This week we journey back to the late nineteenth century and explore the Queen Anne style home of prominent Detroiter Henry Brockholst Ledyard.
Towards the end of the nineteenth century Grosse Pointe was a vastly different scene to the community we live in today. Land was at a premium and the area was becoming a ‘hotspot’ for wealthy Detroit businessman to build large summer cottages for their families. Many of the new constructions were typical of the Gothic Revival and Queen Anne architectural styles of that period. Given this was where families would be spending their summers the majority of the properties were set in picturesque settings with well manicured lawns and elegant flower gardens.
One such example of a ‘turn of the century’ Queen-Anne styled residence is the home of Henry Brockholst Ledyard, built in 1882, located at 259 Lake Shore. It was designed by Detroit based architect Gordon W. Lloyd. He worked primarily in the Midwest, and was a popular architect of Episcopal churches and cathedrals in the region. Source: Wikipedia
Queen Anne-style architecture, in the United States, was popular from 1880 to around 1910. The distinctive features of the Queen Anne style include: asymmetrical façade, shaped gables, a porch covering part or all of the front façade (including the entrance area), bay windows, a second story porch or balcony, large chimneys, and wood shingles.
Henry Ledyard’s three-story residence displayed many of these typical features. The home was set on a high ridge of ground close to Lothrop Place. The surrounding fifty acres were known as “Cloveleigh”. The grounds contained an abundance of shrubs and trees along the borders, and sloped gently towards the lake. The back of the house featured extensive flowers gardens, on the lakefront was a rustic boathouse built of logs, while the entrance to the house was at the side. Source: Grosse Pointe on Lake Sainte Claire. *Image courtesy of the Digital Collection, detroitpubliclibrary.org
On the same property, (the upper half of the “Cloveleigh” estate) was an adjacent residence, the home of Hugh McMillan - one of the more successful of Detroit's younger businessmen. The photo below (from 1886) shows how close the near identical properties were. *Image courtesy of the Digital Collection, detroitpubliclibrary.org
Henry B. Ledyard was born in Paris, 1844 while his father was serving as secretary of the Legation under Gen. Cass, the then U. S. Minister to France. Henry Ledyard graduated from West Point Military academy and served several years in the U.S. army. He then returned to Detroit, where he would spend most of his life. Mr. Ledyard was a talented engineer. In 1875 Mr. Ledyard was promoted to the position of Chief Engineer at the Michigan Central Railroad Company, and enjoyed a rapid rise to the top. Three years later, by 1878, he was promoted to general manager, ultimately becoming president. *Image courtesy of findagrave.com
He was married to Mary L'Hommedieu, and together they had four children: Matilda Cass Ledyard, Henry Brockholst Ledyard, III (a Detroit attorney), Augustus Canfield Ledyard (killed in action in the Philippines, 1899), and Hugh Ledyard (secretary and treasurer of the Art Stove Company of Detroit).
Henry B. Ledyard died in Grosse Pointe in 1921. Two of his children, Henry and Hugh Ledyard continued to reside in the community, at 104 Moran (built in 1930), and 111 Cloverly (built in 1924, designed by Robert O. Derrick) respectively.
Post 1900 many of Grosse Pointe’s Queen Anne style homes were demolished as Grosse Pointe began to transition from a summer colony to a year-round residential community. It is not clear when the residences of Henry Ledyard and Hugh McMillan were razed, but at some point they made way for Cloverly Road and its array of classically designed homes from the architectural talent who completed many projects on this road during the 1920’s.
Written by Katie Doelle
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