Post Number: 918
|Posted on Saturday, March 03, 2007 - 2:02 pm: || |
Behold the land o' plenty.
Behold the grand homes and green lawns and great oaks tendered from earth and seed and acorns. Tis the land near the river - at Moses Field's former estate - where Linden trees and rabbits and squirrels and pheasants reside fearlessly among their human neighbors. Animals fear not these neighbors as these neighbors themselves do not fear their own.
From the East Grand Boulevard at the waters edge, to the inland, where Mack and Van Dyke meet, Islandview brims with a richness of place and people; present and past, satisfied and optimistic.
In 2004, my wife and I were introduced to this comfortable, green, and obscure corner of Detroit by none other than our realtor. After searching the city from east to west and north to south for nearly a year, it was with some admitted trepidation that we finally agreed to drive by the "house on Field".
Our knowledge of Islandview was limited to our prior experience in the area. The old Honest John's, a Mobil gas station and Pop's Detail Shop were all we knew of Field Avenue, and while I had patronized all three of those businesses, neither of us felt as if the district were calling us home.
We knew about new homes being built on Field. I knew there were even new condominiums being built on Field, but we just never put ourselves into the heart of the neighborhood. Why would we have? With communities like Woodbridge, Rosedale, West Village and more right in front of us, the desire to look elsewhere never developed.
Twas not until that day in March of 2004 when we finally gave in and drove through the Village after an impromptu stop at the Jefferson/Boulevard Starbucks. I remember: Field between Jefferson and Lafayette was expectedly glum; Lafayette to Agnes was better with its' new homes; St. Pauls' intersection was pleasant -a construction project called English Village Condominiums definitely seemed promising - but then, the bottom fell out.
As is so often the case in Detroit, just as soon as it seemed we might be on to something, Field at Kercheval Avenue revealed blight. Large plots of land were empty, row houses stood crumbling, and large single-family homes housed what were sure to be their last present-life tenants.
Just as we were considering a phone call to the realtor to confirm whether or not she and reality had met, we crossed East Vernor Highway. As if the previous block had been completely out of place, fine homes appeared. Enormous, mature trees awaited their leaves, while below, well-loved, brick houses sheltered their owners.
Within a minute we came upon "the house on Field" and were at once compelled to run from the car to her welcoming front porch. Peeks through the windows revealed extensive restoration, and the word must be repeated so as to not mistake the description. Restoration, not renovation, returned to this nearly one-hundred-year-old beauty her days of youth and vigor.
Three years have now passed. My opinion of the neighborhood has only improved, and our neighbors are genuinely good-hearted.
In fact, I knew we made the right choice just a few weeks after we moved in when a neighbor from two doors down introduced himself as a forum member!
Today, there are two houses on the block looking for some love and attention - a fine Tudor (soon to be sold at auction) and an asbestos-shingled Colonial. They sit on Boulevard Sub lots, so the land is roomy. Both exceed three-thousand square feet and both need work, but could certainly be available for under $100,000. Restored, both would be valued at over $100,000. There may be no greater opportunity for a family looking for a safe, quiet, established neighborhood full of great people and wonderful homes.
Three years later, my wife and I still love Islandview Village as our home and look forward to many good years here.
If anyone is in the market for a home in Detroit - behold and find comfort in Islandview, the land o' plenty!
(Message edited by Eric C. on March 04, 2007)
Post Number: 3732
|Posted on Sunday, March 04, 2007 - 1:56 am: || |
I didn't even know that there were Linden trees in Detroit. They are very common in Germany, where many 1,000 year old Linden trees get to a massive size.
Post Number: 1076
|Posted on Sunday, March 04, 2007 - 2:55 am: || |
Links to the sales sites of said homes would complete the sales pitch.
Post Number: 919
|Posted on Sunday, March 04, 2007 - 9:04 am: || |
Ain't no sales site, E.
Interested parties will find their way on their own.
I will however, be posting some photos of the neighborhood at some point.
Gistok may like to know about our one remaining 150 year old Pear tree - a link to the areas French roots.
Post Number: 2018
|Posted on Sunday, March 04, 2007 - 9:26 am: || |
Nice post, Eric_c!!
I'm always on the lookout for sites that represent the city's (and my ancestors') French, heritage, so I'd like to know about that pear tree too! I've taken photos of a couple other known Jesuit pear trees, both on the Windsor (South Detroit) side, though.
Post Number: 920
|Posted on Sunday, March 04, 2007 - 9:51 am: || |
Katheleen - you may already have a photo of the pear somewhere. It's on the south lawn of the Moses Field Estate!
Post Number: 2020
|Posted on Sunday, March 04, 2007 - 10:02 am: || |
Thanks, Eric. I'll check my photos. I may have to go back in the spring for a separate pear tree photo and may some additional views of the estate!!
Post Number: 66
|Posted on Tuesday, March 06, 2007 - 9:40 am: || |
Thanks for the posting on my childhood home area. We had two pear trees in my yard from the ribbon farms.
It's too bad the area doesn't have a good grocery store nearby or a branch of the library, like it used to have (John Gray branch?)
There was a Field School (built in l890s) but I see that it's torn down for a newer ed. center.
Of course, I see this from a 50 year vantage point- the neighborhood was rough back then, the nearby factories were closing and there were murders in the alleys behind the houses. I'm glad people are enjoying the area, but I wouldn't recommend it for single women or those with young children.
Post Number: 935
|Posted on Tuesday, March 06, 2007 - 12:52 pm: || |
Elegant post Eric_c.
Being an Islandview resident (with an identity crisis, my house is literally 10 feet from West Village) I can support Eric_c's claims that Islandview indeed has gorgeous pockets, especially that stretch of Field between Vernor and Charlevoix.
Post Number: 2033
|Posted on Tuesday, March 06, 2007 - 12:59 pm: || |
Swiburn: What was your address? I'd like to note where the ribbon farm pear trees were located.
Post Number: 936
|Posted on Tuesday, March 06, 2007 - 3:02 pm: || |
Swiburn, there is still a Moses Field Elementary on Field between Lafayette and Agnes, but it looks like it was built in the 1960's.
Not trying to get into a retail options slugfest but there are several good grocery stores nearby (Indian Village Market, Harbortown and Farmer Jack). And you can always walk over to Payless if you want to buy individual cigarettes and a 40 oz.
Post Number: 90
|Posted on Tuesday, March 06, 2007 - 3:06 pm: || |
Payless technically is a grocer too. Also, they have Sav-Mart over on the Boulevard. Shopping is along Jefferson and Downtown and the New Center Area and Warren and Conner.
Post Number: 470
|Posted on Tuesday, March 06, 2007 - 4:40 pm: || |
In the 70's I attempted to buy a house on Field Ave. between Vernor and Charlevoix. It was several doors from the Moses Field House. The house was built about 1905 and in virtually pristine condition. It had only two owners. The foyer had a gold-leaf ceiling and there was much fine paneling throughout the first floor. The kitchen and pantry still had all of the old oak cupboards. Alas, someone outbid me and I ended up moving to the westside.
Post Number: 69
|Posted on Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - 10:21 am: || |
Kathleen: My house was two doors south from E. Vernor Hwy, on the east side of the street. The ribbon farms ran all the way up to Grosse Pointe, I believe. I remember how huge the trees were (to a young girl) and my mother told me they were from the French.
Eastsidedog: Thanks for the posting. My school was much older and I guess they tore it down. There is still a "Field School," but it's in another location now.
I also walked down Grand Blvd. to the Sanders by the entrance to Belle Isle( at 6 years old!) and for Thanksgiving we walked up to Mack Ave. and got turkeys. I liked this neighborhood much more than the "upscale" ones my family thought were doing us a favor to move to, but we all hated them.
(Message edited by swiburn on March 07, 2007)