Welcome to a new Curbed National series in which contributor Sarah F. Cox reports on the changing face of Detroit—and how the economic downturn has created some wild real estate opportunities there.
Ford and Dodge are auto company competitors, sure, but they're also families that planted roots in Detroit. Back in the heyday, each owned a mansion in the Indian Village neighborhood, which is characterized by sweeping three-story estate houses. In 2010, both Ford and Dodge were sold to new owners; each was recorded as one of the highest-priced homes in the city. Which one was the better bargain? We put them head-to-head—or bumper to bumper, if you will; the breakdown follows the jump.
The Dodge Mansion (above)
Address: 1723 Iroquois St.
Sold on: Jan. 15, 2010
Sold for: $675,000
List price: $849,900
Buyer: gentleman from Chicago
Built in: 1911
Square feet: 11,583
Lot size: 27,791 sq. ft.
Bonus feature: Solarium!
Where to park: In a four-car detached garage with a second-floor carriage house that's currently a separate, finished apartment.
Fun fact: This manse has a safe the size of a pantry and a turnstile floor in the garage to move cars around. John Dodge built it for his granddaughter as a wedding present.
Kitchen kicker: While both houses were originally built with cabinets for iceboxes, the Dodge mansion’s kitchen renovation seems inconsistent with the charm of the rest of the house. The previous owners added a full range, dishwasher, and fridge, but at the expense of historic character.
The Eleanor and Edsel Ford Honeymoon Cottage (above)
Address: 2171 Iroquois St.
Sold on: July 30, 2010
Sold for: $320,000
List price: $499,999
Buyer: a family from Texas
Built in: 1915
Square feet: 5,029
Lot size: 36,047 sq. ft.
Where to park: Just like the Dodge mansion, the Ford home has room for up to four cars in its carriage house; unfortunately, one can’t park the in-laws up there as well. The garage apartment (not photographed) was described by agent Donna Barlow (who sold both homes) as “in rough shape.”
Fun facts: The home was built by Eleanor and Edsel (son of Henry) Ford. Rumor is, Eleanor hand-stenciled the linen cabinets in the servants quarters. Also, Henry Ford II was born in this home.
Kitchen kicker: The Ford house still has old-world elements like a phone system to call the servants quarters as well as the wooden icebox cabinets, alongside a modern refrigerator and range stove.
The Winner: Ford
While buying the Dodge mansion means getting an above-garage guest house for free, the seven bedrooms for $675,000 just don't stack up against Ford’s six bedrooms for $320,000. And don’t be fooled by the “Honeymoon Cottage” title. You could wander around the house for days without hitting your spouse.