John Berry, like many city residents, sometimes needs to convince some people to come to his East English Village antique shop. They hear his business, EJ Berry Antiques, is in Detroit and many of the city’s negative stereotypes come to mind.
They go away after the see his far-East-Side neighborhood. He calls East English Village a sanctuary in the city. “Not many people are aware of this little pocket,” Berry says. “They have no idea what it’s like.”
That little pocket is one of the East Side’s most notable areas. East English Village's 2,000 homes are between Harper and Mack avenues to the north and south and Cadieux Road and Outer Drive to the east and west. The neighborhood is famous for its stunning English colonials and Tudors under a thick canopy of trees. Intricate yet artistic brick and stonework grace most of the neighborhood’s houses, making home after home a head turner.
Local residents named the neighborhood East English Village after the English theme of many of its streets, such as Yorkshire or Kensington, and the style of its homes.
“It’s a very rich architectural mix of houses,” says Bill Barlage, president of the East English Village Homeowners Association. “They’re very well taken care of.”
Beyond East English Village lie other stable, well-maintained neighborhoods of brick bungalows and colonials. East of Cadieux, the neighborhoods around Balduck Park and St. John’s Hospital anchor the area’s eastern end. Block after block of early 20th century wooden working-class homes compose the area west of East English Village. It’s anchored by new commercial centers filled with chain stores at the intersections of Warren Avenue/Conner Street and Mack/Alter Road.
Old downtown-style commercial corridors, such as Mack, Warren and Harper, bisect the neighborhoods. Mom-and-pop small businesses, such as Berry’s antique store on Mack and Three Mile Road, occupy most of these storefronts.
Residents can drive to downtown, Belle Isle, hospitals, schools, parks and the Grosse Pointes in within 20 minutes or less.
“We’re sort of in the middle of just about everything,” Barlage says.
Community spirit, diversity
Barlage cites community spirit and diversity as East English Village’s greatest assets.
The community is made up of a wide range of people of all colors and social backgrounds. Both white-collar and blue-collar families buy into the established housing stock, where prices range from $100,000 to $240,000.
To Barlage, it’s a positive place where residents take active roles to improve their neighborhood. That type of community is hard to come by – a place where neighbors know each other, watch out for one another and take the time to talk over the fence.
“It feels like an old neighborhood,” Barlage says. “You know people on different blocks and on different streets. It’s a neighborhood that embraces everyone. We’re very proud of that.”
The East Side neighborhoods are without their challenges. The western side deals with some of the more stereotypical Detroit problems, such as sporadic abandonment and illegal dumping, according to Maggie DeSantis, a lifelong area resident. However, DeSantis says organizations like Warren/Conner Development Coalition work diligently not only to bring in new development and strengthen the neighborhood.
For example, new homes are being built west of East English Village around Alter. The Morningside development homes range from rentals to low-income to regularly price. They’re mostly infill homes helping stabilize the community.
In East English Village, Barlage says the community has "good relationships with police, the eastern district city hall and the mayor’s office." And neighbors pool together to for services like snow removal and security patrols.
Most of the older homes in and near East English Village, which date to the early 20th century, can be had at reasonable prices. A recently established city Neighborhood Enterprise Zone tax break also helps make the area more affordable.
Colin Hubbell, 47, bought one of those houses near the edge of East English Village 17 years ago on Audubon Street — one of the most desired addresses in the area. He's raised his four children, between the ages of 10 and 17 there.
The real estate developer and native Detroiter fell in love with the area, its affordability and the people who live in it.
“It’s a diverse community of dedicated Detroiters who enjoy city living and are willing to keep the neighborhood a place that values diversity and community,” Hubbell says.
For recreation, Chandler Park, near the intersection of Warren and Conner, has an 18-hole golf course. Wayne County has its Chandler Park Family Aquatic Center at I-94 and Conner. Balduck Park, near the intersection of Warren and Mack, has plenty of ball fields and hill for sledding.
St. John Hospital & Medical Center's Moross campus provides access to top-notch health care and doctors.
As far as shopping and dining, there are a variety of places to check out — from cool new eateries like Dish on Mack to well-established favorites like the Blue Pointe and Cadieux Cafe.
For convenience, nearby Eastland Mall in Harper Woods has a Target, Home Depot, Lowe's, Macy's and other major retailers. Plus the proximity to the Grosse Pointes offers more places to shop in the Village and Hill areas along Kercheval.
Many of the simple necessities of life, such as pharmacies, hardware stores, grocery stores, dry cleaners or car dealerships, are within easy walking distance.
“I can walk to a Starbucks,” Hubbell says. “Yeah, it’s in Grosse Pointe Park, but having Grosse Pointe Park there is a huge amenity.”
For more information about the East Side visit the Model D
- Visiting Guide
- Investing Guide
Directions to East Side
From the East:
Take I-94 West and take Exit 223 toward Cadieux Rd. Stay straight to go onto Edsel Ford FWY East. Turn left onto Cadieux Rd. and arrive in East Side.
From the North:
Take I-75 South toward Detroit and merge onto I-94 East via Exit 53B toward Port Huron. Take Exit 223 toward Cadieux Rd and turn right onto Cadieux Rd. Arrive in East Side.
From the West:
Take I-96 East and merge onto I-94 East via Exit 190A toward Port Huron. Take Exit 223 toward Cadieux Rd and turn right onto Cadieux Rd. Arrive in East Side.
From the South:
Take I-94 East and take Exit 223 toward Cadieux Rd. Turn right onto Cadieux Rd. and arrive in East Side.
Take I-75 North toward Detroit and merge onto I-96 W via Exit 48 on the left toward Lansing. Merge onto I-94 East toward Port Huron and take Exit 223 toward Cadieux Rd. Turn right onto Cadieux Rd. and arrive in East Side.
Photos:A Typical Home on Audobon StreetEast English Sign on Outer DriveSt. Johns Medical CenterNew Homes on Wayburn and Alter RoadsChandler Park Golf CourseCadieux Cafe
All Photographs Copyright Dave Krieger