Restoring Boston-Edison's Charles T. Fisher Mansion
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In the Roaring ’20s, the 18,000-square-foot house on Detroit’s Boston Boulevard itself roared with activity. The clamor of children’s voices, the bustle of 17 live-in servants, and the lively conversation of guests in the ballroom animated the home.
There were also informal gatherings in the downstairs pub, the air choked with cigar smoke, while men talked robustly of business and finance amid the clack of billiard balls in an adjoining room. Sometimes the majestic Estey pipe organ in the foyer permeated the sprawling mansion with its stentorian notes.
Fifty years later, those sounds surrendered to silence. The lady of the house, then in her 90s, lived there quietly, her circle of servants narrowed considerably, the children grown, her husband dead since 1963. She maintained the home until her death in 1974.
Today, a different kind of noise is enlivening the home, which was built in 1922 for Charles and Sarah Fisher, of the “Body by Fisher” family. The rat-a-tat of hammers and the clang of plumbers’ wrenches punctuate the renovation taking place. Outside, landscapers are busy planting trees and bushes, while three stories up workers repair leaks to the slate roof.
Michael Fisher, a cousin to the Charles Fisher family, bought the house three years ago. He’s an old hand at renovating stately homes, having first purchased a house in 1993 on Seminole in Indian Village. Then, in 1997, he bought and refurbished the Italianate manor built for Benjamin Siegel (the founder of B. Siegel, the tony women’s shops) just east of the Fisher home. Even before he owned his present residence, Fisher says he was attracted to it. “I once was invited to a Halloween party here, and I walked in the front door. My cousin was with me, and I told him, ‘I’m going to own this house someday.’ ”