Applewood

About Applewood

Applewood was built in 1916 as a gentleman’s farm for the Charles Stewart Mott family and is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. The home and grounds encompass approximately 34 acres that include an orchard with 29 varieties of heritage apples and 18 acres that are extensively landscaped. The original gatehouse, barn and chicken coop complete the estate.

Ruth Mott generously gave Applewood to the Ruth Mott Foundation, bestowing full responsibility for the estate upon her passing in 1999. Rooted in the Mott legacy of philanthropy, Applewood continues to embody the family’s commitment to the community. This historic treasure, paired with spectacular grounds, skilled staff and forward-looking goals has become a vital component of the foundations philanthropic work beyond grantmaking. It serves as a living laboratory, a neutral and inspiring location for gatherings, a center for learning through its public on-site programs, and a base from which its skilled horticulturists and archivists support grantees and community initiatives.

In less than a decade, Applewood has been transformed from a private family estate into a model for the community where values are translated into action.

History of Applewood

Applewood was named after the apple orchard on the front lawn that contains 29 antique varieties. While CS Mott made his money as a major contributor in General Motors, the Mott name is still used on a popular applesauce. Mr. Mott's family in New York sold the business and name years ago. Applewood, built for Charles Stewart Mott in 1916, was a gentleman's farm. Located on 65 acres, Mr. Mott commissioned his brother-in-law, architect Herbert Davis, to work cooperatively with the landscape architect, William Pitkin, Jr., to design a practical family home. The original buildings are all brick with slate roofs and copper gutters.

The pleasure and draft horses, cows, pigeons, chickens, ducks, pheasants and pigs were tended by the farmer whose family lived in the gatehouse. A large vegetable garden and bush and tree fruits provided a bounty for the table and were always given priority over purchased foodstuffs. A cut flower garden with rose-laden trellises produced vases of fresh flowers for the house, starting a tradition that continues today.

The estate's unused pastureland was given to Flint's citizens as the site of Mott Community College and upon Mr. Mott's death in 1973, his widow,Ruth Mott was left to consider the future of the estate, a shadow of its former beauty. After careful thought she hired a landscape architecture firm in 1977 to develop a master plan to return the estate's original elegance and beauty, while considering eventual public visitorship. Mrs. Mott passed away on January 25th, 1999.

Applewood is now a part of the Ruth Mott Foundation, which is her legacy to the community. The estate's beautifully landscaped 18 acres weave together the Mott family's past and present dedication to serving the needs of the community through convening and public programs. In that tradition, the Ruth Mott Foundation utilizes Applewood to promote community vitality and renewal.