Destination Michigan! Meadowbrook Hall
Add this to the list of worthwhile excursions in Michigan
Meadowbrook Hall (media by JC)
My parents introduced me to this little gem of an excursion several years ago. Perhaps I should refer to it as a colossal gem! Meadowbrook Hall, a National Historic Landmark, is used as a museum and events venue.
One of the 110 rooms (media by JC)
First, the history:
The 88,000-square-foot, 110-room mansion was the home to Matilda Dodge Wilson, her second husband Alfred Wilson, and their four children. Can you imagine 110 rooms in one place of residence? You can only live in so many!
This behemoth of a residence is primarily due to the inspiration and the achievements of Matilda’s first husband, John F. Dodge, co-founder of the incredibly successful Dodge Bros Motor Car Company. John Dodge’s death in 1920 left Matilda as one of the world’s wealthiest women.
Building started in 1926 and finished in 1929 at the cost of 4 million dollars, which was no paltry sum at the time.
Matilda Dodge was involved in the home’s design, details, and furnishings, down to the switch covers.
Alfred Wilson was a wealthy lumber tycoon in his own right. You can see his “wood” signature throughout the home.
Most of the home was built with American materials and crafted by Americans, a detail that pleased Matilda.
The home’s building came at a time when wealthy industrialists sought out rural locations with wide-reaching scenic landscapes. This property was erected on 1820 acres of rural land.
In 1957, the Wilsons donated their residence, its collections, the estate’s 1,500 acres, and $2 million to found what would become Oakland University.
Typical Window View (media by JC)
Meadow Brook represents one of the finest examples of Tudor-revival architecture in America. This architectural style is English-inspired and flaunts natural materials like stone, brick, and wood. Tudor-inspired shingled roofs, asymmetrical styling, and tall multi-pane windows throughout the property. Matilda and Alfred were heavily influenced by their honeymoon trip to England and the large homes they toured. This inspiration can be felt and observed throughout the house with the superb craftsmanship, architectural detailing, and grand scale.
The house and property are a spectacle to see throughout all seasons, but my first memories always recollect the Christmas season. The house is dressed with countless decorations and no less than 50 Christmas trees. The trees are a work of art as they each have their unique decorations. To capture the attention of young children, the tour organizers have continued their scavenger hunt activity. This year’s task was to find several large paws (pictures of a dog’s foot) throughout the home. A few years ago, they were tasked with finding horses on random Christmas trees.
Typical Bedroom (media by JC)
The pictures will not do this home justice. To say it is overwhelming would be an understatement. I would say this is “ridiculous” money. The children had entire dedicated wings in the home. These wings also had ample room for any guests the children wanted to entertain.
Bedroom (media by JC)
As mentioned earlier, Alfred was a lumber baron, and the amount of wood throughout this home is beyond describable. The details were impeccable, and the crafters have to be commended (I’m sure they were!)
Detailed Wooden Walls (media by JC)
Typical Bathroom (media by JC)
The building was built to last and is a true testament to the American craftsmen of the time. This is truly a destination worth experiencing, if ever in the state of Michigan.
Outdoor Workshop (media by JC)
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