Advocacy Alert

The Michigan legislature returns to session on September 7th. Upon their return, the legislature will enter what is commonly known as the “lame duck” session. House Bill 5232 and Senate Bill 720, the legislation which amends the local historic district act, can be voted on until session has ended for the year. We must remain vigilant by contacting your legislators indicating your continued opposition for the legislation. Please contact your legislators both in the House and Senate via email, phone or written note. You can find your legislators contact information by visiting and .






Apply for a National Register of Historic Places downtown historic district nomination. This service, offered by the SHPO, is free of charge. The service will be offered to three communities in Michigan for a new downtown historic district, or the expansion of an existing district.
The deadline for application is September 30, 2016. Please contact me if you have any questions or would like an application. Thanks!

Debra Ball Johnson, AIA
Design Specialist/Michigan Main Street
State Historic Preservation Office
Michigan State Housing Development Authority
PH: 517-241-0242



Nation’s largest preservation organization brings expertise and programs to
adaptive reuse
efforts in Detroit’s Jefferson-Chalmers District, encouraging
local partners, residents
and business owners to tap into the historic
neighborhood’s unique potential


The Vanity Ballroom, Jefferson-Chalmers District, Detroit (Photo: Jeffrey Sauger)

DETROIT (September 7, 2016)—Today, in Detroit’s Lower Eastside, the National Trust for Historic Preservation named Jefferson-Chalmers District a National Treasure. This designation by the nation’s leading preservation organization marks the first National Treasure in the state of Michigan and represents one of the initial endeavors under the National Trust’s new ReUrbanism focus—an organization-wide priority to promote healthy and vibrant adaptive reuse as a priority in the revitalization of urban neighborhoods. The National Trust selected the burgeoning neighborhood, one of the few early 2oth-century commercial districts that still survive in Detroit, for its remarkable 1920s-era buildings—ranging from three-story mansions to bungalows and modest ranch to Arts and Crafts homes—and their robust potential to contribute to the city’s ongoing economic recovery.

As part of its multi-year National Treasure campaign, the National Trust will work with city officials, residents, the business community, local partners and other stakeholders to fill in the gaps where needed and pinpoint the best rehabilitation and reuse strategies to ensure Jefferson-Chalmers’ historic and older structures evolve into assets that meet the community’s 21st century needs. To inform and benefit its work in the Jefferson-Chalmers District, the National Trust will capitalize on its expertise—from urban neighborhoods across the country—on effective tools and policies in main street revitalization, community development and the science of how good cities work.

“Preservation projects can create opportunities for residents at all income levels to thrive—and, as highlighted by our Preservation Green Lab, Jefferson-Chalmers is well-equipped to be an essential part in moving Detroit forward,” said David J. Brown, Executive Vice President and Chief Preservation Officer for the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “We’re excited to bring our expertise in growing American cities and join the Jefferson-Chalmers community on work that continues to bring new life to this great, truly distinctive district.”

Additionally, the neighborhood’s designation as a National Treasure carries the full weight of the National Trust’s access to creative resources for successful urban revitalization strategies, complemented by two of its programs playing roles in the city:

▪ Preservation Green Lab’s Partnership for Building Reuse: Overcoming obstacles to older building reuse is the focus of Preservation Green Lab’s recently completed report, Unlocking the Potential of Detroit’s Neighborhoods: The Partnership for Building Reuse. The National Trust, working with a local advisory group and Preservation Green Lab staff, will advocate for and advance the recommendations in the report, especially those that benefit redevelopment work in the Jefferson-Chalmers District.

▪ National Main Street Center’s Main Street Refresh pilot program: As part of an ongoing pilot program, the National Main Street Center developed a transformation strategy for the Jefferson-Chalmers commercial district. National Main Street worked with local partner Jefferson East, Inc. and community members on the development of this plan. The strategy combines the community’s vision for economic revitalization with current market realities to stimulate reinvestment toward creating a thriving
business district.

Using innovative data sources and mapping, the National Trust’s Preservation Green Lab is illuminating Detroit-specific findings that confirm city blocks with a mix of older and newer buildings perform best along a number of social, economic, cultural, and environmental metrics—a characteristic that some of Detroit’s historic districts have already been tapping into for competitive advantage. Detroit is starting to see strong signs of recovery and hope and, though the positive changes are incremental and dispersed, they all have one thing in common: the reuse and rehabilitation of great old buildings from the city’s past. Particularly, areas where clusters of older, smaller and pedestrian-friendly buildings survive are fueling new ideas and creativity, such as Detroit’s historic Cass Corridor—home to Jack White’s Third Man Records complex, boutique manufacturer Shinola and the annual Dally in the Alley arts festival.

“The City of Detroit is committed to innovative approaches that inspire the reuse and restoration of older buildings throughout its neighborhoods,” said Kimberly Driggins, Director of Strategic Planning for the City of Detroit. “We are excited to work with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Jefferson East and the residents and businesses in Jefferson-Chalmers as we embrace new opportunities and conversations—and progress toward revitalization.”

Further along the Detroit River, despite recent neglect, Jefferson-Chalmers’ urban fabric remains resilient—a diamond in the rough. The district’s grand old buildings and riverfront parks continue to express its character and sense of identity. The once glitzy Vanity Ballroom, for example, is in the process of being acquired by Jefferson East—and the community is eager to plan its restoration and reuse as a centerpiece of the neighborhood. A significant contributor to the architectural and cultural history of Detroit—at different points host to big bands and musicians like Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, The Stooges, and Velvet Underground—the ballroom is still renowned for its Art Deco style, stepped archways, and pre-Columbian themes. Though it has suffered signification deterioration after standing vacant for years, the Vanity Ballroom has a strong foundation of steel and reinforced concrete, exterior walls faced with brick, and a design that accommodates for commercial shops on the first floor.

“Jefferson-Chalmers is full of outstanding assets which will strengthen the restoration efforts, including its location and intact commercial structures,” said Josh Elling, Executive Director for Jefferson East, Inc., a partnership organization and collaborative catalyst for economic development along the East Jefferson corridor. “Through past hardship, engaged residents and business owners—the neighborhood’s biggest assets—have held together, maintained hope and crafted a vision to bring the neighborhood back to being a place where everyone thrives.”

As the National Trust’s new partners in Jefferson-Chalmers can demonstrate, preservation is about more than just honoring historic buildings with active use—it is also about managing change for the better through direct community engagement that positions the needs and concerns of people at the center of the work. Ultimately, the people of Jefferson-Chalmers, and the places and stories that matter to them, will guide the neighborhood’s future as it joins a growing portfolio of irreplaceable, diverse places—from ancient sites to modern monuments—that have been designated National Treasures, including Nashville’s Music Row, the Heart of Louisville and the Sweet Auburn Historic District.

“It is an honor to see years of advocacy coming together in this great moment of naming the Jefferson-Chalmers District a National Treasure,” said Nancy Finegood, Executive Director for Michigan Historic Preservation Network. “Our focus is to grow the capacity and number of single-family homes we can restore each year, but equally important is the number of local residents who benefit from the work—including those we will be able to train in restoration skills as we move forward.”

At a press event held across the Vanity Ballroom in the Jefferson-Chalmers District this morning, the National Trust, along with the City of Detroit, Jefferson East, Inc., Michigan Historic Preservation Network, and Preservation Detroit announced their intention to work with the community towards developing a vision for the neighborhood’s future renewal and liveliness. With a unified vision, the coalition believes that Jefferson-Chalmers could once again be another engine for the city of Detroit.

To learn more about the Jefferson-Chalmers District National Treasure, the ReUrbanism focus and ongoing efforts by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and local partners to implement community-based revitalization policies for the neighborhood, please visit:

Download the full press release from the National Trust for Historic Places.



The Bailey House
Bailey House

Located at 9965 Sashabaw Road at Independence Oaks County Park, the Bailey House is approximately 135 years old. The home is situated on property that is part of the Bailey family’s original US Government land grant of 1837. It was documented as part of a historical survey conducted by Independence Township in 1998.

“This house is significant because of its high degree of exterior architectural integrity. It is a good example of the T-plan farmhouse style built within the township in the late 1800s. It is also significant as one of the farmhouses of the Bailey family. By 1896, members of the Bailey family were major land owners in sections 2 and 3, owning more than 494 acres.” – Independence Township Historical Survey.

The farmhouse front exterior exhibits both Gothic and Queen Anne details. The windows and doors have been trimmed with Gothic style crowns and the gables represent angles commonly found in Queen Anne designs. This blend of styles is found consistently through Independence Township and Clarkston Village and represents a vernacular that is distinctly Clarkston.

The Bailey home’s interior boasts original wood floors, elegant moldings, unique bead board, and original doors and casings. In addition, the kitchen pantry boasts original pantry carpentry with grain bins and cabinets made with mid-19th century carpentry methods. The original cabinetry is considered rare and has not been seen remaining in any other local structure.

Oakland County Parks invites proposals to purchase this farmhouse for a modest amount and move it to another location to make way for trail and other recreational development. Preference will be given to bidders who move the house within the local area.

Contact for Information or to Request Bid Package: Andy Krumwiede Oakland County Purchasing Department or (248) 858-7678
Pre-Bid Informational Meeting: August 16, 2016 – RSVP is required
Deadline to Submit Questions: August 19, 2016 by close of business
Deadline to Submit Proposals: September 1, 2016

Bailey House information sheet 2015 07 26
Oakland County Parks Planning Review
Solicitation Quote
Request for Propsoal for Bailey House Sale and Relocation

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