Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Virginia Park Historic District

The Virginia Park Historic District in Detroit, Michigan is located along both sides of Virginia Park Street from Woodward Avenue to the John C. Lodge Freeway service drive. In 1893, the district was platted into 92 lots, with each lot given a name. Building requirements were established so that lots would be sold only to prosperous citizens. Many of the substantial homes in the district, constructed between 1893 and 1915, were designed by prominent Detroit architects and represent a variety of architectural styles including Colonial Revival, Neo-Georgian, Tudor, and Bungalow. 

In 1910, the Virginia Avenue Homeowners Association was formed to protect property values from the increasing commercialization of Woodward Avenue. The neighborhood continued to flourish until the Great Depression in the 1930s began a decades-long downward spiral of properties which saw many properties subdivided into rooming houses with absentee landlords. The most infamous incident in the district’s history occurred at the Algiers Motel, at one time located at the corner of Virginia Park and Woodward Avenue and demolished in 1979. This motel was the site of a bloody clash with police during the 1967 Detroit Uprising

The district was also home to the last minority-owned hospital in the City of Detroit, Hope Hospital, at the corner of Virginia Park and Third Avenue. It was founded in 1952 as Park Community Hospital, to serve the minority population which at that time could be refused care at Detroit’s major hospitals. The hospital closed in 2010 and was demolished in 2014.

In 1979, General Motors Corporation announced the refurbishing of its headquarters, which at that time was located in the area, and investment in the Virginia Park neighborhood. The Virginia Park Historic District eventually became part of the New Center area of Detroit, along with the Fisher BuildingCadillac Place, and the Argonaut Building. Many of the District’s buildings are protected under the preservation program of Midtown Detroit Inc., which is working to preserve historic and architecturally significant buildings in the New Center area. The Virginia Park Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.



Two houses in the Virginia Park District, 1980 - 2008.033.379

View of a street corner in Virginia Park, 1980 - 2008.033.689

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