Bloomfield Blossoms: p. 124-125 Creator
Smith, Kay, 1925- Institution
Bloomfield Township Public Library Subject
Real estate development -- Michigan -- Bloomfield Township -- History Subject
Automobiles -- Michigan -- Bloomfield Township Subject
Rathmore Estate (Bloomfield Township, Mich.) Item Number
part of 'Bloomfield Blossoms' by Kay Smith Type
text, image Format
FROM INTERURBIA TO SUBURBIA
VIA COLONEL GEORGE
The Interurban electric cars came up Woodward Avenue
and through Bloomfield Hills in 1896. It was probably not
by coincidence that the same year saw the first
industrialist from Detroit buy a farm or farms and carve out
an estate in the Hills, the first of many to come.
Charles Stinchfield, of the American Radiator Company,
who had made money in timber, bought the three farms of
the Patchetts, Crofoots and Hagermans about 1896 and
combined them into "Tanglewood Farm," and the following
year George M. Brady, a commission merchant from
Detroit, bought 160 acres "of extremely beautiful rolling
land" and called it "Chestnut Hill Farm."
After the Booths bought Cranbrook in 1904, stove manu-
facturer William Tefft Barbour built his estate,
"Briarbank," John C. Donnelly built "Rathmore" pictured
here, and furrier Colonel Edwin S. George "Cedarholme."
Other families followed--the Briggs, Kerns, Vernors,
MacManus' and Shaws being only a few.
Another non-coincidence is the picture of both the first
automobile to enter Bloomfield and the Interurban car
together in 1900. The two were not only intertwined, they
were competitive. The former brought Bloomfield closer to
Detroit, the latter made it comfortable and convenient to
It took a long while for the Interurban's hold on Woodward
Avenue transportation to lift. Carrying four million
passengers a month on Woodward alone, the managers
were not eager to have good roads built. While the first
strip of concrete road in the U.S. was laid along
Woodward between Six and Seven Mile Roads as early as
1909, many subsequent schemes for better roads failed.
Wealthy men such as Ransom E. Olds, Oliver J. Beaudette
and Burnette J. Stephenson tried to get roads built, but
it took Colonel Edwin S. George to effect the paving of
Woodward between Royal Oak and Birmingham. By 1916
the 16-foot pavement was carrying long lines of traffic.
Suburbia had arrived!