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Meadow Brook Hall named a National Historic Landmark

Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Meadow Brook Hall named a National Historic Landmark
By Katie Land, news editor

In recognition of its exceptional architecture, its grand scale and its tremendous cultural and historic value, the U.S. Department of the Interior has awarded Oakland University’s Meadow Brook Hall the most coveted recognition for historic properties in the United States – designation as a National Historic Landmark.

"Meadow Brook Hall is really the original cornerstone of the Oakland University campus. To receive a national historic landmark designation is a tribute to Matilda Dodge Wilson, of course, but also to the legions of employees, volunteers, donors and patrons of Meadow Brook Hall who have loved, nurtured and sustained this historic mansion through the generations,” said Oakland President Gary Russi. 

“I am thrilled by this announcement, and I know Mrs. Wilson would be equally proud of this designation."

The 110-room, 80,000-square-foot, Tudor-revival-style mansion was built between 1926 and 1929 by Wilson, widow of auto baron John Dodge, and her second husband, lumber broker Alfred Wilson. It features elaborately carved wood and stone elements, ornate plaster ceilings, Tiffany stained glass, custom-made hardware, and fine and decorative art.

A monument to the wealth and grace of days gone by, the Hall is now considered to be the finest extant example of Tudor revival architecture in the country.

“We are thrilled and honored to receive the NHL designation from the National Park Service,” said Geoff Upward, executive director of Meadow Brook Hall.

“This is really a testament to the achievements of John Dodge, his widow Matilda Dodge Wilson and her second husband Alfred Wilson, whose combined work ethic and vision built one of the nation’s great country estates and its centerpiece, Meadow Brook Hall. It is also a testament to the preservation and stewardship of the property by Oakland University.”

In 1957, the Wilsons donated the entire estate to Michigan State University to create a branch college campus, which later became Oakland University.

The manor, along with its three dozen associated structures, clubhouse, greenhouse, playhouses and riding ring, now functions as a self-supporting museum and community cultural center, relying on rental revenue, touring fees and private donations to support preservation and operations.

The Hall has served as the backdrop for numerous Hollywood films, celebrity weddings, classic car shows, orchestral performances and more, and is consistently named one of Michigan’s best venues.

The National Historic Landmark designation is given to nationally significant historic places that possess exceptional value in illustrating the heritage of the United States. There are currently about 2,500 designated landmarks nationwide, with Meadow Brook Hall marking the 35th landmark in Michigan. It was one of 13 new sites to be designated landmarks by the U.S. Department of Interior. 

To learn more about Meadow Brook through programs, events, planned giving and more, view the website at meadowbrookhall.org.