Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Cass-Davenport Historic District

The Cass-Davenport Historic District was developed in the early 1900s, composed of four apartment buildings on Cass Avenue, Davenport Street, and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. The four buildings that make up the historic district are the Davenport Apartments, Chesterfield Apartments, Aderna Court Apartments (now Wayne Court Apartments), and Naomi Apartments (now 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 such as the Davenport and Chesterfield were designed to be spacious and elegant for upper and upper middle class families. The Davenport Apartments were constructed in 1905 and designed in the Beaux Arts style. The Chesterfield Apartments followed in 1911, designed in the Classical style.

In the 1920s and 1930s, as the automotive industry brought a population boom to Detroit and the demand for housing increased substantially, apartment buildings were designed to house larger numbers of occupants and contained many smaller and more utilitarian apartments. The Aderna Court Apartments and the Naomi Apartments were both built in 1924; the former was designed in the Tudor Revival style, and the latter was designed in the functional Italian Renaissance style.

Three of the apartment buildings, the Davenport, the Chesterfield and the Naomi Apartments, were abandoned following the 1967 civil disturbance. The only apartment building that has been continuously occupied with tenants is the building that was once the Aderna Court Apartments, now known as the Wayne Court Apartments. In 2007, the Chesterfield was completely refurbished and reopened by the Cass Corridor Neighborhood Development Corporation in hopes of resurgence in the district. In April of 2014 a partnership of The Great Lakes Capital Fund, Cass Corridor Neighborhood Development Corporation and Ginosko Development broke ground for a $17 million renovation of the Davenport Apartments and the Naomi Apartments, now called the Cass Plaza Apartments. Since then, the other buildings have also been slated for renovation.

The Cass-Davenport Historic District was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997.