Historic Hecker-Smiley Mansion

Hecker-Smiley Mansion

By Jeffrey Buck

Preservation Wayne (soon to be known as Preservation Detroit) held a tour of the historic Hecker-Smiley Mansion a couple of weekends ago. The former home of Col. Frank Joseph Hecker was designed by famed architect Louis Kamper of Scott, Kamper, Scott and completed in 1892. It served as a boarding house from 1928 to 1947 before being bought by Paul Smiley to be used as the headquarters for Smiley Brothers Music Company. In 1991 the mansion was bought by the Historic Hecker Mansion Limited Partnership for the law firm of Charfoos & Christensen, P.C. The mansion went through an extensive renovation under it’s new owners in 1991 with the help of Preservation Wayne.

The home was built in the French Renaissance Chateauesque style and was inspired by Chateau de Chenonceau in Loire Valley, France. The 20,988 sq. ft. home was constructed on two Woodward lots bought by Hecker in 1887 for $27,859. The mansion, as well as a 5,721 sq. ft. carriage house, were built on the lots for $144,936.54 (over $3,000,000 today). The price included architect fees, a stable, decorations and carpets. Another $19,990.14 was spent on furniture alone.

For more information on the mansion, visit the website of Charfoos & Christensen, P.C. by clicking here.

Preservation Wayne is Detroit’s oldest and largest architectural preservation organization. The group has been preserving Detroit’s architectural heritage since 1975. They are always looking for new volunteers and members. Membership includes discounted tickets ot their award-winning Heritage tours, access to their historic archive and invitations to special events and forums. There are several membership levels that range from $20 for students and seniors to Corporate at $1,000. For more information on memberships and the many tours they offer visit their website by clicking here.

FOR SALE | The mansion is currently listed for sale by Freidman Real Estate Solutions for $3,500,000. The details and more pictures of the property at 5510 Woodward Avenue can be found by clicking here.

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About Jeffrey S. Buck

I'm currently a Project Manager at Cypress Partners, LLC in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. I graduated from Wayne State University in 2008 with a B.A. in Journalism. Looking to broaden my view of the world, I spent a semester abroad studying at the University of Salford, a Greater Manchester University in England. I enjoy doing an array of activities, including following Detroit sports teams, SCUBA diving, traveling, reading, playing tennis, hand-written letters and going to the movies. I am the co-founder of the Woodward Spine, a blog about Detroit and its surrounding communities. The Woodward Spine aims to inform its readers about relevant news and events through creative and informative posts in these core areas: news, opinion, entertainment, history, sports and development. The Woodward Spine serves the tri-county metro Detroit area, concentrating mainly on the communities that lie along the Woodward corridor.
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