The Fisher Mansion “Truly One of America’s Finest Homes” Detroit, MI 22,000 Sq. ft 4 acres of gardens
Lawrence P. Fisher (1888-1961) • One of 7 bros. • Born in Norwalk, OH • Fisher Body Division of GM • President of Cadillac • Bachelor until 69. Married Dolly Roach in 1957, died 4 years later.
Architect & Style • Architect: C. Howard Crane • Popular Theater Architect • Fisher Theater • Interior Designer: Francis J. Geck • Architectural style: Embellished Mediterranean Revival • Spanish Mission exterior. • Interior called “Hollywood Vintage”, a blend of Art Deco and various World styles, “basically, anything goes” • Style similar to mansions being built in Florida & California
Original Garden Plan and Landscape Design by Charles S. LeSure (1928)
Construction • Workers brought from Europe • Worked round the clock, lived on-site • Cost: $2,000,000 (Today would be $25,000,000) • 140 oz. silver & 75 oz. of gold and gold leaf used in Mansion
Main Foyer • Orange sculpted face of Neptune, god of the sea at entrance. • During parties, Champagne would flow from his mouth • Ceiling: handcarved Spanish Oak, replica of one found in Franco’s Palace in Spain • Took 2 years to complete
Upstairs Foyer • Venetian stained glass windows • Ceiling done in Spanish style with gold leaf • Baroque archway opening the west wall • Two Corinthian columns at doorway • Serves as hub for other rooms
Dining Room • Walnut walls with diamond-shaped burled walnut motif. • Pillars from a fifteenth century German Castle. • “Solomonicas – after the syle of pillars found in the palace of King Solomon in ancient Jerusalem” • Floors and walls contain very expensive yellow Italian onyx marble. • Mary Stantton Pewabic tiles behind water fountain • Now in use as a restaurant called “Govinda’s”
Library • Fisher’s favorite room • Floor 2.5 feet thick oak wood • Constructed with butterfly joints and pegs – “no nails, will not creak” (1) • Hand tooled Spanish leather wall covering with red and blue gold leaf • Fireplace marble from extinct quarry in Italy. Made with fossils • Door in corner leads underground tunnel which goes to a domed, heated, indoor swimming pool.
Living Room • Mostly French influence, with leaded glass paintings from a French chateau • Ceiling done in manner of Swiss chalet • Sandstone fireplace, with figures of angels with lion’s claws on each side. • Francis Geck doors. • Figure sculpted on each is Leda, the mistress of Zeus, riding a sea monster. The Living Room side is done in Oak, the Music-Room side is Walnut
Music Room • Dancing and singing female figures along the edges of the ceiling • Ceiling done in classical Japanese style • French embroidered silk wall • Floor is walnut and black walnut parquet • Paneling along base of walls of African zebra wood
Grand Ballroom • Overall effect is that of open-air Spanish courtyard • Francis Geck framed mirrors • Red and gray American marble • Now serves as temple room
Mrs. Fisher’s Suite • Done in French style from era of King Louis XVI • Hand painted canvas panels by William Wright. • “Cameos at the top of each panel are pictures of Fisher’s girlfriends” • Ceiling borders have leafing of mixed gold and silver
Master Bedroom • Ceiling Mediterranean style from Southern France • Floor is East Indian rosewood • Bathroom walls are mostly Pewabic Tiles from the American Tile Company • No two tiles are alike • “Created by dropping chemicals in a random pattern on tiles before firing” • Gold in floor tiles: Silver in blue wall tiles • “The blue color is the same as the first Cadillac that rolled of the assembly line” • 7 head shower
Games Room • Two regulation size-bowling alleys downstairs • “Atmosphere of a medieval crypt beneath a castle” • Plaster arches and oak beams across ceiling • Three diamond-paneled French doors at back end, open to terrace by canal • Today used as gift store
After Fisher In January 1976, Alfred Brush Ford (great-grandson of Henry Ford) and Elisabeth Reuther (daughter of Walter Reuther) purchased the Mansion for $300,000 then donated it to their spiritual teacher. His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, founder-acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. The mansion was then renovated and transformed into a temple and cultural center, which is its current use today.