Despite the urban blight and abandonment that is presented on the local and national news organizations, Detroit does have nice, stable neighborhoods. In fact, some are Historic Districts where early industrialists and pioneers in the retail business once lived. Those beautiful old neighborhoods are full of extremely large, well-maintained homes that were constructed in the 1900’s through the 1920’s. One such place is the Historic Boston-Edison neighborhood located about 5 miles north of downtown and just west of Woodward Avenue.
It’s a compact neighborhood that covers 10 blocks from Woodward Avenue west to Linwood, and it runs 4 blocks wide, making for an easy ride and enjoyable tour on a bicycle. There are about 900 or so houses in the neighborhood in a range of architectural designs that would fill a textbook; Tudor Revival, Italian Renaissance, Mediterranean, Colonial, and many others. Some of the mammoth homes cover up to 18,000 square feet and include swimming pools housed in stand-alone buildings that architecturally match the larger main houses. The square footage of those pool houses are probably double the size of many homes in the surrounding community found outside the historic district.
Many famous people have built homes or lived in that neighborhood. They include Henry Ford; Walter Briggs (former owner of the Detroit Tigers); members of the Fisher Brothers; the Himeloch family owners of a Detroit department store of the same name; S.S. Kresge of the Kresge department stores, now Kmart. Others that have lived in the neighborhood over the years were boxer Joe Louis, Detroit Tiger Willie Horton, Berry Gordy founder of Motown Records, and many others.
Although the neighborhood is well known for their large mansions, there are hundreds of smaller, modest homes scattered throughout the Boston-Edison neighborhood, especially further west of Woodward Avenue near the Lodge Freeway. Like the big guys, the smaller homes are well-crafted brick places in a range of building styles: Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, Tudor, etc. Each home in the neighborhood is unique, and no two are alike.