Lathrup Village Mansion Fire

Jun 19, 2009 | Posted by: roboblogger | Full story: WWJ-AM Southfield

A lightning strike is believed to be the cause of a Friday morning fire at a historic mansion in Lathrup Village.

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Craig Doucette

Fort Myers, FL

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#1
Jun 19, 2009
 

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We called it the "house in the woods." We snuck into the property through the gate as children in the early-mid 70's. We told tales of ghosts and gobblins living in there as children.

A historic landmark for the city. A tragedy for those still living there and the community.
Diane Dunn

Wixom, MI

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#2
Jun 19, 2009
 

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What a shame that the "House in the Woods" is gone. It was a lovely home, then a co-operative nursery school, then Lathrup Village police headquarters, then returned to being a private home. Many of us who grew up in Lathrup Village will remember the history, the mystery, and the fun we had as children on the property and in the house.
Brooke Dondero-Fox

Cadiz, KY

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#3
Jun 20, 2009
 

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My Family lived in the House in the Woods from 1968-1974. We were the only family to ever live in the home as a whole, meaning we actually lived in the whole house,(save the servants wing), whereas others have only occupied several rooms of the home for thrity-some years. Yes, it did have a reputation of being "haunted" and my girlfriends were afriad to come over, but it was the most beautiful and charming English Tudor in the area; secluded by 6.5 circular acres of very tall trees (Dutch Elms) and a huge wooden fence. I used to traverse the rear of the property and "jump the ditch" to get to McIntyre Elementary.
Craig Doucette wrote:
We called it the "house in the woods." We snuck into the property through the gate as children in the early-mid 70's. We told tales of ghosts and gobblins living in there as children.
A historic landmark for the city. A tragedy for those still living there and the community.
Robert Fox

AOL

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#4
Jun 21, 2009
 

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I lived in Lathrup in the early 70's, and remember some party nights around their. A spooky but cool home to bad they cant recreate it.
Paris

United States

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#5
Jun 22, 2009
 

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That's HOTT!!
Julie James

North Las Vegas, NV

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#6
Jul 11, 2009
 

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This is so sad. That was a beautiful home and My friends and I always loved to sneak around the property and pretend we lived there!
CaroleGleesonDes cheemaker

Gilbert, AZ

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#7
Jul 21, 2009
 

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A very sad loss for Lathrup Village and the Lathrup/Driscoll family. Seems like that house was all they ever had. My family lived on Saratoga from 1950 (my Dad built our house) until 1983. Our parents told us of the times when House in the Woods was a city building. We all remember the legend and mysteries surrounding the House, and daring friends to go up the dark, densely wooded, dirt road driveway. A lightning strike is sort of a fitting end to a house that frightened generations of kids!
Laura

Indianapolis, IN

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#8
Jul 22, 2009
 
I was shocked to learn that the heirs of Louise Lathrup have no money. Louise Lathrup was a wealthy woman; what happened? Louise Lathrup died in 1963. Her daughter and two of her grandchildren were living in the mansion at the time of the fire and they couldn't afford the insurance or the upkeep of the place. I have also heard that they were using bicycles to get around town. Does anyone know what happened to the family wealth?
Paul Borger

London, UK

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#9
Oct 21, 2009
 
I'm shocked to read about this fire. I once knew one of the Driscoll's and we kept in touch until 1985. Wonder where they went after the fire?
pablo

Livonia, MI

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#10
Dec 18, 2009
 
i knew someone who rented a room there back in the early 90's.The place was almost in shambles back then. I remember wandering around the house in shock at the disrepair because it was orignially so well appointed. If that house was updated and in great shape it would be worth millions(at least before the housing collapse and the fire)
George

United States

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#11
Jan 14, 2010
 

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I know the family who lived there.Even more, I know people who have known the Driscolls for years.

I feel bad for the house. A grand and historic structure. But, as for the son and the mother, and the brother they are now living with, this seems more like justice than tragedy.

Instant karma is going to get you!
Annoymous

Southfield, MI

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#12
Apr 3, 2010
 

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Recently, March of 2010, Me and my friends visit the house. It burned down and caved in. We have seen dark figures in the corner. And you get a cold chill everytime you walk in the house. We have have heard bumping noises. Is this house really haunted?
annonymous

Southfield, MI

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#13
Apr 16, 2010
 
I visited the house. Me and a couple friends. And I always get a weird feeling in the house like a cold, scarry chill. My cousin have seen weird things when she went in before. I would like to know is it really haunted.. has anyone ever REALLY seen any spirit or anything? Other than just mystery and superstition?... Please let me know.
Cathleen Howe-Purnell

United States

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#14
May 23, 2010
 

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I just recently learned of the "House In The Woods" fire. So sad that Lathrup Village has lost one of it's most distinguished and recognizable structures. I spent many "sleep-over" nights when the Dondero's lived there. My love of that beautiful, graceful, and grand English Tutor sparked my love of architecture. Funny, I never found the house to be frightening or scary (except when Dana and I would sneak into the basement).
Patrick Clancy

Eugene, OR

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#15
Jun 25, 2010
 
Laura wrote:
I was shocked to learn that the heirs of Louise Lathrup have no money. Louise Lathrup was a wealthy woman; what happened? Louise Lathrup died in 1963. Her daughter and two of her grandchildren were living in the mansion at the time of the fire and they couldn't afford the insurance or the upkeep of the place. I have also heard that they were using bicycles to get around town. Does anyone know what happened to the family wealth?
Out of money does not mean out of assets. I thought maybe the family held a few lots of undeveloped land around the city that they developed and leased out. Not sure what became of the Driscols. They seemed like a family of smart people. I wouldn't think they are broke today.
Drew Neil

Southfield, MI

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#16
Aug 20, 2010
 
A legacy gone to poverty. Driscolls are BROKE.
MichelleMM

Farmington, MI

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#17
Dec 2, 2010
 
What happened to that house along with its history and to the family is what I call justice served... aka KARMA!!!! For those who aren't aware, Louise Lathrup (waaaaaay back in the day) had deed restrictions stating that homes were NOT to be sold to African Americans. I found this out about 5 years after I bought my house on Sunset Blvd... I don't wish bad on anybody but I do believe in God!
Kevin Clancy

Christchurch, New Zealand

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#18
May 26, 2011
 
I think this falls under the category of "Why do things that happen to stupid people keep hapening to meeeeeeeeeeee?"
mike moore

Tampa, FL

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#19
Jul 20, 2011
 
I moved to LV in 1958 when I was seven, and stayed there until 1965. Played on the Lathrup Village Yankees sponsored by Guy Antonelli Construction. Gordie Howe lived by Bloomfield and 12 mile and used to throw out the opening day ball for Little League. We used to ride around the "house in the woods", but never went on the property. Too bad, but Louise Lathrup also had deed restrictions to keep Jewish families out, so maybe it was karma.
dianeanderson

Southfield, MI

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#20
Aug 16, 2011
 
MichelleMM wrote:
What happened to that house along with its history and to the family is what I call justice served... aka KARMA!!!! For those who aren't aware, Louise Lathrup (waaaaaay back in the day) had deed restrictions stating that homes were NOT to be sold to African Americans. I found this out about 5 years after I bought my house on Sunset Blvd... I don't wish bad on anybody but I do believe in God!
Until the passage of the Fair Housing Act in 1968, neighbourhoods all over Michigan and America had restrictive covenants. Louise Lathrup was simply honest about those in Lathrup.
Until after WW II, home ownership was expensive as large deposits, high interest rates and short periods to repay (sometimes only 10 years) left many people renters. After WW II, the Veterans Administration gave home loans to vets at low interest rates (approx 4%) for 30 years with a reasonable deposit. Home ownership was suddenly affordable for many except African American vets who were excluded from the cheap VA loans.
In the area around 8 Mile and Wyoming in Detroit, the VA actually required a white developer who wished his properties to be availavle for VA loans to put up a concrete Berlin Wall to seperate his development from a tract of land where African Americans had purchased lots before the war. The wall still stands in 2011.
Today, 43 years after the passage of the FHA, Oakland County remains deeply segregated. Only a few cities such as Pontiac, Oak Park, West Bloomfield, Farmington, Southfield AND Lathrup have black populations that reflect their percentages in US society as a whole. Interesting, the state Republican legislators have expunged those cities from Oakland County in the 2011 redistribution that Governor Synder enthusiastically signed off on in August 2011.
Lousie lathrup was a visionary. Lathrup lots are larger than standard city lots. Aside from a few California style abode homes built before WW II, all homes are brick with attached garages. No two are alike.The were architect designed. One and two story homes do not sit side by side (or didn't before a Lathrup Village Council at one stage allowed planning restriction to be ignored).
Louise Lathrup's achievements should not be forgotten.

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