Well-known local architect Louis Kamper designed this structure in 1898, which was also known as the Hamlin Avenue Station, because E. Bethune Street was originally called Hamlin. He also designed the 8th Precinct in 1900, the familiar "castle" building at the corner of Grand River & Rosa Parks, in a very similar style. At the time, both police stations included a barn. Kamper also designed several well-known skyscrapers downtown, such as the Broderick Tower and Book-Cadillac Hotel.
The c.1915 Sanborn map of this area, called "North Woodward" at the time, shows the Michigan State Telephone Co.'s "MArket" exchange office across the street, Cadillac Motor Co.'s Plant #4 on the block behind it (Custer & John R), and almost every lot already filled with houses. There were even a few residential garages converted into machine shops. Today this area is called the North End. The same map from 1897 shows the north side of Hamlin Street built up, only a few houses scattered around the surrounding blocks, and neither this building nor the telephone exchange were present yet. If there was a pre-existing farm here, it was not immediately evident from that map where its homestead or barns stood.
Here is a historic photo of what the 9th Precinct Station looked like before it was mostly demolished (the Mounted Division was housed in the smaller structure to the right):
|Image from Newspapers.com|