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Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – Welcome to Merriweather – Part 1

Posted by Darby Moran on Tuesday, July 3rd, 2018 at 11:59am.

Having recently covered the work of versatile architect Hugh T. Keyes we now return to exploring one of the many significant streets in Grosse Pointe Farms – Merriweather. 

A couple of weeks ago we featured one of the earliest homes to be constructed on Merriweather, number 175, designed by accomplished architect Louis Kamper. Having provided you with a brief insight into the history of the prestigious road lets now return to the street and explore some of the other wonderful homes that are on display. 

Merriweather was originally part of a large cherry orchard. Based on research by the Grosse Pointe Historical Society we know that ‘prior to the 1940s, the area was an expanse of undeveloped fields from Merriweather to Cloverly Road in the block between Kercheval and Ridge. Across Ridge Road was “PineWoods,” a popular play area for children. In the winter, they would sled down the tree-covered hill, across Charlevoix, andinto fields that are now Mt. Vernon Road’. It wasn’t until the late 1920’s that houses first began to appear on the plot of land, and from that point onwards Merriweather underwent significant transformation. Many of the homes that are now found on the street were constructed primarily over two decades – the 1920’s and the 1930’s – it was the latter that saw most of the activity.

Prominent architects and architectural firms designed a substantial amount of the residences. They were major players on the architectural scene during their respective eras. Some of these designers created multiple homes on the street, while others had already undertaken multiple projects across the Grosse Pointe communities.

In part 1 one our series we would like to introduce the homes created from 1928 to 1931.

1928
Rupert W. Koch created 210 Merriweather. Koch was a fairly active architect in Grosse Pointe during the 1920’s particularly in Grosse Pointe Park. Arguably his most noted project was the Graystone Ballroom (1922), which was one of Detroit’s most celebrated music landmarks (demolished in 1980). It played host to many jazz greats, including - Glenn Miller, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, and Ella Fitzgerald. (Graystone Ballroom image courtesy of detroitsoundconservancy.org)

Builder and architect Carl L. Meek designed 229 Merriweather. Meek was a prominent architect (and builder) in Grosse Pointe Farms during the late 1920’s. He designed and built several homes in Grosse Pointe, including 31 Renaud (1930), 160 Touraine (1928), 621 Fisher (1929) 604 University Place (1928), and 679 Rivard (1928) amongst others.

Frederick W. J. Howell designed 225 Merriweather. (Image courtesy of Realtor.com)

1929
The noted firm of William Buck Stratton and Arthur K. Hyde designed 90 Merriweather. Stratton was one of Grosse Pointes most celebrated architects. His work in Grosse Pointe presents a wide range of architectural styles, from the formal to the informal, the traditional to the free flowing. He was particularly skilled at adapting his style to the desires of his clients, while stretching the brief as much as possible. During his career Stratton had several partners. His time with Arthur K. Hyde lasted from 1925 – 1932. Stratton, by now, was approaching the end of his career. Having created an abundance of homes and buildings across Metro Detroit he created at least two homes with Hyde - 938 Three Mile – Stratton’s home with Mary Chase Stratton (1927), and 411 Country Club Drive (1931).

Designed by Hancock and Butler 110 Merriweather was one of five homes designed by the firm on the street. The firm created several homes across the Grosse Pointe Communities, including: 608 Washington (1930), 458 Washington (1935), 588 Lincoln (1929), 580 Lincoln (1930) and 478 Lincoln (1929) 

234 Merriweather - designed byHancock and Butler. 

1930
238 Merriweather - designed byHancock and Butler.

81 Merriweather was created by productive Grosse Pointe architect, and builder Hilary Micou. He was a prolific builder of homes in Grosse Pointe with over 30 homes to his name. Many of his properties span several decades – from the late 1920’s through to the late 1950’s, and embrace numerous architectural styles. 

1931
Nationally noted architect Louis Kamper designed 175 Merriweather. Designed in the Colonial approach it is a wonderfully formed symmetrical brick home in keeping with many homes that were being built in the Grosse Pointe communities during this era. It was completed when large homes were becoming less popular and the architectural style of Grosse Pointe was undergoing significant change – in terms of the diversity of architectural styles that were on display. You can read the full story of this home by clicking here.

109 Merriweather – designed byHancock and Butler.

We will continue our exploration of Merriweather next week with the homes created between 1932 and 1939.

*Photos courtesy of the Higbie Maxon Agney 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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