Visit Meadow Brook Hall! Tour Michigan's Largest Historic Home (With Pictures!) + FUN Famous History of Matilda Dodge | Rochester Michigan Near Detroit

Visit Meadow Brook Hall! Tour Michigan's Largest Historic Home (With Pictures!) + FUN Famous History of Matilda Dodge | Rochester Michigan Near Detroit

By: Sherry Trautman | | Updated: December 8, 2022

Chris and I were blown away by the incredible craftsmanship, eye for detail, breathtaking architectural details and sheer scale of this opulent Michigan mansion in Oakland County.


Keep reading to learn the fascinating history of Matilda Dodge Wilson, one of automotive aristocracy’s most remarkable women. Matilda was the widow of automobile pioneer John Dodge.

  • If you are looking for Michigan historic home tours and FUN things to do in Michigan, this is it!
  • We highly recommend learning more about the history of Meadow Brook Hall as it will have much more meaning during the tour. 

What is Meadow Brook Hall?

Well, first, Meadow Brook Hall is Michigan's Largest Historic Home located in Rochester (near Detroit) in Oakland County! How cool is that?

This 110 room residence is the largest and most impressive example of Tudor revival architecture in the United States. 

  • There are also 37 secondary buildings, gardens and pasture land.
  • There is 88,000 square feet in this home Rochester home! 
  • These impressive stats earns Meadow Brook Hall the status of the   largest historic home in the Midwest! And we are lucky enough to have it here in Michigan!

This incredible Rochester Michigan mansion is now a museum, cultural center and the fourth-largest historic home in the nation!

  • Meadow Brook Hall is open for tours on select days and times. It's always at the top of my list of fun things to do in Michigan. So if you are on vacation near Detroit, be sure to book a tour. 
  • Meadow Brook Hall is a incredible Michigan wedding venue too. Can you just imagine your wedding day held at this luxurious location?
  • You can also hold your business events at Meadowbrook Hall. 

Chris and I visited Meadow Brook Hall twice in December during the Christmas season, so many of our photos have a holiday flair!  

Meadow Brook Hall is a National Historic Landmark!

This incredible historic home was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2012 by the National Park Service and United States Department of the Interior. 

How is Oakland University Connected to Meadow Brook Hall?

Meadow Brook Hall (and its 1400 acre estate) was deeded to Michigan State University in 1957 by Alfred G. and Matilda Dodge Wilson. It was given to fund Oakland University.  The Hall is now a conference center and cultural center of Oakland University. 

Meadow Brook Hall

Touring Meadow Brook Hall

Touring Meadow Brook Hall is absolutely breathtaking! You will see original family furnishings and art as you wander the 110-room mansion.  Be sure to look up to see fascinating trim and ornate plaster ceilings. In the summer you can also see their formal gardens.

There is elaborate carved wood and stone features throughout the lovely home. I particularly love the Tiffany stained glass and ornate furniture and fine art.

Where is Meadow Brook Hall?

Meadowbrook Hall is located in southeast Michigan.

Address: 350 Estate Dr, Rochester, MI 48309

  • Distance to Detroit: 33 miles (about 40 minutes)
  • Distance  to Grand Rapids: 150 miles (2 hours, 20 minutes)
  • Distance to Lansing: 93 miles (1 hour, 25 minutes)
  • Distance to Traverse City: 229 miles, (3 hours, 40 minutes)

Meadow Brook Hall Has a Fantastic and Famous History

This incredible mansion was the home of Alfred G. and Matilda Dodge Wilson. Matilda was a widow of John know, like the vehicles!

In 1925, Matilda and Anna Dodge, widow of Horace Dodge, sold their holdings in the Dodge Motor Car Company for a whopping $146 million.  Matilda was now one of the world’s wealthiest women. She supported many Detroit charities and organizations, and founded Oakland University. Matilda also had a lifelong involvement with the Salvation Army and the Presbyterian Church.

Speaking of the Presbyterian Church, this was where Matilda met fellow parishioner and lumber broker, Alfred Wilson.  They fell in love while singing hymns (that's my theory, anyway) and in June of 1925, the two were married.  

Alfred and Matilda's vast home was built in 1926-1929 in Rochester.  William E. Kapp of Smith, Hinchman and Grylls designed the lovely hall.  It was a nice 43rd birthday for Matilda in 1926!

The building cost nearly $4 million!

The Hall was built using ONLY American materials and craftsman. I find this very impressive and noble. Between the years of 1915 - 1947, the estate became one of the most elaborate in the United States and we can see why!

This famous couple had four children, Frances and Danny Dodge, and Richard and Barbara Wilson.

It is one of the best and finest examples of Tudo-revival style architecture in America!!

The Hall was opened to the public in 1971.

How Did Matilda Meet John Dodge?

In 1902, Matilda began working as a secretary to John and Horace Dodge at their automotive parts company. Sparks few and five years later, Matilda married widower John Dodge.

Who Was Alfred G. Wilson?

Alfred was in the lumber business and in 1919 he moved to Detroit where he and his brother Donald formed the Wilson Lumber Company.  Alfred was the son of a minister and was active in the same Presbyterian Church as widow, Matilda Dodge. The two enjoyed music, reading and religion, They fell in love and married on June 29, 1925!

How Long Did Matilda and Her Family Live in Meadow Brook Hall?

For the most part, Matilda lived in Meadow Brook Hall from 1929 until she died at 84 years old in 1967.  The home was closed for a few years during the Depression due to the high costs to maintain the home. 

The Wilsons lived in the home 38 years and loved hosting events and gathering with friends.  So get this, their daughter, Frances Dodge was married at the home in 1938 and this lucky girl had Frank Sinatra and the  Tommy Dorsey band played at her 25th birthday party in 1939!

After Matilda Wilson’s death, many of Meadow Brook’s fine art pieces were sold or bequeathed.

Alfred and Matilda's Honeymoon Inspiration!

Alfred and Matilda toured several stunning homes in England while on their honeymoon.  They fell in love with the style of these upscale homes and no doubt took lots of notes!  Inspired, the newly married couple quickly went to work designing their new home from their honeymoon influence!

Matilda Dodge Wilson Loved Home Design!

Oh, and Matilda didn't just sit back, she was involved in every detail including choosing everything from the switch plate covers to the types of wood she preferred.  Matilda loved art and design, so she was actively involved in decorating her home. 

Meadow Brook Hall Architecture and Interior Details

While touring Meadow Brook Hall, you will see why it is famous for fine craftsmanship, incredible architectural detailing and massive size!  The exterior of the Hall utilizes American materials of brick, sandstone, wood timbers and a roof of clay shingle tile.

  • Did you know Meadow Brook has 39 uniquely designed brick chimneys? 

You will be surprised to know the home provided the Wilson family with every modern amenity available in the late 1920s.  Their home was fully electric with a central heating system, two elevators, three kitchens and a home theatre! 

As was popular during the 1920's if you were wealthy, couples had their own bedrooms and dressing rooms.  You will see this is true in their home too.  

Call the Doctor!

During the 1920's medical doctors frequently visited the homes of weathy sick patients. Meadow Brook Hall has a separate medical room just for this purpose!

Meadow Brook Hall YouTube Video Below! Join Us!