Last week we explored another of Grosse Pointes lost estates, 735 Lake Shore, a grand Tudor mansion designed by Albert Kahn for Alvan Macauley, in 1930, which was demolished in 1974.

This week we travel to 1 Rathbone Place. Sitting on close to 1 acre of land, running from Jefferson to the lake, this beautiful home was designed by famed Detroit architect, Louis Kamper, between 1917-1918, for John G. Rumney. Image courtesy of Grosse Pointe Historical Society.

1 Rathbone Place, an Italian Villa, is a particularly striking home. The three magnificent archways dominate the front elevation, as does the low sloping tiled roof, and the large overhanging eaves. As you would expect with any creation by Kamper the 6,805 sq ft home is filled with superb architectural details. The first floor features a stunning hallway, introducing visitors to many of the rooms on the main floor. This includes a wonderful sweeping staircase with acanthus leaf balusters, the large 33’ x 25’ sq ft living room with intricate plasterwork on the ceiling, a beautiful 19’ x 18’ sq ft conservatory with a tiled floor, along with the 20’ x 12’ sq ft library. The first floor also contains service stairs, and an elevator to the second, and third floors. The second floor originally contained four large family bedrooms plus three additional bedrooms for servants’, and a 12’ x 15’ sq ft balcony. The third floor includes a sizable 25’ x 18’ living room, along with an additional 19’ x 11’ sq ft bedroom. The terraced gardens, that overlook the lake were, and still are, stunning. Based on research by the Grosse Pointe Historical Society, we understand, the garage and chauffeurs quarters, with an attached greenhouse, were originally located on Jefferson.

The historic photos below are courtesy of the Grosse Pointe Historical Society.

The architect of the home, Louis Kamper, could be described as one of the most impactful designers to have ever graced 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 have left on the city, and the United States. Born in Bavaria, Germany in 1861 Kamper emigrated to the U.S. with his family in 1880. He began work for the prestigious New York architectural firm of McKim, Mead and White, and then moved to Detroit in 1888. He quickly established himself on the architectural scene, joining the firm of Scott & Scott, becoming partner within a year. His list of wealthy clientele grew quickly and he worked with several prominent families within Metro Detroit, including the Bagley, Merrill, Tuller and the Book families.

It is believed Kamper created at least seven homes in Grosse Pointe, including: 

  • 285 Washington (1910)
  • 16761 E. Jefferson (1917)
  • 251 Lincoln (1917)
  • 1 Rathbone Place (1918)
  • 836 Edgemont Park (1918)
  • 1008 Buckingham (1922)
  • 175 Merriweather Road (1931)

The owner of the home John Gaine Rumney was born in Detroit, 1850. He began his career as a salesman for Ducharme Fletcher & Company - dealers in wholesale hardware. He then took the position of treasurer at the Hart Manufacturing Company, a position he held for eight years. Between 1888 and 1896 he relocated to Helena, Montana to work in the cattle and real estate business. He returned to Michigan to take the position as manger at the Kalmazoo Spring & Axle Company. In 1904 Mr. Rumney became manager at the Detroit Steel Products Company, ten years later he became the companies president. Under his watch the organization became one of the best-known companies of its kind in the country. In addition he also held the position of president at numerous companies in Detroit, Helana, Montana, and Toronto. In 1883 he married Mary E. Pittman, and together they had two children. Image courtesy of 

The Rumney’s resided at 1 Rathbone Place until Mr. Rumney’s death in 1941. It is appears the house was then rented at $125 per month (around $2,100 today), with the garage apartment rented at $65 per month (around $1,100 today), and listed for sale in 1944.

1 Rathbone Place is as delightful today as the day it was built, and is a testament to the talent of Louis Kamper. 

The property is currently for sale, please click here for full details or call us to schedule a tour. 

*Photos courtesy of the Higbie Maxon Agney archives unless stated.


Written by Katie Doelle
Copyright © 2019 Higbie Maxon Agney & Katie Doelle


If you have a home, building or street you would like us to profile please contact Higbie Maxon Agney – - we will try and feature the property.

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