Meadow Brook Hall receives national landmark recognition

Meadow Brook Hall was recognized by the National Park Service as a national landmark on Monday.

The building, considered one of the finest Tudor Revival houses in the U.S., was named a national landmark because of its outstanding, grand-scale architecture and the design of the building.

There are less than 2,500 national landmarks in the U.S. including the White House, Empire State Building and the Hoover Dam. Meadow Brook Hall becomes the 35th national landmark in the state of Michigan. Other landmarks in the state include the Fox Theater, Greenfield Village and the Fisher Building.

Geoff Upward, executive director of Meadow Brook Hall, said it was a tremendous honor for the university.

“We are thrilled and honored to receive … designation from the National Park Service,” Upward said. “This is really a testament to the achievements of John Dodge, his widow, Matilda Dodge Wilson and her second husband, Alfred Wilson whose combined work ethic and vision built one of the nation’s great country estates and its centerpiece, Meadow Brook Hall.”

The property on which Meadow Brook resides was purchased by Matilda Wilson’s first husband, John F. Dodge. When Dodge died in 1920, Wilson used some of the money given to her by Dodge to build the property.

The mansion was closed for a while, however, during the Great Depression.

The Meadow Brook website gives a description of the rich interior, noting its elaborately detailed carved wood and stone, handmade hardware and ceramic art tile, ornately molded and carved plaster ceilings, stained glass window insets, crystal and art glass lighting fixtures, and gold-plated bathroom fittings. The mansion is fully electric with a central heating system, two elevators, four kitchens and a full-sized home theatre.

“It’s such a unique feature of OU … this honor just adds to what OU is all about,” Jean Ann Miller, director for the Center of Student Activities, said.

Recently, Meadow Brook Hall made the property open to filming companies. In 2008, “Youth In Revolt” was filmed in the mansion, and in 2010, Miley Cyrus filmed her music video, “Who Owns My Heart.”

The same year that Cyrus filmed her music video, “Transformers 3” was shot partly inside the mansion.

Being named a national landmark, Upward said that now has the mansion a leg up on receiving a federal grant. The grant would go toward funding the restoration and preservation of the hall.

“Now the rest of the world can recognize it as a national landmark” Miller said. “How cool is that?”


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