GPHS Moorings Newsletters - page 22

The Theodore Beaufait House
The Beaufait family traces its history in the Detroit area to
Colonel Louis Beaufait, who arrived in Detroit with Antoine
de la Mothe Cadillac. Louis was an upstanding member of the
early Detroit French community. He held various positions,
including a state delegate fromWayne County, a state senator,
an Indian interpreter and a judge, and served as a justice over
sessions involving crime and misdemeanor.
Beaufait Street in Grosse Pointe Woods is named after the
family that occupied this farmhouse.
Two other streets in Grosse Pointe Woods that are named
for members of the family are Anita and Lennon.
Originally located on the east side of Mack Avenue, the
Beaufait farmhouse was between the neighboring farms of the
Van Antwerps and the Cooks.The children of the area first
attended school in the granary of the Beaufait Farm. Due to
heat issues and fear of a fire, August Cook eventually donated
land and Cook School was erected on Mack Avenue.
In 1865, Louis L. Beaufait purchased 160 acres from
the Vernier family located along a dirt road called Clinton
(later Mack).Two years later, Louis sold a portion of his land
to August Cook; today, this is the site of the Grosse Pointe
Hunt Club.
The main farmhouse was built in 1885; in 1900, a second
farmhouse was built. In 1917, property from these early
farms was purchased for the Lochmoor Club.The remaining
Beaufait property and farmhouse was eventually deeded to
Louis’ grandson,Theodore (Mary Jane Lennon),
who raised five children in this house:
Catherine, Matilda, Veva,Theresa, and Joseph.
Beaufait Street first appeared on Wayne
County maps in 1872. In 1925,Theodore
moved this house across Mack Avenue to its
present location on Beaufait. Moving a house
was accomplished by propping it up on timbers
and dragging it with a team of horses.When
this house was moved, it underwent a radical
change. It was rotated sideways, the original
front porch was removed and the roof was
extended to add onto the front and back.The
house was also covered with a brick veneer sup-
ported by steel beams.These changes make the
house almost unrecognizable today as the same
1885 farmhouse.The original logs still support
both stories of this building.
The Beaufaits were actively involved in local
community endeavors. In 1928,Theodore’s son,
Joseph, was elected President of Lochmoor Vil-
lage, now Grosse Pointe Woods. Joseph was a
leader in the community and the township.
As a real estate developer, he named Lennon Street after
his mother’s maiden name; Anita was named after one of his
daughters, and Beaufait was named after his father. In 1940,
the Grosse Pointe School System purchased 16 acres of the
Beaufait Farm as a future site for Parcells Junior High.The
building was completed in 1951.The original site of the
Beaufait farmhouse is now used as ball fields by the current
Parcells students.
A daughter of Theodore Beaufait, Veva, lived in this house
until 1974, when at the age of 91; the property was sold to the
present owners.
Pointes of History 2012
Since 1986, the Grosse Pointe Historical Society has awarded bronze plaques to Grosse Pointe landmarks
to recognize their historical or architectural value to the community, to encourage their continued preserva-
tion, or to recognize the value of adaptive reuse.
This year three homeowners were presented with plaques to be installed on the front of the home: The
Theodore Beaufait House in Grosse Pointe Woods, 175 Merriweather in Grosse Pointe Farms and 17315
East Jefferson AvenueinThe City of Grosse Pointe.
Photo credit: Susan Bologna
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