Fans of the 1960s television comedy “Green Acres” are sure to remember the lyrics of the show’s theme song, which included “Green Acres is the place to be.” The same can be said of Detroit’s Green Acres neighborhood on the city’s northwest side.
Green Acres is bounded by 8 Mile Road on the north, Pembroke on the south, Livernois Avenue on the west, and Woodward on the east. This tree-lined, historic neighborhood boasts one thousand homes, all of which have unique architecture.
“The thing about Green Acres is all the homes are different,” said Maria Dickerson, president of the Green Acres Woodward Civic Association. “My home was built in the 1940s. You have homes that are in their original design with stained glass windows and a lot of them with natural fireplaces. You can go to five homes in Green Acres and those five homes are totally different.”
“The architecture is the first thing that grabbed me,” said Jacqueline Lane, who has lived in Green Acres since 1984. “Our house is built like the homes down at Fort Wayne, off Jefferson Avenue. It’s the old Colonial style and I was attracted to that. And, the neighborhood was well-groomed, as well.”
Another asset of Green Acres is the unity among the residents. “I would say that we’re a people’s community in that we are very open to ideas and diversity, and we want people to become involved,” explained Dickerson.
The Green Acres homeowners association is extremely active, putting on events year round. There’s a Kids & Family Fun Day in the local park on Father’s Day weekend, along with an annual Concert in the Park featuring performances by Green Acres residents. The $25 per year membership dues help pay for a monthly newsletter and other activities.
“Our association does a lot of things as far as beautification and safety,” said Dickerson. “We have committees that deal with city services. They go downtown to hearings. We have some vacant properties in our area and we have a committee that keeps the houses looking like they’re lived in. We do things that build community pride.”
Not only is Green Acres a thriving residential neighborhood, but the surrounding business community on Livernois Avenue is also flourishing with restaurants and shops.
‘The Avenue of Fashion is a little bit different from a lot of the districts,” said Avenue of Fashion Business Association President Dolphin Michael. “We have a lot of specialty boutiques with one-of-a-kind, original pieces.”
The restaurants along Livernois are helping to create more foot traffic in the area. Among the popular dining destinations are Kuzzo’s Chicken & Waffles, 1917 American Bistro, Mr. Fo-Fo’s Deli, and Avenue International Kitchen. Southern Comfort and the Bucharest Grill will be opening soon. Michael says diners are then able to experience the unique neighborhood shops.
“Once people come on Livernois, they think, ‘Wow, I didn’t know this was over here,’ ” Michael said. “The new trend now is to have walkable business districts, so you don’t really want to get in your car and drive out to wherever. You want to just walk over to the shops, go shopping and buy whatever you need.”
Although several new businesses are moving into the area, there are some older establishments that are still going strong, such as Baker’s Keyboard Lounge and a handful of multi-generational shops.
“There are three businesses on the Avenue of Fashion that are three generations,” said Michael. “They are Morrison’s Shoe Repair, Terry’s Place, and Dixon’s Barber Shop. We also have two longtime art galleries, Sherwood Forest and Jo’s.”
“We’ve been here a long time,” said Green Acres resident Lane, “and at one time there was a vibrant art community on Livernois. It faded for a while, but now it’s back quite strong. I personally appreciate the creative aspect of it all.”
The Michigan Chronicle, with the support of the Fifth Third Bank, will pubish a series of articles and videos guiding the community on a virtual tour of Detroit’s hidden neighborhoods. Stay tuned as we highlight the next hidden gem community.
For more information on Rediscover Detroit, visit http://www.michiganchronicle.com