Historic Home Tours for the Holidays

I am fascinated by historic homes. I used to lead tours through a historic plantation home in Hollywood, Maryland called Sotterley Plantation. The oldest part of the house dates back to about 1703! It was one of my favorite jobs I ever held and I didn’t even get paid for it.

There are many historic homes in our area, not over 300 years old, but beautiful, full of history and interesting stories nonetheless. If you are going to be having family in town over the holidays many of these homes will be beautifully decorated and have special tours and events. Here are a few in the Greater Detroit area that won’t disappoint:

·         Meadow Brook Hall, 480 S. Adams Rd., Rochester:

This 110 room, 88,000 square foot house was built between 1926 and 1929 and cost about $4 million dollars (it would cost almost $54 million in today’s money!). It was the home of Matilda Dodge Wilson, her second husband Alfred Wilson and their 4 children. When Matilda’s first husband, John F. Dodge (co-founder of Dodge Brothers Motor Car Company) died in 1920, Matilda became one of the world’s richest women. This money built Meadow Brook Hall, funded many charities and organizations and helped found Oakland University.  It is said to be one of the finest examples of Tudor-revival style architecture in America.

Every year the home is decorated beautifully for the holidays. These “Holiday Walk” tours begin November 28th and run through December 23rd. For more information on the house and these tours go to http://meadowbrookhall.org.

·         The Edsel and Eleanor Ford House, 1100 Lake Shore Rd., Grosse Pointe Shores:

Edsel Ford, the only son of Henry Ford, and his wife Eleanor built this 60 room, 60,000 square foot home in 1926 for about $3.2 million (just over $43,000,000 in today’s money). The architect designed the home to resemble the village architecture of the Cotswolds in England. The estate includes beautiful gardens, a pool with a pool house, a play house with miniature furnishings, a power house and a gate lodge where some members of the staff would have lived.

You can walk around the spectacular home and grounds under a canopy of twinkling lights while being serenaded by carolers and sipping hot chocolate fireside. This special holiday “Winter Wonderland” tour happens every Friday and Saturday in December from 5pm-8pm. For more information on the home or this tour go to http://www.fordhouse.org .

                                                                                                           (Photo of the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House by Andrew Jameson.)