Hugh T. Keyes

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Hugh T. Keyes
Born 1888
Trenton, Michigan, USA
Died 1963
Nationality American
Occupation Architect
Known for Significant houses in Grosse Pointe and Bloomfield Hills, Michigan

Hugh Tallman Keyes (1888 – 1963) was a noted early 20th-century American architect. He designed grand estates for the industrialists and barons of Metropolitan Detroit (such as Ford, Bugas, and Mennen), and is considered “one of the most prolific and versatile architects of the period.”[1]


Keyes studied architecture at Harvard University and became an associate to Detroit architect Albert Kahn (“the foremost industrial architect of the United States”[2]). After serving 2 years in the Navy during World War I, Keyes opened his own office in Detroit in 1921.[1] During a career that lasted into the 1960s, Keyes's style ranged from Second Empire and Georgian to rustic log chalets, but he is most noted for the bow-fronted wings and hipped roofs of the Regency style of architecture.[3]

Keyes was one of the Detroit architects that frequently employed architectural sculptor Corrado Parducci to embellish his designs.[4]

Commenting on the technological and aesthetic trend in modern architecture, Keyes has observed: “The World today is being made over to fit a new tempo of life, and it is unthinkable that Detroit, leading the country in the advance of industrial design, should be content to live in homes of the past.”[3]

Significant Keyes-designed houses[edit]

Wildwood Manor

Wildwood Manor[edit]

Vaughan Rd., Bloomfield Hills

Style: Second Empire, Regency

Secluded far beyond its high split-stone walls, groves of spruce and birch, and private winding drive, Wildwood Manor is the most hidden from view as well as one of the last and most refined of Keyes’s houses. The manor house features French elements such as copper hipped and mansard roofs as well as Keyes’s signature Regency bow-fronted wings; it sits on a wooded knoll overlooking the estate’s expansive ornamental gardens and orchards and Canadian publisher George Booth's adjacent Cranbrook Kingswood[5] (called by The New York Times “one of the greatest campuses ever created anywhere in the world”[6]). French designer Andrée Putman later renovated the house's interior. Wildwood has been the country estate of a succession of notable Michigan businessmen: John S. Bugas[7] (local FBI head and second in command at Ford Motor Company behind Henry Ford II[8]), for whom it was originally built, (real estate heir) Robert S. Taubman,[9] and (hedge fund manager) Mark W. Spitznagel, its present owner.

Woodley Green

Woodley Green[edit]

Lake Shore Dr., Grosse Pointe (1934)

Style: Georgian, Regency

“A gravel driveway loops around to a stone entrance porch with Corinthian columns”[1] of Woodley Green, formerly the lakeside estate of Benson Ford (grandson of Henry Ford).[10] With its parapet, copper hipped roof, and bow-fronted wings (evoking the Regency style of Keyes's Wildwood Manor), Woodley Green is “one of [Keyes’s] finest houses.” “Set in the midst of beautifully landscaped grounds on Lake Shore road, it has the appearance of some venerable English country seat.”[1] (It is also known as the Emory W. Clark House after the then president of the First National Bank of Detroit.[11])

Mennen Hall

Mennen Hall[edit]

Provencal Rd., Grosse Pointe Farms (1929)

Style: Tudor Revival

Arched chimney caps dot the roofline of Keyes’s stately brick Tudor, Mennen Hall, that sits along a private, guarded road. It was built for (real estate tycoon) Henry P. Williams and his wife Elma C. Mennen (heiress to the Mennen personal grooming products fortune), whose eldest son was G. Mennen “Soapy” Williams (a six-term Governor of Michigan and Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court).[12]

Dwyer/Palms House

Dwyer/Palms House[edit]

Lake Shore Rd., Grosse Pointe Farms (1928)

Style: French Normandy

Built for the widowed daughter of a Michigan lumber baron and grain merchant, the French Normandy style house was the first in the area wired for telephones (and, until recently, there was a circuit panel in the garage through which all the neighborhood phones were wired).

William P. Harris House[edit]

Windmill Pointe Dr., Grosse Pointe (1925)

Style: Tudor Revival


Designed by Keyes in an extravagant Tudor style[1] for William Pickett Harris (an investment banker, expert on squirrels, and curator of mammals at the museum of zoology of the University of Michigan[13]), the “sprawling palace on Windmill Pointe with its groomed grounds, coffered ceilings and limestone arches was the childhood home of Julie Harris[14] (the stage, screen, and television actress—“the most decorated performer in the history of Broadway”[13]), William Harris's daughter. (The house has been erroneously attributed to New York model farm architect Alfred Hopkins,[14] though W. Hawkins Ferry correctly assigns it to Keyes.[1])


Lewiston Rd., Grosse Pointe (1924)

Style: Mediterranean, Tuscan

On a sloping ridge surrounded by giant oak trees lies Ridgeland, a rambling Italian villa made of tawny bricks (rather than Italian stucco). The variously scaled rooms open up through French doors to intimate gardens and stretches of lawn.[3] (It is also known as the Charles A. Dean House.)

Keyes-designed lodges[edit]

Hidden Valley Lodge

Hidden Valley Lodge[edit]

Otsego Ski Club, Gaylord (1939)

Style: Swiss Chalet

Built in 1939 by Detroit-area steel magnate Donald McLouth (of McLouth Steel)[15] as a Tyrolian-style ski resort for Detroit industrialists (including the families of Henry Ford, William Durant, Walter Briggs, C. Thorne Murphy, Alvan Macauley, David Wallace, Gordon Saunders, and Lang Hubbard[16]), Hidden Valley Resort was the first private ski club in North America.[15] Keyes incorporated bow-fronted wings into the design of his “Hansel-and-Gretel-look lodge.” The log lodge inspired an alpine theme throughout the nearby village of Gaylord.[17]

Gail Stevens Hunting Lodge[edit]

Metamora (1931)

Style: Log Lodge, Swiss Chalet

Keyes's rustic hunting lodge (specifically for horseback fox hunting common in Metamora) of full log construction, with a massive stone fireplace and ornate murals, referenced the nineteenth century Great Camps and Swiss chalet style of architecture.[10]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Ferry, W. Hawkins (1968). The Buildings of Detroit. Wayne State University Press. 
  2. ^ Hildebrand, Grant (1980). Designing for Industry: The Architecture of Albert Kahn. MIT Press. 
  3. ^ a b c Ferry, W. Hawkins (1956). A Suburb In Good Taste. Michigan Society of Architects. 
  4. ^ Kvaran & Lockey, A Field Guide to Architectural Sculpture in America, unpublished manuscript
  5. ^ Katia Hetter (February 18, 2013). "'Downton' in America: 6 big estates". CNN. 
  6. ^ Paul Goldberger (April 8, 1984). "The Cranbrook Vision". The New York Times. 
  7. ^ Michigan Historical Collections. Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan. Retrieved on February 3, 2013.
  8. ^ UPI (December 3, 1982). "John S. Bugas is Dead at 74; Was Top Executive at Ford". The New York Times. 
  9. ^ teNeues (2008). Luxury Private Gardens. teNeues. 
  10. ^ a b Michigan Historical Collections. Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan. Retrieved on February 3, 2013.
  11. ^ Meyer, Katherine Mattingly and Martin C.P. McElroy with Introduction by W. Hawkins Ferry (1980). Detroit Architecture A.I.A. Guide Revised Edition. Wayne State University Press. 
  12. ^ Burton, Clarence M. (1922). The City of Detroit Michigan 1701-1922. 
  13. ^ a b Bruce Weber (August 24, 2013). "Julie Harris, Celebrated Actress of Range and Intensity, Dies at 87". The New York Times. 
  14. ^ a b "Michigan House Envy: Windmill Pointe palace offers medieval charm". Detroit Free Press. 2012-11-04. 
  15. ^ a b "Peaks and Valleys". dbusiness. September 2009. 
  16. ^ Eckert, Kathryn Bishop, ‘’Buildings of Michigan’’. Oxford University Press, New York, 1993. p 440
  17. ^ "Key impetus for Alpine Village theme". Herald Times. 1989-03-09.