DEARBORN, Michigan – Historic Springwells Park has one of the most active neighborhood associations in the city of Dearborn, with annual events, a book club, a well organized community garage sale, garden tour, and special events like an annual music fest every spring.
The homeowners’ association, The Springwells Park Association, Inc., publish a booklet commonly referred to as “The Blue Book”. Among other things, it provides historical background on the development of the subdivision and the Association itself. It also includes information on the Association’s by-laws, the use and maintenance of the parkways/commons, deed restrictions, and social events. The booklet’s subdivision street directory and map of the parkways/commons are handy reference information. Publication of the Blue Book is funded, in part, by Association membership dues, and by local businesses who advertise in the booklet.
“A large parcel of land was conveyed in 1937 to the Ford Foundation, a non-profit foundation whose sole assets at the time appear from abstract records to have been $25,000, the land, and, of course, the backing of Henry Ford, with Edsel Ford as its President. To convert some of this increasingly valuable land to cash, the Foundation elected to begin a massive residential development comprising all 1,124 acres and to ultimately provide homes for some 16,000 residents.”
In 1938 “some 132 acres were actually improved, with construction beginning in 1939.” Springwells Park apartments, costing approximately $1.5 million were “constructed of steel studs, steel joists, steel sub-floors and rafters, with brick exteriors, and offered at rentals ranging from $37.50 to $77.50 per month.”
In 1940 undeveloped housing “lots were priced in range of from $775 to $1,175. A few home building projects were started, with Ralph Taylor’s at number 5 Brookline the first to be completed… The names of the streets derive for the most part from New England Communities, in Massachusetts, that can be spotted on any highway map, and lend added charm to this colonial planned and designed community.”
In April, 1954, the newsworthy events of the “Foundation” area as well as minutes of Association meetings began to be published in small, four-page newspaper format, entitled “The Springwells Parker.” “The Brownie Shop” at 3333 Greenfield, in the stores area, was the sole advertiser in the first issue. News was included of local church functions, details of the Springwells Park Women’s Bowling League, and an appeal to “all dog owners to prevent any nuisances.” The publication appears to have grown in advertising lineage and content, but was last published in the middle of 1956, at which time mailed notices of Association minutes and meetings were begun.