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  1. #1

    Default Delray, Springwells & Woodmere

    There are plenty of archived threads dealing with the villages and city of Delray, Springwells & Woodmere before their annexations in Detroit and Dearborn, but I'm looking for something quite a bit more specific. I'm wondering if any of you have maps showing (or descriptions telling) the particular street boundaries of these old incorporated villages and city?

    What I have for information is that Delray was incorporated as a village within Springwells Township in 1903 and annexed by Detroit three years later in 1906.

    Springwells was incorporated as a village within the township in 1919, then as a city in 1924 seperating it from the township entirely (and renaming itself Fordson in 1925), and then merging itself with the then-village of Dearborn to create the city of Dearborn in 1928.

    Finally, Woodmere incorporated as a village within the township in 1903 and annexed by the city of Detroit in 1906.

    It's obvious generally where these villages and city were, but are their old maps showing the village and city limits or descriptions of their street borders?

  2. #2

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    Here is a 1904 map of the Village of Delray:
    http://quod.lib.umich.edu/m/micounty...image&size=300

    And, from the same atlas, a 1904 map of the Village of Woodmere:
    http://quod.lib.umich.edu/m/micounty...Atlas;q2=Wayne

    The name "Springwells" is, as I'm sure you're aware, a bit problematic. Springwells Township was an original township of Wayne County going back to 1827, and included most of what's now the southwest side of Detroit and eastern Dearborn. There was a Springwells village and post office that grew up starting in the 1850s around the corner of Livernois and W. Vernor (then Dix Rd.) near the second stop on the Michigan Central and its railyard and shops. The portion east of Livernois was annexed into Detroit in 1885, and the western section eventually became part of Woodmere. The area of Detroit that today calls itself "Springwells Village" was actually first the community of Ferndale (no, not the one in Oakland Co., this was around the present-day corner of Vernor and Springwells) and then part of the Village of Woodmere, before being annexed into Detroit.

    So, the Village of Springwells you cite is actually the second one, which was formed primarily to keep the last remaining part of Springwells Township, and most importantly Ford's Rouge Plant land, out of Detroit and away from Deroit's property taxes. As you note, it was later incorporated and re-named Fordson. It consisted of all of what's now Dearborn east of Greenfield. The building at Michigan and Schaefer, that until last year was Dearborn's City Hall, was built as the Village Hall of Springwells, in typical Ford faux-early American Georgian revival style.

    Here is a little map that shows this Springwells as a separate entity.
    http://www.historicmapworks.com/Map/...1925/Michigan/
    Last edited by EastsideAl; September-10-15 at 03:17 PM.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by EastsideAl View Post
    Here is a 1904 map of the Village of Delray:
    http://quod.lib.umich.edu/m/micounty...image&size=300

    And, from the same atlas, a 1904 map of the Village of Woodmere:
    http://quod.lib.umich.edu/m/micounty...Atlas;q2=Wayne

    The name "Springwells" is, as I'm sure you're aware, a bit problematic. Springwells Township was an original township of Wayne County going back to 1827, and included most of what's now the southwest side of Detroit and eastern Dearborn. There was a Springwells village and post office that grew up starting in the 1850s around the corner of Livernois and W. Vernor (then Dix Rd.) near the second stop on the Michigan Central and its railyard and shops. The portion east of Livernois was annexed into Detroit in 1885, and the western section eventually became part of Woodmere. The area of Detroit that today calls itself "Springwells Village" was actually first the community of Ferndale (no, not the one in Oakland Co., this was around the present-day corner of Vernor and Springwells) and then part of the Village of Woodmere, before being annexed into Detroit.

    So, the Village of Springwells you cite is actually the second one, which was formed primarily to keep the last remaining part of Springwells Township, and most importantly Ford's Rouge Plant land, out of Detroit and away from Deroit's property taxes. As you note, it was later incorporated and re-named Fordson. It consisted of all of what's now Dearborn east of Greenfield. The building at Michigan and Schaefer, that until last year was Dearborn's City Hall, was built as the Village Hall of Springwells, in typical Ford faux-early American Georgian revival style.

    Here is a little map that shows this Springwells as a separate entity.
    http://www.historicmapworks.com/Map/...1925/Michigan/
    On the first map, Brady Island, Township of Ecorse, that later became Zug Island?

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Honky Tonk View Post
    On the first map, Brady Island, Township of Ecorse, that later became Zug Island?
    Yes, it did.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtburb View Post
    Yes, it did.
    I didn't know that. When we were kids and used to play there, the old timers told us that the channel between Zug Island and the mainland was dug out. They probably meant it was dredged out to allow for freighter traffic.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Honky Tonk View Post
    I didn't know that. When we were kids and used to play there, the old timers told us that the channel between Zug Island and the mainland was dug out. They probably meant it was dredged out to allow for freighter traffic.
    What you see on that Delray map is the original course of the Rouge River. In 1888 the Short Cut Canal was dug through the land of Samuel Zug between the deepest bend of the Rouge (where it goes off the map there) and the Detroit River in order to make a straighter and easier to navigate shipping entry into the Rouge. The canal was later widened and deepened by Ford to make the Rouge Plant accessible by larger ships.

    The digging of this canal created what we call Zug Island today. In 1891 George Brady and Charles Noble bought the island for industrial development. On various maps the island is called Brady Island or Noble Island, but neither name stuck.
    Last edited by EastsideAl; September-11-15 at 12:34 PM.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by EastsideAl View Post
    On various maps the island is called Brady Island or Noble Island, but neither name stuck.
    I can see why, "Zug" has such a nice ring to it! Seriously, Thanx for the historical feedback. As kids, our little group of weird homies was fascinated with the island. We used to sneak across the bridges and explore.

  8. #8

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    I grew up near Vernor and Springwells and enjoyed the considerable amenities that the neighborhood afforded. The term "walkability" is a buzzword for contemporary urban development but our neighborhood (nobody called it "Springwells" in the 50s and 60s) had it in abundance. Most of the major banks and supermarkets were there but there were also plenty of local businesses as well, ordinary but necessary ones such as barbers, laundries and dry cleaners, shoe repairs, various doctors, dentists and optometrists and others. There was the wonderful Levitt's hardware, where every kid in the area would head in the fall to get the new Lionel catalogs to leave around the house for their folks to peruse. The Paradise Candy Shop and Wilson's Dairy let you choose either the 1910 ambiance of high, dark wood booths, pressed tin ceilings and lazy fans, or the 50s look of blond oak, turquoise and flamingo for your fountain treats. Rebert's, Cousin's and the Chamberlain Bakery could satisfy any sweet tooth, and, if you still wanted something else, the Baker bus could get you downtown in about 24 minutes to a central Detroit whose passing was a tragedy for more than just the residents of Springwells. As for Zug Island, it was nicely enough removed from Vernor and provided Bob Talbert with some good material. I've lived in grander neighborhoods in Chicago and California since then but they never felt as right as the Springwells of my youth.
    Last edited by A2Mike; September-14-15 at 08:01 AM.

  9. #9

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    I had an aunt that lived in that neighborhood on Cahalan, first block off Springwells. I stayed there on weekends sometimes when I was a kid. Loved that neighborhood. I drove down Cahalan recently and noticed all but one house is left on the west side of the street yet the east side is intact. Were all those homes demolished? Seems odd only one side of the street is empty.

  10. #10

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    Between 2001 and 2004 I lived in the area, on the north side of Lafayette between Lawndale and Elsmere. I particular enjoyed how it was only minutes from my Downriver hangouts.

    Then I moved to Warren for an unknown reason.

  11. #11

    Default Great maps

    Eastside Al, thanks! These are the best older maps of the area I've seen! (Though should we be chagrined they come courtesy of an east sider?)

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by EastsideAl View Post
    What you see on that Delray map is the original course of the Rouge River. In 1888 the Short Cut Canal was dug through the land of Samuel Zug between the deepest bend of the Rouge (where it goes off the map there) and the Detroit River in order to make a straighter and easier to navigate shipping entry into the Rouge. The canal was later widened and deepened by Ford to make the Rouge Plant accessible by larger ships.

    The digging of this canal created what we call Zug Island today. In 1891 George Brady and Charles Noble bought the island for industrial development. On various maps the island is called Brady Island or Noble Island, but neither name stuck.
    Brady vs Noble vs Zug Island . . . Apologies to Shakespeare but glorious Zug -- would an island by any other name smell as sweet?

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by HomerStreet View Post
    Eastside Al, thanks! These are the best older maps of the area I've seen! (Though should we be chagrined they come courtesy of an east sider?)
    If it's any comfort, the "Westside Irish" part of my family lived on Morrell just off Vernor.

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