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A Driving Tour of the Boston-Edison Historic District

by Jerald A. Mitchell
Archivist & Historian; Historic Boston-Edison Association

(Built primarily between 1905-1925)
SOME HOMES OF INTEREST

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This driving tour of the Boston-Edison neighborhood focuses on residences of some of the historically significant people who have made Boston-Edison their home. The tour consists of two parts: a loop of the eastern portion of the neighborhood, between Woodward Avenue and the Lodge Freeway, and a loop of the western portion, between the Lodge Freeway and Linwood Avenue. The eastern section covers about three-and-a-half miles of driving, the western section about six miles.


WOODWARD AVENUE TO LODGE FREEWAY

Start this section of the tour on the corner of Boston Boulevard and Woodward Avenue.

BOSTON BOULEVARD WEST (North side, east to west)

House # Owner Built
70 Sebastian S. Kresge (S.S. Kresge, now K-Mart) 1914
150 Benjamin Siegel (Women's Clothier) 1915
A. Kahn
610 Joseph Siegel (Women's Clothier) 1915
A. Kahn
650 John W. Drake (President, Hupp Motor Car Co.)
C. Harold Wills (Designer, Model T)
Ira Grinnell (Grinnell Electric Auto Co.; Grinnell Brothers music)
1911
670 Charles T. Fisher (President, Fisher Body) 1922
700 Walter O. Briggs (President, Briggs Mfg.[made car bodies], Briggs Stadium, Tigers owner) 1915
872 Charles and Frank Feinberg (Argo Oil Company) 1915
892 Edward F. Fisher (Fisher Body) 1922
918 Nels Michelson (timber, real estate)
Berry Gordy, Jr. (Motown Records)
1917

Turn around to travel eastward on Boston Boulevard.

BOSTON BOULEVARD WEST (South side, west to east)

House # Owner Built
929 Moses Himelhoch (Himelhoch's Department Store) 1912
859 John Wagner (Wagner Bakery / Wonder Bread) 1911
803 Harry A. Stormfeltz (Real estate developer) 1915
751 Frank H. Goddard (General Contractor; built Ford House on Edison Avenue) 1911
611 Charles Lambert (President, Regal Motor Car Co.)
Ossip Gabrilowitsch (Conductor, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, 1918-1936, responsible for Orchestra Hall) and his wife, Clara Clemens (mezzo soprano, daughter of Mark Twain)
1912
121 Clarence M. Burton (President, Burton Abstract & Title Co.; Burton Collection, Detroit Public Library) 1914
51 Jacob Siegel (Women's Clothier) 1919

Travel one block southward along Woodward and turn right (west) on Chicago Boulevard.

CHICAGO BOULEVARD (North side, east to west)

House # Owner Built
52 Hugo A. Freund, M.D. (Physician to James Couzens, among others) 1915
A. Kahn
130 Edward C. Kinsel (Kinsel Drugstore - 1 st 24-hour drugstore) 1912
610 Charles W. Munz (Furniture, vaudeville and film theaters) 1914
640 John Riccardi (Roman Cleanser Co.) 1915
664 Meyer L. Prentis (Treasurer, General Motors; philanthropist)
Remus G. Robinson, M.D.
1925
690 Samuel Mintz (Hardware)
William A. Hilliard (Bishop, AME Zion Church)
1917
736 Dr. Nellie Ebersole (Art Center Music School) 1919

Continue past Hamilton St, then turn around to travel eastward on Chicago Boulevard.

CHICAGO BOULEVARD (South side, west to east)

House # Owner Built
1101 Elmer W. Grinnell (Grinnell Brothers music) 1918
853 Mischa Kottler (Concert pianist) 1912
655 Adam H. Sarver (President, Detroit Durant Motor Car Co.) 1917
631 Alfred O. Dunk (Manufacturer, electric cars) 1911
155 Eugene Sloman (Real estate) 1916

From the corner of Chicago and Woodward, travel south along Woodward two blocks to Edison and turn right (west). Both Edison and Longfellow are one way streets through the Voigt Park area; traffic flow on Edison is westward while traffic flow on Longfellow is eastward.

EDISON AVENUE (East to west)

House # Owner Built
26 Rabbi Leo M. Franklin (Temple Beth El, 1899-1941) 1911
90 Horace Rackham (Original Ford Motor Co. shareholder; philanthropist) 1907
111 William A. Fisher (Henkly Motor Co., Fisher Body) 1916
112 James W. Knox (publicist)
Franz Kuhn (Chief Justice, Michigan Supreme Court)
Willie Horton (Tigers left-fielder, 1963-1977)
1908
121 Ernst Kern (Kern's Department Store; Kern Block) 1916
140 Henry Ford (President, Ford Motor Company) 1908
151 Anthony Maiullo (Attorney) 1909
671 Rev. Henry Hitt Crane (Minister, Central Methodist Church) 1914
693 Celeste Cole (Concert soprano; the first Black Aida) 1911
834 Rev. Tracy Pullman (Minister, First Unitarian-Universalist Church) 1912

Please note: one block south of Edison Avenue at Third, are the homes of Ty Cobb, legendary Tigers center-fielder, at 800 Atkinson (n.w. corner of Atkinson and Third) and Ty Tyson, the first radio announcer for the Tigers, at 758 Atkinson (n.e. corner of Atkinson and Third).

Travel one block northward on Hamilton and turn right (east) on Longfellow.

LONGFELLOW AVENUE (West to east)

House # Owner Built
819 Second Boston Edison Development, Inc. House* 1907
610 James Couzens (Treasurer and shareholder, Ford Motor Co.; Detroit Police Commissioner, Mayor from 1919-1922; U.S. Senator) 1910
A.Kahn
160 S. D. Waldon (Vice-president, Packard Motor Car Co.) 1915
111 Joseph Dumouchelle (Art, antiques auctioneer) 1915
36 Frank Navin (Navin Field, Detroit Tigers owner) 1906

*Boston Edison Development, Inc. ("BEDI") is a non-profit housing rehabilitation corporation that acquires, rehabilitates and sells abandoned houses in the Boston-Edison Historic District. Other houses in the District will be designated as BEDI #3, #4, etc.


LODGE FREEWAY TO LINWOOD AVENUE

Cross the Lodge Freeway at Chicago to the west side. Turn right at Woodrow Wilson St., then left (west) onto West Boston Boulevard to continue the tour.

BOSTON BOULEVARD WEST (North side, east to west)

House # Owner Built
2000 Frank Couzens (Mayor of Detroit, 1933-1938; son of James Couzens) 1921
2266 Hon Vincent M. Brennan (Wayne County Judge; U.S. Congress) 1919
2522 Hon. Charles C. Diggs, Jr. (U.S. House of Representatives) 1922

Turn around to travel eastward on Boston Boulevard.

BOSTON BOULEVARD WEST (South side, west to east)

House # Owner Built
2435 David Wilkus (Real estate; President, Temple Beth El) 1925
2341 Dr. James J. McClendon (National Board, NAACP) 1928
2265 Herman Finsterwald (furniture)
Hobart Taylor, Jr. (Asst. Wayne Co. Prosecutor)
1923
2215 Charles E. Feinberg (President, Argo Oil Co.; collector of Walt Whitman and art) 1923
2055 U.S. Senator Carl Levin; U.S. Rep. Sander Levin 1921
2035 Sidney Barthwell (Barthwell Drugs) 1921
1937 Fred W. Sanders (Sanders Ice Cream) 1922
1529 Robert Sloman (Attorney; nephew of Eugene Sloman) 1916

Loop around the Boulevard and return to Woodrow Wilson St. Travel one block southward along Woodrow Wilson and turn left (east) on Chicago Boulevard. Travel one block to Byron St, then turn around to travel westward on Chicago.

CHICAGO BOULEVARD (North side, east to west)

House # Owner Built
1486 Peter E. Martin (First Vice-President of Manufacturing, Ford Motor Co. Model T) 1918
1970 Richard Wagner (Wagner Baking, now houses Motor City Casino) 1925
2522 Louis Robinson (Robinson Furniture) 1922

Turn around to travel eastward on Chicago Boulevard.

CHICAGO BOULEVARD (South side, west to east)

House # Owner Built
2275 John Ballantyne (President, Merchants National Bank of Detroit) 1922
2215 Ralph Lee (Builder)
BEDI #3
1923
1725 Brace Beemer (The voice of The Lone Ranger) 1919
1261 Roy Williams (President, S.S. Kresge Co.) 1922
1247 Barney Smith (Vice-President, Cadillac Motor Co.) 1936

Travel one block southward along the Lodge Freeway service drive, and turn right (west) onto Longfellow.

LONGFELLOW AVENUE (East to west)

House # Owner Built
1258 BEDI #1 1915
1403 BEDI #8  
1642 Hon. Trudy Duncombe Archer (Judge, 36th District Court, First Lady of Detroit)
Beth Duncombe (Chair, Detroit Econ. Dev.)
1916
2292 Walter P. Reuther (Labor leader, United Auto Workers) 1922
2437 Henry P. Hellmuth (Scripp Motor Co.) 1921
2499 Joan Freeman (Concert pianist) 1922

Travel one block south on Linwood St and turn left (east) onto Edison.

EDISON AVENUE (West to east)

House # Owner Built
2460 David E. Williams (Liberty Motor Car Co.) 1919
2418 Richard A. Whiting (Composer of popular music, 1900-1935) 1922
2244 Isadore A. Berger (Attorney, photographer) 1921
2225 Harry Heilmann (Tigers right-fielder, 1914 and 1916-1929) 1920
2062 Rabbi Morris Adler (Congregation Shaarey Zedek) 1922
2027 Osman E. Fisher (Fisher Wallpaper Company) 1921
1935 Paul "Dizzy" Trout (Radio announcer, Tigers ballplayer) 1920
1683 Joe Louis (Heavyweight Champion of the World) 1917
1643 BEDI #4 1918
1602 Lewis B. Alger (Detroit Soda Products)
BEDI #7
1917
1533 BEDI #6 1916
1477 J. L. Webber (Hudson's Department Store; Hudson-Webber) 1915
1404 BEDI #5 1916

Please note: When the Lodge Fwy was built in the 1950's, forty (40) plus homes in the Boston-Edison Historic District were demolished. Although the Freeway provides ready access to our neighborhood, the homes are lost forever.

We hope you have enjoyed your driving tour of a small part of the Boston-Edison Historic District in Detroit. If you have additional information regarding the history of Boston Edison or know someone who does, please contact the Historic Boston-Edison Association.