Oakland University’s historic Meadow Brook Hall was recently honored by the city of Rochester Hills. The Historic Districts Commission presented the Earl Borden Historic Preservation Leadership Award to the university this spring for its commitment and efforts to preserve The Hall throughout significant fiscal challenges.
Additionally, Executive Director Geoff Upward received an individual Regional Arts & Culture Award by the Paint Creek Center for the Arts this June. The award recognizes Upward’s dedication to supporting culture and the arts across the region.
A monument to the wealth and grace of days gone by, Meadow Brook Hall is considered to be the finest extant example of Tudor revival architecture in the country, and was designated a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 2012.
“This recognition is a testament to the achievements of John Dodge, his widow Matilda Dodge Wilson and her second husband Alfred Wilson, whose collective work ethic and vision built one of our nation’s most significant historic and educational assets,” said Geoff Upward, executive director of Meadow Brook Hall.
“It is also a testament to the preservation and stewardship of the property by Oakland University through the building’s use as a cultural center and historic house museum and to the support of hundreds of volunteers, community members and donors.”
The 110-room, 80,000-square-foot mansion was built between 1926 and 1929 and features elaborately carved wood and stone elements, ornate plaster ceilings, Tiffany stained glass, custom-made hardware, and fine and decorative art.
The manor, along with its outbuildings and Dodge playhouses, 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.
Additionally, the estate has served as the backdrop for numerous Hollywood films, celebrity weddings, classic car shows, musical performances and more, and is consistently named one of Michigan’s best venues.
"We are fortunate that The Hall and dozens of other Meadow Brook Farms structures are located in Rochester Hills, a city that recognizes the value of its historic resources for both economic development reasons and for enhancing the quality of life of its residents,” Upward continued.
"And, since The Hall is a self-supporting auxiliary of the university, we are also appreciative of the community's use of the building -- whether for touring, attending special events or for corporate and social functions. We hope that the university's efforts to preserve and interpret the estate contribute in a significant way to the understanding of our region's history.”
Previous winners of the Earl Borden Award include buildings that serve as quality examples of preservation/restoration and individuals or groups demonstrating activism in the field of historic preservation in Rochester Hills.
Established in 1989 by the Rochester Hills Historic Districts Commission, the award honors Earl Borden, the first Mayor of Rochester Hills, who helped to obtain the Van Hoosen farmhouse for use as a city-owned museum. Borden was a proponent of protecting local historic heritage through education and preservation.
The mission of Paint Creek Center for the Arts is to enhance life in Oakland and Macomb County by promoting, encouraging and creating opportunities to participate in and appreciate the arts. The annual awards recognize achievement in fostering the arts throughout the region.
To visit or learn more about Meadow Brook through programs, events, and planned giving, view the website at meadowbrookhall.org
Oakland University is a vibrant academic community with nearly 20,000 students and more than 260 degree and certificate programs. To learn more about academics, achievements, and events at OU, visit the news site at oakland.edu/newsatou
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