Saturday, February 12, 2011

'Rose Terrace' - Detroit Edition

'Rose Terrace', the Anna Thompson Dodge estate designed by Horace Trumbauer between 1930-1934 in Grosse Point Farms, Michigan. She was the widow of Horace E. Dodge, co-founder of Dodge Brothers Company in Detroit. Following his death in 1920, Anna went on to purchase 'Playa Riente' by Addison Mizer in Palm Beach in 1925 before deciding to build the above house (which required she demolish her and her late husband's c. 1910 Albert Kahn designed house) in Grosse Point Farms, just outside of Detroit. Much of the interior was done by Lord Joseph Duveen, who was also responsible for convincing her to build the new house. Anna continued to own the house until her death at age 98 in 1970. The house was demolished in 1976.







Brochure courtesy of HalfPuddingHalfSauce.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

Fascinating video about this house:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8t7GyK7Ymo

Anonymous said...

Excellent post... magnificent home does this mean you are venturing out of LI?

The Down East Dilettante said...

Sands Point, Kings Point, Peacock Point, and Grosse Point, now the furthest outpost of Long Island...

And what an amazing brocure. Would that one like this existed for every house lost. And note, lest we forget, that even in 1930 people were doing teardowns. The only difference is that when they tore something down back then, they actually built something nicer, not worser.

In other news, in my own blog yesterday, I published some family homes of Alexandra Emery Moore of Chelsea. I mention this because when I put pics of Chelsea next to her mother's house at Bar Harbor (where the Moores spent part of each summer), I realized that both had conical roof French towers on the entrance front, but what a difference in how architects handled the motif 30 years apart. Seeing them juxtaposed akes one wonder if it was a sentimental design gesture from her childhood home.

The Down East Dilettante said...

*makes one wonder*

Mansions of the Gilded Age said...

Yes, It was such a waste to loose that house. Intact to the end. If you look at Miramar in Newport, which was designed by Trumbauer also, it is a smaller version of it. Many of the Pratt mansions in Glen Cove replaced older mansions, and as DED said, they were replaced by much better houses. Also many of the mansions of Newport replaced earlier wooden houses either after a fire or were demolished for the palaces that replaced them.

Topaz said...

Why was it demolished? Because no new owner could be found, and it was too expensive for the city to maintain as a museum? What replaced it?

The Ancient said...

This picture seems to me the best:

http://image2.findagrave.com/photos/2006/183/14812762_115199288905.jpg

Zach said...

The house fell victim to the economic circumstances of the mid 1970s.

The Ancient...awesome photo find.

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

++++++ IMPORTED FROM DETROIT ++++++

http://wikimapia.org/#lat=42.3849307&lon=-82.9006755&z=17&l=0&m=b&show=/5157542/Rose-Terrace

How can you explain the fascination with a structure that no longer exists??? Laurelton Hall, Pembroke, Whitemarsh Hall, Rose Terrace???

I had asked Zach if he would be interested in posting this brochure ala When "---" was for sale. It was sent to me from a gentlemen who had attended several functions at Rose Terrace prior to demolition. One decadent story he relayed at a Detroit forum - "Something interesting about the heating system. The house was heated with oil boilers then thru a forced air system. There were grills in the floor underneath just about all the 42, French windows 14 foot high on the first floor. (The ceilings on the 1st floor were 18 feet high). There were no return grills in the house. Outside air was drawn in from grills outside near the South terrace and forced over steam radiators in the furnace room then sent to all the rooms. The positive pressure in the house forced the air up the 15 fireplaces to give a nice fire. Air was also forced out cracks or any openings in the windows to prevent cold air from coming in. One could stand near any of the windows and there would not be a draft. The house was not air conditioned. There was a 10,000 gallon oil tank under the front lawn to feed the furnace." Can you imagine? I would think it would cut down on the dusting also!

He goes on to post "When Hollywood wanted to film the Great Gatsby in 1974, they wanted to use Rose Terrace in the movie. At that time, the bank was still in control and denied the use of it. Hollywood then used Rosecliff in Newport RI for the ballroom scene.

Also, the Developer bought Rose Terrace, he wanted to make Condominiums out of it and add a few more buildings on the property. After a couple of years, economic conditions were not right and also of not taking care of the building, (low or no heat, etc). the roof and walls leaked, and streaked the ceilings and walls, it was then decided to develope the propery as single family homes."

Read more from this thread and the DetroitYes forum at -

http://www.detroityes.com/mb/showthread.php?2894-Rose-Terrace

With all the attention recently on Detroit its a great urban alternative to oldlongisland.com.

What elevates Rose Terrace for me was its museum quality furnishings and their royal provenance{Russian, French} AND the personal "Ice Cream Making Room"

Check out the wikimapia links for more on Rose Terrace. One has more details on the demise of the property, basement and 3rd floor plans, color version to the "The Delphine Docked at Rose Terrace" plus all four YouTube videos.

Winfield Hall fashion shoot -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ah8Fk3nfzeQ

The Down East Dilettante said...

HPHS, all great stuff.

As to the fascination with what's lost, well, of course. I grew up near Bar Harbor, where 70 of the estates disappeared in one night in a huge forest fire---which, by it's nature set in motion a chain of events that accelerated the destruction of the remaining 100 or so estates. One therefore constantly is one the watch for evidence of what was lost...and as we know, what replaces it is almost never as good..

lil' gay boy said...

Fantastic post, Zach; a timely reminder that some of the great houses of Old Long Island had as their progenitors some fabulous architecture from all over the country. The Grosse Pointe Historical Society has posted this picture album of Rose Terrace; there are also links to photos of the first house (pulled down to make way for this one), as well as other landmarks.

Sad it could not survive the economics; apparently this surviving balustrade is all that remains apart from the stone & iron fence along Lake Shore Road. In reading the brochure details, I was fascinated to find that while only the second floor west wing was air conditioned, there were two separate units to refrigerate the fur & rug vaults; I should have such worries!

*WARNING* Click on the link for the Fabulous ruins of Detroit at your own risk; you will get lost for hours exploring these fabulous and sad remains...

Security word - mousn: what my harelipped cat does when she's bored with canned food.

lil' gay boy said...

P.S. Scroll down for some additional pictures of Rose Terrace, (including the garages) showing it in relatively perfect condition just prior to its demolition.

The Down East Dilettante said...

lil gay boy, I'm having a hell of a time trying to navigate this site (which, btw, appears to actually be a robot site that has taken over the real site)

The Devoted Classicist said...

There was a Dodge house on a large lot on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue at E 61st Street that was razed in the 1970s. (It was next door to the handsome Knickerbocker Club). Now the site is occupied by a very mediocre apartment building. It is one thing to make room for progress, but painful when the replacement is not an improvement.

Mansions of the Gilded Age said...

Here is a link to a recent New York Times story about the Dodge House on Fifth Avenue.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/28/realestate/28scape.html

The Down East Dilettante said...

Devoted, different Dodge family. The Fifth Avenue house was owned by an heir to the Phelph Dodge/Remington Firearms fortune, married to a niece of John D. Rockefeller, Geraldine, whose foundation now funds many arts projects.

The Ancient said...

As in "Phelps Dodge." As in "Phelps Stokes."

Anonymous said...

any idea who the architect of the 5th avenue house was?

The Ancient said...

Richard Shapter.

There's also this:

http://books.google.com/books?id=DTXQh4KRPuoC&pg=PA35&lpg=PA35&dq=%22The+Dodge+Mansion%22&source=bl&ots=I8Wqyjb7Dw&sig=c7W_hcqgLn7v7-2fFeJ2Jog9QcI&hl=en&ei=hlhYTdbiGYOKlweszYjXBw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=7&ved=0CE4Q6AEwBjgU#v=onepage&q=%22The%20Dodge%20Mansion%22&f=false

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

First - Thanks to Zach for posting this.

I don't know of any presence that THIS Dodge had in NYC. I believe they/she would have used rooms at a hotel. No house in the city. They{Anna, Horace} were in NYC when her famous pearls were purchased.

http://www.internetstones.com/anna-thomson-dodge-catherine-the-great-pearl-necklace.html

If Rose Terrace had been built on Long Island it surely would have "fit" in. However Anna and Horace would have not. Like her friend Eva Stotesbury{Whitemarsh Hall} she bypassed New York society{she couldn't get in} and established herself in a Mizner designed villa in Palm Beach "Playa Riente".

http://fallentowers.blogspot.com/search?q=Playa+Riente


Rose Terrace was intended for use from September to December only. The rest of the winter was spent in Palm Beach. Perhaps sailing on the Delphine during the summer.

http://www.ssdelphine.com/

DED - Are you aware of any stories of Anna Dodge visiting Eva At Wingwood House?

Besides the garden wall the service gate survives.

Look for The Dodge Collection -

http://www.amazon.com/Dodge-Collection-Eighteenth-Century-English-Institute/dp/155595135X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1297636054&sr=8-1

or Trumbauers book for more on Rose Terrace -

http://www.amazon.com/American-Splendor-Residential-Architecture-Trumbauer/dp/0926494228/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1297636110&sr=1-1

Lucien Alavoine[decorator} and firm were in charge of maintaining the floors, paneling and hardware, cleaning upholstery and re-gliding chairs, polishing furniture and repairing clocks. At times they were retained to open and close houses as owners moved for the seasons. A scale model of the principal rooms was built, kept at the Alavoine offices which allowed maintenance issues to be solved. In the 60's this scale model was sold. Would love to have possession of that!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jules_Allard_and_Sons

The Down East Dilettante said...

Anthient, apparently my keyboard has developed a lithp. I mean Phelps Dodge.

Pudding Sauce, I've never read of Anna Dodge visiting at Wingwood, although we know that she did at El Mirasol and Whitemarsh. We do know that Doris Duke, Mrs. Stotesbury's second daughter-in-law visited at Wingwood---in fact James Cromwell met Duke at Bar Harbor.

The Down East Dilettante said...

Interesting. The 1971 article mentions a court action regarding Geraldine Dodge's trust 'the action provides a rare peek into what it means, financially, to be the only daughter of a Rockefeller'. Mrs. Dodge actually had a sister, Mrs. McAlpin, whose daughter, a contemporary of my grandmother, I remember well. I mention this only because it points up the constant problem of separating truth and notion in unraveling history...

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

There's a interesting and easy read on the life of G.R. Dodge and her estate Giralda Farms

Behind the scenes at Giralda Farms by Valerie Barnes.

Anonymous said...

zach --

thanks much for this posting. i grew up in the northeast detroit suburbs and drove by this magnificant mansion many times. i was also there when the wrecking ball took the place down - "sad" doesn't even scratch the surface for the loss of such a treasure. it really was a shame that anna thompson dodge did not have the foresight that her contemporary, eleanor clay ford possessed. ms. dodge made no attempt to create a legacy fund to maintain rose terrace after she was gone while ms. ford did establish a trust to maintain her home. as such, the edsel and eleanor ford home still stands today for all to enjoy on the other end of lakeshore drive (www.fordhouse.org) while all we have to remember anna thomson dodge's house are great blogs such as your own.

keep up the great work!

Turner Pack Rats said...

actually you kind of sidestepped what really happened to rose terrace. ms dodge offered it to the city with a $2 million dollar endowment and they turned it down after they asked for a $10 million endowment and ms dodge refused. they were stupid and so was she. had she given the endowment, rose terrace would probably be extant even given the sorry state of detroit.
the fabulous ruins of detroit chronicles not only houses but also some absolutely phenomenal abandoned apartment building - moorish fantasies, gothic cathedral like places and then there are the hotels.
also, i think zach or the ancient or DED should give that Fallen Towers blog a little help. he means well but is a little sketchy on his facts. he has some good pix tho.

security word def - "terica" - a new nation to be formed from tunisia, egypt and the us of a - all prime areas for the spread of democracy.

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

Check the HistoricAerials link for a wonderful overhead view of this once huge estate -

http://wikimapia.org/#lat=40.7650714&lon=-74.4379091&z=15&l=0&m=b&show=/9365588/Giralda-Farms

The farm complex has been turned into the St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center -

http://wikimapia.org/#lat=40.7650714&lon=-74.4379091&z=15&l=0&m=b&show=/16810932/St-Hubert-s-Animal-Welfare-Center

Just north is "Florham".

cattychick said...

Just finished reading a fascinating first novel about old Detroit. It's called "The Detroit Electric Caper." The reason I mention it is that there are a number of "cameo" appearances by auto pioneers. The Dodge brothers were apparently quite the ruffians back then! Luckily, someone in the family acquired some taste along the way.

The Ancient said...

cattychick --

It's probably incumbent on you to prove that an uneducated Scottish nitwit was somehow wiser than her genius husband who (with his brother) built much of the American automotive industry.

As for "taste," well, someone's second husband had ambitions, didn't he?

cattychick said...

Ancient,
Point well taken. It's incumbent upon me to learn many things. I should probably rely upon legitimate research rather than rely upon fiction that includes the Dodge boys as characters - no matter how entertaining the novel was.