Auburn Hills subdivision is bounded by Plum Hollow Lane on the north, Auburn Avenue on the east, Sweet Street on the south, and Fuller Avenue on the west.
For African-Americans, the 1960s were all about the fight for equality. Grand Rapids residents, dentist Dr. Julius Franks, school teachers J E Adams, Jr., and Samuel S. Triplett, and supervisor for the Kent County Department of Social Services Joseph W. Lee found they were not welcome in Grand Rapids' "white" middle-class neighborhoods; many Realtors would not even show them houses, and red-lining kept them from buying homes.
In 1962, Adams found vacant land designated as a potential park site on the City Master Plan. He talked to some friends and created a plan to purchase the 20 acres and turn it into a neighborhood for African-Americans. The plan’s announcement caused an uproar that resulted in protests, lawsuits and threats. The men were forced to jump through hoops to realize their dream — many banks refused to fund the project, and there was a battle before the city council.
The group of men finally purchased the land for $60,000 and started building. The first of 51 houses constructed in the Auburn Hills subdivision - 1706 Auburn N.E. - was begun by Joseph W. Lee, in 1964 and completed in 1965. The neighborhood was developed to give African American residents a place to buy new homes. The four partners formed the Auburn Hills Development Corporation in 1962.
Today, the second-smallest neighborhood by population is thriving, with several of the original residents still living there. It represents a living legacy of hope and determination and some excellent examples of the architectural development during the late 1960s and early 1970s.