Meadow Brook Hall

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Meadow Brook Farms
Meadowbrook Hall.JPG
Estate of Matilda Dodge Wilson
Location within the state of Michigan
Location within the state of Michigan
Location within the state of Michigan
Location within the state of Michigan
Location within the state of Michigan
Location 350 Estate Drive
Rochester Hills, Michigan
Coordinates 42°40′19″N 83°12′04″W / 42.67194°N 83.20111°W / 42.67194; -83.20111Coordinates: 42°40′19″N 83°12′04″W / 42.67194°N 83.20111°W / 42.67194; -83.20111
Built 1926–1929
Architect William E. Kapp
Smith, Hinchman & Grylls
Architectural style Tudor Revival
NRHP Reference # 79001166[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP April 17, 1979
Designated NHL March 2, 2012[2]
Designated MSHS November 3, 1976

Meadow Brook Hall is a Tudor revival style mansion located at 480 South Adams Road in Rochester Hills, Michigan. It was built between 1926 and 1929 by Matilda Dodge Wilson (the widow of auto pioneer John Francis Dodge) and her second husband, lumber broker Alfred G. Wilson. In 1957, the mansion and the surrounding property and buildings were donated to the State of Michigan in order to found Michigan State University–Oakland, now known as Oakland University. In 2012, it was named a National Historic Landmark.[2][3]


Meadow Brook Farms originally belonged to Matilda's first husband, automotive tycoon John F. Dodge. He purchased the property along with the large white farmhouse off of Adams Road as a holiday retreat for his family. John Dodge had three children with his first wife, Ivy Hawkins, and three with Matilda Rausch. The mansion is located on a 1,443-acre (5.84 km2) estate off South Adams Road; Dodge added a nine-hole golf course, some of the holes of which still follow the current Katke-Cousins 18-hole course on the property. Throughout her lifetime, Matilda resided in the hall for over forty years. Some of the family's time was spent vacationing at their summer home in Bar Harbor, Maine and winter home in Scottsdale, Arizona. The hall was also partially closed for a brief time during the depth of the Depression.

A view of Meadowbrook Hall from the northeast garden with the Pegasus sculpture by Avard Fairbanks

Often referred to as one of America's "castles," the 110-room, 88,000-square-foot (8,200 m2) mansion is currently ranked sixth on the list of Largest Historic Homes in the United States,[4] but is the third largest historic house museum. It was designed by William Kapp of the firm Smith, Hinchman & Grylls in a Tudor-revival style and built of predominantly American materials.[citation needed] The playful Romanesque architectural sculpture that adorns the building was created by Corrado Parducci. Much of the original artwork collected by the Wilsons is still found at Meadow Brook including paintings by Anthony van Dyck, Rosa Bonheur, Joshua Reynolds, John Constable and Thomas Gainsborough and sculpture by Antoine-Louis Barye, Cyrus Edwin Dallin, and Herbert Haseltine. The home and the surrounding estate, known as Meadow Brook Farms, are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and as of 2012, the estate is a National Historic Landmark. Landmark status is the highest honor a historic place in the United States can receive.

In 1957, Alfred and Matilda Dodge Wilson donated all of their estate to Michigan State University, including Meadow Brook Hall, Sunset Terrace, the Wilsons' retirement home, and all its other buildings and collections, along with $2 million to found Michigan State University-Oakland (now Oakland University). The Wilsons, who retained lifetime rights to the houses, lived in the Sunset Terrace home until Alfred's death in 1962. In 1963, Mrs. Wilson returned to Meadow Brook Hall and lived there until her death in 1967.

Concours d'Elegance[edit]

The Meadow Brook Concours d'Elegance was held annually during August on the grounds of Meadow Brook Hall from 1979 until 2010.[5] This week-long event was one of the largest and most prestigious collector car shows in the world, making it a premiere social event in the tradition of the first Concours in 1920s Paris which was an exhibition of automotive design, craftsmanship, history and an elegant tool for automobile manufacturers to market beautiful high-design products to well-heeled clientele.[5] Over the years, this event served as a significant fundraiser for the preservation of Meadow Brook Hall.[6]

On July 20, 2010, promoters announced that the Concours d'Elegance would leave Meadow Brook Hall after that year for the Inn at St. John's in Plymouth, Michigan.[7] The event is now known at the Concours d'Elegance of America at St. John's.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ a b Weekly List Of Actions Taken On Properties: 3/12/12 through 3/16/12
  3. ^ "National Historic Landmarks: 13 New Sites Designated". Huffington Post. 7 March 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-14. 
  4. ^ "The Auto Baron Estates". America's Castles. 1995. A&E. Retrieved 2011-03-18. 
  5. ^ a b "Concours". ConcoursUSA. Retrieved 2011-03-18. 
  6. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". Meadow Brook Hall Concours d'Elegance. 2003. Retrieved 2011-03-18. 
  7. ^ Larry Edsall (July 30, 2010). "Detroit's Concours d'Élégance of America to Leave Meadow Brook". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-10-25. 
  8. ^ Hart, Roger (August 22, 2011). "Elegance Endures". AutoWeek. 61 (17): 38. ISSN 0192-9674. 
  • A&E with Richard Guy Wilson, Ph.D.,(2000). America's Castles: The Auto Baron Estates, A&E Television Network.
  • Kvaran, Einar Einarsson, Shadowing Parducci, unpublished manuscript.
  • Wilson, Matilda Rausch Dodge, Debbie Patrick, ed., (1998). A Place in the Country: Matilda Wilson's Personal Guidebook to Meadow Brook Hall, Rochester, MI: Oakland University Press.

External links[edit]