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|During the early to mid-1960's it wasn't uncommon to find
these smaller (40-45-passenger) #1000-1100 series GM
diesel buses operating on the Northlawn bus line.
(photo courtesy of Stan Sycko)
Information for the above article compiled from data supplied by various Jack E. Schramm Motor Coach Age magazine articles
on DSR bus routes from 1922 thru 1974, including "Detroit's DSR, Part 1" (January–February 1991 edition), "Detroit's DSR,
Part 2" (March–April 1992 edition), and "Detroit's DSR, Part 3" (May–June 1993 edition). Additional info obtained from 1954
DSR Schedule Analysis and Headway Reports courtesy of Tom Breeding, and 1951, 1957-58, 1963 and 1968 thru 1972 DSR
Service Maps already in the author's possession. The 1969 Northlawn transfer copy courtesy of the Stan Sycko collection.
D.S.R. Route #69
However, effective Sunday, April 3, 1949, the Fullerton Shuttle bus route was discontinued. On that same day service
began on the new Northlawn bus line. Originally, the southern portion of the Northlawn line covered the same route
pictured above, but instead of returning at Intervale, the route continued nearly 1½–mile northward along Wyoming to
Puritan, where it continued west along Puritan to Southfield Road, then south along Southfield to Fenkell—–the current
route now followed by the DDOT #39 Puritan line. (During those days, the bus service along the Puritan route east of
Wyoming was provided by the former Puritan-Fenkell line, which continued via Wyoming and Fenkell to Telegraph.)
The original headways on the Northlawn route averaged 12 minutes during the peak hours and 30 minutes during the
base, with five to six of the small 27-passenger Ford coaches required for peak hour operation and two during the base.
But effective on June 15, 1951, the Puritan-Fenkell bus line was extended further west along Puritan, to coincide with
the launching of the new Fenkell bus route. As a result, the Northlawn route was cut back to Wyoming and Intervale,
resulting in the shortened, 3.32-mile round trip shuttle route pictured above.
Headways on the shorter Northlawn route averaged 15 minutes during the peak and 30 minutes during the base. But
by 1953, only one bus serviced the line with 20-minute headways throughout the day. Sunday service was discontinu-
ed on May 1, 1955, with Monday thru Saturday service continuing through the route's remaining years of operation.
Beginning on June 7, 1971, service on the Northlawn line was suspended due to construction on the new Jeffries (I-
96) Freeway—which now posed additional problems by preventing the residential streets of Northlawn and Cloverlawn
access across the freeway, between Fullerton and Davison. This now cut the already short route in half. Consequently,
DSR management announced that service on the route would not return. But after angry protests from area residents,
service was restored on September 25, 1972, with the line rerouted ½–mile to the east between Fullerton and Davison,
along Ewald Circle.
The former route #69 Northlawn was a short 1.8-mile long light service
shuttle route that primarily operated along a few residential streets on
the west-side of Detroit. The route provided service to the commercial
retail area located at Oakman Blvd. and Grand River. Such major retail
establishments as Sears, Roebuck and Co., Federal's Department Store,
S S Kresge, Robert Hall, United Shirt, Meyer Jewelers, and Cunningham
Drugs were all located within one block of that intersection.
During the early years, the route which would later become the Northlawn bus
line covered a much larger area. During the start–up years of the DSR's Motor
Coach Division, almost the entire portion of the Northlawn bus route pictured
here (see route map) formed the southern terminus for the original Wyoming
feeder bus route—–which began operations back in late November of 1925. The
Wyoming route operated from Fenkell and Wyoming via Wyoming, Schoolcraft
and Cloverlawn (return Northlawn) to Oakman and Grand River. The Wyoming
line was later extended to Eight Mile Road in 1927.
However, beginning on March 11, 1929, the Wyoming route was extended to
Michigan Avenue, and the Northlawn route would now become the eastern ter-
minus of the Schoolcraft line. The route would remain part of the Schoolcraft
bus line until June, 1948—–when the Schoolcraft route was rerouted via Ewald
Circle, where it basically followed the route of the former Oakman streetcar line
to the DSR's Highland Park Terminal. Service along Northlawn was continu-
ed by extending the 'short–lived' Fullerton Shuttle route eastward from Grand
River and Fullerton, via Fullerton and Wyoming to Intervale, where it then follow-
ed the former Schoolcraft route to Oakman and Grand River.
Shortly thereafter, the DSR management
announced that the #69 Northlawn line
would be combined (via Wyoming and
Lyndon) with the #63 Meyers line, ½-mile
to the west. Effective on June 15, 1973 —
the same day the Michigan and Gratiot
and Broadstreet and W. Chicago routes
were combined — the Northlawn bus line
was replaced by the newly merged route
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