|1931 R. E. Olds parked by Chateau Elba, home of Barry Gillan and Chad Novak.|
by Frank Kootsillas
|Detroit River view of Chateau Elba.|
However; in 1942 an important addition to the to the Navy Base was the R.E. Olds estate. It was transformed into the U.S.O. It was built in 1916 by R.E. Olds, he was the automotive pioneer who built the REO and the Oldsmobile of which later was brought into the General Motors camp in the early 1900's. This estate was used as a “summer home” by Mr. Olds until 1929, the year of the depression. It has changed ownership several times but it is still known (by many) as the Olds Estate.
|Aerial view of Chateau Elba.|
The U.S.O. was staffed by the local Red Cross chapter. Navy buses transported service personnel to and from the Navy base to the mansion.
A friend of my father was the caretaker of the Olds Estate. My father went there several times to help him during the transformation in 1942. One day my dad took me with him-which proved to be an error in judgment on his part.
|Restored Chateau Elba Grand Ballroom|
Today, Chateau Elba, home of Barry Gillan and Chad Novak, is one of the most beautiful estates on Grosse Ile, MI. Barry took ownership of the estate in 1984. Since then, Barry and Chad have continuously maintained, extensively restored and renovated the estate, both inside and out. Video above - a charity fundraiser recently held at Chateau Elba. - RB