GPHS Moorings Newsletters - page 23

175 Merriweather
Designed by Louis Kamper, 175 Merriweather was built
in 1931-1932 for John Robert Sutton, Jr. ( Jack), and his wife
Paula Kling Sutton, niece of the architect. It is an example of
the Georgian Revival Style.
The house, a present from Kamper and Paula Kling’s father
to the newly married couple, it was the second house built
on Merriweather on land that was originally part of a cherry
orchard.
Amenities inside the house include a bordered green ter-
razzo floor in the basement, original black and white Pewabic
tiles on the entrance hall floor, and a flamboyant master bath
covered with pink, blue and black Pewabic tiles.The house has
a white oak pegged floor in the library and a garden room with
heated slate flooring. A small space under the portico was used
as a wine cellar.
Prior to the 1940s, this area was an expanse of undevel-
oped field from Merriweather to Cloverly Road in the block
between Kercheval and Ridge. Across Ridge Road was “Pine
Woods,” a popular play area for children. In the winter, they
would sled down the tree-covered hill, across Charlevoix, and
into fields that are now Mt. Vernon Road. Al Green, a well
known restaurateur, had a “Blind Pig” nestled in the woods.
John Robert Sutton was very active in Grosse Pointe Farms
politics, serving as a Village Trustee in
1934-46 and Police and Fire Commissioner 1938-46. Sut-
ton served a term as Commodore of the Grosse Pointe Yacht
Club. As Vice President of General Underwriters Insurance
Company, Sutton specialized in marine insurance.
During WW II, Sutton was a Deputy Chief Air Raid
Warden.When the Air Raid siren sounded at night, “blackout
shades” were pulled down so any light in the house could not
be seen by enemy aircraft above.
Paula Kling Sutton was involved in women’s organizations,
including the Neighborhood Club
Thrift Shop,Women’s Exchange of Detroit, and the Red
Cross. During the war many Red Cross meetings and classes
were held in her home to learn bandaging techniques. Paula
was the daughter of Kurt (Olga) Kling, owner and President of
the Philip Kling Brewing Co., a well known brewery prior to
prohibition.
17315 East Jefferson Avenue
Built in 1928 for Mrs. Arthur McGraw, a widow whose
son and family lived next door on Lakeland, the house was
designed in the Colonial Georgian style by noted architect
Charles A. Platt of New York. Self-trained as an architect,
Platt is also considered one of America’s most influential
landscape designers. Platt’s design philosophy emphasized the
integration of interior and exterior space through strong visual
and circulatory connections and the use of formal architectural
elements throughout the garden.
The McGraw house is constructed of Flemish Bond brick
and has the original slate roof.There is a motor court in front
of the house with an English pea stone drive and Belgian
block curbing.
The house still contains the original bi-fold garage doors,
which came from Germany, and the English lead and copper
drain pipes.The house contains five wood-burning fireplaces,
the original Chrysler Kopin refrigeration system and the
apartment over the garage for the Major Domo (the head of
the house hold staff ).There is a limestone sundial set into the
chimney on the Lakeland side of the house. No changes have
been made to the original architectural layout of the home.
Platt designed the rear gardens, which have been maintained
very closely to the original plan.
At some point prior to the acquisition of the home by the
current owner, the solarium was enclosed in glass and heated.
Mrs. McGraw lived in the house until 1950, when it was
purchased by Dr. and Mrs. Charles Merkel. Mrs. Merkel, who
lived the house until her death in 1982, was the granddaughter
of John Simpson Gray, one of the twelve original investors in
the Ford Motor Company.The current owner purchased the
house in 1982.
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