Last week we went to Grosse Pointe City to explore the picturesque street of Village Lane, located between Cadieux and Notre Dame. The historic properties, completed before 1930, provide an eclectic mix of architectural styles from traditional Clapboard Colonial though to an English cottage style residence.
This week we turn our attention to a rather prominent road in Grosse Pointe Farms, Lewiston, in part one of a two-part series. During the first half of the 20th century, an era of substantial residential growth in Grosse Pointe Farms, Lewiston Road became the location of multiple impactful homes that were created by some of Detroit’s most distinguished architects. In part one, we will take a look at the first block, located between Grosse Pointe Blvd and Kercheval, with a selection of the homes created before 1930.
87 & 115 Lewiston – 1919 – Designed by William F. Goodrich
In 1919, William F. Goodrich created several homes in Grosse Pointe Farms. This included two of Lewiston’s earliest residences – numbers 87 and 115. The two properties were constructed for the Alexander Lewis Realty Company and are nearly identical. 87 Lewiston – see the photo below – is designed in the classic Regency style with a flat roof, the 4,600 sq ft brick home features some stunning details, including 9 ½ ft ceilings, a large 24’ x 16’ sq ft living room, an 18’ x 16’ sq ft dining room, along with four bedrooms and a nicely sized 10’ x 16 sq ft sunroom. Shortly after construction the property was featured in an article in the Detroit Free Press. The article describes the home as ‘following simple, yet artistic lines’, with ‘the interior of the house designed to facilitate efficiency in housekeeping’.
Below is a photo of 115 Lewiston. As you can see it is built in the same style and similar spec to its close neighbor.
128 Lewiston – 1923 – Designed by Louis Kamper
This stunning stately regency home was created for Walter E. Parker, by Louis Kamper, one of the most impactful designers to have ever graced Metro Detroit. His style, influence, and work were on par with Albert Kahn, and George D. Mason in terms of the architectural legacy that many of his projects left on the city, and across the United States. Kamper enjoyed a long and distinguished career and is credited with designing over 100 commercial and residential structures in and around Detroit, with many grand homes in Grosse Pointe, including – 1 Rathbone Place, 251 Lincoln, and 16761 E. Jefferson (to name but a few).
60 Lewiston – 1929 – Designed by Henry F. Stanton
This home is designed in the French Provincial Revival style. The 4,566 sq ft house features a large 18’ x 30’ sq ft living room, a 16’ x 16’ sq ft step-down dining room, and a gum wood paneled 12’ x 13’ sq ft library on the main floor. On the second floor, as of 1977, there were five main bedrooms along with two smaller bedrooms for maids. The huge basement, in 1977, included a large 18’ x 26’ sq ft recreation room (with fireplace), along with a billiard room (with BBQ and wet bar). The property was commissioned by prominent attorney Paul Weadock. During his career Mr. Weadcock was president of the Detroit Bar Association. In World War I, he was associate council for the Emergency Fleet Corp - the government wartime merchant marine agency. His wife Nesta was the first president of the Junior League of Detroit (1914-16). It appears the Weadcock family resided in the property until the fall of 1947. After Mr. Weadcock passed in August 1947, Mrs. Weadcock listed the home for sale for $65,000 (around $770,00 today). It was purchased by Dr. John Murphy later that year.
The architect of 60 Lewiston was Henry F. Stanton. During his career Mr. Stanton was a faculty member of University of Michigan. He also formed at least three significant partnerships with noted architects in the city - Charles Crombie, Charles Kotting, and James Hillier. The first of these partnerships came early on in Stanton’s career, around 1914, when he became associated with respected designer Charles Crombie. Over a significant period, they worked on many projects together, creating a rather diverse portfolio. The duo had a stellar reputation for elegant, beautifully detailed brickwork, and impactful limestone entranceways. Together, they designed one of the largest homes in Grosse Pointe City (340 Lakeland), while also claiming third place in a national competition for the design of a “low-cost” brick house with 4-6 rooms. The award-winning small brick home on Woodward Ave, Detroit, was contained within a rectangle measuring no more than 28 x 30 ft. and its success resulted with their work being featured in a book entitled ‘500 Small Houses of the Twenties’ - published in 1923. During the latter part of the 1920’s Stanton turned his attention to several large-scale homes in Grosse Pointe, including 330 Provencal (1926) and 60 Lewiston.
114 Lewiston – 1929 – Designed by D. Allen Wright
114 Lewiston is an excellent example of Wright’s talent in bringing French style architecture to Grosse Pointe. The 8,820 sq ft house is one of Wright’s larger homes. As with many of the French Provencal style homes found in the community, the triangular shaped roof is steeply pitched, shutters adorn the windows, and there are at least two tall, narrow chimneys. It appears the home was created for John W. Stroh, of the renowned Stroh family – owners of the Stroh Brewery Company. Born in 1893, Mr. Stroh joined the family-owned business (started by his grandfather Bernhard in 1850) when he was a teenager, pasting labels on bottles and addressing envelopes. In 1950, the company's 100th year, Mr. Stroh became the fifth member of the family to run the company, succeeding his brother, Gari, as president. He would later become chairman in 1967.
114 Lewiston was created during a period of Wright’s career when he was heavily influenced by French architecture. In the space of three years Wright had designed at least six French inspired homes in Grosse Pointe, including three separate sets of terraced houses/condo’s on Rivard, 706 Balfour, 20 Village Lane, and 166 Ridge Road. Wright created over 20 residences (that we know of) in Grosse Pointe.
With so many fabulous homes to look at, will be continuing the story of Lewiston next week.
*Photos courtesy of the Higbie Maxon Agney archives unless stated.
Written by Katie Doelle
Copyright © 2021 Higbie Maxon Agney & Katie Doelle
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