Brewster-Wheeler Housing Projects
The Brewster-Wheeler Housing Projects, officially named the Frederick Douglass Homes, were the largest residential housing project owned by the city of Detroit, Michigan. They were located adjacent to the Chrysler Freeway in the Brush Park section on the east side of the city.
Designed by Harley, Ellington & Day of Detroit, the Brewster Project and Frederick Douglass Apartments were built between 1935 and 1955. 1 First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt broke ground for the low-rise, 701-unit Brewster Project in 1935, which was completed in 1938. An expansion completed in 1941 brought the total number of housing units to 941. The Frederick Douglass Apartments, built to the south of the Brewster Project, was built between 1942 and 1955 and consisted of apartment rows, two six-story low-rises, and six 14-story high-rises.
Together, the Brewster and Frederick Douglass developments housed between 8,000 and 10,000 residents. 1
Originally, the Brewster-Wheeler Housing Projects were built for the working poor, and the Detroit Housing Commission required an employed parent for each family before establishing tenancy. But crime became a problem in the 1960s and 1970s as the Commission became less selective, and the development fell into disrepair.
In 1991, the low-rise apartment blocks north of Wilkins Street were demolished and replaced with 250 townhomes in 1994. 2 Two of the 14-story towers were demolished in 2003, with the remainder abandoned after 2008. 3 The remaining buildings were demolished in 2013-14. 4
Palmer Park Square Apartments
The Palmer Park Apartment Building Historic District is located in the Palmer Park neighborhood of Detroit, Michigan, and is well regarded for its ornate and varied examples of apartment buildings. The district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983, with a boundary increase in 2005.
- “Bedrock’s Next Detroit Makeover: Sale Agreement Opens Way for a 22-Acre Brush Park Community.” Deadline Detroit, 11 Jun. 2019.
- “Brewster Homes.” Detroit Housing Commission.
- Austin, Dan. “Brewster-Douglass Projects.” HistoricDetroit.org, 2022.
- “Crews begin razing massive Detroit housing project.” Crain’s Detroit Business, 4 Sept. 2013.