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This Old Detroit

Great story about the residential "ruins" in Detroit from This Old House magazine. As part of their annual Best Places to Buy an Old House project, the editors highly recommend the Villages neighborhood for its many architecturally stunning homes.

They describe the Villages, located three miles east of downtown, as among the best bargains for people looking for a little DYI with their homes.

Detroit is front and center on the magazine's online home page. Nice!

A highlight:

Not only will you get more house for your buck, you may just help fuel a Motor City comeback. That comeback already has a strong human foundation, thanks in part to the commitment of The Villages residents, who continue to mow the lawns and maintain the shrubs of the neighborhood's empty and foreclosed homes, anticipating they'll one day attract future neighbors.

I'm stealing the entire article for otherwise is known as the Overview:

What we looked for was simple: oft-overlooked neighborhoods populated by people who share an appreciation of finely crafted homes that have plenty of past and lots of future. And what we found—with the aid of our friends at PreservationDirectory.com, who helped us contact thousands of neighborhood groups, real estate agents, residents, and preservationists for nominations—was mighty impressive.

The Neighborhood:
Yeah, times are tough in Detroit. Still, we can't overlook its bargain-hunter's bounty of architectural riches—just one reason we're betting on the city's survival. Although the Motor City's economy is in tatters, the people who live in The Villages, a collection of six historic neighborhoods three miles east of downtown, remain upbeat. "There's a richness in this neighborhood," says resident Kathy Beltaire. "The houses are beautiful and the streets are walkable, but the people here are the best part—they really care." These days, nice-as-can-be multigenerational families who have lived here for decades continue to welcome first-time buyers who appreciate intricate woodwork, front porches, and spacious urban yards. If you can nail down a job in this city's tough economy, your money goes a long way here.

The Houses
The Villages offers more than 17 architectural styles, from Craftsman to Richardsonian Romanesque. The largest, most elaborate homes are in Indian Village, where prominent Detroit architects Albert Kahn and William Stratton designed grand Georgian Revival and Federal Revival homes for the city's first auto barons in the early 1900s. Smaller cottages and rowhouses can be found in nearby West Village. Whatever your tastes, there are houses to be had in The Villages for less than $100,000.

Why Buy Now?
Not only will you get more house for your buck, you may just help fuel a Motor City comeback. That comeback already has a strong human foundation, thanks in part to the commitment of The Villages residents, who continue to mow the lawns and maintain the shrubs of the neighborhood's empty and foreclosed homes, anticipating they'll one day attract future neighbors.

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Comments (3)
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  • 1

    They should put brass placques on the houses indicating the names of the first owner and the Architect as they do in other fine cities.

    Bill

  • 2

    Engler and the grand era of Republican deregulation did away with the need for Architects in Residential work. The Builders were so happy because they were lobbying for that.

    And just look at the monstrosities that they have created.

    Do I sound disgusted? Well hey, I worked on the restoration of Independence Hall with the people who started the Restoration Movement in America.

    Bill

  • 3

    Bill-ia,...Very salient points, as usual. When my family and I were living at Ardmore and Keeler in what expansively was called Northwest Detroit, during the HUD fiascos, there were announced plans to turn a huge swath of the area into Liberty Village, I believe. I don't know what happened to the seed money(whoa,.., I have to be careful with all the Urban -Farm concepts taking root..I know THOSE ARE LAME!) . There were going to be brick and iron entranceways , etc., similar to some grandmont, North Rosedale Park. The idea was for homeowners to take pride in their Brick and frame homes, even if they were more modest. Like many things in the schools, city govt., it appeared these many GOOD ideas were plundered by relatives and friends of politicians and administrators of these programs. And, many, if not most who profitted were Suburban realtors , developers, and local HUD officials. Bids were frequently, but not always, rigged so the BIG-Guys could snatch up huge swaths of nice homes from citizens who really cared: Than these homes would be craftily financed by the 'biggies'..' Many at the time members of the Elected-Elite. I think those types ruined residents (old) desire to do more. Now , of course, with 400,000 fewer residents, mass landbanking is THE ONLY WAY to go! Let's hope the few radical nut-cases don't try to stick-up for the poor old widow whose lived here for x-amount of years, just to make 'political HAY1 Dang!..Did it again! ps. The little old lady can feel much more comfortable witrh actual street lights that work, garbage that's properly picked up, and the other essentials that Detroit can provide! LET'S ALL support Mr. Bobb throwing out the last of the "carpetbaggers"!!!, as well... PSS Anyone rember the "Farm-a-Lot programs"? 1srt in the country. How about the old and succesful "Vest Pocket" Theaters..1rst in the country. A new Theater District, Historic Gentrification(whoo a Bad Racist word.. Whoo), and intelligent and REAL Landbanking( whooo, another scary word!) done at a dozen places AT ONCE --Critical Mass, remember?, WILL WORK THIS TIME! Fortunately, the old carpetbaggers have croaked or moved to Southfield or Farmington, or?!

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