Detroit History


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Capitol Park in 1949  The Farwell Building today.

Read the full report from

“Detroit’s Capitol Park neighborhood is one of the oldest in the city, but has not fared well over the years. Made up of high-rise office and retail outlets arranged around a park in the center, many of the buildings today are vacant, awaiting redevelopment. One of these buildings is the eight-story Farwell Building, a long-vacant property with tremendous potential.”

With the renewed interest in and redevelopment of Capitol Park, hopefully brighter days await this historic structure.

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Where did the iconic Detroit “D” come from?

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Old English D

Read the full Michigan Radio report.

The Old English “D” has become emblematic of the city of Detroit – it can be seen tattooed on forearms or stuck on the bumpers of cars, and of course, all over Comerica Park. The baseball team popularized the D, but where did it really come from, and why has the entire city rallied behind it?

Did you know … The D on the Tigers’ hats is different than the D on their uniforms, and the D on the gates of the stadium is different than the D on the banners hanging from the street lights.

Thanks to Michigan Radio for this lesson in history and marketing.

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40 photos – 1940: What was happening in Michigan 75 years ago

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Kerns Store  Edsel and Henry Ford 1940


WillysOverland  Briggs Stadium 1940

See the complete Detroit News photo gallery.

A great collection of photographs, including:

  • Henry & Edsel Ford showing off the new 1940 model next to the 1896 Quadricycle
  • An ad for the 1940 Willys-Overland
  • Tiger Stadium, then called Briggs Stadium, decorated for the 1940 World Series featuring the Tigers against the Cincinnati Reds
  • Tele-Tone television set in 1940. Only about 7,000–8,000 TVs were made in the United States before production was suspended in 1942 for World War II
  • Downtown Detroit with a full view of Kern’s Department Store

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Detroit News Archives: 52 Tigers Opening Day photographs through the years

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Tigers Opening Day 1911  Tigers Opening Day 1929

See the full gallery of Opening Day photos.

This historic gallery begins with Davey Jones at bat during a snow storm at Bennett Park in 1911.

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Rare glimpse inside vacant Hotel Park Avenue before expected demo

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Park-Avenue-Hotel_2240  Park-Avenue-Hotel_2306

Read the full Motor City Muckraker article with 15 photos.

The end appears to be approaching for the historic Hotel Park Avenue in the Cass Corridor after a city council committee approved rezoning plans Thursday for a new Red Wings arena.

The plans call for demolishing the 91-year-old building and preserving its neighbor, the Hotel Eddystone.

Both hotels, which are on the national historic register, were designed by famed architect Louis Kamper, who also was the mastermind behind the Book-Cadillac Hotel, the Broderick Tower and other hotels and downtown landmarks.

A photographer recently provided these photos from inside the hotel, which has been vacant and relatively secure since 2003.

In the 1920s, the area surrounding the hotels was teeming with fancy shops and hotels, drawing its inspiration from New York City’s Fifth Avenue.  But the area declined sharply after World War II when middle-class residents began moving to safer neighborhoods and the suburbs.

Before long, the area was overtaken by drugs, crime and poverty. The few upscale apartments and hotels that weren’t demolished hung on by providing services to lower-income people.

The Park Avenue Hotel, for example, became a senior complex and then a rehab center for drug addicts and homeless people.

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Milwaukee Junction: Detroit’s next hot neighborhood is hiding in plain sight

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Read the full article from Bridge Magazine.

Milwaukee Junction, once one of the world’s most productive industrial zones, the place where Henry Ford began experimenting with the Model T and the assembly line [The Ford Piquette Avenue Plant]. It’s a sprawling area around the I-75/I-94 interchange that is old and beat up and exists mostly off the radar of local media and metro area residents.
While its dynamic past is gradually forgotten, Milwaukee Junction’s immediate future seems increasingly clear: It appears to be Detroit’s next hot neighborhood.

FYI … The Ford Piquette Avenue Plant is located in Midtown Detroit at 461 Piquette Street, south of Grand Boulevard and just east of Woodward Ave. For info visit

If you’re interested in seeing more of this area on a visit with Show Me Detroit Tours, let us know in advance. For complete tour info visit

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Explore Belle Isle’s Crumbling 113-Year-Old Boathouse

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Postcard - Detroit Boat Club

Read the full Curbed Detroit article (with 31 photos).

Founded in 1839, the Detroit Boat Club developed an unfortunate habit of losing its buildings to grand fires. After the fourth boat house was incinerated in 1901, members decided they needed something a bit less combustible. Dedicated in 1902, the building seen on Belle Isle today is said to be the first in America constructed entirely out of reinforced concrete.
Today, the Detroit Boat Club Crew still trains there, filling the grandiose ballrooms with workout equipment. The building’s location on the water regularly attracts proposals for conversion to a hotel or restaurant, but none have gone anywhere. While the original interior is still very much intact, the structure is said to need millions in long-term repair.

The boat club is one of the sites you’ll see on a Show Me Detroit Tours visit to Belle Isle. For complete info visit

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