Driving or walking through any historic district or neighborhood, one could be forgiven for seeing only the obvious charms and notable architecture. But beneath the evident joy of a retained past, there are hundreds of volunteers who worked hard through the years to keep the founder’s visions. Proven protective laws were created and passed after, sometimes years, of discussion and debate. Maintaining the laws and ordinances throughout the years kept the neighborhood as originally intended.
Unfortunately, often when a new resident moves into a historic neighborhood, they can be oblivious to what that means. For those long-time residents who have resided within historic district rules, it can be shocking to suddenly see a new neighbor paint the limestone on their home, paint the driveway concrete red or, as in one case, install a $50,000 circular driveway on their front lawn. Each of these examples is a true story; each was combated.
The Detroit Historic neighborhood, Indian Village, can proudly point to an Association that has been in continued existence since 1937. Since that time, the Association has worked hard at informing realtors and potential residents of exactly what it means to live in a historic and R-1 zone (single-family dwellings) before the above examples and more happen. A daunting task that, unfortunately, is not always successful. It is then necessary to gently guide the newcomer into compliance. Happily, this usually ends successfully. As a result, the neighborhood remains a testament to a different age that attracts future residents. These neighbors learn to understand that following the zoning rules is exactly why they want to call Indian Village home and why it is today known nationally for being one of the finest historic districts in the country.