Much has been said about Wing Commander elsewhere in this blog. A 6 time 5-gaited World's Grand Champion, he was also a 6 time leading breeding stallion, leaving a legacy of subsequent generations filled with more World Grand Champions, Hall of Fame broodmares, and high ranking stallions. He was a one of a kind, whose name was recognized by Saddlebred fans as well as the general public. He even appeared in Life Magazine in 1954 during his heyday.
Meadow Brook Hall, the estate built in the 1920's by Matilda Wilson, was donated to Michigan State University in 1957 and became Oakland University. Meadow Brook Hall is an imposing 88,000 square foot home, still furnished as it was by Mrs. Wilson, and is open to the public for tours. The architecture, the furnishings, the artwork and the grounds are all worth a trip to this home, which is now a National Historic Landmark.
One of the highlights of the evening's celebration were Dave Bedell's stories of Wing Commander. One might expect that a 90 year old would remember seeing Wing Commander show, but Dave was honored to have been in a jog cart behind Wing and sitting alongside Earl Teater. He also got to pick up Wing's foot, and watched from Wing's stall as he was being prepared for the Lexington Jr League's show at the Red Mile's historic round barn. Dave questioned Mr. Teater when he noticed that the ribbon being used to braid Wing Commander was wider than the standard ribbon. In a style far different than today, Dave was told by Earl Teater that he liked Wing's braids on show day to be "short, fat, and cocky!" Not many people today can hold claim to such memories.
Wing Commander as a 3 year old
Frances Dodge and her mount Pendennis.
The original oil by George Ford Morris hangs in Meadow Brook Hall.
Frances Dodge in 1933 at Meadow Brook Hall.
The entrance to Meadow Brook Hall over the bridge
Was this originally one of Frances Dodge's barns?
This room off the main living room featured huge windows, a great view and a wormy chestnut ceiling. It was my favorite room in the mansion.
Round doors and ornately carved paneling were found throughout the home.
Another room with a fabulous view.
A hallway on the first floor.
Danny Dodge's bedroom
A trophy from the Toledo, Ohio show in 1929.
Matilda Wilson's bathroom
The ballroom at Meadow Brook Hall.
Tommy Dorsey and Frank Sinatra once performed here.
The book signing table for "Riding on the Edge",
a book about Frances Dodge.
The billiards room in the basement of Meadow Brook Hall.
A delightful and informative evening at Meadow Brook Hall reminded us all that Michigan will always be able to lay claim to the fact that CH WGC Wing Commander was born right here.
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