Henry James Tuttle – Park 29

HUMBLE BEGINNINGS

Location: Stout, Trojan, Fargo and Kentfield Streets

Henry J. Tuttle [1897-1959] was born on a farm near Plymouth, MI on January 29, 1897 to parents Minnie and Charles.  He graduated from Detroit’s Old Central High School in 1915 with distinguished skill as a Latinist.  Beyond this, Tuttle was a self-schooled individual.

Henry’s first job (1915) was an entry position at the Detroit City Gas company as a serviceman.  His wrench skills were great and within three years, he was promoted to supervisor of merchandise orders.  Deemed an accounting wizard, he received prestigious promotions in management in the 1930’s and 1940’s.  Detroit and the surrounding farms and forests were beginning to grow.  His professional rise coincided with a period of dramatic expansion in housing and increased natural gas demand and use.   Eventually, Detroit City Gas was renamed to Michigan Consolidated Gas Company. Today we know it as Consumers Energy.

Wooded park
A lovely 4 acre wooded paradise within a northwest Detroit neighborhood.

BRINGING HEAT TO THE MASSES

In 1951, Tuttle was chosen by the Secretary of the Interior as an expert to forecast natural gas need and supply for the United States.   In 1952, he was elected president of Michigan Consolidated Gas Company – in full charge of the utility.  Under his watch, the utility began working with the Michigan Public Service Commission to install gas space heating units within homes and apartments to approximately 80,000 consumers across Michigan.

The installation of natural gas was a exciting prospect. [Tuttle is not pictured.] Clipping courtesy of the Ypsilanti Historical Society.
The installation of natural gas was a exciting prospect. [Tuttle is not pictured.] Clipping courtesy of the Ypsilanti Historical Society.
Tuttle was civic minded and worked as an active member on several advisory boards:  American Red Cross Detroit Chapter, the Detroit Zoological Society, Businessman’s Advisory Committee of Wayne State University, as well as the finance committee of the Boy Scouts.  He had membership in the Masons, Shriners, Detroit Athletic Club, the Detroit Golf Club, the Economic Club of Detroit, the Lansing Press Club, the Newcomen Society among others.

Henry Tuttle died on March 26, 1959 leaving his widow Marjorie and brother Irving.  He is buried in Grand Lawn Cemetery in Detroit.

tuttle cu
Tuttle Park was dedicated on September 1, 1959. The plaque is somewhat hard to read.

Tuttle Park is a piece of paradise within a stable residential neighborhood.  It’s a short distance from Henry Ford High School. At the end of the short sidewalk, the red flagpole base remembers his legacy.

map
4 Acre Tuttle Park on the left side of map. The larger park is named for Willis Watts O’Hair – an early Detroit Parks and Recreation commissioner and civic minded woman.