Our next Free Friday is a week away! Join us for a free self-guided house tour from 1-3 p.m. on February 23 (last admittance at 2:30 p.m.) In honor of Valentine's Day, we'll have a special exhibit set up celebrating all the weddings held at the Hall.
Have you toured Meadow Brook Hall so much you feel like you could give the tour yourself? We're always looking for docents, hosts, gift shop cashiers and more! Click the link to see how you can volunteer at Meadow Brook:
They just didn't get it. Other than that, everything
Happy Valentine's Day! After meeting at a Valentine's event at First Presbyterian Church in Detroit, Alfred and Matilda married in 1925. Here they are aboard a cruise ship on their way to their European honeymoon.
If you want to hear more about Love Stories at the Great Estate, check out our Free Friday on February 23 from 1-3 p.m. We'll have an exhibit out about the many love stories that took place at Meadow Brook and learn how your happily ever after can be celebrated here.
Our final part of the Love at the Great Estate Series is on Daniel Dodge and his wife, Laurine.
Dan, who had inherited the love of hunting and fishing from his father, owned a lodge on Manitoulin Island, Ontario. While frequently visiting his lodge, he fell in love with the island's telephone operator, Laurine. Just over a month after his sister got married, Dan and Laurine were wed in an intimate ceremony at the Hall. In the Breakfast Room, cake and punch were served to the ...six attendees. The new Mr. and Mrs. Dodge retreated to the lodge on Manitoulin Island where they first met for their honeymoon. In a tragic twist, Dan was injured in accident with dynamite, then fell off the boat they used to get to the hospital and drowned. The pair had only been married about two weeks.
Pictured are Dan and Laurine at their wedding on August 2, 1938.
Do you love spending time at the Great Estate? Consider becoming a Meadow Brook Hall Member! In addition to helping preserve the Hall, you'll receive special benefits that come only with being a member.
For more information, click here:
In the third part of our Love at the Great Estate series, we focus on Frances Dodge and Jimmy Johnson.
Frances, an avid equestrienne, competed in horse shows all over the country. While competing, she met journalist Jimmy Johnson who covered horse shows. The two connected over their mutual love of horses and swing music. Frances and Jimmy were married in the living room of the Hall, with 500 people in attendance. Frances made an elegant fashion statement in her ice-blue wedding gown, while guests danced under the stars on a temporary dance floor on the south lawn of the mansion.
Due to Oakland University's closing in anticipation for the snow tomorrow, Meadow Brook Hall will also be closed tomorrow, February 9. The Bridal Preview Dinner for that night will go on as scheduled. All tours and events will continue as scheduled on Saturday, February 10. Stay safe!
Part two of four of our Love at the Great Estate Series: Matilda and Alfred.
After John Dodge, Matilda's first husband, died, she took their three children on a nearly two-year-long trip to the south of France. Upon their return to the States, Anna-Margaret, the youngest of the three, died from complications from the measles. Devastated by the two deaths in such a short period of time, Matilda turned to her church and charity work for comfort. While attending a Valentine's Day event at the First Presbyterian Church in Detroit, she met Alfred Wilson, a lumber baron from Wisconsin. Alfred wooed Matilda and her two children; the pair married in 1925. While touring England on their honeymoon, Alfred and Matilda gathered ideas for building a mansion on the grounds of Meadow Brook Farms.
Frances Dodge ascended into the highly competitive worlds of horse shows, harness racing and high society—with a trend-setting style all her own.
We still have a few spots left for this weekend's Servant's Life Living History Tours! Spots are available both Saturday and Sunday at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
You can tour the Hall from a staff member's point of view, learning about the day-to-day life at the Great Estate. To make reservations, click here:
Today, we're kicking off a four part series detailing all the romances and heartbreaks entwined with the history of the Hall: Love at the Great Estate. We start where the history of Meadow Brook began: John and Matilda.
They met while he was an automobile parts supplier for Henry Ford, and she worked as a secretary for the Dodge Brothers. John was a widower and married Matilda in 1907. During their thirteen year marriage, they had three children: Frances in 1914, Daniel in 19...17 and Anna Margaret in 1919.
As the automobile business boomed and John eventually formed his own car company with brother Horace, John and Matilda were interested in purchasing a weekend retreat to get away from the bustle of Detroit. One Sunday in the spring of 1908, the couple took a drive out to the countryside of Rochester and stumbled across a beautiful farm. They later purchased the farm for a country retreat, laying the foundation for the Great Estate.
John and Matilda's marriage tragically ended in 1920, when John caught influenza while attending the New York Automobile Show and died. He left Matilda a widow at 36 years old, with three small children and heiress to the Dodge Brothers fortune.
Pictured are John and Matilda on a European trip abroad in 1913.
In previous years, the Servant's Life tour at Meadow Brook has celebrated at the heyday of the estate: the elegant dinners and extravagant parties of the 1920s and 30s, when more thatn 25 staff (including two butlers) worked in the Hall. This year, we're pulling back the curtain and looking at the trials and triumphs of the estate in the 1940s and 50s.
You can tour the Hall from a staff member's point of view, or attend an informative Lunch & Lecture about the day-to-day life at the Great Estate. To make reservations, click here:
Frances Dodge lived a life beyond imagination, leaving a legacy that continues to inspire new generations of women. Born into a time and an aristocracy that had certain expectations, she defied them all.
Alfred Wilson's study was frequently used as a den during the time the family lived there. Richard and Barbara Wilson recalled playing cards and listening to the radio in the cozy room. There is also a hidden pantry that provided snacks and drinks, available for the family to help themselves.