Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Conant Gardens Historic District

The Conant Gardens Historic District is bounded by Nevada, Conant, and Seven Mile Road in Northern Detroit. The land on which the district is located once belonged to Shubael Conant, who was an abolitionist and the founder and first president of the Detroit Anti-Slavery Society in 1837. The area was not very populated until the 1920s and the boom of the automobile industry. During this time, the area was to be developed for white collar Ford workers, but due to a lack of interest, the idea failed. However, the boom also led to a large, prosperous African American population, who could not find neighborhoods in which they could safely live, due to violence and covenant restrictions.

Around 1928, a number of African American people realized that they could live free of white demand in the Conant Gardens area due to its small population and its lack of restrictions for African Americans who purchased property. Subsequently, many African American families built their own homes in Conant Gardens or moved into preexisting homes in the area. Because the area was segregated, the Federal Housing Administration approved federally backed loans for the area after 1934. Currently, a neighborhood association that was created during that era is still in existence in Conant Gardens.

Written by Caitlin Brennecke