Rosedale Park History and General Info

Rosedale Park Sales Brochure from 1919

Aug 29th, 2021

Alex Derdelakos

The Burton Historical Collection at the Main Branch of the Detroit Public Library has many significant records about the history of Detroit, including this sales brochure from the original developer of Rosedale Park. Even though this brochure is dated 1919, our neighborhood actually dates from 1917, when the development was originally platted and registered with the state. 

The brochure is a time capsule, of sorts. The style of advertising is definitely not seen today, and there are several examples of "coded language" that betray prejudices and deed restrictions that were all-too-common in those days. There are plenty of confusing details, too. It mentions Evergreen Road and Grand River Avenue, and we are familiar with those, but where is "Mill Road," or "12th Street?" Mill Road is now the Southfield Freeway, and 12th Street is now Fenkell Street. 

We hope you enjoy reading this, and we hope it highlights some of the reasons Rosedale Park has been designated a Historic District. Click the link below to see the brochure in .pdf format.

City Council Testimonial for Rosedale Park

Jun 1st, 2016

Alex Derdelakos

TESTIMONIAL RESOLUTION from Detroit City Council

At the March 2016 membership meeting, Council MemberJames Tate presented a Testimonial Resolution from the Detroit City Council to our neighborhood and our neighborhood association.  Read the full text of the resolution below, chocked full of many interesting historical tidbits - :-)

WHEREAS     In the early 1910's, Rosedale Park, located in northwestern Detroit, was a more rural environment filled with farms, woods, country lanes and wide open fields; and

WHEREAS     In 1916, the Rosedale Park Land Company purchased a portion of land in Redford Township and subdivided it for development, using the slogan "Out of the Smoke Zone into the Ozone" as a pitch to prompt city residents eager for suburban living to purchase lots; and

WHEREAS     On November 15, 1917, Mr. & Mrs. Thomas Barkley and their infant son moved into their new home at 15001 Ashton on the northwest corner of Ashton and Chalfonte to become the first residents of Rosedale Park; and

WHEREAS     During World War I, there were about 15 families living in Rosedale Park, during which time Fenkell Avenue was a mud road and Grand River was a narrow strip with one streetcar track.  Residents had rural mail delivery (with boxes on Fenkell Avenue), country phones, artesian well water, and no streetlights; and

WHEREAS     The Rosedale Park Improvement Association, organized in 1922, addressed the major concern of fire protection for the neighborhood by contracting with the City of Detroit Fired Department for response service on a per-call fee  basis.  It later tackled the issue of water and sewer services by lobbying for annexation by the City of Detroit, which came to pass in 1926; and

WHEREAS     Rosedale Park's historic designation, which became official on February 19, 2007, was significant because of the community's varied architectural styles and patterns.  Its early development as a twentieth century transportation corridor led to the westward expansion of the City of Detroit's border; and

WHEREAS     Rosedale Park has a strong tradition of yearly community events, including but not limited to its annual Easter Egg Hunt (co-sponsored with North Rosedale Park Civic Association), June Day Celebration, Children's Holiday Pancake Breakfast, along with individual block club activities; and

WHEREAS     The community of Rosedale Park is recognized for its longevity, community pride, solid housing stock, and for being one of the premier neighborhoods in the City of Detroit; NOW THEREFORE BE IT

RESOLVED     That on this 15th day of March, 2016, Councilman James E. Tate, Jr., and the entire Detroit City Council recognizes the community of Rosedale Park and the Rosedale Park Improvement Association for exemplifying the best of Detroit's past, present, and future.



Rosedale Park celebrates 100 years, 1916-2016

Mar 20th, 2016

Alex Derdelakos

Over 100 neighbors came out on Tuesday, March 15 to kick off a year-long celebration of Rosedale Park's first 100 years. Our neighborhood was first "platted" in 1916, and construction of the first houses and sidewalks began in 1917. The event, part of the spring general membership meeting at the North Rosedale Community House, included birthday cake, historic presentations, and recognition of our "Super Senior" neighbors, ages 90+.

To see some photos from the celebration, go to the District 1 Detroit Facebook page by clicking here.

Stay tuned for more information on other centennial events honoring our neighborhood's history.

Neighborhood Map

Jan 2nd, 2016

Alex Derdelakos

History of Rosedale Park

Jan 1st, 2016

Alex Derdelakos

Our recollection begins in October 1835, when then President of the United States, Andrew-Jackson, deeded 80 Acres of land in the northwest section of Detroit to Mr. Otis C. Freeman. In November of that same year, President Jackson deeded 40 acres to Mr. George Bellamy. Between the time period of 1835 and 1916, the land changed ownership many times, and in 1916 the Rosedale Park Land Company purchased a portion of it and subdivided it for development. City residents who were eager to try suburban living motored out from the City and snapped up the lots quite rapidly. Their courage and foresight must be applauded when it is considered that there were only wide-open fields where we now see lovely homes, trees, manicured lawns and paved roads.

Back in those days, Fenkell Avenue was known as 12th Street. Southfield Road was known as Mill Road, which was a narrow and unpaved country lane, with Elderberry hedges, wild grapes, trees and bushes growing along its sides. The Rosedale Park Land Company planned an outstanding residential community from the very beginning, with fm restrictions on the types of homes to be built. "Out of the Smoke Zone into the Ozone" was the slogan that brought people to Rosedale Park. Soon construction crews were seen along Ashton and homes began to take form. On November 15, 191 7, Mr. & Mrs. Thomas Barkley with their infant son moved into their new home on the northwest corner of Ashton and Chalfonte to become the first residents of Rosedale Park.

At the corner of Fenkell and Grand River, where Chase Bank is now, there was a red barn. History reveals that the Barkleys objected to the fragrance from the barn, so the Rosedale Park Land Company caused for it to be removed. At first, only the first blocks on Ashton and Rosemont were developed. The rest of the surrounding lands were filled with lovely wild flowers. It is appropriate to note that you are living in the original Rosedale Park. The property north of Grand River was subdivided later as North Rosedale Park.

The families that lived in the Park had rural mail delivery (with boxes on Fenkell Avenue), country phones (5 rings), artesian well water, and no streetlights. Most of the surrounding property was farmland and woods, owned by the late A.J. Stahelin. Mr. Stahelin's home was on Fenkell Avenue where the Greater Ebenezer Baptist Church is now. Mr. Stahelin's nursery was where the Grandland Shopping Plaza is now. At this time in history, Fenkell Avenue was a mud road and Grand River was a narrow strip with one streetcar track. The streetcars turned around where Wireless Champs now stands at the southwest corner of Grand River and Fenkell.

Edison Detroit Public School was called Grandmont and was recognized as a very good country school. There was a small Kroger store not too far away from the school. However, most shopping was done in Redford and Strathmoor.

Early on, fire protection was the biggest problem. The neighborhood stored a manual drive fire hose in a shed on Glastonbury. By posting a cash bond with the City of Detroit, the City would send fire trucks if needed, after which it would be necessary to gather more subscriptions for a new bond. This was one of the original reasons for organizing the Rosedale Park Improvement Association.

It wasn't long before several City residents began building homes in Rosedale Park. In 1924, a construction boom began, and in 1925, Rosedale Park became part of the City of Detroit. Although the annexation provided no cost fire protection, it was now subject to paying higher City of Detroit taxes than City residents themselves. City residents were said to have remarked, "That's what you get for moving beyond the prairies."

Fireworks were displayed at the first 4th of July celebrations. As the Park grew, the 4th became a big holiday. The day began with a parade in the morning. The parents worked for days preparing floats, and children decorated their wagons and bikes in celebration. There were prizes given every year for the most beautiful, comical, and original floats. The 4th of July afternoons were always filled with games for the young and old, including tug of war, horseshoe pitching, and always a ball game between the ladies and the men. Hot dogs, lemonade, coffee, ice cream and cake were served. Each family paid a small fee, and local merchants donated all of the prizes. The prizes were not always known to be useful, for example, one bald man was said to have won a bottle of hair tonic. In the evenings, everyone would go to the Great Lakes Theatre for a seven o'clock show-a lovely ending to a wonderful day.

Another big event early in the history of the Park was the Corn & Hot Dog Roasts held in the fall of each year. The ladies who lived in the Park would bring pumpkin pie. The annual event was held at the Park picnic grounds on Grandville between Keeler and Midland.

Many of the historic celebrations that were observed by Park residents since the early 1900's continue to thrive still today. Even though the population has grown to almost 1,600 homes with more than 6,000 residents, the Park continues to maintain an atmosphere of a small town. In 1998, Rosedale Park and its surrounding neighborhoods formally adopted the slogan, "Small Town Living in a Big City."

The Rosedale Park Improvement Association continues to celebrate summer in the Park in June with a Picnic in Flintstone Park. Good food and entertainment for both children and adults provides a gala atmosphere. However, it's the residents' participation in this event that makes the annual tradition special.

In addition, there are significant Annual Holiday Events that the Rosedale Park Improvement Association continues to sponsor for dues-paying residents, such as the Easter Egg Hunt that takes place every Easter in Stoepel Park, and the Children's Holiday Pancake Breakfast that takes place just before Christmas.

Enjoy Historic Rosedale Park and its wonderful atmosphere. This special place in Detroit is rich with a proud history, and you are making tomorrow's history with every action that you take in the Park today.

Download the City of Detroit Historic Distric Report for Rosedale Park

Download the City of Detroit Historic Distric Report for Bushnell Congregational Church