West Canfield Historic District

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West Canfield Historic District
West Canfield Historic District 1 - Detroit Michigan.jpg
Houses on West Canfield
Location Detroit, Michigan  United States
Coordinates 42°21′3″N 83°4′4″W / 42.35083°N 83.06778°W / 42.35083; -83.06778Coordinates: 42°21′3″N 83°4′4″W / 42.35083°N 83.06778°W / 42.35083; -83.06778
Built 1871
Architectural style Queen Anne
MPS Cass Farm MPS (boundary increase only)
NRHP Reference # 71000433 (original)
97001092[1] (increase)
Significant dates
Added to NRHP May 27, 1971
Boundary increase September 22, 1997
Designated MSHS November 6, 1970[2]

The West Canfield Historic District is a neighborhood historic district located primarily on Canfield Avenue between Second and Third Streets in Detroit, Michigan. A boundary increase enlarged the district to include buildings on Third Avenue between Canfield and Calumet. The district was designated a Michigan State Historic Site in 1970[2] and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971; a boundary increase was added in 1997.[1] The revitalized 1870s era neighborhood is one of the residential areas surrounding the city's Cultural Center Historic District in Midtown.[3] Nearby, East Canfield Avenue leads to the Detroit Medical Center complex, the Romanesque Revival styled St. Josaphat's Catholic Church, and the Gothic revival styled Sweetest Heart of Mary Catholic Church.

History[edit]

West Canfield streetscape

The area around the West Canfield Historic District was once owned by Lewis Cass, an early governor of Michigan.[4] When he died in 1866, his two daughters inherited his holdings.[5] Three years later, they divided the property, with Cass's daughter Mary receiving the portion where the West Canfield Historic District is now located.[5] Mary's husband was Captain August Canfield, a graduate of West Point and a major investor in the construction of the ship canal at Sault Ste. Marie.[4] In 1871, Mary Cass Canfield subdivided her land, naming Canfield Avenue in honor of her husband.[4]

The street was populated by prosperous attorneys, physicians, dentists, architects, and other professionals.[5] Construction continued into the 1880s.[6] The street remained a prime residential location in Detroit for decades. In the 1930s, the Great Depression led to a decline in the neighborhood.[4] In the 1960s, the neighborhood was revitalized and the historic streetscape was restored.[4] New residents have continued to maintain and revitalize the vibrant Midtown neighborhood in the 21st century.[3]

Architecture[edit]

Buildings included in the boundary increase of West Canfield Historic District

In the early 1870s, numerous brick Queen Anne homes were constructed along Canfield, on spacious lots with generous setbacks.[4] The original platting specified that each lot would measure 50 by 190 feet, and that there would be "a 30 foot setback for sidewalk, shrubbery, and ornamental purposes." [6]

In the early 1980s, the street was narrowed and returned to its original 1870s design with granite pavers, reproduction street lamps were installed, trees were planted, and grassy medians were added.[4] In 1970, the District received state and local historical designation, the first district so recognized in the city. The district was placed on the National Register of Historic Places the following year.[4] In 1997, District was expanded to include three buildings on Third Street: one additional Queen Anne style residence and two Victorian commercial buildings.[5] In the new millennium, the vibrant neighborhood has experienced many renovations.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Staff (2008-04-15). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ a b "West Canfield Historic District". Michigan State Housing Development Authority. Retrieved September 2, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b Gentile, Mike (June 22, 2010).Block profile: Historic West Canfield in Midtown. Model D Media. Retrieved September 5, 2011.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h West Canfield Historic District from the city of Detroit
  5. ^ a b c d West Canfield Historic District from Detroit1701.org
  6. ^ a b West Canfield Historic District from the National Park Service
  7. ^ http://www.modeldmedia.com/features/wcanfield062210.aspx