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In One Home, a Mighty City's Rise and Fall

Saturday, September 26, 2009 4:01 PM | Michael Mowers (Administrator)

Michael M. Phillips, The Wall Street Journal, September 26, 2009 (The story of one house in Boston-Edison.)

The brick-and-stucco home at 1626 W. Boston Blvd. has watched almost a century of Detroit's ups and downs, through industrial brilliance and racial discord, economic decline and financial collapse. Its owners have played a part in it all. There was the engineer whose innovation elevated auto makers into kings; the teacher who watched fellow whites flee to the suburbs; the black plumber who broke the color barrier; the cop driven out by crime....

As Ford and Detroit prospered, so did the Averys. Their move from a small house near the Ford plant to their freshly constructed home on West Boston Boulevard was a steep climb up the social ladder. Henry Ford's own starter mansion stood close by.

The Avery home had four bedrooms and a third-floor suite for the German maid. There was a butler's pantry off of the kitchen and a fireplace in the living room. Mrs. Avery set trellises against the front of the house and hung frilled curtains in the upstairs windows. Shortly after moving in, she gave birth to Anabel in a bedroom facing the street....

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