7 Amazing Detroit Mansions and Great Estates That You Must See!

October 4th, 2017

There are lots of amazing homes and historic buildings in Detroit. Majority of them are listed in National Register of Historic Places and became Detroit’s must-see attractions.

Below are some of the most visited Detroit mansions and great estates that are once homes of Michigan’s prominent people.

 Henry Ford Estate – Fair Lane

4901 Evergreeen Road, Dearborn

Such a beautiful place! #thisoldhouse #dearbornmichigan #dearborn #detroit #henryford #henryfordestate

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For Clara and Henry Ford, their estate, Fair Lane, was more than just a home. It was a place where they took simple ideas and turned them into actions that opened the highway to all mankind.

The 1,300-acre estate along the River Rouge included a large limestone house, an electrical power plant on the dammed river, a greenhouse, a boathouse, riding stables, a children’s playhouse, a treehouse and extensive landmark gardens. The residence and part of the estate grounds are open to the public as a historical landscape and house museum and preserved as a National Historic Landmark. Part of the estate grounds are preserved as a university nature study area. Source.

Hecker-Smiley Mansion

5510 Woodward Avenue, Detroit

This French Chateau-style mansion was built in 1892 for Colonel Frank Hecker. The nearly 21,000 square foot home has forty-nine rooms on three floors. There are numerous fireplaces in the house, made of such fine materials as onyx and Nubian marble. Elegant, elaborate wood carvings can be seen throughout the house, often reflecting the room they are in; for example, the dining room has wooden carvings of food. From 1928-1947, the home was a boarding house before it was purchased by Paul Smiley as the headquarters for Smiley Music Company. Source.

The Whitney

4421 Woodward Avenue, Detroit

I’ll hang out at a lumber baron’s mansion any time. #TheWhitney #Whitney #Detroit

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The David Whitney House was built between 1890 and 1894 by the famous lumber baron David Whitney Jr., who was considered not only one of Detroit’s wealthiest personalities, but also one of Michigan’s wealthiest citizens.  The house’s exterior is constructed using pink jasper from South Dakota. It is measured to be 21,000-square-foot (2,000 m2) and has 52 rooms (including 10 bathrooms), 218 windows, 20 fireplaces, and a secret vault in the dining room, an elevator, and numerous Tiffany glass windows. The Tiffany glass windows have been estimated to be worth more than the house itself. The window designs often feature themes oriented around the purpose of the rooms they are located in. For example, the music room’s windows are themed towards elements of music as well as images of Saint Cecilia, the patron saint of music. The grand staircase features a massive stained glass window portraying a knight, paying homage to the various members of the Whitney family who were knighted, as well as their lineage to Royal blood line in England. The house was the first residential home in Detroit to have a functioning elevator for personal use. Source.

The mansion is now a famous restaurant where you can find award-winning cuisine, unique presentation and flavors to never be forgotten.

Fisher Mansion

383 Lenox Avenue, Detroit

Estate sale #fishermansion #bostonedison #detroit

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In 1927, Lawrence Fisher, founder of Fisher Body and Cadillac, employed more than 200 European craftsmen to build his lavish home on the Detroit River.  It was modeled after William Randolph Hearst’s San Simeon castle with a Mission-style exterior, Italian marble fireplaces, and 24-karat gold-leaf ceilings. The home now operates as a cultural center that offers tours, a fascinating collection of Asian and Indian art, and a vegetarian restaurant. Source.

Edsel & Eleanor Ford House

1100 Lake Shore Road, Grosse Pointe Shores

The Edsel and Eleanor Ford House is the former private residence of Henry and Clara Ford’s only child, Edsel, his wife Eleanor, and their children.  Open to the public since 1978, the 87-acre Albert Kahn designed home sits on the picturesque shoreline of Lake St. Clair.  Inside the home is a museum showcasing the Fords’ collection of original antiques and art.  Outside the home are lush gardens designed by landscape architect Jans Jensen.  Source.

Cranbrook House & Gardens

380 Lone Pine Road, Bloomfield Hills

Happy #NationalGetOutdoorsDay! Celebrate with a free visit to the Gardens today before 5:00 pm! #visitcranbrook

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Cranbrook House and Gardens are the centerpiece of the Cranbrook Educational Community campus. The 1908 English Arts and Crafts-style house was designed by Albert Kahn for Cranbrook founders George Gough Booth and Ellen Scripps Booth. Ten first-floor rooms can be seen on guided tours, and contain tapestries, hand-carved woodworking and English Arts and Crafts-style antiques. The upper floors of the house are used for the executive offices of the Cranbrook Educational Community.

The 40-acre (160,000 m2) gardens were originally designed by George Gough Booth, and include a sunken garden, formal gardens, bog garden, herb garden, wildflower garden, Oriental garden, sculpture, fountains, specimen trees and a lake. Source.

Meadow Brook Hall

480 South Adams Road, Rochester

Meadow Brook Hall is a Tudor revival style mansion built between 1926 and 1929 by Matilda Dodge Wilson (the widow of auto pioneer John Francis Dodge) and her second husband, lumber broker Alfred G. Wilson. In 1957, the mansion and the surrounding property and buildings were donated to the State of Michigan in order to found Michigan State University–Oakland, now known as Oakland University. In 2012, it was named a National Historic Landmark. Source. Website.

Featured image credit: Andrew Jameson

12 responses to “7 Amazing Detroit Mansions and Great Estates That You Must See!”

  1. Gladys parker says:

    These are all too cool. I like your posts like these with old day architecture and past homes of famous people. The Fisher Mansion caught my eye this time. I’m sure glad these homes are still available for us not so wealthy people to enjoy!

  2. What great mansions and estates. I would love to visit them all. I’ve never been to Detroit, but you just gave me 7 great reasons too

  3. Our Family World says:

    These mansions are spectacular! It must have been nice to have lived in such splendor. I would love to visit any one of these, but I would like to visit the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House and the Meadow Brook Hall first.

  4. krystal says:

    what beautiful homes and some of them have awesome yards and gardens. would love to see in person.

  5. Tami says:

    I love to tour old buildings. These mansions would be quite intriguing.

  6. Kelly Reci says:

    That mansion looks so stunning, Such a beautiful architecture. Thanks for sharing this.

  7. GiGi Eats says:

    Last December, when it was SO COLD in Detroit, our friends actually showed us these mansions!!! Ha! It at least gave us SOMETHING to do when sooooo stinkin’ cold!

  8. Karlyn Cruz says:

    Awww … I wish there were pictures of the interior. I love going to homes like this. I can’t believe the Hecker Smiley mansion was a boarding house. Sounds a bit like X-men!

  9. MAKEBA GILES says:

    All of these look and sound like some really cool places to visit in Detroit! I’ve never been there, but I hope toget my family there soon!

  10. Oyinkan says:

    Now this post I love! I love looking at huge beautiful houses! So gorg

  11. Becki says:

    Great list. Hubby and I have always loved driving around and looking at historical houses. I think there’s a few on this list he hasn’t shown me yet!

  12. Tim B says:

    these are some impressive building to behold. I’ve visited half of them and hope to see the inside of all of them sooner or later.

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