History

The Story of The Inn at 97 Winder

John Harvey.

John Harvey was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and immigrated with his family to the United States at age 10. 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.

Jessie Campbell Harvey, John’s wife, is best known for having the distinction of being the first female graduate accepted into the University of Michigan. Jessie was a native Detroiter, born on East Campbell Street. She attended Capital High School and was the president of the Detroit Industrial School. Jessie was also active in philanthropy, often focusing on helping orphaned children. John and Jessie Campbell Harvey had six children: Caroline (Carrie), Jessie, John, Amelia (Mimi), Alice, and Campbell.

Original sketch of John Harvey Mansion
Original sketch of 97 Winder at that time called 51 Winder St. AA is Amelia’s music room.

At the height of John’s entrepreneurial career, John and Jessie Harvey commissioned an impressive 11,000 square foot Second Empire-style home, hiring an already famous architect, John V. Smith. The Harveys had previously chosen the home’s site in Brush Park to locate their residence, the most prestigious area in Detroit, where department store king J.L. Hudson, lumber baron David Whitney and architect Albert Kahn already resided. The mansion that is now our inn was completed in 1887 and replaced the Harveys’ earlier, more modest home originally labeled 51 Winder Street.

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 family portrait
In this photo of the Harvey family taken about 1891, John Harvey is pictured in the center, holding Campbell, in a white gown. John’s wife, Jessie, is behind him to the left, with her hand on his shoulder. Carrie, is next to her mother, in profile, wearing a white gown. Carrie is looking toward Mimi (bangs, behind Campbell). Jessie is seated on the floor, holding Alice in her lap. Son John is not pictured.
Amelia Smith Edwards was a family friend who lived with the Harveys and is pictured here in the back yard.

John Harvey lived in this home until his death in 1905 and Jessie 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.

alice harvey and neil bentley wedding at winder street
Alice Harvey and Neil Bentley, right after they were married in the house, in 1914.

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 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.

Stay in a piece of Detroit’s history.

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Sources:

Detroit1701, Wikipedia and Detroit Curbed

Photos and historic details graciously provided by John and Jessie Harvey’s great-great granddaughter. Catherine Cangany.

Jessie Campbell Harvey’s obituary.
John and William Harvey's obituaries.
John and William Harvey’s obituaries.
John Harvey's calling card.
John Harvey’s calling card.