The President’s House at University of Detroit
Although it was called the “President’s House”, it was not the residential place where UD’s president lived. The mansion located on 1771 Balmoral Drive in the Palmer Woods district was donated to the University of Detroit in 1968 by Mrs. Alfred J. Fisher. Since there was already a building on UD campus called the “Fisher” building for administrative services, they did not want to have people confused as to which “Fisher” building that a meeting was being held.
The President’s House was used to hold religious activities for small groups, high level academic affairs, and conferences for professional groups, faculty and administrators of the university. It would not be used for fraternity or student government affairs, dances or parties. The mansion had 16 rooms suitable for meetings, a chapel, ballroom, and game room. A separate building housed an all-weather swimming pool. The number of people that were to attend an event at the President’s House was limited so as not to interfere with the residential nature of its location. Car pooling was strongly encouraged.
At the time of the donation the value of the house was listed as $350,000. The university sold the property in 1975 for $67,000 on a land contract. The annual expense of maintaining the property of about $15,000 (which included a live-in caretaker, and heat), was just too expensive for the university. A couple bought the property, however there are letters in the files to indicate that they didn’t keep up the payments of $500 a month after a couple of years, so it sounds like the bank had to take over the property.