East English Village
Most of the lots in our neighborhood were developed in the boom years of the 1920s, and most homes were built in the following years by skilled and creative craftsmen from all over the world, that the city and its new auto industry had attracted.
More on the history of how our neighborhood was founded and developed.
In 1805, the territory of Michigan was created. Detroit was designated as the capital with William Hull as governor. Between 1808 and 1810, five ribbon farms were registered under the family names of Little, Rivard, Fournier and Tremble. This area is contained in the east and west boundaries of Outer Drive and Cadieux Road, and north and south boundaries of Harper and Mack Avenues. These five farms were later subdivided into the area we now know as East English Village.
In 1818, the farms became part of the newly established Hamtramck Township. Later in 1848, Hantramck Township was absorbed into a new area and renamed Grosse Pointe Township. By the turn of the 20th century, the city boundaries of Detroit began to expand. Detroiters began to move out to the farmlands and resort properties along Lake St. Clair. Soon the area was transformed into an attractive residential community.
The first subdivision, once part of Moran Farms, was named Grosse Pointe Manor and was developed in 1913. This subdivision included land along Audubon, Whittier and Kensington streets between Mack and East Warren. Grosse Pointe Villa, another subdivision, was developed around 1915. This second subdivision inculded the east side of Poupard (now called Yorkshire) from Mack to East Warren. Between 1926 and 1930, Yorkshire was developed between East Warren and Harper as Poupard Woodlands. Simultaneously, Bishop, between Mack and East Warren, was being developed as Poupard Estates. In 1924, the Eastern Heights Land Company began to develop land parcels along both sides of Kensington between East Warren and Harper. Also in 1924, The Charles Dunn Trust, Paul Deronne and the Voigt family developed the Scully's Voigt farmlands on Harvard and Cadieux between Mack and Harper.
Subsequently, by 1925, most of the area had been subdivided into residential parcels. The actual construction of the homes did not really begin to boom until approximately 1928, with much of the building taking place in the early 1930s. The owners rather than the developers hired builders; this turned the new homeowners into designers and enabled them to custom order their homes. This accounts for the unique characteristics of each home.
The people who came to build their homes in this area were mostly professionals. Now, as it is then, the area known as East English Village attracts police officers, firefighters, civil servants, doctors, lawyers, and businessmen. Historically, residents of many different ethnic groups have added to the diversity of our community.
In 1950, construction in the neighborhood had ceased. The number of families had settled to approximately 2100, and most have only changed hands two or three times. There are a great number of residents who have lived their entire lives in our community, built their homes and are now retired or live in the homes that their parents originally built.
By 1976, residents in the area became concerned about the stability and safety of the neighborhood. Many of the concerned residents were older people who were original owners of their homes. They were feeling pressured by their children and friends who resided outside of Detroit. The neighborhood had remained stable and crime-free, however, many residents were unsure of a crime-free future as they observed negative changes in other areas of the city.
In April 1976, realtor Walter Gibbs invited a group of residents who lived on Kensington to attend a meeting at his office on Harper near Yorkshire. They shared concerns and decided to call a second meeting. More than one hundred people from neighboring streets attended and enthusiastically volunteered for committees and planned meetings.
Soon the meetings took on the air of a formal organization, to which Walter Gibbs gave the name Detroit East Area Residents (D.E.A.R.). By 1980, the organization had done much to calm the fears of its residents, who came together to avoid the panic home selling that had contributed to the deterioration of so many other urban neighborhoods.
In 1990, the residents chose to give the area a new name that would reflect the homes of the community and give it an identity of its own. Because of the predominance of English country-style homes and the majority of English street names, it was agreed to name the area East English Village. In 1991, East English Village saw the installation of its first boundary sign with the new name at Chandler Park Drive and Cadieux Road. The sign was designed and built by EEV resident Terry Alphonse. The boundary signs were replaced in 2002.
Since then, the evolution has continued. We are seeing many young, professional people moving back to the city and to East English Village. They are joining forces with established residents to keep this a safe and wonderful place to live.