Monday, September 2, 2013

Detroit -- The Motor City

Detroit, Motor City, Motown....whatever moniker is placed on it, it's a City undergoing change. Back in the day, Detroit was a vibrant, industrial city known worldwide as the City where cars were born. The big three, Chrysler, GM and Ford all had many plants that put together our automobiles. In the 1950s and 60s one could take a walking tour of the plants and actually see the assembly lines and the cars being put together, one bolt at a time. Imagine standing in one place all day, pulling a fender off a pile and attaching it to the car as it passed along on a trolley, waiting for the next assembler to continue the process until the finished product came together. Today, that process is largely automated and outsourced to other countries....

Coming into the downtown area, on the right is the famed Fillmore Theater. Built in 1925 as a movie house it is now a venue for concerts. The building is 12 stories high with a 8 story auditorium. We are looking south on Woodward Drive, near Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers baseball team.

Adjacent to the Fillmore is the Fox Theater. Built in 1928, it was the flagship for the Fox Theater chain. It was the first theater designed and built with a speaker system for sound films. It has seating for 5,048 people. It is the last surviving movie palace of the 1920s. It is still in use today as a performing arts center.


The Detroit Tigers baseball team is one of the eight American League charter franchises. They are the oldest continuous one-name, one-city franchise in the AL. Founded in 1894, they have won 4 World Series and 11 American League Pennants. Their new stadium, Comerica Park, across from the Fox Theater in Downtown Detroit was built in 2000. The Tigers featured players such as Ty Cobb, Al Kaline, Norm Cash and more recently, Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera.

The Tigers played their last game at Tiger Stadium on September 27, 1999 against the Kansas City Royals. Over the next few years, Tiger Stadium sat vacant while it's fate was debated over and over. It was finally demolished in 2009. All that's left at the site is the original fence surrounding the field. The playing field itself is still intact and is used by anyone wanting to play on a legend field.  Of note: My grandpa took me to my first baseball game at Tiger Stadium in 1958 against the Yankees.

The Wayne County Building in downtown Detroit. Built in 1897, this building housed the County government and courthouse until 2007 when Wayne County bought a nearby building complex and moved there. It now sits empty as it has for the past six years, another example of Detroit's deteriorating economy.

Looking at the downtown area, one is left to wonder what will happen to Detroit. It was interesting driving around Detroit. We saw many areas of deterioration, vacant buildings covered with graffiti, homelessness and despair. Other areas, such as the downtown area, consisted of old stately buildings with history to modern examples of grandeur and wealth.

Detroit is also the home of the Red Wings hockey club. Joe Louis Arena is located on the Detroit River, downtown. It is across the river from Windsor Canada.
Finally, I'll leave you with this vision we spotted alongside Interstate 94 just outside Detroit. It's only fitting Uniroyal would place this huge icon in the Motor City.

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