History

The Story of The Inn at 97 Winder

John Harvey was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and arrived in Detroit in his infancy. After inheriting his father’s business, Andrew Harvey and Sons, he became the nation’s leader in the development and production of pharmaceutical drugs. As Harvey’s success grew, he devoted a portion of his wealth to help the city’s poor and soon developed a reputation as a philanthropist. Among other initiatives, he founded the Mission School of the Detroit Industrial School for orphaned children, many of whom were orphans due to their parents’ deaths during the American Civil War.

At the height of his entrepreneurial career, John Harvey commissioned an impressive 11,000 square foot Second Empire-style home for himself and his family, hiring an already famous architect, John V. Smith. Harvey chose Brush Park to locate his residence, the most prestigious area in Detroit, where department store king J.L. Hudson, lumber baron David Whitney and architect Albert Kahn already resided.

After it was built and for many years, the home was referred to as the John Harvey House. Many other wealthy Detroit citizens built similar mansions in the neighborhood and eventually the Brush Park area became known as “Little Paris” due to its concentration of French architectural styles and influences, such as the Second Empire style Harvey selected.

John Harvey lived in this home until his death in 1905 and his widow continued to live in the home well into the 1920s. In 1938, the Great Depression brought about a widespread need for affordable housing, prompting the John Harvey House and many others like it to be converted into rooming houses.

The next chapter of the building’s saga began in the late 1980s, when a local couple, fittingly also pharmacists, noticed the home during a tour of Detroit. The couple purchased the then-derelict home and began a painstaking, multi-decade restoration project. They spent countless hours addressing each detail and filling the home with valuable pieces of art and décor curated from Asia, Africa and the Middle East. The John Harvey House re-opened in 2005 as The Inn at 97 Winder, providing guests with a unique upscale boutique stay experience in the heart of the city.

The Inn at 97 Winder’s latest chapter has only just begun. In 2017, Access Hotels and Resorts, a global hospitality management firm, began managing of the inn to offer guests the highest-quality premium experience possible during their stay in Detroit. The Inn at 97 Winder now stands apart as the ultimate boutique hospitality venue in Detroit. Access Hotels and Resorts has introduced numerous enhancements and luxury touches to the inn’s offerings, from a peaceful massage room to high-thread-count sheets to HD smart TVs and more. The Inn at 97 Winder opened its doors again on April 28, 2017.

The inn’s neighborhood of Brush Park is currently experiencing an exciting resurgence, further enhanced by its close proximity to many of Detroit’s most popular attractions including Comerica Park, Little Caesars Arena and Ford Field. Much of the area has been redeveloped as luxury condominiums and several of Little Paris’ original mansions are now undergoing restorations as well.

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Sources:

Detroit1701, Wikipedia and Detroit Curbed