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Historical society hosts an English-style gala


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Grosse Pointe Historical Society's summer gala, "English Elegance," is June 18 at the 1929 English manor house of Paula and Adrian Price in Grosse Pointe Farms. Photos courtesy Grosse Pointe Historical Society

June 05, 2014
A Georgian manor house at 70 Vendome, Grosse Pointe Farms, is the setting for the Grosse Pointe Historical Society's June 18 summer gala, "English Elegance."

Paula and Adrian Price are the hosts for the annual party and fundraiser beginning at 7 p.m.

Their 1929 English manor house, designed by Robert O. Derrick for Frank Price, no relation to the current owners, will be filled with music, food and interesting architectural points. Derrick alsoP designed the Henry Ford Museum, the Punch and Judy building, Richard Elementary School and more than 200 private residences.

As is the historical society's tradition, this house was chosen because of its local historical significance. Docents, stationed on the first floor, will explain the architecture and details of the house, including the Palladium windows, the Ionic pillars in the front hall and the foyer's hand-painted barrel-vaulted ceiling. The front entrance is positioned right of center in order to accommodate the original family's first floor use.

The library has curved windows and Greek and Roman designs are mirrored in the dining room and living room.

"There are lots of details," said Susan Hartz, the gala's co-chairwoman. "Lots of molding and fancy carved detail."

Added historical society president Elizabeth Soby, "There are many distinct features. When you first come in there is the barrel-vaulted ceiling. The curved stairway is supported by Ionic columns. The windows are leaded glass. The fireplace in the living room is understated. The dining room fireplace knocks you out."

The Koppin ice box in the kitchen is still in use having been converted to a refrigerator, added co-chairwoman Susan Budrys.

The classically-inspired pediment over the entrance introduces classical elements in the rest of the house.

"This is an absolutely fabulous house," Hartz said.

She continued, the present owner purchased the house because it reminded him of homes in his native England.

While viewing the extensive first floor's architectural points, three styles of music can be heard. In the Garden, The Royal Garden Trio plays 1920s and 1930s style music. Vocalist Jeanne Bourget, accompanied by Jack McCormick, provides the music in the living room. Guitarist Levi Henson will be performing by the pool.

The strolling supper keeps the evening's theme going with an English empire-inspired menu.

Since Price is a Ford employee and the original homeowner Frank Price sold Henry Ford an electric automobile, vintage Fords will be on display, including Benson Ford's 1955 Thunderbird, the homeowner's 1929 Model A and Andra and Barry Cogan's Manchester, England-built 1912 Ford Model T touring car, the first car built overseas, Soby said. Former historical society board member and president Michael Skinner is to bring his 1921 Model T and 1966 Mustang.

Professional photographer John Martin provides an image of each guest by the end of the evening.

A historical house, vintage automobiles, era-specific music and a distinctive menu are combined to exude a festive atmosphere for guests, who are encouraged to dress in period clothing.

"This is about our legacy," Soby said of the event and its setting. "It reflects history along the lake. This is a microcosm and how it is connected to those on either side of us."

"This is a unique event in Grosse Pointe," Hartz summed up.

Tickets are available through the historical society by calling (313) 884-7010 or visiting

gphistorical.org.

Proceeds benefit the programs, activities and initiatives of the historical society.

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