Motown Mansion History


Michelson-Young Estate 1917
The Mansion Today
The Motown Mansion was built in 1917 by lumber magnate Nels Michelson and substantially renovated in 1926 by automotive manufacturing supplier L.A. Young.  As a private residence, it stands as one of the grandest estates in the Boston-Edison Historic District in Detroit, Michigan. Built in an Italian Renaissance design, the Motown Mansion consists of a main residence, a five-car garage with carriage house and a pool house featuring an Olympic-sized pool, bowling alley and billiards room. The home includes an English pub, featuring a hidden wine cellar, which has served as a favorite gathering spot of the owners over the years.
Lumber baron Nels Michelson (seated center) built the mansion in 1917. L. A. Young made substantial renovations, including the addition of the marble-tiled pool house, in 1926.
The current owners express a commitment to the City...
...and to the State of Michigan as seen here with Governor Granholm (D-MI).
View Motown Mansion Restoration Photos!
The Motown Mansion completed a significant restoration which resulted in an award from the Governor's Historic Restoration Commission. This award is particularly special in that it is typically awarded to architects, municipal governments and engineering firms - rarely to individual home owners. The owners of the Motown Mansion were cited for their "meticulous" restoration of this Detroit jewel. Take a look at the award citation (above) and view the amazing "before and after" shots of the restoration (in three parts on the left)! Feel free to check out the contractors who helped to make this restoration such a success!
Part 1 - Main House Restoration
Part 2 - Carriage House Restoration
Part 3 - Pool House Restoration
Duke Fakir and Mary Wilson at a Motown Mansion Fund Raiser
Vibrophonist Roy Ayers joined the owners to raise money for domestic abuse charities!
Roy Ayers Performs at the Mansion

Under the direction of its current owners the Motown Mansion is undergoing a substantial restoration. The Mansion has been vacant for over 20 years and during the last five years, the Mansion suffered substantial water damage resulting from frozen pipes during the winter. However, during this period, the owners continue to enjoy the Mansion! They have hosted many family functions, including weddings, family retreats, business gatherings and other large and small activities. They have made the Mansion available for charitable functions and fundraisers for local candidates for office. In supporting this use, the current owners have sought to allow the Mansion to regain its place as a meeting place for political and entertainment leaders!


The owners are restoring the formal gardens at the Mansion!
Actress and Activist Geena Davis at the Mansion
Berry Gordy, a former owner of the Mansion, hosted many intimate performances and listening events in the Mansion's Ballroom.

The Motown Mansion has been the home to business entreprenuers who were leaders in the industries in which they made their fortunes. The Mansion has served as the center of political, cultural and social exchanges for many decades. It is one of the few Detroit residences which has been maintained entirely in private hands over the years and which can boast much of its original architecture and design. From the ornately coffered entry foyer which features intricate detailed paintings and carvings, to the teak wooden library doors which took skilled craftsmen over three years to carve much of the home remains intact. Estimated at a cost of over one million dollars to construct in 1917, the home remains a historic reminder of the quality and enduring vitality of European design and American construction.


Entry Foyer Ceiling Detail