Charles Stewart Mott was one of the largest single holders of General Motors stock when he and his first wife, Ethel Culbert Harding Mott, purchased sixty-four acres at the edge of downtown Flint, Michigan, and built a stately gentleman’s farm. They called their spread Applewood, after an orchard on the north lawn, and laid the cornerstone in 1916. The Motts loved dogs, sports, card games, and their homegrown food. They hosted elegant dinner parties, fundraising events, business meetings, and gatherings of schoolkids. Six Mott children grew up at Applewood, alongside several children of employees who lived on the grounds. Early automotive giants visited frequently, as did entertainers, political figures, and the Motts’ large circle of family and friends. This book tells the stories of Applewood’s first one hundred years, from celebrations to tragedies. It profiles the four women who loved and married C. S. Mott and recalls the days when most of the family’s food came from animals and crops raised on the estate. It recalls talented cooks, nannies, and a genial Scottish gardener, and showcases treasured antiques and artwork that remain at Applewood, which is now a part of the Ruth Mott Foundation. Drawing from the Ruth Mott Foundation archives, author Susan J. Newhof weaves stories with passages from personal letters, interviews with family members and staff, and C. S. Mott’s detailed diary, which he dictated nearly every day for forty-one years. More than 250 photos dating from the late 1800s to today, including candid family snapshots, illustrate the stories and provide an intimate look at the private life of a very public family and the place they called home.
"In contrast to many, the Motts chose to build their gentleman’s farm within walking distance of downtown Flint, not out in the quiet countryside. They saw value in raising the family’s food, eating fresh vegetables, preserving for later use, and sharing any abundance with those in need. Not concerned with making grand impressions, the house is modest compared with other auto baron homes, with a level of comfort and just enough space for family, staff, and guests." — From the Foreword by Susan Gangwere McCabe, Curator and Historian
"Applewood has been carefully preserved, fulfilling Ruth Mott’s wish that it be a memorial to her cherished husband and a resource for the community. Come explore the landscaped grounds and barns, take part in creative hands-on programs, gaze up into the canopy of a giant old sugar maple, and learn how to care for the environment. Sample the heirloom apples from the namesake orchard, and discover their unique flavors, just as the Motts did. And beginning in Applewood’s centennial year, you can now join others on an interactive tour of the home." — From the Preface by Susan J. Newhof