Last week we explored the two homes on Jefferson designed by Wallace Frost for the Bowen brothers – 16628 and 16632 East Jefferson.
This week we are going to explore some of the homes designed and/or built by Carl L. Meek, a known architect (and builder) in Grosse Pointe during the late 1920’s. Meek designed, and built, several homes in the community, including:
- 610 University Place (1926)
- 604 University Place (1928)
- 587 University Place (1928)
- 598 University Place (1929)
- 592 University Place (1929)
- 229 Merriweather (1928)
- 160 Touraine (1928)
- 679 and 525 Rivard (1928)
- 621 Fisher (1929)
- 31 Renaud (1930)
Very little is known about Carl L. Meek and his career, but he was responsible, during the 1920’s, for not only designing homes, but also collaborating with numerous leading architects to build homes for them. He worked for several prominent clients, including the publisher of the Detroit News, William Scripps, and prominent throat specialist Dr. George L. Renaud.
The majority of his residential projects in Grosse Pointe were around 3,000 sq ft. The style of these houses varied a great deal, encompassing French Normandy, Tudor, Colonial, and English architectural styles. Most of these styles had become extremely popular in the Grosse Pointe communities during the 1920’s, and Carl Meek certainly embraced these increasingly evolving architectural trends.
Lets start with the five properties he designed and/or built on University Place. It appears his earliest project on this street was number 610, completed in 1926.
610 University Place is a 2,500 sq ft asymmetrical colonial home. The front façade is filled with nine large windows, and is rather understated. Given that most colonial homes of this era were symmetrical with a dominant entrance, this is refreshingly unique.
604 University Place is an impactful 2,670 sq ft Tudor home.
587 University Place is a striking 3,010 sq ft Tudor inspired home.
598 University Place is a 2,700 sq ft colonial home in keeping with many colonial designs that could be found throughout Grosse Pointe during the late 1920’s.
592 University Place is a noticeable French inspired home, and is very different to Meek’s other residences. The steeply pitched roof dominates the design, while the entrance is located on the side of the home.
160 Touraine was designed for William Scripps, an avid aviator and publisher of the Detroit News. At 5,389 sq ft the stunning French Colonial is Meek’s largest home in Grosse Pointe.
Constructed in 1928, 525 Rivard was designed by Louis Palmer and built by Meek. The 2,941 sq ft brick home is remarkably similar to the design of 610 University Place.
Also built by Meek in 1928 is 679 Rivard, an asymmetrical brick built French home.The design of the 2,755 sq ft home is particularly striking given the unusual configuration of the windows on the first floor and the pronounced windows on the second floor that interrupt the roofline. The steep roof gives this home a regency feel, enhanced by the intricate line of bricks around the windows and across the front of the home.
Based on research by the Grosse Pointe Historical Society 31 Renaud was completed in 1930. It was one of Meeks’ later projects, and arguably his most impactful, however, it is not clear whether he was the architect or was only responsible for the construction. Designed in the popular French Normandy style it is located on a large 140’ x 195’ sq ft lot with stunning views of the lake, and was the first house to be built on Renaud. The 5,200 sq ft home is constructed from stone. The front elevation features a striking turret, with conical shaped roof, a steeply pitched roof, and an asymmetrical configuration to the home, along with many of the classic traits associated with this unique architectural style. In 2018 the home was awarded a bronze plaque by the Grosse Pointe Historical Society.
Carl L. Meek is one of many prominent architects and builders who have created numerous homes in Grosse Pointe, yet very little is known about them or their careers. All we have is a visual representation to prove what they were capable of, and we hope you agree that Carl L. Meek was very skillful indeed.
*Photos courtesy of the Higbie Maxon Agney archives unless stated.
Written by Katie Doelle
Copyright © 2019 Higbie Maxon Agney & Katie Doelle
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