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.
Following the retirement of Applewood's head gardener the landscape began to decline. 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.