BY CHRIS ZADOROZNY
Detroit doesn’t have the best neighborhoods, in fact many are run down. The city is looking to downsize because of the excess of space that it has. There are some good neighborhoods in Detroit though, that people are taking over, and making safer.
Indian Village, Woodbridge, and the Boston-Edison neighborhoods are all historic districts, within the city limits and are showing us that there can be sustainable neighborhoods outside Downtown.
The Woodbridge neighborhood is a historic neighborhood that is just outside of the Midtown district of Detroit. It is bound by Grand River Avenue, I-94 (Edsel Ford Freeway), and M-10 (John C. Lodge Freeway). It is also bordered, just on the other side of the Lodge, by Wayne State University.
The historic neighborhood is one of the last neighborhoods in the city that was spared from redevelopment throughout the history of the city. Many of the homes are of the Victorian era, and it has many significant architectural structures. A couple of the historic structures include the Eighth Precinct Police Station, which now houses The Phoenix Group, the Northwood-Hunter House, which is now a bed and breakfast, the Trinity Episcopal Church, and the Trumbull Avenue Presbyterian Church.
Being so close to the Wayne State campus, the neighborhood is being filled with many students, employees of many businesses downtown, and even the City Council President.
“The neighborhood was slated for demolition more than once by different expansions of local institutions and also urban renewal projects,” said Graig Donnelly, Executive Director of the Woodbridge Neighborhood Development Corporation.
The Woodbridge neighborhood is on its way to becoming one of the great neighborhoods to live in as it becomes more popular, and is recognized by Donnelly for being really safe.
The Indian Village neighborhood is another historic district in Detroit. Many of the houses in the neighborhood were built around the late 1800s. It is bordered by Mack Avenue in the north, East Jefferson Avenue to the south, and along the streets of Burns, Iroquois and Seminole. Many of the homes in Indian Village were built by Albert Khan, one of the city’s premier architects, and Louis Kamper, another architect of many Detroit buildings.
Many of the city’s prominent citizens lived in Indian Village, including Edsel Ford and Henry Leland, founder of Lincoln and Cadillac. Why are they included in this list? Well, the neighborhood has it’s own Women’s Garden Club and Men’s Garden Club. They also host every June, an annual Home and Garden tour, a neighborhood yard sale in September, and a holiday home tour in December. The neighborhood is bringing more people into the homes, showing them what they have, and how they are involved together in the community. They even have their own website, which you can visit at www.historicindianvillage.org.
The final neighborhood that is showing that living in the city is great is the Boston-Edison neighborhood. It is bound by Edison Avenue to the south, Woodward Avenue to the east, Linwood Avenue to the west, and Boston Avenue to the north. It is one of the largest residential historic districts in the nation. It has over 900 homes on just four east/west streets.
The historic district boasts many big names too, former residents of the neighborhood. Former Detroit Tiger Willie Horton, famous labor leader Walter P. Reuther, Michigan Supreme Court Justices Franz C. Kuhn and Henry Butzel, Michigan Governor Harry Kelly, U.S. Representative Vincent M. Brennan, boxer Joe Louis, Motown record label owner Berry Gordy, Henry Ford, Walter Briggs, and Max Fisher have all resided in the district.
The Boston-Edison district has the oldest continuous neighborhood association in Detroit, founded in 1921, the Historic Boston-Edison Association. The association also has their own website, www.historicbostonedison.org.
All of these neighborhoods in Detroit, although closer to Downtown instead of the outlying areas, are showing us that there are safe neighborhoods in Detroit. People do care about each other, and there is a want and a need for safe neighborhoods in the city. These historic districts are showing us that, and the more people do this and band together, to make Detroit a safer place, the more that people will want to live there.