Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Atkinson Avenue Historic District

The Atkinson Avenue Historic District comprises six blocks of Atkinson Street situated between the John C. Lodge Expressway and Linwood Avenue. The district contains approximately 225 buildings and was established as a historic district by the Detroit City Council in 1984. Atkinson Avenue was named in honor of William Francis Atkinson in 1883. During the Civil War, Atkinson was captured but managed to escape the Confederate prison and go on to achieve the rank of captain. He studied law and was admitted to the bar after the war. Atkinson Avenue originally encompassed parts of five subdivisions: Joy Farm, Lewis Park, Jackson Park, Boston Boulevard and Guerold’s Subdivision. The Boston-Edison District, at one time home to Henry Ford and other auto industry magnates, is located one block north of Akinson Avenue. One block south of Atkinson Street is Clairmount Street, one of the flashpoints of the 1967 Detroit Uprising

The district contains primarily single-family homes constructed between 1915 and 1929, which corresponded with the nearby construction of Henry Ford Hospital in 1915. The homes all had similar building restrictions: each had to be built with brick, stone, cement, stone veneer, or stucco. Most of the houses are foursquare style, two stories tall, with an attic and a full basement, and have Mediterranean, Colonial, or Tudor elements. The district became a middle-class neighborhood of homes belonging to doctors, salesmen, bankers, ministers, real estate agents, and was one of the few middle-class neighborhoods in Detroit at the time that did not ban African Americans or Jews from owning homes. The district was also the home of Michigan’s only official Poet Laureate, Edgar Guest



Color photo depicting Aimwell Cleaners at 12 St. and Atkinson Avenue during the 1967 Civil Disturbance, 1967 – 2018.076.031 

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