For years I’ve driven by what remains of the office / library that once belonged to Grosse Ile’s Colonel Thornton Fleming Brodhead, curious as to what the office looked like on the inside.
Brodhead served our great state of Michigan in many capacities including prosecuting attorney, deputy secretary of state and state senator. He was the owner and editor of the Democratic Free Press (forerunner of the Detroit Free Press) and Detroit Commercial Bulletin. In 1853, President Franklin Pierce appointed him Postmaster of Detroit.
Brodhead, who had served with distinction during the Mexican War and earned the rank of Full Captain, was commissioned to raise a regiment of cavalry when the Civil War broke out. He became Colonel of the 1st Michigan Cavalry. Like many other men from Michigan, this husband and father of six children was mortally wounded at the Second Battle of Bull Run. Dying on September 2, 1862, Brodhead had been brevetted Brigadier General of the U. S. Volunteers as of August 30, 1862.
The office / library sits on private property and is just a shell or ruin. While the previous property owners were interested in tearing down the office, the new home owners are entertaining the option of preserving it as long as it’s financially feasible. They spent time cleaning up the office and were surprised to find a brick floor underneath what they originally thought was just a dirt floor.
While Colonel Brodhead’s office will be a drive-by site of interest on the June 13 Glory, Valor & Sacrifice Southeast Michigan Civil War Remembrance Bus Tour, the new owners allowed me the opportunity recently to take a rare peak inside the Colonel’s office and take some pictures.