Whether you think of it as Motor City or Motown, there’s no denying that the city of Detroit has a long and illustrious history.

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

1900-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).

Whitney House Detroit-1900

 

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Residence of L.H. Jones, Detroit, Mich

1900-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

1905-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)

1900-

 

Home of Dr TA McGraw, Detroit, Michigan

Residence of Dr. T.A. McGraw, Detroit, Mich

 

Mrs Hubbard’s residence

House at the corner of Second and Joy in Detroit
1900-Mrs. Hubbard's residence, corner Second and Joy, Detroit, Mich

 

George Gough Booth residence

Photographed on a snowy day in Detroit

1900-George Gough Booth residence, Detroit, Mich




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Notes: All photos courtesy of the US Library of Congress

Filed under: 1900s, 1910s, Featured, Places

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2 Responses

  1. Lucy B Stanley

    Does anyone have a photo of 724 E. Jefferson Ave. in Detroit, home of Sophie Campau Dubois?

    Reply
  2. Marteese beaumont

    CAN YOU HELP ME GET PICTURES OF THE HOUSE AT 957 LAWRENCE DETROIT MI 48202 IVE JUST PURCHASED IT AND WOULD LIKE TO SEE HOW BEAUTIFUL IT WAS SINCE ITS IN A CONDITION WHERE NOW I CANT REALLY CAPTURE ITS FULL BEAUTY AND POTENTIAL IT WAS BUILT IN 1912

    Reply

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