Last week we presented 16710 E. Jefferson, now 8 Jefferson Court, one of the oldest homes in all of the Grosse Pointe communities. The home was designed in a Victorian architectural approach for Dr. Lewis E. Maire. It is now part of the Jefferson Court Sub Division.
This week we head to one of Grosse Pointe’s most historic and prestigious homes 625 Lake Shore Rd. Completed in 1909, as a summer cottage for Harry Mulford Jewett, this gracious white clapboard Colonial revival residence was designed by Walter MacFarlane.
During the late nineteenth and early twentieth century Lake Shore Rd was the location for two differing styles of residences. On one hand there were the wealthy Detroit businessmen who wanted to retain the area as a place to have a summer cottage, while on the other hand there were the affluent families who wanted to leave the city and build a large home in the increasingly popular suburb of Grosse Pointe. By 1900, the community was far more accessible from Detroit thanks to the Interurban Railway, vast improvements to the roads, and the dawn of the automobile. Many of the early farmhouses and summer cottages had started to be replaced by large year round mansions with their formal landscaped gardens. Increasingly popular Colonial revival architecture had begun to take precedence over the Victorian and Queen Anne style residences that had been the favored architectural style for so many years.
Despite the ongoing transition summer cottages were still being commissioned and constructed. One such example is 625 Lake Shore, also known as the Harry Mulford Jewett house, or ‘Maplehurst’. Mr. Jewett was a prominent civil and mining engineer. Born in Elmira, New York in 1850, he attended the University of Notre Dame where he played varsity baseball and football. Having graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering, in 1895, he established his own company Jewett, Bigelow and Brooks, a wholesale coal deal and mining enterprise - where he made his wealth. At the turn of the century he acquired a car designed by Andrew Bachle that was being promoted by Fred O. Paige. Fred Paige originally ran the newly formed Paige-Detroit Motor Car Company, but Jewett took over as president in 1910. In 1915, the first six-cylinder Paige car was launched, a car with graceful styling and good performance. Jewett sold the company in 1927. Source: The Detroit News, 1998.
625 Lake Shore has a long and rich history - the earliest record of the land dates back to 1811, when U.S. President James Madison granted Francois Ambroise Tremble the land, then over 61 acres. In 1876, the land was purchased by James M. Fisher and sold to William B. Moran in 1884, he then deeded it to John V. Moran for use as a dairy cattle and horse farm. In 1907, Harry M. Jewett purchased the land from Mr. Moran to build his expansive new summer cottage. Source: Grosse Pointe Historical Society.
Architect Walter MacFarlane completed the property in 1909. It is located on 2.4 acres with stunning views of the lake from many rooms. Over the years it has received some additions including a 2,400 sq ft carriage house over a 6 car heated garage in 2000, along with being totally remodeled/renovated in 2017. It is not clear what the size of the property was when it was first completed, but it is now approximately 7,900 sq ft. The residence features large sash shuttered windows and a huge central portico on the lakeside elevation. On entering the home through the 11’ x 36’ sq ft foyer, to the right is the 18’ x 27’ sq ft living room along with an 18’ x 22’ sq ft sunroom. After World War 1, a spacious 22’ x 45’ sq ft family room (what was frequently referred to as the ballroom) was added behind what is now the living room. The main floor also features a 12’x 23’ sq ft breakfast room, a 19’ x 22’ sq ft dining room, and a 22’ x 18’ sq ft kitchen. At the time of completion the property had seven bedrooms, (two were for maids) however this has now been reduced to six bedrooms with several spacious walk in closets. Meanwhile the basement now includes a 21’ x 43’ sq ft recreation room and a 17’ x 26’ sq ft gym. (Nighttime photo courtesy of John F. Martin).
The exterior of the house is just as impressive. When the property was first completed it is reported there was a boathouse on the lake, a gazebo and a reflecting pool. The elegant gardens were home to three ancient French pear trees, possibly hundreds of years old. While the boathouse is no longer part of the shoreline and the original reflecting pool is now gone, the original charm of the very private garden still remains.
Mr. Jewett died in 1933, however his family resided in the home until 1945. Since then the home has had several owners and numerous upgrades and renovations, but much of the original charm still remains to present a perfect example of an exquisite turn of the century home that was built in Grosse Pointe.
The architect, Walter MacFarlane, born in Cold Spring, New York in 1859, was a formally trained architect. He was a partner in the respected firm of Rogers and MacFarlane, founded in 1885. James S. Rogers and Walter MacFarlane worked together until 1912. Together they were responsible for the design of many factories, the Michigan Central Railroad Depot, office buildings and banks, along with a large number of beautiful homes in Metro Detroit. This included ‘Ridgemont’ in 1902, a large residence for David C. Whitney located at 237 Lakeshore – demolished in the 1950’s. In 1912, MacFarlane joined Walter Maul and Walter Lenz (architectural graduates of the University of Michigan) to form MacFarlane, Maul, and Lentz. He passed in 1919.
625 Lake Shore has been featured on HGTV, is a former Junior League Designer Show House (1982), and a recipient of a Bronze Historic Plaque from the Grosse Pointe Historical Society for architectural significance. It is a handsome home that stands as a proud historical marker in the heart of Grosse Pointe.
625 Lake Shore Rd is currently for sale. If you would like further details please click here, or to schedule a tour please contact our office.
*Photos courtesy of the Higbie Maxon Agney archives unless stated.
Written by Katie Doelle
Copyright © 2020 Higbie Maxon Agney & Katie Doelle
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