575 Lakeshore Road, Grosse Pointe, Michigan

Completed in 1915, for Dr Henry Norton Torrey (1880-1945) and his wife, Nell Ford (1875-1958). It was designed by English architect John Scott (1850-1928), the first employer of the now more famous Albert Kahn who built houses such as Rose Terrace for Horace E. Dodge. Mrs Torrey was one of four siblings who all built mansions (eg., Stonehurst) along Lakeshore Road although her siblings all used Albert H. Spahr as their architect. They were the grandchildren of the truly entrepreneurial John B. Ford, founder of the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company - no relation to Detroit's Henry Ford....

This house is best associated with...

Henry Norton Torrey

Dr "Harry" N. Torrey, of "Clairview" Grosse Pointe & Ossabaw Island


Nell (Ford) Torrey

Mrs "Nell" Eleanor Blanche (Ford) Torrey


Harry Torrey was a senior surgeon in Detroit and in 1916 he hosted a medical convention here for 1,200 of his contemporaries. The Torreys lived here for half of the year, but to avoid the cold winters they purchased Greenwich Place in Savannah. After their winter home burned down in 1923, they bought the 26,000-acre Ossabaw Island - Georgia's third largest barrier - with which they are more famously associated today. Clairview remained in their family until their son's, Bill Torrey's, death in 1958. In May, 1959, an auction was held here to sell off its contents but the following year (1960) vandals broke in and started a fire which destroyed the roof and badly damaged the ballroom. What remained was subsequently demolished that year  and the estate was subdivided for development.

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Contributed by Mark Meredith on 27/09/2018 and last updated on 25/08/2021.


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