Last week we explored one of Grosse Pointe’s ‘lost estates’ – 16850 E. Jefferson, also known as the Sycamores, designed by Bryant Fleming for Wesson and Winifred Dodge Grey Seyburn.

This week we stay with the lost estates and present a close neighbor of the Seyburn house, 17000 E. Jefferson.

17000 E. Jefferson was commissioned by Oren S. Hawes and was completed in 1914. George W. Graves designed this unique home, which appears to be quite different in style to the large colonial homes that were being constructed during this era. With a perfect view of the lake, the lot size and shape was very similar to that of 16850 E. Jefferson, in that it was once again extremely narrow (67’ x 1000’).

Constructed from brick it features a large amount of white wood trim. This is present on the two dominant white wood porches on the front elevation, on both the first and second floor, along with a large two story high section on the rear of the property. The substantial protruding brick section features a Dutch style Gambrel roof, which is quite different in style to the rest of the house. It is not clear how big the house was, but it featured a decent number of rooms. As you will see from the floor plan below, the layout was quite unusual. The first floor contained a large porch, and living room, two sunrooms, a library, dining room, and an elevator along with a dining room for the maids. The second floor featured two further sunrooms, a den, and four bedrooms, along with an additional bedroom for the maids with service stairs to the first floor. Photo of the rear of the home courtesy of

The homes owner, Oren S Hawes, was born in Massachusetts in 1868. Having left high school Mr. Hawes moved to Manistee, Michigan in 1884, where he was employed in a hardware business. During his time in the position he became interested in the lumber business in Manistee. During the late 1890’s he became associated with a number of lumber companies in the state, thus becoming an expert in the lumber trade. His interest covered all aspects of the business from selecting the timber to marketing finished products. During his career he held the positions of secretary and treasurer at the O. S Lumber Company and the Grayling Lumber Company. Mr. Hawes was also associated with various import business interests, along with holding the title of director at the Merchants’ National Bank. He and his wife Susan E. Salling, a member of a prominent pioneer family in the state, were married in Manistee 1893. Source: The City of Detroit, Michigan, 1701-1922, by Clarence Monroe Burton. Image courtesy of Library of Congress.

The architect of 17000 E. Jefferson, George William Graves, created several notable homes in Grosse Pointe, including:

  • 330 Lincoln (1911)
  • 24 Beverly (1914)
  • 1040 Bishop (1922)
  • 56 Roslyn (1928) 

Graves was born in Buffalo, New York in 1876. After attending schools in Buffalo he later graduated from Buffalo Preparatory College with degrees in architecture and engineering. In 1906 he moved to Chicago, where he resided for two years, employed as the head of the architectural department for the American Radiator Company. From there he moved to Detroit, working for nearly twenty years at an architectural and engineering practice.


Graves was by no means a prolific architect in Grosse Pointe, but he did create several splendid properties. Outside of the community he designed the Findlater Masonic Temple on Lafayette, and the Country Club, located at the end of Masonic in St. Clair Shores (now demolished). He was also heavily involved with the Freemasons. 

It appears 17000 E. Jefferson remained with the Hawes family until 1929. In 1959 owner, Dr. Alfred Whittaker, listed the home for sale for $150,000 (around $1.3 million today). We believe the home was demolished in the 1970’s to make way for, what is now, Lakeside Court.

*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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