One of Detroit’s best restaurants is also a haunted historical landmark.
The David Whitney House (4421 Woodward Ave., Detroit MI) was initially constructed as a private residence and was restored in 1986. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972 and now serves as a restaurant.
The Whitney House was built between 1890 and 1894 by famous lumber baron David Whitney Jr. who was considered to be one of Michigan’s wealthiest personalities. At the time, the house was estimated at $400,000 ($10.5 million in today’s economy) and its exterior was built using pink jasper from South Dakota was imported from South Dakota.
The mansion is measured to be 21,000 square feet and features 52 rooms, 10 bathrooms, 218 windows, 20 fireplaces and a “secret vault” in the dining room. There is also an elevator and numerous Tiffany glass windows which are estimated to be worth more than the house itself.
Following Whitney’s death in 1900, his widow lived in the mansion until 1917. From there, the Whitney family allowed the Wayne County Medical Society to movie in with only a caretaker living in the property.
In 1941, the Whitney gamily endowed the huse to the Wayne County Medical Society and the multi-million dollar gift is one of the largest ever made by the U.S. to any medical society.
In 1986, after the aforementioned costly restoration (that cost $3 million to bring the building back up to regulation), the house was converted into “The Whitney Restaurant” after it was sold to entrepreneur Richard Kughn. Aiding in the restaurant conversion were John McCarthy and Ron Fox who had run the Van Dyk Place in Detroit’s West Village. New heating and air conditioning units were installed and a state-of-the-art kitchen was constructed, replacing the former servant’s quarters at the rear of the house.
The dining rooms on the first and second floors were refurnished and the third floor was turned into a cocktail lounge, named the Winter Garden.
In 200, Kughn sold the mansion to Bud Liebler, a former Chrysler executive for more than $2 million. The restaurant was once again shut down for more renovations. The Winter Garden lounge was renamed the Ghost Bar after rumors of Whitney’s ghost haunting the building.
Certainly a must-see when visiting the Motor City, it is the perfect time to enjoy a meal at The Whitney as there is a special haunted Halloween themed package now available. For more information, visit TheWhitney.com