the making of modern michigan

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Bloomfield Blossoms: p. 124-125
Smith, Kay, 1925-

Bloomfield Township Public Library

Real estate development -- Michigan -- Bloomfield Township -- History

Automobiles -- Michigan -- Bloomfield Township

Rathmore Estate (Bloomfield Township, Mich.)

Item Number

part of 'Bloomfield Blossoms' by Kay Smith

text, image


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 live here. 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!

Bloomfield Blossoms:  p. 124-125 part 1 Bloomfield Blossoms:  p. 124-125 part 2

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