The Dahlinger Estate
Dahlinger, Evangeline Cote – (1894 – 1974)
This is an interesting story... Henry Ford supposedly kept a mistress for about 12 years and managed to keep everyone involved placated. Never would happen in today's times of investigative journalism... Could not find one photo of Evangeline Cote either... Henry Ford most likely arranged a no photo rule too.
This house is run down but still standing. Here is a bit of info on the Dahlinger Estate.
Evangeline Cote Dahlinger
Evangeline Cote was born of French-Canadian parentage. Her family had theatrical connections and Evangeline was a cousin to the famous actor, Tyrone Power (1913 – 1958).
Cote was originally employed at the Ford Company (1910) as a stenographer. Darkly attractive and self-confident, she soon rose to head that department and attracted the attention of the automobile manufacturing magnate Henry Ford (1863 – 1947), whose mistress she became.
The Dahlinger Mansion in Dearborn Michigan
Ray Dahlinger was Henry's chauffeur, confidante, auto tester, and first rate mechanic. Evangeline Cote was Henry's mistress, and to keep her close by, Henry had her marry Ray and then proceeded to buy them an estate adjacent to his property. Henry had a hidden passage way built into its staircase that went directly into Evangeline's bedroom.
Henry would ride his bike down the road to the Dahlinger Estate to visit often or take his electric boat down the Rouge River that ran along the estate. They had a love child named John Cote Dahlinger (born 1923) who later wrote a book about his father Henry Ford and ran a nightclub in Detroit up to the time of his death in the 70's.
The Ford family denies that John was Henry's illegitimate son. There also once was a harness horse racing track on the property as Evangeline was a first rate harness racer and was said to carry a gun in her purse and was first rate target shooter.
Ford gave Evangeline a one hundred and fifty acre property and mansion in Dearborn, whilst her mother and two brothers were also generously provided for. Dahlinger remained beside Ford until his death, when the family forced her to officially retire from the company. With the death of Clara Ford (1950) Ray Dahlinger also lost his position with the company.
Who Said Ford History is Boring?
GRAND RAPIDS MURDER VICTIM JOHN C DAHLINGER HAD SOME BIG SECRETS......
I swear I've seen a pic of her in a book. I'll have to investigate. Henry Ford is so revered around here, some people like to think this is an urban legend.
What a fascinating story Kim!!"
Kim,this is weird I grew up not far from the estate(we use to go up and down on the rouge ,on a raft we built) I knew her and her son,I was one of the few that ever got into there home,She was out of it most of the time,her son owned the restaurant,they had the summer house just off to the north of the main home,Her son wrote a book and gave it to me,but the things he told me about his mother and old Henry,
"Interesting to read this morning..Henry Ford you devil you...
More secret tunnels!
Great stuff! There's a photo of her in the book 'The Secret Life of Henry Ford' by John Dahlinger.
My daughter came upon this site & called me. Wow! Does this ever bring back memories. Her father & I lived at the house from the summer of 1978-moved in just after the auction- and stayed until it was sold in summer of 1980. Our daughter was born February of 1980 so she was there as well for about 5 months or so. John needed someone to live there until it was sold because people kept stealing things off the property and had torched the greenhouse. He told me the greenhouse had looked very similar to the home, only much smaller. It was actually the home for the gardener. Very sad to see that the estate has fallen into such disarray. Does anyone currently live there? Has the interior of the home been damaged as well? We moved out when it was sold to a family with 5 children & the mother-in-law. At that time they said that the mother-in-law suite would be created in what was at the time the musicroom, sunroom, bathroom area at the south end of the middle floor under what had been Raymond Dahlingers bedroom, bathroom,and balcony. I have some pictures from that time. Not great. We were young & they were only intended to be family photos. I hope someone purchases the home and restores it. That house is SOLID!
I wish some one would offer a decent price for the home. Unfortunately, I believe that part of history has been left to wither on the vine. The house was striped of anything of value before the sale. Trust me there was no mother in law invovled.
I stumbled onto this house reading about the great story behind it.Just wondering if the house
Was for sale still and what would a ballpark price be for a rundown house of this nature? It's truely a beautiful house, just needs alot of love.
My friends and I were very intrigued with this house when we were in grade school and middle school. We were chased out of there by the gardener one cold night. We would see Evangeline riding her tractor in the field as we watched on the other side of the fence. She would shoot you with a salt pellet gun if you came onto the property. I think about it often and thats how I came upon this site
I worked on the estate in 1948 and remember the horse track. Mrs Dalinger gave us lunch that day.
I grew up a block from the house. I remember on Halloween she would give out cups of hot chocolate with marshmellows by the barrier at the start of the driveway. The greenhouse was cool. After the 1st break in and small fire, a friend asked her if we could use it and fix it up. She agreed. My friends and I fixed it up by painting, plumbing, light fixtures (which my Dad gave us from our home in River Oaks), etc. It had 2 fireplaces, the greenhouse had glass removed because kids kept breaking them. There was a line drawn on the wall in the basement from Henry when he came to see the damage from a flood. They say he died that night. We tried to keep it up the best we could as kids but other people kept breaking in and destroying everything. Finally burned it to the point where it was unsafe. Too bad. I have countless story's about her and the place, was a big part of my childhood.
THANK YOU FOR THE LOVELY COMMENT! I love hearing positive stories about the farm! If you'd like to share more stories with me plz fee free to email me privately....firstname.lastname@example.org
The Dahlinger mansion was truly amazing. It was architecturally like a scaled down version of Fairlane. I was friends with one of the sons of the family that lived there in the 80's. His father was a Ford engineer and always worked on the house. We used to have sleepovers and I spent a lot of time on the property. The numerous hidden passageways and room to roam provided great childhood memories. There was also an indoor swimming pool in the basement very similar to the one in Fairlane. Henry spared no expense.
I remember walking in the woods behind the palce and getting chased out.
Remember my brother and I walking through the woods to the old boat house along the river. I really liked walking and seeing the old buildings.
I grew up in the area and attended the river Oaks Elementary way back.
Larry, I also hung out there in the 1980's. I was friends with the oldest son Ken. Me and my buddy use to hang out with him a lot. His dad was always working on the house and still lives there today, except he has for some reason let it deteriate and has collected a huge amount of "stuff". We use to love exploring the secret staircase in the library and also the secret passages upstairs that connected all the rooms. We always thought there was a secret passage or room next to where the indoor pool use to be becuase the wall was like 5 ft thick.
I too lived in River Oaks. My sister dated Ken. The house inside is beautiful. The family still lives there. It's deterioration can be explained. It is not for sale.
What about DNA? That would prove that the children of John's son's son's are Fords!!
Anonymous, we probably know each other. My parents still live on Brookwood right by the entrance off AnnArbor Trail.
The house was beautiful inside...all the wood inside was nice but dark. When I was there last the House was in pretty nice shape. There was a few areas inside and on the grounds I wish I could investage.
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