Colonel Frank Hecker House, photo submitted 1971
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Hecker, Col. Frank J., House
5510 Woodward Avenue, Detroit - Wayne County
Other Names Smiley Brothers Music Company
Property Type stone house
Historic Use DOMESTIC
Style French Renaissance
Architect/Builder Louis Kamper
Significant Person Frank J. Hecker
Narrative Description The Colonel Frank J. Hecker House is a three-story mansion of French Chateauesque inspiration with walls of white Indiana Bedford limestone. Large turrets at each corner feature round dormers, and windows with garlanded hood moldings. Gabled bays also project from the main mass and feature Palladian windows. The steep main hip roof of the house is broken by Flemish dormers, chimneys, and is lined with dentils. A balustraded, colonnaded loggia wraps around the house and a porte-cochere fronts one of the gabled facades. The lavish, forty-nine room interior features Italian Sienna marble, mahogany, and Nubian Egyptian marble details. A nearby carriage house has been converted into a 200 seat recital hall.
Statement of Significance The Hecker House is one of Detroit's grand mansions and is associated with one of its most prominent citizens, Colonel Frank J. Hecker. Among other involvements and seats on various executive boards, Hecker was a colonel in the Union Army, president and cofounder of the Peninsular Car Company, and appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt to the Panama Canal Commission in 1904. Hecker commissioned Detroit architect Louis Kamper to design and decorate the house, which was constructed from 1888 to 1891. The Smiley Brothers Music Company purchased the house in 1947 for use as a store and showroom. Currently the building is owned and occupied by law offices.
Period of Significance 1866-1900
Significant Date(s) 1888, 1891
Registry Type(s) 09/03/1971 National Register listed
02/19/1958 State Register listed
Site ID# P25138