A quick follow-up on my post from this weekend on Harry Kipke and some of the troubles he ran into in the late 1930s.   The muckety mucks on campus accused Kipke of running with some foul characters, namely Henry Ford’s henchman and enforcer, Harry Bennett. 

Bennett lived just down the street on Geddes and reader John F. sent me this link with several nice photos of the castle, including the bizarre tunnel that lead to the his pets lions and tigers.  Enjoy, photos via retro: kimmer: blog:

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The post also has more details on the inside:

Down in the basement, HFHA members found a bar and billiard room styled after an English Pub, an area where Bennett often conducted “Ford “ business. Another room is reminiscent of an underworld catacomb. Most unique, a tiled Roman bath carefully hidden beyond a sliding cabinet. For those members who dared, an exciting, yet somewhat claustrophobic, experience, was a stroll through the seemingly endless, and unlit, under ground tunnel. This ran from the hidden bath to the outbuilding that house Bennett’s infamous lion and tiger dens. A branch of this tunnel leads to an extremely tight spiral staircase, which ascends to the top of the home’s guntower.

Here’s a peek at that tunnel:

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5 Comments

  1. Thanks for the shout and link Greg! I will be doing more on Harry Bennet this weekend so stay tuned!

  2. Harry Bennett’s summer home and the land surrounding it is now the Lost Lake Scout Reservation up near Muskegon. I went there once when I was a Scout as a kid. The roof had gun sentry stations, there was supposedly a tunnel going under the lake to an airstrip on the other side (which I guess had a plane waiting ready to go 24/7), the pool had a window looking into it from the basement of the house… The whole thing was creepy as hell.

    Bennett is also prominently pictured in the Diego Rivera mural at the Detroit Institute of Arts (he’s the guy in the fedora with the squad of goons looking skeptically at the workers).

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  4. I would love to visit his castle and find out how they got the funds to restore it so beautifully. I was just at the Bennett Lodge over the weekend, and it's falling apart. The boy scouts have taken absolutely no pride in the history of the land they own and never clean or take care of the building. I wouldn't say that it's falling apart. That would be extremely hard to do considering the entire building is made out of concrete and is being reinforced with rebarb. The most they've tried to do is send letters out to the Ford Company asking them to restore the building but because of the dark history behind the house, the company denies that the man was associated to the company or even existed to begin with.

    The Lodge is beautiful and has a carefully thought out layout plan, however, every year more and more of it's history is destroyed by people breaking in and stealing things that were original to the house. Just recently the last painting that Harry Bennett painted himself that hung inside the building, was stolen last Memorial Day. It's unfortunate that this historical land isn't taken care of with more pride.

  5. Here are some 1984 photos of the inside and outside of the Castle courtesy of my friend Donna http://www.retrokimmer.com/2010/10/harry-bennetts

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