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Designed by the Detroit Edison Company as an exclusive residential community in 1913, Barton Hills was incorporated as a village in 1973.

Detroit Edison acquired two thousand acres of land in Ann Arbor Township, on both sides of the Huron River, to build a series of electric power generating dams, including the Barton Dam just outside Ann Arbor, Michigan. Land not used to support the dams was used for agricultural purposes.

As the area north of the Barton Dam, that now makes up the village of Barton Hills, was considered too hilly for farming, the company retained an engineering firm to design a residential community for company executives.

The design plan included extensive reforestation, and home sites were designed to command unobstructed views of Barton Pond and the Huron River, and restrictions attached to each deed stipulated that new homes must be designed by a registered architect, and subject to the approval of an architectural review committee. Originally, the enclave was known as Huron Farms.

Founded in 1917, membership in the Barton Hills Country Club was considered a mark of distinction. In 2020, about 45% of Barton Hills residents were members of the country club.

However, by the 1940s, following the Great Depression and World War II, Detroit Edison came to view Barton Hills as a financial liability. Shareholders voted to gift ownership of unsold lots to the residents of the community, who would then assume responsibility for the maintenance of the community's water system, roads, and infrastructure. As residents gained experience in self-management, new owners were attracted to the area, adding new architecturally designed homes to the community.

However, it was thirty years before community members decided to incorporate as a municipality, becoming the first home-rule village in Washtenaw County on December 12, 1973. A board of trustees was elected to oversee municipal services, and a private corporation was retained to enforce the restrictive covenants, maintain undeveloped land within its boundaries, and conduct an architectural review of new homes.

Prior to the acquisition of the property by the Detroit Edison Company, its Native American populations probably peaked in the early 1600s. Although there were Europeans in the area prior to that time, European settlement of the area began after the War of 1812. The first sales of land in the Barton Hills area recorded by the Government Land Office were between 1825 and 1830.

A man by the name of James Allen established a farm there in the 1870s, which was sold to the Towars Wayne County Creamery in 1896. The Towar Farm raised cattle and operated a dairy there until 1912, and some of the creamery buildings are still standing on the east side of Whitmore Lake Road. Cattle grazed on the hillsides and drank from the Huron River. Towar Farms was acquired by Huron Farms, a subsidiary of the Detroit Edison Company as part of the company's plan to build a series of hydroelectric dams along the river.

The focus of this category is on the village of Barton Hills, Michigan. Although the Barton Hills Country Club may be the only business in Barton Hills, websites representing any organization or entity in Barton Hills would be appropriate for this category.

 

 

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