The Detroit Historical Society notes that the area was very important to the Anishinabeg and other Native American groups — including the Wyandot, Iroquois, Fox, Miami and Sauk — as it’s proximity to rivers and lakes made it easy to reach, and thus, a natural meeting place. in 1701, Detroit was settled by a French explorer who also admired its location.
After years of growth through shipping, shipbuilding and various manufacturing businesses, Detroit became a major transportation hub. In fact, it was the active carriage trade that inspired a young man named Henry Ford to build a little something known as an “automobile” in 1896. Around this same time, many “Gilded Age” mansions were built to the east and west of what is now downtown Detroit.
Here’s a look at what once was the delightful and most debonair city of Detroit.
John B Ford house
Located at the time at 8192 East Jefferson Avenue
The Whitney House in Detroit
This mansion built between 1890 and 1894 by the lumber baron David Whitney Jr, was restored in 1986, and is now home to The Whitney Restaurant. When it was built, the home reportedly offered 21,000 square feet of luxurious living in its 52 rooms (including 10 bathrooms).
Residence of L.H. Jones, Detroit, Mich
David Whitney Jr. House
From 1905, the David Whitney Jr. House at left; Detroit Athletic Club (largely obscured) at right
Elizabeth Buhl residence
Located at 7850 East Jefferson Avenue (building has since been demolished)
Home of Dr TA McGraw, Detroit, Michigan
Mrs Hubbard’s residence
House at the corner of Second and Joy in Detroit
George Gough Booth residence
Photographed on a snowy day in Detroit
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Notes: All photos courtesy of the US Library of Congress