Historical Architectual Work

People who live in the Boston-Edison Historic District are residents of one of the great neighborhoods of Detroit. This is a wonderful place to live. Not only are the houses beautiful, the neighbors have an exceptional sense of community. We are proud to have one of the most prestigious addresses in metropolitan Detroit. The Historic Boston-Edison Association is the association of the residents of the Boston-Edison Historic District. We all work together to make Boston-Edison an ever better place.

Restoring and living in a great old historic home is a unique experience. The homes in Boston-Edison were built by craftsmen using materials that are unaffordable today. Much in these homes has been handcrafted. They have the mark of man on them in a way that newer homes do not. Each house in Boston-Edison has a style of its own. We have only to preserve these homes to enjoy these materials, style, and craftsmanship. Over the past hundred years, generations of people have lived in these homes and cared for and loved them. In the next hundred years, yet other people will live in and love them. We are thankful to those who have cared for and preserved these homes for us, and we have the responsibility of preserving them for future generations. In this there is pleasure and meaning.

Besides having great houses, Boston-Edison is a community of interesting and admirable people. We are diverse in all kinds of ways. We differ in education, occupations, racial and ethnic backgrounds, religion, where we were born, and what we like to do. But we share the experience of living in these houses, and this is the basis on which we come together and get to know one another. There are regular community events where we gather to work together or just enjoy ourselves. This is how we blend as a community. Lots of people in Boston-Edison know lots of other people in Boston-Edison.

One distinct benefit of living in the Boston-Edison Historic District is that our homes are protected by the City's historic district zoning ordinances. The value of my home depends, of course, on how well I work at maintaining and restoring it. Another important factor, however, is how well we preserve the historic architectural character of the neighborhood as a whole. For each of us, the value of our house depends partly on how the houses next door and the neighborhood as a whole look. Under the historic zoning rules, there are many things that we are not allowed to change on the exteriors of our homes. Exterior changes can be made, but they must contribute to the historic look of the houses. These restrictions on individual houses are crucial in protecting the historic look of the neighborhood as a whole and the value of our individual homes. The historic ordinances tie my hands in what I can do to my own house, but it also ties everyone else's hands and, in that way, protects me from misguided owners who might change their houses in unhistoric ways that detract from the neighborhood.

Under the historical district zoning ordinances, all exterior work on our houses must be approved in advance by the Detroit Historical District Commission. The HDC does not just enforce the restrictions, however. The staff members also are very willing to advise us about what is historically correct and to help us plan our exterior changes. Usually, it is just as easy and no more expensive to do something the approved way as the wrong way. The Boston-Edison Association strongly supports the HDC. This web site links to information about the zoning restrictions and how to contact the HDC.

Another protection for us is that Boston-Edison is zoned only for single-family residences (R-1). This means that none of us can operate a business here, beyond a small scale home office. This protects us 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. For over seventy years, the Association has been successful in suing any violators of R-1 zoning. We will continue to protect you.

The web site also contains information about the organization of the Association, its activities, and its regular meetings. We publish a quarterly newsletters and periodic flyers. Everyone who lives in Boston-Edison automatically is a member of the Association. Our annual dues support all Association activities.