Back to All Events


  • Urban Consulate 4735 Cass Avenue Detroit, MI 48201 USA (map)

Join us in the parlor with William Colburn, founding director of Preservation Detroit and Executive Director of Wayne State University’s historic Charles Lang Freer House.

Colburn’s work in historic preservation began at age 21 as a buildings surveyor with the Detroit Urban Conservation Project. He joined the Preservation Wayne organization and soon rose to a leadership role as chairman and then founding executive director. During his 20 years of association with Preservation Wayne, Colburn transformed the WSU student organization into Detroit’s first full-time, citywide, nonprofit preservation organization. Today, the group is known as Preservation Detroit.

In addition to the successful battle to halt demolition and restore the Mackenzie House, home of WSU’s founder and first dean, Preservation Wayne also spearheaded an effort for more than three decades to preserve and revitalize the E. Ferry Avenue Historic District. Other accomplishments include the first comprehensive surveys of historic buildings on the WSU campus and surrounding community, resulting in more than 20 buildings and three historic districts receiving designation on the National Register of Historic Places. 

From the 1970s to the 1990s, the work of Preservation Wayne, together with other key individuals and organizations, helped to shift the WSU and Midtown area from clearance to preservation and restoration.

  • Hosted by Claire Nelson & Orlando Bailey
  • Thanks to support from Knight Foundation
  • Locals & travelers welcome
Earlier Event: May 2
Later Event: May 5