not all those who wander are lost

On my latest bike trek down Jefferson, I stopped in at Grayhaven Manor – aka the Lawrence P. Fisher mansion, aka the Hara Krishna temple.

My father and my uncles grew up just two blocks from this estate. While they lived here in the 40’s the Fishers had their yacht docked in the Grayhaven Moors. Later when my father and mother were first married, they lived in an upper flat in the same neighborhood. At that time, the yacht had been purchased by President John Fitzgerald Kennedy and was known as the “Honeyfitz”.

Grayhaven is getting some much needed restorative work done – probably not nearly enough. This place has got to be a giant money pit for the Krishnas.

Designed by famed theater architect (UA theater, State theater, Fox theater) Charlie Crane.

Now the place is decked out in various Krishna deities.

The turtle is my favorite. Mrs dFUNK and I keep two turtles in a tank named Bert and Ernie.

It is said in their writings that one of Krishnas miracles was slaying a giant ox with a single blade of grass.

Interesting side note in the nearby lakefront park: these are the radar control towers for the missiles that used to be positioned on Belle Isle during the Cold War.

This park is at the mouth of the Straits of Detroit (locally called the Detroit “River”) and at the the terminus of Lake St. Clair – part of the Great Lakes fresh water system.

The missles on Belle Isle were located on the large mall of grass near Livingstone Lighthouse.


  • I was actually fortunate enough to live inside this mansion in my early twenties while studying with the Hare Krishnas. It is an amazing building that has so much cultural diversity to offer the local community (both from it’s creation and from the hare Krishnas). I do hope that this Mansion can be maintained well and continue to allow the local population to reflect back in Detroit as well as world history.


  • I remember during my hippie days going to a party at Gar Wood late one night after a Mountain concert at the Grande Ballroom some time in the early 1970’s. The mansion was in terrible shape. There was no front door. I remember a ballroom that must have been beautiful at one time. There were lots of very high people milling around the mansion. The band Mountain was some where on the premises. There was a dead cat floating in the indoor swimming pool. The indoor boat wells made me think of Gar Woods famous gas tank repair during the infamous race. In retrospect, it was amazing that we were able to cruise through this historical Detroit mansion without any fear of authority stopping us. I don’t know how many parties there were there during this period but this particular one was packed with people.

  • If we are going to be technical John, The Gar Wood mansion AND the Lawrence P. Fisher mansion are BOTH Grayhaven mansions.

    The Gar Wood mansion in its time was called “The Gar Wood Estate”.

    The LP Fisher mansion was referred to as “The Fisher Mansion” just like the other Fisher family estates.

    My error was the term “Manor” which was how my family referred to the Fisher Mansion as as far back as 1939 while living 2 blocks away.

  • Sorry to disappoint you, but the photos you show are NOT of the Grayhaven mansion, but of the Lawrence J. Fisher mansion at 383 Lenox. The Grayhaven estate, which was built by powerboat legend Gar Wood, was located at the southeast corner of Grayhaven island, across the canal from the Fisher estate. Mostly burned and in ruins by the late 70s’, it was supposedly haunted. It has since been demolished and replaced by newer, luxury homes. What a shame!

  • kwel – I am so there next sunday then. I want to see their pretty building and eat their yummy food !


  • every sunday at the mansion there is a krishna service and fresh vegitarian food and mango nectar for a measly 2 dollar donation. and they dont give you dirty looks if you dont donate. dont light up a cigarette on the grounds though, sacriledge!

  • Eric –

    Thanks for the Nike data.

    My data comes from the Arcadia book about Belle Isle. If you look in that book, it will show photos of the actual missle mounts and locations which were as I described, on the Isle in the mall near Livingstone Lighthouse. Those particular missles were mounted on mobile platforms and were nakedly visible. It even shows a satellite image of the installation.

    Gotta love that Cold War stuff ! Scary but very interesting.

  • Peter – thats awsome that you were married at the Krishna mansion ! I have not gone through it since I was about 8 years old, and was planning to do that this last time around. It was not open due to construction when I got there.

    I attended a funeral for a dear friend up in Mt Pleasant two years ago – what a beautiful area. I cant remember the name of the church but it was small, white, historic and in the old downtown area. I believe it was Anglican (episcopal).

    Happy anniversary !

  • Old Nike site radar mounts (HIPAR / LOPAR). Missile magazines were likely close by in shallow underground vaults with steel trap doors. For photos of a restored site try

  • Dear Mr. Funk:

    Thanks always for your wonderful website. I read this thing every day, and I’m always amazed at the photos and commentary. Although I grew up far away from Detroit (Mt. Pleasant and Saginaw proper), I’ve always been fascinated by the place.

    Now for the amazing coincidence: my wife and I were married eight years ago today (July 5)… at the Fisher Mansion. We’re not Hare Krshnas, but we dug the place and the vegetarian food. Thanks for the tour…

    By the way, the inside’s nearly as crazy as the outside.