Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Recent Acquisition: Rare Detroit Plan of 1836-37

The Clements Library has just acquired a very rare and possibly unique plan of Detroit from the last years of the Michigan Territory.  All that is known about Part of the City of Detroit, Michigan is that it was lithographed and published in New York at 22 Nassau Street by George Endicott (1802-48).  Endicott is known to have had a shop at that address in 1837 and perhaps a few years before.  Details in the plan suggest that it was likely produced ca. 1836-37.

The Endicott plan shows newly platted and numbered lots in the northern part of the city from the state capitol and Grand River Street to St. Joseph Street ten blocks above.  The city was platted only as far north as Columbia and Montcalm streets in John Farmer’s 1835 plan of the city.  Nathaniel Currier’s plan of Detroit of May 1837 shows additional blocks north of St. Joseph Street, though no lots had been laid out or numbered in that area.  Endicott’s plan appears to date between Farmer’s and Currier’s.

Endicott’s plan illustrates the contrast between the famous Woodward plan of 1806, seen from the Grand Circus south, and the grid plan of the city adopted after 1816, when the Woodward plan was effectively abandoned.  Woodward’s design would be preserved only between Grand Circus and the river.

No other copies of Endicott’s plan have so far been located, and it was not recorded in Brian Dunnigan’s Frontier Metropolis (2001).

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