Detroit Renumbering Information


Detroit, the 4th largest city in the United States in 1920, underwent a massive house renumbering program in 1921.  The new numbers went into effect on January 1, 1921.  The tables presented on our utility were transcribed from the “Federal Official Street Guide and Pocket Directory of Detroit,” 1920-21 Edition.


Here is what the Directory says about the new numbering system:


    One full number is allowed for each 10 feet of frontage on each side of all

    Thoroughfares, even numbers on the right and odd numbers on the left

    side.  The base line is a line drawn perpendicular with the foot of Woodward

    Avenue, extending easterly through Essex Avenue and in a westward direction

    along the tracks of the Wabash Railroad: streets south of this line will be

    south.”  Woodward Ave to the Six Mile Road and thence continuing north

    on John R Street will be the other base line dividing the city into “East,” and

    “West.”  Michigan Avenue is considered as extending westward, Grand River

    Avenue northward and Gratiot Avenue eastward, for the purpose of the

    ordinance.  North and south streets start at the base line with the numbers 100

    and 101: east and west streets start at the Woodward base line with numbers

    1 and 2.  Each block will be a rectifying block, so that along a north and south

    line from the river up, the numbers on the houses will be alike on each cross

    street:  the same holds true going east and west.


We only transcribed those streets that showed both new and old numbers in the Directory.



Joel Weintraub  July 2005


I thank Ross Brown, Eileen Oesterle, Joan Parker, and Shelly Weiner who helped with the transcription.