Windmill Point Grosse Pointe Historical Society
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Selections From
Grosse Pointe On Lake Sainte Claire
By Silas Farmer, 1886
The Residences And Their Occupants

Next to the Lothrop place, on a high ridge of ground, are two beautiful homes.  The fine elevation and graceful slope of the lawn toward the lake gives them a very attractive appearance, and their handsome exterior is suggestive of the elegance and comfort of the interior arrangements.  The entrances are at the sides - a broad hall bisecting each house.  The fifty acres surrounding are known as "Cloverleigh," and the shrubs and trees along the borders are set out in artistic style, and are sure to become increasingly beautiful.  Back of the house are extensive flower gardens and on the lake front is a rustic boat house built of logs.  The first of these country homes is owned and occupied by Henry B. Ledyard,H. B. Ledyard Residence President of the Michigan Central Railroad.  Mr. Ledyard came near being domiciled in Grosse Pointe years ago, as his father, at one time, purchased the place now owned by the Ladies of the Sacred Heart, but he did not occupy the place as circumstances called him to Newport, R. I.  He was a descendant of the New England Ledyards, a prominent lawyer, and one of the early mayors of Detroit.  His wife was the daughter of Gen. Lewis Cass.  Mr. H. B. Ledyard, was born in Paris while his father was there as Secretary of the Legation under Gen. Cass, then U. S. Minister to France.  He was educated at West Point, and after graduation served several years in the U. S. army.  His engineering talents and exceptional business abilities brought to him, while still a young man, the offer of the important and responsible position of Superintendent of the Michigan Central Railroad.  In this position his rare administrative qualities were so apparent to the Directors of the road that, on the death of Wm. H. Vanderbilt, they chose him to succeed the latter as President of the entire corporation.  Untiring, vigilant, and thoroughly conscientious in the work undertaken, his summer months of recreation at the Pointe are frequently broken in upon by demands for his presence here and there, at remote points on the line of the main road or its connections.  He married Mary L’Hommedieu, of Cincinnati, daughter of Stephen S. L'Hommedieu, the projector, and for twenty-five years, the President of the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Railroad.  Their children are Matilda Cass, Henry Augustus Canfield, and Hugh.

The adjacent residence and the upper half of the "Cloverleigh" grounds, is the property of Hugh McMillan, a brother of James McMillan and one of the most successful of Detroit’s younger business men.  The ability displayed by him in the management of a number of important enterprises controlled by Messrs. Newberry & McMillan while the latter were in Europe and since, shows that he has executive talent hardly second to that possessed by his intimate friend and neighbor, or by those whose large interests, as well as his own, he manages so wisely and so well.  His courtesy and kindly smile prepossess in his favor those who meet him.  He married Helen Dyar, sister of John B. Dyar, already mentioned.  Their children are Gilbert Newberry, Alice, Harold Dyar, and Maurice Beekman.

We have now reached the old fashioned cottage of Dr. Isaac Smith.  The doctor came to Grosse Pointe many years ago for his health, and the fact that he is long past three score and ten and still full of vigor, shows that he made a wise selection.  He loves to tell that on coming here he had scarcely strength enough to mount his horse's back, and that, six months later, he was able to carry the horse on his own back (his horse must have been a French pony).  He has been the first to shake hands with all the little Frenchmen born here for the last fifty years or so; and the remembrance of his startling tales of travel and adventure, as well as of the bitter but effective potions he was wont to administer, will live until the present generation disappears.  With his wife and daughter he has recently moved to Detroit, leaving the house unoccupied.

Adjoining the doctor's cottage is the old Palm's place, at present the property of Joshua W. Waterman, one of the wealthiest of Detroit's wealthy citizens.  The family make no use of it, but his son, Cameron D. Waterman, of Grosse Isle, occasionally passes in his fine steam yacht, Uarda, and gives the old place a salutatory "toot."  It is hoped that ere long the family, or some other equally agreeable, will renovate or remodel the residence and mingle with the "colonie de la Pointe."

Protestant ChurchThe adjoining grounds, known as Hamilton Park, are the property of James McMillan, who has converted the fifty acres into a pleasant driving park for the convenience and enjoyment of himself and his friends.  When the main road is in bad order, the fast "nags" of the Pointe are exercised in Hamilton Park.  It is expected that at no distant day an appropriate summer residence will be erected on the grounds.

Next to Hamilton Park is the Protestant Church, already described.  The vacant lots beyond the church are fast being taken up by Detroiters intending to build.  Alfred T. Moran, son of Judge Chas. Moran, owns one lot there, and Edward Moran, son of Geo. Moran, is building on another.