Saturday, January 22, 2011

Subdivision Stories: Woodward Heights

There are several places in Rochester named in honor of pioneer farmer and businessman Lysander Woodward, and one of them is the Woodward Heights subdivision located west of North Main Street between Woodward Street and the northern city limits. The property on which the subdivision was laid out was formerly part of the farm of Lysander Woodward, which totaled nearly 400 acres and included land on both sides of Main Street.

In 1920, Woodward's daughter, Emma, and her husband, noted Detroit architect John Scott, sold a part of the Woodward estate to the Rochester Development Company. Local business leaders William Clark Chapman and Milton H. Haselswerdt were the officers of the development company, and William J. Fisher, a partner in the Fisher Brothers architecture and engineering firm of Pontiac, was the surveyor who laid out the streets.

One of the street names shown on this plat of the Woodward Heights subdivision has changed; Sugar Avenue, so named for the Detroit Sugar Company factory built upon in 1899, was renamed Woodward Street by the village council in 1927. Also notable among the subdivision's street names is Scott Street (highlighted in red on the plat), a very short street - now an alley, really - between Glendale and Ferndale, presumably named for proprietors John and Emma Woodward Scott.

When the lots in Woodward Heights were offered for sale, lot #1 was purchased by Rochester businessman A.R. Dillman, and lot #2 was purchased by Milton H. Haselswerdt. The fine homes these two men built upon those lots still stand today along North Main.

The Woodward Heights subdivision celebrates its 91st birthday this summer.

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