Boston-Edison FAQ

Whether you're a visitor or a resident, you might have questions about our neighborhood. Here are some of the questions we've frequently been asked before:

Moving to Boston-Edison

Living in Boston-Edison

Visiting Boston-Edison

The Historic Boston-Edison Association

The history of Boston-Edison

Are there homes for sale in Boston-Edison?

Yes! Boston-Edison is a large historic district with over 900 homes; many homes will be on the market at any given time, ranging from spacious mansions to more moderately-sized homes. Some are in move-in condition, some need a little TLC, and some need major renovation. For a list of most homes currently for sale in the district, check out our Homes For Sale section.

Why should I consider moving to Boston-Edison?

Three reasons: great houses, great location, and great people. Boston-Edison is a diverse, multi-cultural community, with people of all races, ages, and professions. It is located in the heart of Detroit, with easy access to the city and the entire metropolitan area. The homes in the district are unique, historically significant, and hand-constructed from natural materials. Read more about living in Boston-Edison.

Does B-E offer the same things I like about my loft?

Loft dwellers experience the convenience and the adventure of living in the city, the quality brick construction of old buildings, and the sense of living in an historic place. But space is limited, both inside and out, and lofts don't have that neighborhood feel. With a house in Boston Edison, you can keep the convenience and adventure, plus gain an even greater sense of living in a high quality historic home. Read more about the comparison between Boston-Edison and loft living.

Are there tax incentives for moving into Boston-Edison?

Boston-Edison is designated as a Neighborhood Enterprise Zone. Under the Neighborhood Enterprise Zone plan, residents who have moved into the Boston-Edison Historic District since December 31, 1997, may be eligible for a Homestead Exemption which will reduce property taxes up to 35%. To obtain the credit, residents must apply for the exemption, and they are required to sign an affidavit stating they plan to make a minimum investment of $500 in the property after the date of issue.

Aren't property taxes high?

Taxes in Detroit are ordinarily about 67 mills, based on the taxable value (typically half the market value, as explained here). For new residents, the rate can be reduced through the Neighborhood Enterprise Zone initiative. In addition, the trade-off for higher taxes is that, in Boston Edison, the market values of homes are lower than for smaller homes outside Detroit. Buyers who are careful about this trade-off can offset higher taxes by lower mortgage payments in Boston-Edison, and thereby have the same (or lower) total cost as for a smaller, more expensive home elsewhere.

Are there homes available for rent in Boston-Edison?

If you're not ready to buy, there are occasionally homes to rent in Boston-Edison. However, HBEA does not keep track of these homes. If you're considering renting, remember that Boston-Edison's R-1 zoning prevents "rooming-house" style rental arrangements. In addition, homes for rent must be licensed and inspected by the city, so ask your prospective landlord to show you the certificate of occupancy for the home.

Can I open a bed-and-breakfast in Boston-Edison?

Boston-Edison is zoned only for single-family residences (R-1). This means that no owner can operate a business within the neighborhood, beyond a small scale home office. This protects every owner from having a neighbor use a home as a nursing home, rooming house, church, insurance agency, beauty parlor, bed and breakfast, or any like activity.

Doesn't it cost a fortune to heat those houses?

Utility costs, especially heating bills, naturally are higher for the large homes in Boston Edison than for smaller homes. The trade-off for higher utility costs is that, in Boston Edison, the market values of large houses are lower than the prices of smaller homes outside Detroit. Buyers who are careful about this trade-off can offset higher utility bills by lower mortgage payments in Boston-Edison, and thereby have the same (or lower) total cost as for a smaller, more expensive home elsewhere. In addition, homeowners can install items such as interior storm windows, additional attic insulation, and more efficient heating systems to conserve energy and reduce heating costs.

Are there good schools near Boston-Edison?

The involved parent living in Boston-Edison has many choices of schools for their children. The Skillman Foundation, a private organization whose aim is to develop good schools in Detroit, has identified good schools, both public and private, all over Detroit. Many of these schools are within easy reach of the Boston-Edison neighborhood. Find out more about these schools.

Are shopping and restaurants nearby?

Boston-Edison is one mile north of the New Center and its retail area, and two miles north of Wayne State University and Midtown Detroit with a collection of shopping and eating. In addition, downtown Hamtramck (and its shopping district) is only a mile east of Boston-Edison. If you're in the car anyway, downtown Detroit, southwest Detroit, and the near northern suburbs all all less than 10 minutes away.

How about cultural amenities?

Boston-Edison is only a mile from the New Center, with the Fisher Building and the Fisher Theater, the State of Michigan Cadillac Center in the former General Motors building, and the Motown Museum. Two miles away, near Wayne State University, are the Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit Historical Museum, Detroit Public Library, Museum of African-American History, and the Science Center. For more convenient amenities, see "Living in Boston Edison"

How about hospitals?

One of the best hospitals in the country, Henry Ford Hospital, is located a mile south of Boston-Edison on Grand Boulevard. In addition, other excellent hospitals, such as St. John Hospital, Beaumont Hospital, and the Detroit Medical Center's Harper University Hospital and Hutzel Women's Hospital are nearby.

What restrictions are there on home renovations?

Boston-Edison is a Local, State and Federally designated Historic District. As a result, exterior changes to the houses cannot be made without the prior approval of the Detroit Historic District Commission. (The Commission does not regulate changes to the interior of a house, unless the interior change affects the exterior experience.) These restrictions are designed to preserve the historic nature of our neighborhood. The HDC does not just enforce the restrictions, the staff members also are very willing to advise owners about what is historically correct and to help them plan exterior work. Usually, it is just as easy and no more expensive to do something the approved way as the wrong way.

Where can I recycle?

There are two convenient locations that accept recyclable materials: RecycleHere! and the Greater Corktown Development Corporation. Read more about recycling here.

When does trash get picked up?

The city of Detroit collects refuse from city-provided trash containers weekly: Wednesday for those homes on the weest side of the Lodge and Friday for those homes on the east side of the Lodge. Bulk trash service is provided four times per year, on dates that vary depending on your address. This page has trash pickup dates.

Where is Boston-Edison?

The Boston-Edison Historic District is located in the very heart of Detroit, on the west side of Woodward Avenue. The neighborhood is four miles north of downtown Detroit and just a mile north of the New Center. This map shows the location of the neighborhood.

How big is the district?

The Boston-Edison Historic District is a thirty-six-block area of homes on four streets: West Boston Boulevard, Chicago Boulevard, Longfellow Avenue, and Edison Avenue, spanning from Woodward west to Linwood. Boston-Edison is the largest residential historical district in the United States. This map shows the size of the neighborhood.

How convenient is freeway access?

Convienience to freeways is a major advantage to Boston-Edison. The Lodge freeway (US 10) runs through Boston-Edison, with access on and off the freeway at Chicago Boulevard in the heart of the neighborhood. In addition, the neighborhood is a mile from I-75, and a little over a mile from both I-94 and I-96. We are 20 minutes or less from all other major Detroit-area freeways. This map shows the freeways surrounding the neighborhood.

What's interesting to see in Boston-Edison?

The Boston-Edison District is significant as a single family, residential area of quality and substantial architecture. The majority of these homes were built between the years 1905 and 1925 and remain unchanged today. Many prominent and wealthy Detroiters constructed homes in this district during that period. If you're new to the neighborhood, the best way to see it is through the self-guided walking and driving tours put together by Historic Boston-Edison Association's archivist, Jerald A. Mitchell.

What is the Historic Boston-Edison Association?

The Historic Boston-Edison Association (HBEA) is the oldest continuous neighborhood association in the City, founded in 1921. HBEA sponsors numerous activities for residents, from the annual Holiday Home Tour to seminars and workshops, as well as social events. HBEA also acts as a voice for the residents of the Boston-Edison Historic District, maintaining its viability as a neighborhood and its architectural distinctiveness. The Association vigorously enforces the local Historic District Ordinance, monitors the issuance of building permits and, as a last resort, takes violators to court. Read more about HBEA.

How do I get involved in HBEA?

Easy! Join the Historic Boston-Edison Association; dues are $40.00 per year and can be paid using this form. If you're already a member, contact the Historic Boston-Edison Association by email, phone, or USPS. Volunteers are always welcome on HBEA committees.

What do my dues do?

Like any association, just to exist we have overhead costs for phones, P.O. boxes, postage, office supplies, copying, storage of supplies, our newsletter, legal expenses, regular meetings, and so on. Memberships pay for our existence. The Historic Boston-Edison Association also sponsors many neighborhood functions and pays for a number of services to help the community. We continue to work at beautifying and protecting the neighborhood. For highlights of HBEA activities in just one year, click here. Whatever improves Boston-Edison enhances your property values and your life.

Why is the area historic?

The Boston Edison District is significant as a single family, residential area of quality and substantial architecture. The majority of these homes were built between the years 1905 and 1925 and remain unchanged today. Many prominent and wealthy Detroiters constructed homes in this district during that period. The District received historic designation from the Federal, State and City governments in 1974. Read much more on Boston-Edison's history.

Who are some historic residents of Boston-Edison?

Early residents of Boston-Edison included SS Kresge, founder of the SS Kresge Company; Clarence Burton, a founder of the Detroit Historical Society and donor of the Burton Historical Collection to the Detroit Public Library; Rabbi Leo Franklin, organizer of the United Jewish Charities, editor of the Jewish American and long time rabbi at Temple Beth El; Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company; James Couzens, secretary-treasurer of the Ford Motor Company, first nonpartisan mayor of Detroit and later US Senator from Michigan; and William Strickland, vice president of General Motors and chief engineer of the Cadillac division. Read much more on Boston-Edison's residents.

What architectural styles are represented?

While the basic architectural style is a somewhat eclectic colonial, there is a certain common design elements that unite the neighborhood. Common roof- lines, scale and set backs from the street, as well as the presence of wide tree lined streets.

There are different architecture styles and sizes that can be categorized into four groups: palatial- with two to three story homes of stone, brick or stucco; second are brick homes - smaller than the first group and designed in the Georgian Revival or Georgian colonial style; third is an English style - two or three story homes with massive gables that rise above the roof, and finally large, early twentieth century vernacular residences.

Who can I contact for more information?

Do you have questions or comments about the Boston-Edison Historic District? Contact the Historic Boston-Edison Association by email, phone, or USPS, and let us know.

I have some historical information on Boston-Edison. Are you interested?

Of course! Plenty of people living in the neighborhood are excited about our historic homes and the people that once lived in them. Drop us a line and we'll pass the information on to Boston-Edison's official historian.