Lovely Lafayette Park

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A short distance from the busyness of downtown Detroit, Eastern Market, the riverfront and Dequindre Cut is the serene, quiet Lafayette Park neighborhood.

Located east of the Chrysler Freeway, the neighborhood is known for its Ludwig Mies van der Rohe designed buildings, including three apartment buildings and also townhomes.

Neil McEachern, a 23-year Mies townhomes resident, says the area has a history that includes Native American settlements and strip farms. The area was known as Black Bottom, a predominantly Black neighborhood, before it was razed in the 1950s and '60s for redevelopment.

"The plan was to build this neighborhood in downtown Detroit to attract a diverse group of middle-class people to live in downtown Detroit to kind of stem the tide of people moving further and further out," McEachern says.

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Today, it's still doing this. He says in the last few years, more young families have moved to the neighborhood.

Sylvia Scott, who's been a Mies townhome resident for 31 years, describes the neighborhood as "a little jewel sitting in the middle of an urban city."

For the self-proclaimed tree lover, the floor to ceiling windows in Scott's townhome give her a view of a lush green, shaded landscape.

"When I look out this window, and where I live, it makes me smile because it's beautiful," Scott says.

The townhomes are co-ops, meaning they have a board of residents who maintain their community. Plus, residents find ways to be involved.

"Lafayette Park is a neighborhood of ad hoc committees," McEachern says.

With so much to do nearby, apartment resident Galen Hardy says there are days he doesn't have to drive at all.

I mean, it's like our own paradise," he says. He adds that the community is "just so friendly."

For Scott, Lafayette Park will always be home.

"I've never really had any problems that would make me want to move," she says. "I can't imagine living in any other place in the state of Michigan other than here."

FAST FACTS

The History:
The Lafayette Park Mies van der Rohe area is a historic district both locally and nationally, according to the Detroit Historic District Commission.

The Architecture:
Lafayette Park is home to the largest collection of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe buildings in the world, according to the Detroit Historical Society.

The Boundaries:
Lafayette Park stretches farther than the Mies van der Rohe buildings. The rough boundaries of the entire neighborhood are the Chrysler Freeway, St. Aubin Street, Larned Street and Antietam Street, resident Neil McEachern estimates.

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