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A Passion for Palmer Woods

This community near 7 Mile and Woodward on Detroit’s north end boasts beautiful homes and pleasant residents who strive to keep it alive

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With homes displaying fine architecture, matured trees and lush landscapes, it' s no wonder people are attracted to the north side neighborhood of Palmer Woods. But that' s not the only reason people make a home there.

"My observation—and the observation of others—is that people are attracted to the neighborhood for the homes, but they end up staying in the neighborhood because of the people," says Craig Vanderburg, president of the Palmer Woods Association and an 11-year resident.

The Palmer Woods Association has a board of directors and committees dedicated to certain efforts, such as communications, vacant properties, children and more. Dues cover snowplowing, grounds maintenance and security services. Event money is put toward other neighborhood projects and also donated to charities, Vanderburg notes.

Barbara Barefield, who has lived with her family in Palmer Woods for 26 years and is involved in the neighborhood, says Palmer Woods tries to connect through community events like the annual Holiday Home Tour and the Music in Homes concert series, which she and her husband, A. Spencer, started in 2007.

The neighborhood is almost 100 years old and is a historic district. Barefield notes that Palmer Woods is close to nature with nearby Palmer Park, and " it' s a walk through history" with all the architecture. Plus, she says the neighborhood fosters diversity—another plus.

"We welcome and we embrace diverse types of families, and individuals can feel comfortable in this neighborhood."

Dr. Glenda Price, a BLAC Magazine chair and editorial advisory board member, as well as former president of Marygrove College and president of the Detroit Public Schools Foundation, has lived in Palmer Woods for 16 years. When she moved to Detroit from Atlanta, she says she had certain requirements, and one of them was to live in a community.

"I think that any community is really the people within it," she says, adding she found the involved, caring neighbors for which she was searching.

While Vanderburg acknowledges Detroit has other well-maintained neighborhoods, "the high sense of community that we have and the people, make all the difference in the world in making it just a great place to live."


The Land: Palmer Park was built on land donated in 1883 by Sen. Thomas Palmer. Land north of the park was sold by the family and developed into the Palmer Woods neighborhood in 1915, the Palmer Woods Association website notes.
The Homes: There are more than 300 households in the Palmer Woods neighborhood, the Detroit Historical Society notes.
The Architecture: Albert Kahn, Minoru Yamasaki and Frank Lloyd Wright are just a few of the well-known architects who worked on buildings in Palmer Woods, according to the Palmer Woods Association website.

A Warm Welcome

The Palmer Woods Association' s annual Holiday Home Tour and Soirée will be held 6:30-11:30 p.m. Dec. 7. The Music in Homes concert series, where you can listen to jazz, classical and world music in some Palmer Woods homes, begins on Dec. 28 at 8 p.m. The series continues on select dates through June 2014. Visit palmerwoods.org for ticket information.

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