Last week we presented a house listed on the National Register of Historic Places – 33 Oldbrook Lane, formerly known as “East Hall”. This incredible property was designed by George D. Mason in 1916-17, for John T. Woodhouse, one of Detroit’s leading tobacco merchants.
This week we return Oxford Road and the many homes developed by realtor and developer Arthur J. Scully. The development managed by Mr. Scully created the new Oxford subdivision during the late 1920’s and early 1930’s. In our first blog post about Oxford Road, we explored two of the larger homes developed by Scully - number 30 and number 40, located in the first block off Lake Shore. Both homes were designed in 1930, by two of Metro Detroit’s finest architectural firms – Smith, Hinchman & Grylls, and Herman & Simons. You can read the full story by clicking here.
In part 2 we head further up the street towards the upper part of Oxford Road, closer to Mack Ave. Scully handled the development of many of the homes in this vicinity during the late 1920’s including 10 homes that were designed by prominent Detroit architect J. Ivan Dise. The Dise designed homes were located between Holiday Road and Mack Ave. This part of the Oxford subdivision fell under the name “Eastmoreland”, it is a name that is still used for homes listed for sale in this area today – “Arthur J. Scully Eastmoreland Park Sub” - from Morningside (originally named Grosse Pointe Blvd) up to Mack Avenue.
The 10 homes Arthur Scully developed in collaboration with J. Ivan Dise are very different in design, however in terms of size and price they were all roughly the same. The cost to purchase one of the Dise designed homes was around $23,000 (roughly $378,000 today), the terms were 15% down. The size of each property was between 2,000 – 2,500 sq ft. The homes were predominantly an English architectural approach and featured many distinctive architectural details that one would associate with a home designed by Dise.
The properties were created to appeal to affluent families looking to move to the increasingly popular city of Gross Pointe Woods with all the benefits a life in the suburbs had to offer. Eastmoreland was marketed as being “in the Center of the Golf Club District”, close to the Country Club of Detroit, Lochmoor Golf Club, Grosse Pointe Yacht Club, Grosse Pointe Hunt Club, and to the adjoining Renmoor Semi-Public Golf Course. The image below is an advertisement for 1481 Oxford from the Detroit Times, 1929.
The 10 homes J. Ivan Dise designed in collaboration with Arthur John Scully are:
1481 Oxford Road – brick built English Tudor – the photo below is from the original listing in 1929.
1491 Oxford Road – a classically styled center entrance Colonial.
1500 Oxford – brick built English Tudor. This is a three-bedroom home with an attached two-car garage. It is arguably one of the more uniquely styled properties of the 10 Dise created.
1511 Oxford – an English style home, featuring exquisite brickwork.
1520 Oxford – this classically styled Tudor is one of the larger homes designed by Dise.
1540 Oxford – a distinctive 3-bedroom French inspired home.
1560 Oxford – this Tudor inspired home is the second largest home designed by Dise.
1570 Oxford – this large Tudor has a rather distinguishable entrance. The post and beam constructed porch covers a beautiful recessed arched shaped front door with striking brickwork in a mosaic configuration above it. The photo below was taken in 1946.
1581 Oxford – arguably the most noticeable of the Dise homes, this striking property has all the classic characteristics associated with Tudor Revival homes from this era – a steeply pitched gabel roof, decorative half-timbering, small dormers in the roof, and a recessed front door.
1590 Oxford – a classically styled center entrance Colonial.
Arthur J. Scully was born on April 6, 1884, in Dubois, Pennsylvania. After graduating from the University of Michigan he was admitted to the Michigan Bar in 1909 and the New York Bar in 1911. From 1913 to 1917, he was a realtor in San Diego, California. Scully returned to Detroit to take a position as assistant general manager for the Houseman-Spitzley Co. One year later he opened his own real estate firm. He quickly gained a stellar reputation for the successful development of properties on Detroit’s East Side during the 1920’s through to the 1950’s. Arthur Scully was married to Luella Granger; the couple had a son, Frederick, and a daughter. Frederick attended Cornell University and obtained a law degree from the Detroit College of Law. After graduating Frederick became a realtor in Grosse Pointe, working for his father’s company developing numerous subdivisions including Oxford Rd. Frederick Scully also lived on the first block of Oxford Road at number 521 (now razed and a new property built in its place). It appears Arthur J. Scully resided in Grosse Pointe Woods, he passed in 1968. Source: Grosse Pointe Historical Society.
Architect J. Ivan Dise created multiple homes in Grosse Pointe along with the Grosse Pointe Farms sewage pumping station (located at Chalfonte Avenue and Kerby Road).Dise was born in Pennsylvania in 1887. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania in 1909, he began his career in New York with the prestigious firm of Cass Gilbert. While working for Gilbert, Dise was involved with several commissions the firm had secured in the City of Detroit, including the Detroit Public Library and the Scott Memorial Fountain on Belle Isle.In 1919, J. Ivan Dise moved from New York to Detroit to join the architectural firm of Albert Kahn. After working with Kahn for 3 years he then set up his own firm. He worked on many civil and residential projects within Metro Detroit including: the Methodist Children’s village, the Boulevard Temple Building, numerous Detroit Public Schools and several homes, along with a key public building within the City of Grosse Pointe Farms. The majority of his work in Grosse Pointe occurred during the 1920’s and 30’s. The houses Dise created are some of the most attractive in the community.
The development of the Oxford subdivision led to a collection of uniquely styled affordable family homes, designed by one of Detroit’s more respected architects at the time. It is a credit to Arthur J. Scully’s vision to not only create homes that he could be proud of, but to develop a beautiful residential community.
*Photos courtesy of the Higbie Maxon Agney archives unless stated.
** Research, information, and data sources are deemed reliable, but accuracy cannot be fully guaranteed.
Written by Katie Doelle
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