Encyclopedia Of Detroit

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Edsel and Eleanor Ford House

The Edsel and Eleanor Ford House, located at 1100 Lake Shore Road in Grosse Pointe Shores, was the home of the family of Eleanor Clay Ford and Edsel Ford, son of Henry Ford and president of Ford Motor Company. The buildings of the home were designed by notable Detroit architect Albert Kahn, and its gardens and grounds were created by Jens Jensen, a renowned landscape designer.

When the Fords commissioned Kahn to design their house, they traveled with him to England for inspiration and ideas. They asked him to design a house that would resemble the cottages they saw in the Cotswold countryside. Construction began in 1926 on a house with sandstone exterior walls and a traditional slate roof. For two years post-construction, the house was fitted with fireplaces from English manor houses and antique wood paneling. The home became the family’s residence in 1929, where the Fords’ children, Henry II, Benson, Josephine and William, were raised. The naturalistic grounds of the estate on Lake St. Clair include a power house, a gatehouse with two apartments and an eight car garage, a recreation or pool house, and a completely fitted child’s playhouse.

The Fords were avid art collectors and museum benefactors. They maintained an extensive art collection in the home, including original paintings by Cézanne, Renoir, Degas, and Diego Rivera. Many of these paintings were donated to the Detroit Institute of Arts after Eleanor’s death. Rivera’s Detroit Industry murals at the Detroit Institute of Arts were a gift of Edsel Ford.

Both Edsel and Eleanor lived at the home until their deaths, in 1943 and 1976, respectively. Eleanor wanted the estate to be used for the benefit of the public, and the house, in its original condition, and grounds are open for guided tours. Additionally, the house also hosts special events, lectures, and classes.

 


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