Thursday, February 01, 2018

Jay Thorpe's Packard delivery in Grosse Pointe Michigan

I think it's reasonable to assume some mega wealthy woman went to NYC for a fitting, selected an entire wardrobe of everything she desired, and it was delivered to her home in the richest neighborhood in all Michigan. This custom Packard may have been a gift from the president of Packard to the Jay Thorpe company, but I haven't found any info on the car yet

The house in the background?
The Alvan Macauley mansion, 2nd only to Henry Ford's mansion, was one of the ‘stand out’ estates on Lake Shore Drive. Similar in both construction and appearance to the Ford Estate, which had been completed two years earlier in 1929 by Albert Kahn, who designed this spectacular home for Alvan Macauley and his family in 1930.

So when it was time to lay out the Proving Grounds, the Grand Entrance Gates, the Tudor Revival Lodge, the Repair Garage, the Timing Stand, and the oval track -- it went without saying that the architect of first choice was Albert Kahn.

When the home was demolished in 1975, the dining room was painstakingly removed and relocated to the Charley’s Crab restaurant in Troy

Why is the house significant to the car?
 Mr. Alvan Macauley was one of the most prominent figures in Detroit. Having graduated with degrees in both engineering and law who was working for an adding machine company, when Henry  Joy (whom had Kahn design him a home in 1911) hired him as general manager of Packard in 1910, becoming president of the company in 1916.

Often history, a backward glance, will discover an event or person that not many people have heard about. Great biographies have been written about people after they are gone, however, few people were recognized, nor given so many awards while, shall we say, they were on active duty, as Mr. Alvan Macauley. Ford, Chrysler, Nash, the Dodge brothers, Willys, Studebaker, Graham, General Motors were but a few of the members of the Automobile Manufactures Association (AMA) that for 18 years elected Mr. Macauley as the Association’s president.

Indeed it would take an unusual person to represent and head those leaders of industry. Mr. Macauley was also the head of the Automotive Council for War Production during WW II.

Macauley resigned from his position as president in 1939, however he remained chairman of the board until 1948

1937 Packard six, fifteenth series, model 115-C, 6-cylinder, 100-horsepower, 115-inch wheelbase, special panel delivery

Jay Thorpe was an exclusive store located at 24 – 26 W. 57th Street, New York which opened in the 1920s. A specialty retailer, the firm offered custom-made goods as well as French imports.

Jay Thorpe was founded in 1920 by Charles J. Oppenheim, Jr. His father, Charles J. Oppenheim, Sr. (1890-1941) and grandfather, Albert Oppenheim (1832-1914)--who were later joined by Israel D. Levy--founded the New York City department store Oppenheim, Collins and Co. Grandfather Albert had also been associated with Brooklyn department store Abraham and Straus

One of the best stores on 57th Street, Jay Thorpe offered custom made clothing from French and in-house designers. The store was on an equal footing with Henri Bendel and Hattie Carnegie in terms of quality, but had a more eclectic image.


  1. The Henry Ford Estate is in Dearborn, I think you mean the Edsel Ford Estate, which is in Grosse Pointe. The “Old Man” hated Grosse Point!

    1. nope. I wrote it specifically in the way I read it in context, that architect made Henry Ford's mansion grander in every way by a little bit. Not a location thing, but comparison of mansions.
      Yep, I recall that Grosse Point issue when I posted about Edsel and how he and the ol man couldn't get along. Farm boy vs millionaires son issue... how ironic.

    2. Even Edsel wasn't able to get along with the old man, and what is probably unknown to you is that part of this is due to Henry's farm upbringing but due to Henry's success in automobiles Edsel had been born and raised in the city, and then Edsel married the niece of one of the Hudson car company leaders and owner of the largest dept store in Detroit, and then moved farther from the country, into the most elite and highest society circle of his wife's old money family in Indian Village, and then into Grosse Pointe Shores.