FLW Michigan

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FLW Michigan

Post by rosalyndoe »

Planning on a Michigan trip. Any tips? Is Meyer May house still open for touring? Thanks

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Post by jlesshafft »

Yes, Meyer May is still open for visits, but with a very limited schedule. Check their web site for info. I didn't get to tour it until my 4th trip to Grand Rapids (business trips) because I kept missing the schedule.

I think Affleck in Detroit is available for tours as well. You can also see Turkel and Smith well from the street, as well as the ones around Kalamazoo. The ones around Ann Arbor are not visible from the street (as memory serves).

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Post by EJ »

Here's the lowdown:

May - The other poster is right about the schedule...don't miss the Wright/Van Holst/Mahony house around the corner. Still, its not to be missed.

Smith - Usually not open to the public for regular tours. Its occasioanally open through the nearby Cranbrook Museum. Check out the Cranbrook Museum web site. Its still worth a trip, as you get a good look at it from the street. Speaking of Cranbrook, don't miss the Eliel Saarinen house on campus, and regular tours of the interior are offered through the museum.

Affleck - Usually not open for tours, either. Check with the architecture department at Lawrence Tech University, which owns the house. Its a very short driving distance from the Smith house and also worth a look. No one lives in the house, and you can get out and walk around it.

Turkel - Difficult to see by car, as it is located on a busy street (7 mile road). It may be possible to park on the street in Palmer Woods and take a short walk over to the house. Outside of the Palmer Woods corridor, the neighborhood isn't the greatest, so stick to the Palmer Woods boundry. The new owners are carrying out a significant renovation, and you may be able to contact them to view the house up close. They both attended the Conservancy meeting in Detroit last year and seemed like nice people. The house has gotten a lot of local coverage in the media here, and they were very generous with tllowing accessibility to the house.

Palmer - No tours, but you get a good look at it from the street. Ann Arbor is a wonderful town with interesting shops and excellent restaurants, especially on Main Street. The University of Michigan has several interesting things, as well. Word of warning: If at all possible do not schedule your visit on the day of a U of M football game. It gets very crowded downtown.

The Okemos Houses - Brauner, Goetsch-Winkler offer good views from the street. The Edwards house (across the street from Brauner) is covered by foilage and is not easily viewed. IMHO its not a good FLW design anyway. Schaberg is viewable from the street, but you don't get a good feel for the house that way. I once called Don Schaberg and asked him to see the house, and he graciously gave me a tour. A priceless experience, to say the least.

Wall and Goddard - Not visible from the street. Don't waste your time.

Galesberg Houses - Visible from the street, if you're brave enough to go past the "private drive" signs. Eppstein is not lived in, and pretty much abandoned (at least last I heard and saw) so you may be able to get out and walk around it.

Kalamazoo Houses - They are all in the same neighborhood, and three of the four are pretty visible from the street.

Harper - A very cool house with a good view from the street.

Also, if you're into Mies, check out Lafayette Park in downtown Detroit.

I hope that helps. I took a trip to California a couple of years ago, and the folks on this board gave me some valuble tips, so I hope to provide some to you in return!
"It all goes to show the danger of entrusting anything spiritual to the clergy" - FLLW, on the Chicago Theological Seminary's plans to tear down the Robie House in 1957

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Location: St. Joseph, MI


Post by SWSinDC »

You should definitely venture over to the southwest corner of the state to see Harper in St. Joseph. Gazing on the house, and then pivoting to take in the view of Lake Michigan just across the street, is well worth the mileage. While there, you can also quickly get to and catch glimpses from the street of Schultz and, just across the St. Joseph River in Benton Harbor, Anthony. If you need turn-by-turn directions, let me know. If particularly hardy, you can also go further south and try to see the Grand Beach houses.

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Post by tonydeardorff »

If you can make the schedule: DO NOT MISS the May house. It is beautiful. I pulled this information off the Steelcase website. (They own the house)

Meyer May House
450 Madison Avenue S.E.
Grand Rapids, Mich.

Open to the public
Tuesdays & Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Sundays from 1-5 p.m.
Last tour starts 1 hr. prior to closing
FREE admission
No reservations needed for groups of 10 or less
Closed on national holidays
Phone: for other questions and group reservations please call 616.246.4821
Tony Deardorff

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Location: Farmington Hills, MI

Post by archfan »

The list of Wright sites above looks pretty complete, so here are some other options:

Alden B. Dow's home and studio has daily tours, and is well worth the side trip to Midland (about 2 1/2 hours from Detroit). They also have a self-guided tour of the many Dow-designed houses in the Midland area.

Eliel Saarinen's house at Cranbrook has tours, and the museum can arrange walking tours of the many sculptures on campus:

Preservation Wayne has walking tours of downtown Detroit through September. If you can't catch a tour, two good stops are the Guardian Building and the Fisher Building - you can wander around public areas in both:

Finally, you could see Henry Ford's Fairlane, a heavily-modified version of Marion Mahoney's Prairie design:

(If the Michigan Tourism Board is reading, I'll take my payment in Traverse City cherry preserves :D )

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Post by rosalyndoe »

Thank you all for the tips. I would like to try an see/drive by all of FLWs. Northport (Alpaugh) is out of the way, is it worth going?

Are any of the Whitehall cottages viewable from the street?

How about Marquette(Roberts)?

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Location: Detroit MI USA

FLW in Michigan

Post by jrdet10 »

Here's what I can tell you about the Wright houses in Michigan that other posters didn't mention:
-- the Whitehall cottages are accessible but with the exception of the Gerts bridge house (itself unexceptional), they've undergone a lot of unfortunate remodeling.
-- two houses remain standing in Grand Beach, just across the Indiana line. Bagley is unrecognizable as a Wright design but Vosburgh is a cute little job, reminiscent of Bogk in Milwaukee. While you're there, check out Armstrong in nearby Ogden Dunes, Ind. Jack Howe created the addition.
-- Alpaugh is on the Leelanau Peninsula, a remote corner of the northwest Lower Peninsula and located maybe a half-mile off the road. There isn't much to see without binoculars, unless you're willing to roll the dice and trespass by taking the driveway through the cherry orchards.
-- If you do go to Midland to see the Alden Dow Home and Studio and several dozen Dow buildings around town, head to nearby Bay City and check out the prefabriacted Aladdin bungalows just east of downtown.
"Well, there you are!"

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Post by pharding »

Meyer May House is spectacular. Rumor has it that they spent $11 million on the restoration including furniture and furnishings. The restoration and the original design as built is exceedingly well done. Highly recommended.
Last edited by pharding on Thu Aug 09, 2007 5:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
Paul Harding FAIA Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, 1941 Lloyd Lewis House, 1952 Glore House | www.harding.com | LinkedIn

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

Paul, I have it from an impeccable source that the restoration cost $3 million. They were embarrassed to admit to that much.

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Post by tonydeardorff »

If you have ever been on the tour of the May House; you have surly seen the video of the restoration the house underwent. You can be sure that it was NOT done for a mere $3 Million.
Tony Deardorff

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

Not today, but in the 80s in Grand Rapids, $3million was adequate. The entire Dana rehab cost only $5million. My source was a Steelcase worker who was in charge of the project. I cannot for the life of me remember his name, but he attended a few conferences in the 80s and 90s.

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Post by Reidy »

At the time of the 1992 Conservancy conference all they would say about coasts was that the house had been listed at 120K.

classic form
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Location: Kalamazoo, Mich.

Post by classic form »

Interior shots of the Schultz house :

http://mi.reel-scout.com/loc_detail.asp ... &g=&cid=14

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Michigan trip

Post by Unbrook »

Did anyone mention the Turkel House in Detroit? It is visible from the road.

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