Ransom Gillis open house set for Nov. 1

Maureen Feighan
The Detroit News
The Ransom Gillis mansion in Detroit’s Brush Park is being rehabbed by HGTV personality Nicole Curtis.

The nearly fully restored 1876 Ransom Gillis house in Detroit’s Brush Park will open its doors to public tours on Nov. 1, says HGTV star and Lake Orion native Nicole Curtis.

“You ready to see this great house in person?” Curtis asked on Facebook and Twitter on Tuesday, revealing a picture of one of the house’s many fireplaces.

The tours, the time for which hasn’t been announced yet, are a tradition at the end of each project for Curtis, a vocal advocate of preserving old homes and star of HGTV’s “Rehab Addict.” The Nov. 1 open house is free, but visitors will be asked to make a small donation that will likely go to a local family in need.

Curtis teamed up with Quicken Loans in late July to restore the iconic Venetian Gothic mansion on Alfred Street in Brush Park, which had been vacant for decades. They’ve converted it into a duplex and the restoration will be featured on the upcoming season of Curtis’s show, which is slated to premiere Nov. 5 on HGTV.

The mansion – with its beloved turret, which has been completely restored – is Curtis’s third Detroit project. At a media open house this summer, she said she’s wanted the restore the house for years, but couldn’t afford it.

The project is part of a larger redevelopment plan on 8.4 acres by the Brush Park Development Company. The project will have hundreds of new residential units, retail and green space.

The Ransom Gillis mansion is named for a dry goods merchant for whom the mansion was built. It was designed by Henry T. Brush. Gillis’s family sold the mansion in 1870 and the house was owned by several other families before eventually being turned into a rooming house with a grocery store in the front. It’s been abandoned since the 1960s, according to “63 Alfred Street: Where Capitalism Failed” by John Kossik.

Construction crews have been working nearly around the clock to get the house restored before early November.

“This is a home that is very special to Detroiters, but not only Detroiters, but preservationists and historians across the country,” said Curtis in August. “All eyes are on this project. ... This is something the city needed. It’s a step in the right direction.”


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