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Woodward Avenue (M-1)

Basics
Length:
27 miles (43 km)
Time:
6 hours to visit the entire Byway or 3-5 days to enjoy the attractions.

Description

Some have explained the Woodward Avenue Scenic Byway this way: If Broadway equals Theater, the Vegas Strip equals Neon and Casinos, and Rodeo Drive equals High Fashion and Jewelry, then Woodward Avenue equals The Automobile. The Motor City, and Woodward Avenue in particular, put the World on Wheels.

Welcome to Detroit's main drag...Woodward Avenue. Stretching out from the base of Detroit at the Detroit River, Woodward follows the pathway of growth from the heart of the city. Lined with history, cultural institutions, and beautiful architecture, Woodward Avenue travels through downtown Detroit, the Boston Edison neighborhood, past Highland Park, the Detroit Zoo, the delightful City of Birmingham, the Cranbrook Educational Community in Bloomfield Hills, and on to the City of Pontiac. Nearly every mile of this Scenic Byway has historic sites that shaped the industrial life of our nation. Perhaps the most famous are the Ford buildings standing as monuments to the past automobile revolution, though the presence of many other equally impressive automobile companies are still found along the Byway.

Woodward Avenue includes both landmarks of the past and monuments to the future. It hosts one of the nation's largest public libraries, as well as one of its five largest art museums. From the Freedom Fireworks Display on the Detroit River to the annual Thanksgiving Day Parade, and then on to the phenomenal Woodward Dream Cruise, it's as if this street was meant to blend memories of the past with visions of the future.

Points of Interest

Points of Interest Along The Way

Albert Kahn House (MI)

The Albert Kahn House was designed by, and built for, AlbertKahn, one of Detroit’s world renowned architects, as hisresidence. It is a large, rectangular house designed in the EnglishRenaissance style, constructed with stone trim on the lower half,and stucco above with a slate roof. It has two stories with anattic and gabled dormers. A two-story bay window dominates one sideof the entrance façade, and the windows feature stonequoining. The detailed floral carving on the round-arched frontdoor was designed by Kahn.

The house is elegant in its simplicity of plan and carefulattention to detail. Specializing in industrial architecture,Kahn’s work helped to establish an international reputationfor Michigan architecture. Kahn designed buildings for Henry P.Joy, president of Packard Motor Co., along with Henry Ford and manyother prominent Detroiters. The building is currently the home ofthe Detroit Urban League.

Directions

Woodward Village District

America's Thanksgiving Day Parade (MI)

Held on Woodward Avenue on the morning of Thanksgiving Day, this nationally televised parade attracts 500,000 people.

Arden Park/E. Boston Historic District (MI)

The Arden Park-East Boston Historic District issignificant as an intact, upper class, residentialdevelopment illustrating the range of domesticarchitectural styles popular in the earlytwentieth century. It is also significant as thehome of many nationally and locally prominentindustrialists and professionals includingseveral key figures in the evolution of theAmerican automobile industry.

Directions

Boston-Edison District

Arts, Beats and Eats (MI)

Directions

Oakland County's premier festival celebrating art, cuisine, music and humanity, held every Labor Day weekend. Over one million people participate in the festival each year.

Birmingham (MI)

Home to fashionable shops, galleries and restaurants and one of the few truly walkable communities in the Detroit Metropolitan area, the City of Birmingham is sure to delight all visitors. Summers come alive in Birmingham with numerous weekend events and Thursday evening concerts in Shain Park. (Intersection of note: Maple & Old Woodward)

Directions

Located 15 miles along the byway.

Bonstelle Theater (MI)

Originally home to the oldest synagogue in Detroit (TempleBeth-El), the theatre is a Beaux Arts Classical, domed structureerected from 1902 to 1903. Detroit architect Albert Kahn designedTemple Beth-El for the Reform Congregation, of which he was amember, and was used by the congregation until 1922.

In 1925 noted theater architect C. Howard Crane remodeled theformer synagogue as a theater after Jessie Bonstelle, managingdirector of the Garrick Theatre, purchased the building. From 1925to 1932, the building served as the Bonstelle Playhouse andpresented programs of musical comedy, drama, and dance. In 1932 thetheater became the Mayfair motion picture theater. Wayne StateUniversity rented the building in 1951 and purchased it five yearslater.

Today, this Broadway-style theatre presents the Wayne StateUniversity Theatre Department’s undergraduate studentproductions that feature the department’s aspiring andenergetic young stars.

Directions

Located at 3424 Woodward, 1.4 miles along the byway.

Boston Edison Historic District (MI)

The Boston-Edison District is one of Detroit's early suburbs.The District comprises numerous large, single residence homes, thegreat majority built between 1900 and 1925. While eclectic instyle, they possess uniformity in roofline, in scale, in setbackfrom the street, and in the use of stone or brick construction asopposed to frame. These characteristics, in combination with thewide tree-lined streets, create an overall ambience of gracioussuburban living in a time of slower movement and communityinteraction.

The construction of Henry Ford Hospital nearby in 1915 accountsfor the number of physicians (23) who built homes in the westernpart of the district. The lack of discriminatory measures againstJewish people enabled Jewish families to build in the area. HenryFord and Rabbi Leo Franklin, organizer of the United JewishCharities, are among an impressive number of influential Detroiterswho lived in the neighborhood.

Directions

Located 3.4 miles along the route.

Cadillac Motor Car Company Assembly Plant (MI)

This three-story building in a National Register district served as the main assembly plant for Cadillac Motor Car Company until 1920 when it moved to its Clark Street location. It was built in 1905 after the merger of Henry Leland's Cadillac Automobile Company and the Leland & Faulconer Manufacturing Company. Completed in just sixty-seven days, the construction of this assembly plant was finished shortly after the Albert Kahn-designed PackardMotor Company Building #10. Both of these industrial buildings are considered pioneers in the use of reinforced concrete. This was the first automobile plant in Detroit, with its own pattern works, iron and brass foundries, and forge and machine shops. Eventually the plant was purchased by a realty company. Westcott Paper Company (formerly a tenant in the building) bought it in 1945; it remains their headquarters to this day.

Directions

New Center District

Campus Martius (MI)

This historic city park, whose name means "field of Mars" or "military ground," is currently the site of a major mixed use development project. As part of Judge Augustus Woodward's 1806 city plan, the park, originally used as a drill ground for militia as early as 1788, would remain an open space for large public assemblies. By the mid-1800s the area around the park became an active, bustling section of the city and has remained this way for over 100 years.

Nowadays, Campus Martius houses offices, retail, entertainment and parking spaces in five buildings on five blocks. Among those businesses involved in the project is the computer software company, Compuware, which is building a $550 million headquarters at Woodward and Monroe Avenues. The redeveloped park includes themed gardens, an events plaza, sculptures, benches, and fountains.

Directions

Located 0.3 miles along the byway.

Cass Motor Sales (MI)

The three-story Cass Motor Sales building is significant as afine example of 1920s Art Deco styling as applied to commercialstructures, in this case an automobile dealership that originallysold vehicles of the Marmon Motor Company of Indianapolis,Indiana.

The relationship between Cass Motor Sales and Marmon MotorCompany is illustrative of a phase in the history of the automobileindustry when, before the Great Depression of the 1930s, numeroussmall and medium size automobile manufacturing companies occupied atiny but significant sector of the marketplace. Cass Motor Salesalso reflects the transition in land use within theUniversity-Cultural Center, away from a more strictly residentialarea to a commercial and mixed-use area. Cass Motor Sales wasestablished as a Chrysler dealership in 1925 and the building wasconstructed in 1928.

Directions

University/Cultural District

Details

Length:
27 miles (43 km)
Time:
6 hours to visit the entire Byway or 3-5 days to enjoy the attractions.
Main Roads:
Woodward Ave

Map + Directions

Customizable Directions


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