Woodbridge, Detroit

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Woodbridge Neighborhood Historic District
Street scene on Avery Woodbridge Detroit.jpg
Street scene on Avery, looking south from Willis
Location Detroit, Michigan
 United States
Coordinates 42°20′50″N 83°4′42″W / 42.34722°N 83.07833°W / 42.34722; -83.07833Coordinates: 42°20′50″N 83°4′42″W / 42.34722°N 83.07833°W / 42.34722; -83.07833
Architect Unknown
Architectural style Second Empire, Queen Anne, Romanesque
Governing body Local
NRHP Reference # 80001931, 97001480 (boundary increase I), 08000225 (boundary increase II)[1]
Added to NRHP March 6, 1980, December 1, 1997 (boundary increase I), March 20, 2008 (boundary increase II)

Woodbridge is a historic neighborhood of primarily Victorian homes located in Detroit, Michigan. The district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980, with later boundary increases in 1997 and 2008.[1] In addition to its historic value, Woodbridge is also notable for being an intact neighborhood of single-family homes within walking or biking distance of Detroit's Downtown, Midtown, New Center, and Corktown neighborhoods.


The district as recognized by the National Register of Historic Places was originally bounded by Trumbull Street, Calumet Street, Gibson Street, Grand River Avenue, Rosa Parks Boulevard, West Warren Avenue, Wabash Street, Railroad Tracks, and the Edsel Ford Freeway. The boundaries of the District were increased twice: in 1997, 4304-14 Trumbull Street (private residences) and 3800 Grand River Avenue were added to the district, and in 2008 the southeast corner of Trumbull Street and Warren Avenue (Saint Dominic Roman Catholic Church) was added.

Most structures in the district are located on north-south streets. The irregularly-shaped district includes structure at 3800 Grand River Avenue (between Avery Street and Commonwealth Street), and structures within the following boundaries:

  • on the east side of Wabash street, on both sides of Vermont Street, and on both sides of Rosa Parks Boulevard from the Edsel Ford Freeway to Warren Avenue;
  • on the west side of Rosa Parks Boulevard from Warren Avenue to Grand River Avenue;
  • on both sides of Hecla Street, Avery Street, and Commonwealth Street from the Edsel Ford Freeway to Grand River Avenue;
  • on the west side of Trumbull Street from the Edsel Ford Freeway to Canfield Street;
  • on the east side of Trumbull Street at the south corner of Warren Avenue;
  • on both sides of Trumbull Street from Canfield Street to Grand River Avenue; and
  • on both sides of Lincoln Street and the west side of Gibson Street from Calumet Street to Grand River Avenue.


Woodbridge is notable as an intact neighborhood of architecturally significant buildings, with an important effect on the history of Detroit.[2] The neighborhood has largely escaped the redevelopment efforts that have obliterated many of Detroit's other historical neighborhoods, standing as a rare survivor from the Victorian era.[2]

The neighborhood is named for William Woodbridge, governor of Michigan in 1840-41, who owned a large farm on which much of the neighborhood was subsequently built.[2] Most of the structures within the neighborhood were built after 1870, beginning with modest cottages.[2] Larger structures were built later, including the James Scripps house (now demolished, and turned into a city park), built in 1879.[2] The Eighth Precinct Police Station, built in 1901, was architecturally designed to blend in with the lavish upper-class homes in the neighborhood.[2]

As the automotive industry boomed, there was an increased demand for housing in the city of Detroit, and new buildings and apartment houses were constructed behind and between the existing homes in the neighborhood. During World War II, owners rented rooms and divided homes into apartments to house defense industry workers.[2]


After the war, residents began leaving the Woodbridge neighborhood for the suburbs.[2] New residents to Woodbridge were less affluent. In the 1960s, the city cleared areas adjacent to the neighborhood to support revitalization.[2] The residents of Woodbridge organized a Citizen's District Council to preserve the neighborhood, and successfully managed to stabilize and preserve many of the remaining homes. Recent activity has shifted perception of Woodbridge from that of an up-and-coming neighborhood to a hotbed of urban revitalization, with the few properties that come up for sale typically subject to bidding wars.[2][3]

Notable Structures[edit]

Notable structures within the Woodbridge neighborhood include the following:

The former Eighth Precinct Police Station was redeveloped into lofts in 2013

Eighth Precinct Police Station[edit]

The Eighth Precinct Police Station is located at 4150 Grand River Avenue, and was designated a Michigan State Historic Site in 1973[4] and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.[1] In 2013, the building was converted to lofts, as part of the ongoing revitalization of Woodbridge.

Hunter House[edit]

The Northwood - Hunter House (also known as the William Northwood House or the Northwood - Hunter House) is located at 3985 Trumbull Avenue. The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and designated a Michigan State Historic Site in 1974.

Trinity Episcopal Church[edit]

Presently known as Spirit of Hope church, Trinity Episcopal Church it is located at 1519 Martin Luther King Boulevard. The church was designated a Michigan State Historic Site in 1979 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

The Trumbullplex[edit]

The Trumbullplex is a renowned housing collective and showspace that has become an institution and hotbed of creative anarchism,[5] which was created in 1993 when members of the collective established a nonprofit corporation and purchased the property, two Victorian houses on either side of a single-story art space.[5]

Trumbull Avenue Presbyterian Church[edit]

The Trumbull Avenue Presbyterian Church is located at 1435 Brainard at the intersection of Brainard and Trumbull near Scripps Park. It was listed on the State of Michigan Registry of Historic Sites on June 6, 1977.

Dick and Sandy Dauch Scout Center, headquarters of the Great Lakes Council, Boy Scouts of America

Dick and Sandy Dauch Scout Center[edit]

The Detroit Area Council, later becoming the Great Lakes Council for the Boy Scouts of America which serves the Detroit metropolitan area and covers all of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties chose to build its headquarters in Woodbridge. The facility holds both council and district staff, as well as the National Toyota Scout Shop. Dedicated in September 2003, the service center was largely paid for by the donations of the Dauches; Council Treasurer Irving Rose and his wife, Audrey; and Council Vice President Richard Marsh. The building cost nearly $6 million, including new furnishings, landscaping, and demolition of the old building [6]

Notable Residents[edit]


  • Kenneth Cockrel, Jr. - Detroit City Council member, former mayor of Detroit and City Council President
  • Rose Mary Robinson - Michigan State Representative, former member of the Detroit Charter Revision Commission (in 2009) and former Wayne County Commissioner (one of the first women ever elected, in 1970)
  • Sixto Rodriguez ("Rodriguez") - Folk musician and subject of Academy Award winning movie Searching for Sugar Man
  • Gary Schwartz - Academy Award nominated filmmaker, animator, artist and educator




  1. ^ a b c "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2008-04-15. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Woodbridge Neighborhood Historic District from the city of Detroit
  3. ^ "Detroit: A seller's market?". Crain's Detroit Business, August 11, 2013. Retrieved 2013-08-29. 
  4. ^ "Eighth Precinct Police Station". Michigan State Housing Development Authority. Retrieved September 3, 2010. 
  5. ^ a b Osborne, Domenique (2002-11-09). "Radically wholesome". Metro Times. Retrieved 2007-12-17. 
  6. ^ http://www.scouting.org/About/AnnualReports/PreviousYears/2003/finance.aspx
  7. ^ "Ty Cobb as Detroit". Grantland.com. Retrieved 2013-07-15. 

External links[edit]