Monday, September 22, 2008

Detroit's Unique Neighborhoods: Indian Village Historic District

Indian Village is a residential area in the city of Detroit which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.  The neighborhood is over 100 years old; the first home being built in 1895.  Originally part of the "French Ribbon"  land-grant tracts owned by Francois Rivard and Jacques St. Aubin, the mostly farming area also had a mile-long oval race track that was the site of several Michigan State Fairs in the 1860s and was also known as the Hamtramck Race Course.
According to the Indian Village Historical Collections, originally, the land belonged to Francois Rivard and Jacques St. Aubin, recipients of French land-grant "ribbon" farms, long narrow strips of land that gave each farmer some river frontage. Abraham Cook acquired the farms between 1811 and 1815. The area consisted mostly of farms, and a couple of upper-class river cottages, but the main attraction was a mile long oval race track. The track was the site of several Michigan State Fairs during the 1860s and was known as the Hamtramck Race Course. The very first Indian Village home, built in 1895, was later used as a studio for station WXYZ and the home of the original radio drama The Lone Ranger. Today Indian Village, so named because one of the original developers, John Owen, thought the name sounded romantic, encompasses three streets: Seminole, Iroquois, and Burns bounded by East Jefferson Avenue and Mack Avenue.
There are at least seventeen types of architectural styles mostly built between 1895 and the late 1920s.  Many homes include ballrooms, elevators, servants' quarters, and carriage houses larger than many of today's modern homes.  Exquisite carvings and crownmouldings are common; as are multiple fireplaces, many surrounded with tiles from Pewabic Pottery. The Indian Village homes were built by some of Detroit's most famous architects including Albert Kahn, Louis Kamper, and William Stratton. Many early twentieth-century magnates such as Edsel Ford, Arthur Buhl, and J. Burgess Book, Sr., and Bernard Stroh had homes in Indian Village.
Photo Credits: Indian Village Association

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  1. I first came to know Detroit as a grad student at Wayne. It seemed that all my profs lived in Indian Village, and I feel in love it. I was sure that one day I would live there, too! Still working on that dream :)

  2. ^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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