Skip to main content

Carl Almblad Papers

Identifier: UP001602

Scope and Content

The papers of Carl W. Almblad contain correspondence, manuals, maps, reports, studies and printed material related to urban planning, urban renewal and historic district development in the cities of Chicago and Detroit.

Important subjects in the collection: American Institute of Planners. Blessing, Charles A. Cavanagh, Jerome P. Central business districts--Michigan--Detroit. Chicago (Ill.)--City planning. Cobo, Albert E. Detroit--Virginia Park neighborhood. Detroit--West side industrial neighborhood. Detroit Medical Center. Detroit (Mich.) City Plan Commission. Detroit (Mich.)--City planning. Detroit (Mich.) Community and Economic Development Department. Detroit (Mich.) Historic District Commission. Detroit (Mich.)--Model Neighborhood Agency. Detroit (Mich.)--Population. Detroit (Mich.)--Race relations. Detroit (Mich.)--Social policy. Detroit (Mich.)--Urban renewal. Federal aid to community development--Michigan--Detroit. Gribbs, Roman S. Historic buildings--Conservation and restoration--Michigan--Detroit. Historic districts--Michigan--Detroit. Housing rehabilitation--Michigan--Detroit. Miriani, Louis C. New Center Commons. Virginia Park. Wayne State University--Michigan--Detroit. Young, Coleman A.
Series Description. Series 1, Personal, 1938-1962: This series contains notes, reports and studies pertaining to Almblad's time in Chicago as well as to his education at the University of Illinois and Wayne State University. Other information on Chicago may by found in Series 4, Other Cities. More information about Almblad's career with the City of Detroit is in Series 2, Detroit City Planning Commission, and Series 3, Historic District Commission.

Series 2, Detroit City Plan Commission, 1913-1988: This series contains agendas, articles, brochures, budgets, clippings, drawings, guides, manuals, maps, notes, papers, plans, proposals, reports, scripts to reflect the activities of the Detroit City Plan Commission and urban planning. The documents are arranged by geographic area, city department and subject.

Series 3, Historic District Commission, 1964-1988: This series contains articles, brochures, budgets, contracts, guidelines, maps, notes, procedures, recommendation, reports pertaining to the Detroit Historic District Commission activities. This includes historic district designation, rehabilitation techniques, approval procedures and city ordinances, citizen organizations, and information about historic districts.

Series 4, Other Cities, 1947-1987: This series contains articles, brochures, clippings, and reports pertaining to urban planning and historic designations in cities outside the Detroit metropolitan area. Information on the Chicago is in Series 1, Personal.


  • 1913 - 1988


Language of Materials

Material entirely in English.


Collection is open for research.


Refer to the Walter P. Reuther Library Rules for Use of Archival Materials. Restrictions: Researchers may encounter records of a sensitive nature – personnel files, case records and those involving investigations, legal and other private matters. Privacy laws and restrictions imposed by the Library prohibit the use of names and other personal information which might identify an individual, except with written permission from the Director and/or the donor.


Carl W. Almblad was born on August 16, 1924, in Chicago and spent his entire professional career as an urban planner. He pursued undergraduate studies in civil engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology in the early 1940s and received a B.S. in architecture from the University of Illinois in 1950 and an M.S. in urban planning from Wayne State University in 1961.

In 1950 he began work with the Chicago Plan Commission as a student intern and was later promoted to associate planner. His responsibilities included conducting redevelopment studies, housing and economic studies, and regional studies.

Almblad left Chicago in 1953 to join the Detroit City Plan Commission, where he worked over the next several years as a senior, principal and, finally, head city planner, responsible for urban renewal planning, master plan studies, coordination with neighborhood groups, model neighborhood plans, and city-wide historic and renewal studies. In 1971, he was appointed assistant director of the City Plan Commission.

In 1974, Almblad assumed leadership of the City of Detroit Community and Economic Development Department. As planning head of the department, his duties included regulating zoning uses, urban renewal planning, public works projects administration and responsibility for urban design, graphics, exhibits and films. He left in 1982 to become chief administrator of the Detroit Historic District Commission.

After his retirement in June 1988, Almblad relocated to North Carolina, where he became an avid watercolorist. Carl Almblad died in 2019.


24 Linear Feet (24 SB)


An urban planner, Carl Almblad (1924-2019) worked with the Chicago Plan Commission, the Detroit Plan Commission, the City of Detroit Community and Economic Development Department and the Detroit Historic District Commission. Almblad's papers relate to urban planning, urban renewal and historic district development, as well as architecture and renovation of historic properties, in the cities of Chicago and Detroit.


Arranged in 4 series: Series 1 (Boxes 1-2), Series 2 (Boxes 2-17), Series 3 (Boxes 16, 18-22), Series 4 (Boxes 22-24).


A few photographs and a large collection of slides have been transferred to the Reuther Archives Audiovisual Collection. Several books on urban planning and the city of Detroit have been placed in the Archives Library.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Guide to the Carl Almblad Papers
Processed by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA