Thursday, September 24, 2009

Subdivision Stories: Woodward Addition

The second-oldest addition to the original plat of Rochester is the Woodward Addition, platted on April 20, 1874 on part of the farm of Lysander and Peninah Simpson Woodward. Lysander Woodward was born in Connecticut in 1817, the same year in which the village of Rochester was first settled, and arrived in Rochester with his wife in 1843. He was a prosperous farmer and one of the most influential men in Oakland County. He served variously as Avon Township supervisor, justice of the peace, state representative, Oakland County treasurer, and president of the Detroit & Bay City Railroad. He was chiefly responsible for bringing the first railroad line to Rochester. Lysander Street in the Woodward Addition is named for him.

This map of the Woodward Addition from 1896 shows the streets as they were laid out in the official plat that was approved in 1874, but this is not how the subdivision was eventually built out. High Street does not go through from Romeo Road to Terry Street, as shown on the map; it dead ends at the top of the bluff overlooking Lysander Street. Likewise, Short Street, living up to its name, runs only from Romeo to Lysander and not beyond. After the original plat was made, a large 10-acre plot of land in the middle of the subdivision was sold to August Thoel, and was not replatted until 1915, when the Avondale Park subdivision plat was created to the north of the Woodward Addition. The new plat, developed by Thoel along with Isaac Terry and J.B. Mahaffy, created the street configuration that we know today.

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