Indian Village is a historic, affluent neighborhood located on the east side of Detroit, Michigan, bounded north and south by Mack Avenue and East Jefferson Avenue, respectively, along the streets of Burns, Iroquois, and Seminole. The district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.
The district has several architecturally-significant homes built in the early 20th century. Some houses have been substantially restored, and many others are well kept up. West Village borders Indian Village to the west, with additional historic homes, townhouses, and apartments.
Many of the homes were designed by prominent architects, such as Albert Kahn, Louis Kamper, and William B. Stratton, for some of the area’s most prominent citizens, such as Edsel Ford. Many homes are very large, with over 12,000 square feet (1,100 m²). Many have carriage houses, some of which are more significant than an average suburban home. Some of the houses also have large amounts of Pewabic Pottery tiles.
Indian Village has active community organizations, including the Indian Village Association, Men’s Garden Club, and Women’s Garden Club. The neighborhood hosts an annual Home & Garden Tour on the first Saturday in June, neighborhood yard sales in September, a holiday home tour in December, and many other community events. The neighborhood contains many historic homes, including that of automotive entrepreneur Henry Leland, founder of Lincoln and Cadillac, who resided at 1052 Seminole St.
The Wyandot and the River
Dr. Kay Givens-McGowan is an internationally recognized educator, activist, and historian of Choctaw/Cherokee heritage. For several decades she has advocated for Detroit’s Native Americans and even helped draft a United Nations document on behalf of indigenous peoples. Givens-McGowan says a chapter she wrote on the Wyandot for the 2003 book “Honoring Our Detroit River” is a good resource for Indian Village residents who want to learn more about the people who once lived in this part of the city.
The Historic Gas Lamps
The idea of installing gas lighting throughout the Village had been discussed as early as the 1950s. Still, it wasn’t until 1968 that the Indian Village Association organized a project to take action. It was just months after Detroit’s deadly and destructive riots that came alarmingly close to their doorsteps, and Villagers were concerned about security, especially after dark. The neighborhood was also dealing with the devastating Dutch Elm disease that quickly claimed the 70-year-old towering Elm trees planted just as the first homes were built in 1895. M&H Pest Control Detroit
The project was seen as a way to brighten Indian Village’s chances of convincing Detroit’s Common Council to declare the neighborhood an historic district, the first step towards gaining the national historic designation that would come later in 1972. So the IVA struck a deal with the Michigan Consolidated Gas Company to voluntarily offer the Victorian-style “Newport 1000” to residents for $175 per lamp, about $1,300 in 2020 dollars. Since the gas used by the lamps would come directly off the main lines feeding the Village and not be metered, the gas company calculated that each lamp would use 1700 cubic feet of natural gas per month.
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