How to Research An Historic Property

Congrats, you own a historic home or property! Now comes the fun part: learning all about it.

While we do maintain a small archive at our offices, you’re most likely to find what you’re looking for through one of these resources:

The Burton Historical Collection at the Detroit Public Library is Detroit’s most robust local history collection. Specifically, the Burton’s historic maps, phone, and street directories will help you trace the previous occupants of the building. They may be able to give you leads on photos of the area. Some materials are available online through the Detroit Public Library’s Digital Collections.

The staff of the Historic Designation Advisory Board and the Historic District Commission may be able to direct you to original permits for your building and other materials that might have ended up in the City’s records.

Read this blog post! The advice in it holds true for commercial as well as residential properties, and it is the single best, most detailed explanation of how to research a Detroit building’s history.

And you’re always welcome to share what you find with us. We’re always excited to learn more about Detroit buildings!