In most major cities, one can assumed that an historic home will be preserved for the ages — but not in Detroit. Aerial photos of the present day Motor City, regardless of historic significance, look like military reconnaissance shots of bombed out third world countries. Doling out political favors and participating in kickbacks from demolition contractors seem to drive Detroit’s preservation policy and historical considerations are rarely taken into account.
That’s why it was such a treat to recently discover that former Detroit Tigers owner and industrial magnet Walter O. Briggs’ West Boston Boulevard mansion still stands in its near original condition. It’s one of the historic Boston-Edison district’s true beauties. The address is 700 W. Boston Boulevard and the home is formally known as “Stone Hedge.”
Briggs built the home in 1915 among neighbors such as Sebastian S. Kresge (SS Kresge/K-Mart), Ira Grinnell (Grinnell Electric Auto Co.), Charles and Edward Fisher (Fisher Body), and Nets Michelson (timber and real estate). Other well known Boston-Edison residents include Henry Ford, Frank Navin, Joe Louis, Berry Gordy Jr., Paul “Dizzy” Trout and Willie Horton.
Mr. Briggs’ stadium stands on the verge of complete demolition. I’m glad the same cannot be said about his home. If you can find the time, I would highly recommend a driving tour of his old neighborhood. Here is a link to a listing of Boston-Edison district street addresses and famous residents: Boston-Edison District Driving Tour.
Walter O. Briggs’ Detroit mansion known as “Stone Hedge” at 700 W. Boston Blvd.