Saturday, February 9, 2013

Subdivision Stories: John R Highlands

The John R Highlands subdivision in Rochester Hills is one that has changed greatly from its original plat. The subdivision was laid out in 1924 on the southwest quarter of section 36, previously the farm of August and Caroline Dobat. The Dobats, along with Detroit real estate developer John P. Hehl and the Alex E. Michelson Land and Home Company, platted the land as the John R Highlands subdivision with interior streets named Evans and Ransom.  Ransom Street was presumably named for John P. Hehl's wife, the former Susie Ransom; the origin of the name of Evans Street is unclear.  In any event, both names were changed in 1950 when the Township of Avon renamed many of its streets at the recommendation of the county road commission. At that time, Ransom Street became Michelson, and Evans became Enfield.

The other major change to this plat, as can be seen by comparing a modern map to this original drawing, is that most of the eastern half of the plat is occupied today by Thelma G. Spencer Park and its 38-acre  Frederick S. Carter Lake. The park was opened in 1981.

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