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Lavish Grayhaven community was crippled by Great Depression

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In 1923 Edward Gray, chief engineer for Ford at the Highland Park plant, began his dream project -- a boating community of homes, each with a 40-foot boat well, which could also drydock yachts through the winter. 

      Born on a farm near Peoria Ill, Gray came to Detroit in 1909, and went to work for Ford. After eight years with Ford, he turned to real estate and by 1931 had attracted the attention of the Fisher brothers, of Fisher Body fame; William Koerber, a prohibition era brewer, and Gar Wood, whose speed boats not only won races but made the rum-runners happy. All built large homes in Grayhaven. But the Great Depression made continued development almost impossible.

      Gray took out a full page ad in a Detroit newspaper May 10, 1931, which read in part: "Grayhaven is a strictly private residential community minutes from downtown, yet isolated on the shore of the Detroit River...Homes range from moderately priced to very expensive....and the list of residents already reads like a Detroit Social Register...A paradise for Yachtsmen...created by a yachtsman. Restrictions provide that every home have a drydock in which the owner can keep his yacht safe and clean winter and summer...   more...

 

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