Last week we explored 15410 Windmill Pointe. The sprawling estate was completed in 1924, by Alfred Hopkins & Associates for William Pickett Harris, Jr. an investment banker and a significant authority on zoology.
This week we stay in Grosse Pointe Park and head to a rather splendid home, 1100 Three Mile Drive, completed in 1927. The property is located on the corner of Three Mile Drive and St. Paul, on a double lot, close to an acre of land that was originally part of the Henry Russel Three-Mile Subdivision (lots 23 & 24).
1100 Three Mile Dr. is an historic Tudor residence. The design of this 4,979 sq ft house is quite unusual in that both the exterior and interior boast a harmonious blend of sharp angles and curves. The large triangular section, the location of the recessed arched doorway, is the key focal point that dominates the front elevation, along with the ornate brickwork, the steeply pitched roof, and the tall arched window. The exterior also has a timbered stucco section (on the second floor) - a key element to most traditional Tudor homes, along with clinker bricks and radiating trim, ‘radiating’ from the front door. Clinkers bricks were a popular addition to many homes in Grosse Pointe during this era. Architects originally started using them around 1900, to create distinctive architectural detailing. They are denser, heavier, and often misshapen compared to regular bricks.
Inside, the property is filled with delicate architectural detailing. It is reported the interior was finished by European craftsmen with many special features imported from Germany. The interior also continues the extensive use of arches in the form of arched top windows, doorways, niches recessed into the rough plaster walls, along with a barrel ceiling in the 25’ x 16’ sq ft living room. The 17’ x 12’ sq ft foyer features a Pewabic tile floor, rope molding, and a wrought iron rail on the staircase. The first floor (as per a listing from 1978) also features pickled mahogany, a 17’ x 14’ dining room, butler’s pantry, a 10’ x 10’ sq ft octagonal shaped breakfast nook, and a garden room which has a slate floor. The second fool is the location of three bedrooms, a sewing room, a large cedar closet, and two further bedrooms which were originally for maids. In the basement, there was once an Art Deco themed 45’ x 15’ sq ft recreation room, a bar along with a wine room. Interior photos are courtesy of Realtor.com
We cannot verify who the house was originally built for or who the architect was, but at one point it appears the property (based on details from a listing in 1978) was the residence for one of the Fruehauf family. August Charles Fruehauf was a blacksmith, carriage builder, and freight transportation pioneer. Born in Fraser, Michigan in 1867, August Fruehauf was the son of Charles and Sophia Fruehauf, originally from Prussia. August was one of ten children (all born in Michigan), he moved to Detroit in 1903, and opened his own blacksmith shop. By 1911, August's reputation as a horseshoer and carriage builder was well established. Research on Wikipedia states, “In 1914, a local businessman named Frederic M. Sibley asked Fruehauf to build a trailer that could be towed behind a Ford Model T and transport a boat to upper Michigan. Fruehauf successfully built the device, and Sibley requested he build additional trailers for use on his lumber yard. Fruehauf would call them "semi-trailers", and his product proved popular. In 1918, he incorporated his business as the Fruehauf Trailer Company and effectively launched a new industry. The Fruehauf trailer company introduced revolutionary inventions to trucking and transportation. It ultimately became a global company”.
August Charles Fruehauf married Louisa Henrietta Schuchard and together they had five children. During the 1920’s August purchased a large home on Westchester Avenue in Grosse Pointe Park for himself and his wife, along with his daughter Myrtle (born 1898), and her husband Gerald. In 1926, Louisa passed unexpectedly. We cannot confirm if August remained at the property on Westchester or whether he moved to the house on Three Mile Drive. Of course, it is a distinct possibility that 1100 Three Mile could have also been the home of one of August's four sons, Harvey (born 1893), Andrew (born 1892), Harry (born 1896) or Roy (born 1908). We do know that in 1945, Harvey was residing at 1004 Three Mile Drive, Harry was living at 728 Lakepointe Ave, while Roy’s home was 15621 Windmill Pointe. August Charles Fruehauf passed in 1930. In 2017, August C. Fruehauf was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame.
It is also not clear who owned 1100 Three Mile Drive from 1930 through to 1960. In 1962, the house was purchased by Brigadier General L. S. Bork, Chief, Michigan Military District, for $48,000 (around $460,000 today). It appears General Bork then listed the property for sale in 1969, for $97,000 (around $772,000 today), the listing included both lots (23 & 24). It was stipulated in the listing that the house (located on lot 23), and lot 24 could be sold separately - $82,000 for the house and $15,000 for lot 24. However, the house (and lot 23) had to be sold first. It appears the house and both lots remained intact and was sold to Roman M. Brinkman in 1970. Then in 2002, the property was listed for sale, again offering the house and lot 24 as a separate purchase. Lot 24, measuring 144’ x 281.33 sq ft then became 1116 Three Mile Drive, however, it was ultimately purchased by the then owner of 1122 Three Mile Drive to increase the size of that particular property.
The story of 1100 Three Mile is an interesting one, and a story that has yet to be fully concluded. We would love to hear from anyone who might have information on the original architect and possibly which member of the Fruehauf might have commissioned this historic estate.
1100 Three Mile is currently for sale. If you are interested in learning more, please click here or call our office to schedule a tour.
*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
Copyright © 2022 Higbie Maxon Agney & Katie Doelle
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