GPHS Moorings Newsletters - page 78

2010 Historic Plaques
980 Lake Shore Road, Grosse Pointe Shores
415 St. Clair Avenue, Grosse Pointe
78 Lake Shore, Grosse Pointe Farms
The original United States patent title for this property was given to
the French “Habitant” family of Julien Forton, in August 1808. Shortly
thereafter, Julien Forton deeded a portion of the very
large farm, bordered by Lake St. Clair, Mack
Avenue and the Macomb County (Milk
River) line, to his daughter Monique,
who married Joseph Robertjean (aka
Robert John).
In 1848 the Robertjean family
sold a portion of the land to Pauline
Van Antwerp, who built the first
permanent house on the property in
1849.The middle section of the present
house is the 1849 house. It is believed to be
the oldest clapboard house in Grosse Pointe still
on its original foundation
The property descended in the Van Antwerp family,
inherited by Pauline’s daughter Catherine Van Antwerp Kerby, who remod-
eled the house on both ends. In 1910 the heirs of Katherine Kerby sold lots
1 and 2 of the large farm to Frank Biscoe, founder of Biscoe Motors, who
built the Arts & Crafts motor garage and apartment, now known as
976 Lake Shore or as the “Carriage House.”
In 1914 the property was sold to William Mertz,
a lawyer, and his wife Lois. In 1953 they divided
their property and sold the main house, now
known as 980 Lake Shore to Mr. and Mrs.
William R. Hamilton, but the Mertzes
retained the Carriage House for themselves.
The Hamiltons undertook significant renova-
tions to the house. Mrs. Hamilton said that
the materials found inside the walls were amaz-
ing, including hand-blown glass, hand-made nails, old
newspapers, and the original insulation, which was straw!
In the 1970s the Hamiltons sold the property to
Mr. & Mrs. John Wendell Anderson, Jr. In 1980, they sold the property to
Mr. & Mrs. John L. Booth II, the current owners.
In 1909-1910 Oren Hawes, a lumber yard owner living at 106 Pingree
Street in Detroit, decided to replace his Victorian summer cottage, located
at the foot of Notre Dame on Lake St. Clair , with a
more substantial year round home.The
structure to be replaced was purchased by
Mr.Trombley who planned to move
it onto a piece of land he owned on
St. Clair Avenue, just west of the
Cadieux School.
The cottage with its surround-
ing porches, and field stone fireplace
was placed on wooden rollers and in
July 1910 under the assistance of movers
Norbert Neff and Mr. Bliss, the building
arrived at its new home, 415 St. Clair Avenue,
complete with a new, even though not quite level basement!
This structure stood apart from the others, with its hip roof,
eyebrow windows, detailed brackets and glass enclosed porches, which must
have allowed spectacular views of the lake and now look onto a quiet
residential street.
The house was eventually deeded to Mr.Trombley’s daughter,
Lyda and her husband Peter Loedwyck.They never lived
in the house but used it as rental, even as a store and
for some time as a primary school!
The Loedwycks owned the property until
1948 when a young engaged man sought a
home for himself and his soon to be bride.
Mary Dickinson and William (Bill) Herbert
made 415 St. Clair their “honeymoon cottage.”
They planned to remain in their home for five
to ten years depending on the size of their future
family.Those few years have turned into sixty two years
and counting!
The white cottage with black trim remained until the
Herberts thought; “hip roof, barn like structure…why not red?”…and the rest
is history.
Designed by architect Hugh T. Keyes in 1928, 78 Lake Shore, is an
example of the French Normandy style. Keyes designed a number of homes
in the Grosse Pointe area. Among those are the Edith and
Benson Ford house and the Charles A.
Dean house.
Built for the Dwyer/Palms family,
this 6,500 square foot home features
a dramatic step-down living room
with lake views, a sweeping
staircase, curved hallways and
multiple fireplaces. Some excep-
tional features are the copper gutters
and downspouts, imported French
mantelpieces and French crystal sconces
in the foyer and living room.
The Dwyer/Palms house was the first in the area
wired for telephones. Until recently, there was a circuit panel in the garage
through which all the neighborhood phones were wired.
The home was originally built for Marie Fleitz Dwyer, the widow of
Francis T. Dwyer. Francis Dwyer was the son of Jeremiah Dwyer; the
founder of the Detroit Stove Company and the Jewell Stove was its major
product. Francis began with the family firm, but went on to form his
own company, Standard Foundry. He was also director of
Peninsular Stove Company.
Francis Dwyer died unexpectedly at age 43
in 1912. He was survived by his wife Marie
and their 8-year-old daughter, Marion Mark.
Marion married Charles L. Palms, Jr. in 1924.
Charles was one of four children of Martha and
Francis Palms who was involved in banking,
automobile manufacturing and civic endeavors.
In 1929, Marie Dwyer moved into 78 Lake
Shore and in 1931, the young Marion and Charles
Palms moved in with her.The Palms raised a family of five
children and took ownership of the home in 1958 when Marie
died.The Palms lived in the house until 1962.
The Greiner family owned the house until 1975 when it was sold to its
current owner, Gail Sidlek.
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