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Thread: Garwood Mansion

  1. #10701


    Quote Originally Posted by stnfrnt View Post
    "Now I see the dancing and the music was part of our tradition and ascent."
    What a great way to put it......thank you Lewis, and Happy Birthday.....I have one today, so thank you Isle........we just keep on rockin' in the free world......

    Anybody remember this house?

    Attachment 33552

    I've been in touch with a guy who lives on Greyhaven Island as we speak, and he's interested in the history of all things Grayhaven Island including the Garwood Mansion. I don't remember this particular house as being located on the island. There were only a total of 4 homes on that island (I think...maybe less), and this beautiful place doesn't ring any bells in my 70 year old brain. Any help?
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    I can help with the earliest portion, my grandfather worked for Mr. Edward Gray (that's him front row, far left with Ford Executives, 1913) back before he even moved to Michigan. He worked for him in Oil City, PA at Riverside Engine Company where Henry Ford purchased the first power plant engine for the new (1909) Highland Park Model T plant. Ford soon hired Gray to be his Chief and Construction Engineer. My grandfather had been his 'draughtsman' there in Oil City and moved with Gray early 1910. Gray began working on the Grayhaven idea around 1914 or earlier. As Construction Engineer he had access to a lot of 'fill dirt' to build Grayhaven with. He had constant battles with the city in getting the island built, lots of issues with whether his work would cause flooding form the Conner's Creek area. His original plan was for a number of more affordable (much more affordable than the Gar Wood Mansion, that's for sure!), each with boat mooring and shelter. In reality, not a lot different than what is there today. There are ads starting around 1914 for property there. Gray lived in his yacht, the Mildred GIII while working on the project for a number of years. This is that yacht- (I confirmed that grandma's notes were correct- photo c. 1915-16 as Gray's son is on the end and he died in 1918.)
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    Grandpa died in 1945, before I was even born, so much of what I know of that time was from my mother. I didn't know about this history until after grandma had died also and my mother was born in Pennsylvania after the family returned in 1919. They returned again in 1937 as Edward Gray had plans for a 'steam-diesel' train engine, using some of the thoughts behind the 'gas-steam' 6000hp power plant engines he designed for Highland Park (one of which is in the Henry Ford Museum)- he was in need of money as fighting the city had dried up his funds. Grandpa's shop was on Grayhaven just over the bridge in a building that had a two lane bowling alley in the back. Gray died in 1939 so grandpa's work was just with Gar Wood after that, working on a Spanish outboard engine that was designed for 'Storm Boats', small attack boats that could travel at high speed. The front faced Port Drive- Name:  Grayhaven-Elmer-gar wood office.jpg
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    It would have been to the right of this photo almost under the original bridge, my mother and grandmother c. 1943 there- Name:  Grayhaven-mom-grayhaven 1941_0003.jpg
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    This photo shows one of those engines near the shop at Grayhaven- Name:  GWood3.jpg
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    The Soriano engines were the same outboard engines that Gar Jr. and other top outboard boat engine drivers were using.
    So my family's history with Grayhaven ended soon after grandpa's death in 1945. They lived at the end of Continental in those days- so close grandma could signal my uncle for dinner time by pulling a shade down on an upstairs window. Uncle Bob used to hang out on Grayhaven with the guys in the shop which included the top outboard boat racers of that time and he'd ge to ride in the bow during time trials on the river- a mile marked course with the mile marks on the Canadian side. Here's uncle Bob with the night watchman of Grayhaven, the watchman had a 'pet pheasant that nested near the office. Name:  Grayhaven-LeSuer-Album-1-captions_0031.jpg
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    Although my uncle is still living his memory is pretty much gone now, sad state that too many older folks face. Been in and out of the hospital a few times recently too. He was born in 1930 so he wasn't around during the 'Ford days'. Most of what I have are notes my mother left and she died before I got around to researching all of this- too bad as those must have been VERY interesting days! I can see if I can answer any specific questions your friend may have with what I have here. I now live in Oregon but last visited in 2015 and took my uncle back down there before dementia took much of his memory away. He found it sad to see it so different- hadn't been down there in a LONG time.Name:  IMG_0651.jpg
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  2. #10702


    xdet.........great post.....lots of info........give me a while to digest everything........that house was tucked away in a corner on the island way back off of keelson drive on the right hand side of the road just as you came across the's sad that for all the years that i lived in the garwood mansion i never took a boat/kayak/canoe trip on the canal all the way around grayhaven........but then again it was the late 60s early 70s.

  3. #10703


    Great Pics xdet ... Have not checked in for a while, Hope everybody is well... Everyday is a blessing so glad I connected with everyone here again... So many memories... Whaler

  4. #10704


    Whaler.......great to see you up here again......i'm living in rockford, illinois married june 25th, so i guess you can say that after 71 years i've finally settled down..........stay in touch....

  5. #10705


    Hey Larry Congratulations... Wow!!! Kim says hey and Nice������

  6. #10706


    Been a while, a few more things. Ads started in 1914, even though Gray left Ford he got Henry to endorce his venture. Original plans were...
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    Early ads- 1916-
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    Full page ad-
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    There were long running battles with the city-
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    Gray would host 'Gar Wood parties'
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    The Ford endorsement
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    Lots more but for now...

  7. #10707


    xdet​.......that is some incredible!........thanks.....

  8. #10708


    In the highly unlikely event that anybody stops by this thread whether it be by accident or deliberately, I'd like to wish you the Merriest Christmas you've ever had and the Happiest New Year you could ever dream of.

  9. #10709


    Happy New Year to you, too, Larry. I'm originally from Mackinaw City. We moved to what is now Westland in 1962. Being Class of 75 (I turned 18 in Nov. '75), I was too young to have gone to the Garwood, even if I'd had the necessary connections Brenda mentioned way back in 2008 when Rocketwhit first started this thread. I went to the nearby Rock & Roll Farm a lot, and the recently renamed Second Chance in Ann Arbor, where I went weekly to buy records at Schoolkid's & Wazoo, and books at David's and the original Border's on State (long before they were a chain).

    I kinda missed out on the whole hippy thing, but the music I listened to and many of the books & magazines I read awakened me to the counterculture movement (Do It!, Revolution For the Hell of It, Creem, Rolling Stone, etc -- I still have all of them) in an effort to catch up on what I missed.

    So it was that some 30-odd years later, in 2010 or so, I first saw this thread (this is my 3rd time reading it) and naturally I was fascinated. Kathy in Ozarks(?) or someone else mentioned it read like a novel, and they were right. I couldn't stop reading it, and started searching the internet for all things Garwood, trying to put together a timeline. I love researching (I was a Chem major at LIT). The Concert Database has been invaluable for providing gig dates of musicians that visited. I acquired a minty copy of the Jan. '72 Earth Magazine from Amazon after seeing it mentioned in this thread (all the scans I ever saw of it were too small to read). I'm waiting on the copy of the Free Press magazine from Dec. 3, 1972 that I ordered from ebay ("Those Awful Outlaws' Big Run At the Gar Wood Mansion").

    Has anyone ever established when exactly lightning supposedly struck the Garwood and the trucks couldn't make it across the bridge? A date, or even a month and year. I'm still wondering how lightning could ignite a stone building, and I always assumed it was arson.

    Finally, I have a question about one of Collier's party photos posted here ages ago, showing Eugene laughing: who is the beautiful blonde he's with (there's another pic elsewhere of her sitting on a couch with others). Also, there are a couple pics of a reddish blonde girl sitting on steps, and of her with the Garwood in the background. She's never identified, but looks like Brenda, who posted a before/after pic back of herself back in 2008. I also wonder if that's her on the far left in the pic with Kunstler, Peter Walker and one of David & Roslyn's daughters.
    Last edited by psubliminal; March-02-19 at 06:36 AM.

  10. #10710


    "Then in 1976, tugboat captain Billy Gramm, navigating the Detroit river during a storm, saw the bolt of lightning that touched the mansion. Although the fire department was called, their trucks could not navigate the narrow Grayhaven Bridge, and the mansion continued to burn until the roof collapsed."

    I probably have notes on this somewhere, but i don't recall where i found this information.

    Quote Originally Posted by psubliminal View Post

    Has anyone ever established when exactly lightning supposedly struck the Garwood and the trucks couldn't make it across the bridge? A date, or even a month and year. I'm still wondering how lightning could ignite a stone building, and I always assumed it was arson.

  11. #10711


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    A bar in Pinckney, 1977. Is this the same Stonebridge?

  12. #10712


    Quote Originally Posted by psubliminal View Post
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    A bar in Pinckney, 1977. Is this the same Stonebridge?
    Stonefront is the correct name of the band. I’m listening to them right now...

  13. #10713


    Quote Originally Posted by kklemmer View Post
    Stonefront is the correct name of the band. I’m listening to them right now...
    Yeah, embarrassingly I just realized I got the names mixed up.

    Nice to see some pics that aren't postage stamp sized on the forum. Did they change the size/dimension requirements? For me, one of the most frustrating things about going back through this immense thread is all the missing pictures, replaced by "attachment XXX" links that don't work. I've managed to accumulate several hundred Garwood-related pics, from here and elsewhere.

    Does Skipper still own a bar on Conant? I've been meaning to make a little trip there, and see my friends Detroit Threads (Mike) and Record Graveyard (Jeff) while I'm at it.
    Last edited by psubliminal; April-19-19 at 11:58 AM.

  14. #10714


    psubliminal..........Skipper doesn't own any bars anywhere any more.......the photo attachment frustration you're experiencing is the result of Lowell putting a limitation on the Mb allotted for each user to upload photos. If someone reaches their limit on photo data amount, then they either can't post new photos, or they have to delete older ones to make space for new ones. I know that I personally had to delete several photos to make space for new ones I wanted to post. I know it sucks, but I can also understand Lowell's position. Maybe I can help you with finding a specific photo if you know exactly what you're looking for. I have a sizeable collection of John Collier's work with hundreds of his photos that I could post for you........somewhere.

  15. #10715


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    An iconic John Collier photo of Stonefront rehearsing in the Garwood ballroom around the summer of 1971. This version of the band, probably my favorite lineup, has l-r: Mark Swanberg on the Fender bass guitar, Harry "HiWatt" Bourlier on lead guitar, Eddie Saenz on drums, Natalie Morgan (back to camera) on vocals, and me with my gray hat on the far right. We could rock that ballroom.......for sure!

  16. #10716


    Here's another John Collier photo of Natalie Morgan live and in concert somewhere in Southern Michigan. We lost Natalie a couple years ago, but she was really something special.........beautiful lady with a stunning voice.Name:  natalie sing d.jpg
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