Rumor has it that Henry Ford's wife Clara hated the Pagoda House they built on Grosse Ile. Clara was afraid for her children's safety due to the rapid current of the Detroit River.

Harry Bennett had built this big log cabin in Tawas and it was a great place for kids to swim in Lake Huron. So Harry and his Boss swapped vacation homes.

Some years back I met a woman who gave me these photos and wrote this story. Not sure the accuracy but it is fun see...

Story & Photos by Gloria Branzei

When I was a child my family owned a cottage built by Henry Ford for Bennett. it was his hideaway and love nest with his private nurse. There was a heart in the cement with their initials outside the back door.

Harry Bennett was a very paranoid and well prepared man. In the basement there was a tunnel that went out to a waiting boat on Lake Huron. He kept a gun in every room and exits out of every room.

He was said to have had a leopard chained up by the door, there are large cat paw prints in the cement.

They built the police chief of Detroit a cottage next door and the garage was the dormer for the guards which were off-duty Detroit cops.

He had mounted guards and we turned the stables into a stereo room.  There were lights all the way through the woods.

All of the furniture in this log cabin was crafted by Italian workers that were smuggled over through Canada. My family has pictures...

 Our neighbor was Pinkerton from the railroad cops we used to call him Pinky.

Harry Bennett (1892–1979), a former boxer and ex-Navy sailor, was an executive at Ford Motor Company during the 1930s and 1940s. He was best known as the head of Ford’s Service Department, or Internal Security.

While working for Ford, his union busting tactics, of which The Battle of the Overpass was a prime example, made him a foe of the United Auto Workers.

He was fired in 1945 by Henry Ford II, and died in 1979 of natural causes. He had various residences in Michigan, including Bennett's Lodge near Farwell, a log cabin style house in East Tawas, and Bennett's Castle located on the Huron River in Ypsilanti.

Glo sent these gems in this morning....lovely


Barb said...

Kim I remember back in the yearly 70s going to a log cabin that was built out of cement. They said it was built by Bennett.. it was small in size, had a firrplace in the middle that you could climb up in and sit down and have a view of either the kitchen or living room. in the kitchen was a strange cabnit that moved and behind that a lot of brick work, they said that was the tunnel that lead to the main house. it was a cross the road from Bennen'ts main house, way back in the woods. I thought about it a lot. who else would build a 2 plus foot thick log looking cabin out of cement. Thanks for all that you write about I enjoy it all.

Sylvia said...

Great pics. I could live there! Would like to hear more about the man and about the place.

Retro Kimmer said...

@BARB...I am working on getting more photos of those buildings...check my list of Harry Bennett Stories and see if that cabin is in there..I do have photos of one of his homes in that area.

@Sylvia..thank you Sylvia! I have tons of Harry Bennett stories..click this link to see them all


Harry Bennett Stories said...


Unknown said...

I remember this very well. Kris and Carol..

Unknown said...

This info is amazing!!!! It's literally the first time I've seen actual pics!!!!!!! Thank you to EVERYONE who shared any info/personal photos/pictures !!!! I can't get enough !

Unknown said...

This info is amazing!!!! It's literally the first time I've seen actual pics!!!!!!! Thank you to EVERYONE who shared any info/personal photos/pictures !!!! I can't get enough !

Skip Kubiac said...

Skip Kubiac
I grew up one block away from Harry Bennett's second smaller log home that was at the end of Huron Hills Drive that also has the cement garage and house beside Pontiac street and I used to watch over it during the winter. It has Ethyl Bennett 1936 on the sidewalk so I guess it was built in 1936. Does anyone know what year the first large log home was built? I hung around with the owners son at both house's In late 50s early 60s so I was inside both houses often.

Anonymous said...

Were all doin fine

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