Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Indian Village

Indian Village is a residential east side Detroit neighborhood, located about three miles from downtown. It is bounded by East Jefferson Avenue to the south and Mack Avenue to the north, and consists of three streets: Seminole, Iroquois and Burns. The neighborhood was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.

The land was first developed by Francois Rivard and Jacques St. Aubin, recipients of French land-grant ribbon farms, long narrow strips of land that gave each farmer some river frontage. Abraham Cook acquired the farms between 1811 and 1822. The area consisted mostly of farms and a couple of upper-class river cottages, as well as a mile-long oval race track known as the Hamtramck Race Course.

Around 1893, Cook's heirs formed the Cook Farm Company, Ltd. to develop a "first class residential district on a generous scale" and the prices were set high so that only the wealthy could build there. Despite the name, which likely grew organically from the street names, there is no evidence that Native Americans lived on the site of Indian Village.

Many homes were designed by some of Detroit's most renowned architects, including Albert Kahn, Louis Kamper and William Stratton. They were built for prominent Detroiters such as Henry Leland, Arthur Buhl, Bernard Stroh, and J. Burgess Book Sr. The first home was built in March 1895 at 8158-8162 East Jefferson on the north end of the present-day Detroit Towers site and belonged to Dr. Theodore A. McGraw and his son-in-law Clarence Lightner. Indian Village’s Mendlelson Mansion later became headquarters for radio station WXYZ and the home of the Lone Ranger broadcast.

Indian Village incorporates 17 types of architecture styles, almost all built between 1895 and the late 1920s. Styles include Georgian, Federal, Colonial Revival, Arts and Crafts, Romanesque and Tudor Revival. Many of the homes boast luxurious features like elaborate carved wood moldings, Pewabic tile, onyx fireplaces, vaulted ceilings, elevators, third-floor ballrooms, servants' quarters, and massive carriage houses.



Indian Village Historical Marker, 1979 - 2008.033.485

Iroquois Street in Indian Village, 1975 - 2009.019.389

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