Laura Robeson Gale Three Rental Cottages

Date: 1909
Address: 5318, 5370, and 5380 South Shore Drive, Whitehall, Michigan
City: Whitehall, Michigan
Accessibility: Private
Category: Residential

Thomas and Laura Robeson Gale had a longstanding professional relationship with Wright. The architect renovated their Queen Anne-style home in Oak Park, Illinois in 1892, and in 1897, designed for them a two-story cottage on property jointly owned with Laura Gale’s brother-in-law, Walter Gerts, in Whitehall, Michigan. After her husband’s death in 1907, Laura Gale commissioned Wright to design three rental cottages on the same property, as well as an important Prairie-style residence in Oak Park. The cottages were located on the banks of White Lake, and the development came to be known as Birch Brook. Their board-and-batten siding; rectilinear contours; and simple, square-shaped plans are reminiscent of the family’s 1897 cottage. However, unlike the Gale’s cottage, which features hipped roofs, the rental properties have flat roofs. The cottages were designed for seasonal use, and thus absent of running water or electricity.

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