Russell Woods Park # 82

Park Location:  Broadstreet, Old Mill, Leslie and Fullerton

old survey
I love these cobalt blue surveys. This old survey indicates one L, however every city document I read indicates two L’s in Russel(l).  I went with two. But I must admit the deed I read was a typed copy, so we may never know the true spelling.  

100 YEARS ON MAY 22, 1925

Russell Woods-Sullivan neighborhood was once known as “Detroit’s Richest Legacy” and came to fruition after Detroit annexed this area around 1916.  Many prominent, educated and famous Detroiters chose this neighborhood to call home. Housing here is architecturally stellar, built primarily during the 1920’s and 1930’s with unique period detailing; few residences were constructed in the late 1940’s.  I have personally heard many recollections from ‘old timers’ indicating a pinnacle event in life was having ‘a Broadstreet address’. Importantly this neighborhood has a historical designation.

Google map of the neighborhood. Ray Zussman playground in upper right; Russell Woods park in lower left.

Today, the Russell Woods – Sullivan Area Association is alive, strong and packed with passionate and dedicated neighbors who look out for one another.  Their signature summer event – Jazz in the Park –  started in 1959 and continues to draw hundreds of people.  The neighborhood has a long-lived newsletter –  The Russell Woodsman, a longtime association and has two excellent greenspaces– Russell Woods Park and MOH Raymond Zussman playground.

In May 1925, three acres were conveyed  via a quit claim deed from Henry Munroe Campbell (1854-1926) of the Russell Woods Company to the City of Detroit.  His only condition of the donation was the land to stay as a public green space for the enjoyment of all forever.  So be it.  Russell Woods Park was born.

Well treed and tended. Russell Woods park.

H.M. Campbell descended from a long line of highly educated and successful folks. His father was among the “Big 4”, a group of young and powerful attorneys all serving on Michigan’s Supreme Court simultaneously beginning in the 1850’s –  Thomas Cooley [say MSU Law School and Cooley HS in Detroit], Benjamin Graves, Isaac P. Christiancy and of course his dad, James V. Campbell.


Henry Munroe Campbell painting.  Image:  courtesy of Brittney Lacoste.

Henry attended University of Michigan becoming a respected, highly sought-after attorney forming a law partnership with Henry Russel [there’s the one L] in the late 1870’s.  One interesting feature of the Russel & Campbell firm was an unwritten agreement that all new partners would need the first name of Henry.  In the 1890’s, Henry B. Ledyard Jr. [connected to the Cass family] and Henry Bulkley would join the firm. Today, the firm has no name restrictions and is known Dickinson Wright PLLC.

H.M. Campbell developed the subdivision Russell Woods.  Daniel and Jeremiah Sullivan formed the remainder of the neighborhood from their family farm. Campbell’s Detroit business involvements were deep:  Executive of the Michigan Central Railroad, involved in the  Union Trust Company, The River Rouge Improvement Co, Parke Davis Co., Cass Farm Co., Delray Land Co., & Peoples State Bank.

The family plot in Elmwood Cemetery. HM was an Elwood Cemetery trustee. Image courtesy of Twist@FAG.

Henry Munroe Campbell died in Arizona while recuperating from ill-health in 1926.  Learn more about this powerhouse Michigan family at the Detroit Public Library Burton Collection as well as U of M Bentley Historical for family papers.;focusrgn=C01;subview=standard;view=reslist

In 7 short years, Russell Woods parkland will turn 100 years old.  According to the Detroit Parks and Recreation 2017 Master Plan, this park should  receive its updates before that time.

The generosity of one has extended to the pleasure of many.

Thanks for reading.  Less is more! ©Andrea Gallucci, 2018.