Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Cass-Davenport Historic District

The Cass-Davenport Historic District was developed in the early 1900s as a district of four apartment buildings near Cass Avenue, Davenport and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. These elegant apartment homes were designed for families and single individuals. The four apartment buildings that comprise the Cass-Davenport Historic District are Davenport Apartments; Chesterfield Apartments, which is now known as Bon Rea; Aderna Court Apartments, which is now known as Wayne Court Apartments; and Naomi Apartments, which is now known as Cass Plaza Apartments. All four of the buildings are three to six stories tall and are constructed of brick with details in either limestone or cast stone. The apartment buildings in the district reflect the changes in building styles that were occurring throughout the early 1900s to 1920s. Around the turn of the century, apartment buildings were designed to be spacious and elegant, while in the 1920s, apartment buildings were increasingly designed to house larger numbers of occupants at a larger scale. The Davenport Apartments building was constructed in 1905 and designed in the Beaux Arts style. The Chesterfield Apartments followed in 1911 and were designed in the Classical style. The Aderna Court Apartments and the Naomi Apartments were both built in 1924; the former was designed as a Tudor Revival, and the latter was designed in the style of functional Italian Renaissance.

Many of the apartment buildings were abandoned following the 1967 riots, subsequently giving the district a desolate and depressing appearance. The only apartment building that has been continuously occupied with tenants is the building that was once the Aderna Court Apartments and is now the Wayne Court Apartments. In 2007, the Chesterfield was completely refurbished and reopened by the Cass Corridor Development Corporation in hopes of resurgence in the district. Since then, the other two unoccupied buildings have also been slated for renovation, in hopes of becoming a part of the revival in the area. The Cass-Davenport Historic District was placed on the National Registry of Historic Places in 1997.

Written by Caitlin Brennecke