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  This prominent home on Kenwood Road in Grosse Pointe Farms will host the Grosse Pointe Historical

This prominent home on Kenwood Road in Grosse Pointe Farms will host the Grosse Pointe Historical

Photo by Robin Maghielse, provided by the Grosse Pointe Historical Society

Gracious 1920s home is setting for 2018 Historical Society gala

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published June 12, 2018


GROSSE POINTE FARMS — The Grosse Pointe Historical Society is again inviting the community to step back into the hallowed halls of the community’s past.

This year’s 15th annual fundraising summer gala — this time called a Midsummer Night on Kenwood — will take place at the 1927 Henry F. Stanton-designed English manor-style home of Sandy and Robert Riney at 125 Kenwood Road in Grosse Pointe Farms from 7 to 10 p.m. June 21.

“Every year, we have a wonderful house (for the gala), and every year, we have a different house,” said Stuart Grigg, vice president of development for the GPHS. “The detail in this house is just exquisite. People will feel like they’re going to an elegant party at the turn of the century.”

He likened the house to “a country estate in the city” and said there is a garden with fountains as well as a lovely interior that “features some of the most spectacular paneling that I’ve seen in the Grosse Pointes.”

Patricia O’Brien, president of the GPHS, echoed that sentiment.

“This is a wonderful location,” O’Brien said. “The woodwork in it is fantastic. It’s beautifully maintained, and the whole house is impeccably furnished.”

The Rineys — who Grigg said “are the most gracious, hospitable people” — are only the fourth owners in the home’s long history. The 7,000-square-foot house was originally built for Paul Murray Bowen, whose father, Lemuel, was the first president of Cadillac Motor Car Co. After registering as a cadet in the infantry for World War I only two weeks after marrying Helen Hutton Blauvelt in 1917, Paul Bowen is said to have eventually become the vice president of Standard Accident Insurance Co.

The home was owned in more recent history by the late Grosse Pointe interior designer D.J. Kennedy and his wife, interior designer Barb Kennedy, and gala organizers said those who knew him will recognize some of the unique touches he made.

O’Brien said there will be a strolling dinner, dessert tables and hors d’oeuvres. Attendees will also be able to bid on unique raffle items — such as one-on-one time with an expert genealogist, and a Ford tour led by a local historian who specializes in Ford history.

“We have a number of really interesting items that we’re going to be offering,” O’Brien said.

All guests will receive a complimentary portrait, she said.

Attendees will be able to view vintage vehicles, such as a Model A and a Model T, and O’Brien said a harpist and a separate pair of musicians will be performing.

Reservations should be made as soon as possible. O’Brien said tickets will not be available at the door.

GPHS Board of Trustees member Valerie Dodenhoff is the gala chair.

Guests are asked to wear “summer evening attire” and “practical shoes for the garden,” according to the invitation.

General admission tickets cost $175 per person, and for those ages 29 and younger, tickets cost $75 apiece. At press time, O’Brien said sponsorships — which also include gala tickets — were still available and start at $1,000.

“It’s going to be a fantastic night,” Grigg promised.

The event is the “biggest annual fundraiser” the GPHS conducts, said O’Brien. Founded in 1945, the GPHS encourages historic preservation, offers educational programs and talks for kids and adults, maintains a local history archive, undertakes research, and more.

For gala tickets or sponsorships, or for more information, call the GPHS at (313) 885-7010 or visit