Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Subdivision Stories: Yawkey and Chapman's Addition

Yawkey and Chapman's Addition lies just south of the Rochester city limits, west of Rochester Road, along the Clinton River. The plat for the subdivision was approved by the village council of Rochester in May 1900, with the assumption that the subdivision would become an addition to the village. The boundaries of Rochester were not extended that far south, however, and so Yawkey and Chapman's Addition to the Village of Rochester lies today within the City of Rochester Hills.

The subdivision was developed by William C. Yawkey (1834-1903) with William Clark Chapman (1866-1946) and his wife, Ada Barney Chapman. Yawkey was a Detroit financier who had made his fortune in the lumber trade in the Saginaw Valley and had been one of the founders of the Western Knitting Mills in 1891. William C. Chapman and his brother Charles S. Chapman were partners with Yawkey in the Western Knitting Mills and also served as officers of the company.

Advertisements for lots in the Yawkey & Chapman Addition claimed that they were "the most sightly lots in Oakland County," featuring "good drainage, pure air and wide streets." The lures of easy financing and mass transit options were used to attract buyers:
Why pay rent when you can get a home so easily. Money furnished to parties owning lots on this subdivision who will build. Electric cars go to this addition. Examine the property and make your selection while you can get a good choice.
An interesting historical note about this subdivision is that none of the street names that were specified in the original plat of 1900 are in use today. In August 1950, when the Township of Avon was preparing to purchase street signs, the board of trustees adopted the recommendation of the Oakland County Road Commission to rename 96 roads and streets (or sections thereof) within the township, including all three streets in the Yawkey and Chapman Addition. Today, the street originally platted as Oakland Avenue is known as Cloverport, while the street first known as Crescent Avenue is now Childress Street, and Rose Street is known today as Enid.

Yawkey and Chapman's Addition is 110 years old this spring.

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