Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Hubbard Farms Historic District

The Hubbard Farms Historic District, located in Southwest Detroit, is bounded by West Vernor Highway, West Grand Boulevard, West Lafayette Boulevard, and Clark Street. The district is located on land that was originally a village and burial ground of the local Potawatomi tribe. The area was also referred to as Springwells because of its natural springs. In the 1700s, it was colonized by the French who granted the land to Robert Navarre, the royal notary at Fort Pontchartrain. Navarre split the land into five ribbon farms along the Detroit River. After the War of 1812, Whitmore Knagg became the first American to purchase a portion of this land. In 1835, he sold some of his land to Thomas Hubbard. His son, Bela Hubbard, was a prominent local geologist, lumber baron and developer for whom the district is now named. 

During the 1830s, Hubbard surveyed the area and discovered the Potawatomi village and burial ground. He excavated the land and found many artifacts. In 1837, Hubbard was named the state’s first assistant geologist and conducted the first State Survey with Douglass Houghton. He served in that position until 1841. In 1855, Hubbard, then a trustee of the Agricultural Society, proposed that the Michigan Legislature create a State Agricultural College. This college later became Michigan State University. Hubbard later became more interested in law and real estate and decided to develop this district.

In the mid-1800s, the district saw an increase in housing development due to the great number of manufacturing jobs in the area. One of the companies in this area was Hiawatha Tobacco Works, whose owner, Daniel Scotten, was one of the more notable residents live in the district. In 1885, the district became part of the City of Detroit.

Much of the architecture in Hubbard Farms Historic District has a Victorian aesthetic due to the era of construction between the 1880s and World War I. However, there also are homes with Romanesque, Beaux Arts, and Colonial Revival designs. The district is also home to some of the few row houses built in Detroit in the early 20th century.

Today the neighborhood is home to many of Detroit’s Latin American residents and as a result, many Latin American and Mexican restaurants and establishments can be found in and around the district. Clark Park, named after shipbuilder John P. Clark, is a nearly 30-acre greenspace located within the neighborhood. Hubbard Farms Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Sites on January 29, 1993.



Photo of a home in Hubbard Farms, 1910 - 2012.020.499

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