Rochester Hills in Oakland County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
The Maxon Estate
Detroit advertising executive Lou Maxon built what is now Gallaher Center in the early 1940s as a country home and location for entertaining clients and friends. Previously, the Eureka Fruit Farm operated on the site during the late 1800s. A gravel pit in what became Lake Norcentra provided gravel and sand to contractors during the early 1900s.
Maxon founded his advertising firm in 1928. Initially attracting customers by providing direct-mail services, he eventually landed such accounts as General Electric, Heinz, Packard, Pittsburg Glass, and Gillette. A Time magazine article from 1940 named his agency the largest in the Midwest and pegged his personal income as the 53rd largest in the nation.
Maxon spared no expense while developing his estate. He finished the interior of his house with walls of oak and knotty pine, dramatic cathedral ceilings, five fireplaces, and five bathrooms. He elaborately landscaped his 37 acres with beautiful gardens and imported large trees to expedite development of the property, investing an estimated $500,000 on the house and grounds.
In 1957, Maxon decided to sell the estate
When the college opened in 1959, the home, commonly referred to as the mansion, became a center for activity. It housed the library, reception areas, chapel, and for a time the college president and his family. By 1971, when the college named the facility for benefactors James and Bessie Gallaher, the building had been transformed to its current use as offices and classrooms.
Erected by Rochester College.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Education • Industry & Commerce.
Location. 42° 40.013′ N, 83° 8.904′ W. Marker is in Rochester Hills, Michigan, in Oakland County. Marker can be reached from West Avon Road 0.7 miles west of Rochester Road (State Highway 150), on the right when traveling west. Marker is behind Gallaher Hall at the west edge of Lake Norcentra Park, which is on the north side of the Rochester University campus, next to the Clinton River Trail. Touch for mapTouch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Slater-Montgomery Family Chapel (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Lake Norcentra (about 300 feet away); Ken and Dorothy Stewart (about 600 feet away); Shane D. Carter (about 700 feet away); Mount Avon Cemetery (approx. 0.9 miles away); Disaster Strikes at Rochester Depot (approx. 0.9 miles away); George Vandeventer House (approx. one mile away); The Torch (approx. 1.1 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Rochester Hills.
Credits. This page was last revised on November 15, 2020. It was originally submitted on November 15, 2020, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan. This page has been viewed 72 times since then and 5 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on November 15, 2020, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.