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Historical group praises mansion's transformation

Thursday, May 15, 2008 4:14 PM | Michael Mowers (Administrator)

Cecil Angel, The Detroit Free Press, May 15, 2008
(Cynthia Reaves receives 2008 Governor's Award for Historic Preservation)

The leaky roof, cracked and crumbling plaster and overgrown landscape would have been enough to turn any potential homebuyer away from the 1917 mansion in the Boston-Edison Historic District in Detroit.

But Cynthia Reaves believed she could bring the Nels Michelson House, also known as the Motown Mansion, back to life. Despite being a lawyer with almost no construction skills or money for the restoration, Reaves jumped into the project.

"When I first started, I thought, 'What have I gotten myself into?' " said Reaves, 46. She purchased the 2-acre estate at 918 W. Boston Blvd. in 2001 from Motown Records founder Berry Gordy Jr.

Today, Reaves will be one of seven recipients of the 2008 Governor's Award for Historic Preservation at a ceremony in the state Capitol rotunda in Lansing. Reaves is the only preservationist being honored from the tri-county area.

Download the rest of this article in jpeg format or read the press release from the state of Michigan.

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