. Completed in 1936 for Lloyd H. Buhs, the secretary-treasurer of the Pfeiffer Brewing Company.  The 5,000 sq ft residence was an innovative home for its day. Architectural Record magazine described it as" an outstanding example of modern architecture”. The 'Made in Detroit' home was built and equipped with materials made in Detroit and sponsored by the Detroit Board of Commerce. Source: Wikipedia. 

The two-story home was, for Keyes, an early foray into functionalism (popular in Scandinavia during the 1930s), and was a favorite style of internationally acclaimed Franco-Swiss architect Le Corbusier. The home is dominated by a large, clean white brick façade. The exterior also featured multiple large windows, a flat roof, and rounded walls. It had a relatively simple open floor plan, with a large central open space. The second floor featured six bedrooms with connecting bathrooms. It was demolished during the 1990’s. 

Keyes would subsequently modify the international style into his own Regency Moderne style, which became an extremely popular feature of much of his work from this point onwards. 

665 Lakeshore was completed in 1951 for Robert Pauli Scherer. Keyes completed the home, a white brick construction, in his trademark Regency Moderne style. It measured around 7,050 sq ft home and was situated on 3 lots that were elevated to make the most of the lake views. It featured an open floor plan, and a large wall of glass - a soaring two-story window, which faced the lake. The first floor contained a large number of rooms including: living room (30’ x 17’ sq ft), dining room (19’ x 22’ sq ft), kitchen (23’ x 15’ sq ft), family room (21’ x 22’ sq ft), a library (16’ x 15’ sq ft), a sun room (18’ x 19’ sq ft), a massage room (10’ x 9’ sq ft), and two bedrooms (one of the bedrooms, 16’ x 18’ sq ft, contained a his and her bathroom and dressing rooms). The second floor featured three further bedrooms, and a sitting room. 

The property also included a heated in ground pool, a four car heated garage, and a fully equipped metalworking and woodworking shop in the basement. 

The owner, Robert Pauli Scherer, was a prolific inventor. He made his fortune when he invented the rotary die encapsulation process – a technique used to encapsulate medicines – which revolutionized the soft-gelatin encapsulation field. Source: Wikipedia.

It is believed the home was demolished around 2010, and the large lot was subsequently divided. 

Keyes considered the Buhs, and the Scherer residences to be among his more significant works. 

We will be featuring several more Keyes homes next week.

*Unless stated images are courtesy of: HMA Archives.

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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