“Don’t call it the cabbage patch!” That is the battle cry of hundreds of Grosse Pointers who live in the single and multiple family homes in the Grosse Pointe Park Neighborhood bordered by Nottingham, Mack Avenue, East Jefferson Avenue and Wayburn Roads. And, Historically speaking they are 100% correct.
The Pointe’s original Cabbage Patch was located along the present day Berkshire Lane in the City of Grosse Pointe, on the property that is now split between the Grosse Pointe War Memorial Church and the Grosse Pointe Club (The Little Club.) The name was bestowed by Mrs. Henry Joy in the early part of the 1900’s, because the charming little houses there reminded her of the illustrations in the popular book “Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch” by Alice Caldwell Hegan Rice.
As the area gave way to other developments over the years, the name floated south along Jefferson Avenue to the Park, where it came to rest on a bustling neighborhood of Belgian owned business, craftsmen and city workers.
The reason this area does not look like the rest of Grosse Pointe Park is that it was built in the early 1900’s as an autonomous municipality called Fairview. Developed as a commercial district well before the Village and Hill, Fairview was where most Pointers went to shop. In 1907, a section of Fairview, stretching from Alter Road to Bewick St., was annexed to the city of Detroit. The remaining streets, from Wayburn to Nottingham, were incorporated into the new Village of Grosse Pointe Park.
Today the dividing line between the west boarder of Grosse Pointe Park and Detroit runs right through the center of the alley between Wayburn and Alter Roads, a fact which has a tremendous influence on an area which remains, in some respects, a city within a city.
Locals affectionately refer to this neighborhood as the “gateway to the Grosse Pointes.” This is a sought after location for the young professionals to live because of its short commute to downtown Detroit.
In an era of cookie-cutter condos found in other communities, these streets offer a refreshing variety of brick and clapboard houses for those who appreciate craftsmanship. There are detailed moldings, hardwood floors, fireplaces, decorative ceilings and leaded glass windows.
Today there is a major resurgence in what was once referred to as “The Cabbage Patch.” It is now commonly referred to as, “West Park.” There are numerous new restaurants, a micro-brewery, coffee shops and other bustling establishments. West Park is quickly becoming a very popular destination not only for Grosse Pointers but for people throughout the Metro Detroit area. Never has the future of this wonderful little corner of Grosse Pointe Park looked so bright.