Like most kids growing up in Suburban Detroit, I was first introduced to Prince by The Electrifying Mojo, the legendary underground DJ on WGPR. I was a card carrying member of the Midnight Funk Association.
Mojo had been going on for hours about this 19year-old kid from Minneapolis who was going to take over the world. Then shortly after Midnight, and after I raised my hand and “Pledged Allegiance to The Funk”, Mojo played “Soft and Wet” – I was hooked.
From that day on, I have bought all of Prince’s 47 albums the day they were released. … Read More… →
Before he was selected in WWII’s first draft for 18 year-olds, Detroit’s Lawrence Dupuis didn’t know the value of being color-blind. “They would take me up in the aircraft and I could detect where the landscape had been disturbed and camouflage was laid down.”
His cartooning skills were even put to use, although someone else would have to color the wall-sized illustration below: “This drawing was painted on the stage of the Great Dunmow Airport Building that was to be used as an all-purpose room by the 8th Air Force who were to take over the field. They sent over a sergeant to check the … Read More… →
“On summer nights, before anyone had air-conditioning,” recollects my friend Tony Shaieb, “you could walk down the street and listen to Ernie Harwell call the entire ball game through the open windows.”
Tony’s memories are quite a bit more romantic than the eerie bluish-glow from my neighborhood’s 60″ plasmas tuned to Fox Sports Detroit
My wife and I were taking the dog for a walk last night and I had a similar flashback to the legendary Tigers broadcaster. A few of my more enthusiastic neighbors who foolishly believe in fertilizer found themselves already mowing the young grass—and what better time to run the Toro than 8:30 pm? (When our kids were toddlers, our considerate neighbor Thad would wait another 90 minutes before he’d begin.)
Ken Pickering, GM’s retired Executive Director, Engineering and Design Services, joins Digging Detroit’s Kevin Walsh and Pete Kalinski to discuss his career in the exciting years of design in the 1950s and beyond.
Moving from western Pennsylvania to WWII to GM
Hard work combined with some great breaks
Harley Earl & Bill Mitchell
How long a car takes from design to production
Women in design via Harley Earl
The Corvette SR2 created in 5 weeks for Earl’s son
Henry Ford, Willow Run and the Arsenal of Democracy
Achilles was the grandest warrior of the Trojan war. With godlike looks to match his skills on the battlefield, Achilles lead Agamemnon’s forces to legendary status. Achilles was a man to emulate and any athlete would be floored to be compared to—if not for the frailness in which his rival Paris disposed of him. It’s why on Saturday night when I received a text from my brother that said, simply, “Jennings f#$@ed,” my heart sank. I wasn’t watching the game. I was at a bar and it was loud and there were too many people there and I couldn’t see the TV screens, but eventually I saw the replay of Brandon Jennings falling back on his heel and my deepest fears aligned with that of Homer and … Read More… →
Alex MacLean has seen Detroit from the sky at various stages since 1980. The large green-spaces below, for example, were once crowded neighborhoods and business districts in a city’s footprint that is large enough to fit Houston, Boston and Manhattan. These grassy fields seen from Google Maps might be mistaken for parks.
Similar green spaces a few miles north of town generally have bunkers and greens fees.
A trained architect, pilot, author and photographer, MacLean lives in Massachusetts but has seen Detroit from above as Ronald Reagan received the Republican presidential nomination, for the 1998 demolition of the landmark Hudson Building and last autumn at a request from the New York Times. Each visit is like dropping into a different chapter of the city’s history–urban farms were previously dangerous abandoned homes and lots.
It was 2008. We decided to take a family vacation to New York at the end of July. By we, I mean: my mother and my father wanted to take a trip to New York and my brother—Chicago’s newest citizen and most eligible bachelor—and I—readying my venture of four years in East Lansing—agreed to go on one more family trip before I officially became a co-ed. Part of the lure, though, was the opportunity to see one of America’s most treasured landmarks: Yankee Stadium; which was especially important, since Yankee Stadium was about to see its final turnstiles turned that fall. The Davidoffs have, are, and will always be a baseball family at heart (much like Detroit is a baseball city at heart). There’s been … Read More… →
“The Joe,” the battleship-gray windowless box on the Detroit River, is slated for 2017 demolition, making way for high-rise condos, a hotel and shopping as part of a pay-back to creditors owed $1 billion. For a few months in-between wrecking-ball and ground-breaking, Detroiters will once again have an unobstructed view of the river at the corner of Fort and 3rd–as if looking back in time and seeing the Purple Gang hijack another bootlegger at the docks, before moving its haul up the street to the speakeasy beside the church.
And that same little brick building on the left will probably still be standing when the condos are torn down in 60 years–perhaps making way for the next home for the Wings.
When the 1974 picture above was taken, I was probably immersed in Channel 50’s after-school reruns of Get Smart, Gilligan’s Island or … Read More… →
Somewhere amid Derek Jeter’s fourth or fifth finale on Sunday afternoon, John Farrell spent most of his time faking a smile, trying to be a part of all the pomp and circumstance as another baseball season came to a close. In many ways, the season for Farrell and his Red Sox ended months ago. No doubt the sting hurt more on Sunday, as mathematical elimination and inevitable closure became a physical reality as the sun finally set on Fenway Park, its home players and Beantown’s most faithful. I imagine John Farrell muttering about in his mind of what went wrong; surveying the field on the last day of the season, questioning and second guessing every decision and asking himself how the Red Sox went from the … Read More… →
I mean, listen to Ford Field after Durrell Summers powers that dunk through. Michigan State (or Michigan, for that matter) playing in the Final Four in their home state behind a home crowd may never happen again, and although the Spartans came up short against one of the most perfect North Carolina teams, the Spartans felt like champions that entire weekend. I’ve seen a lot of cool things in Detroit, but for a freshman Michigan State student like myself, seeing Park, Witherell, Madison and Brush streets and its pedestrians drenched in green and white was a sight I will hold deep in my memory forever.
Saturday was to be the day that my Mom and I would move out of the house my family had lived in for eight of my 12 years. The large three-story home which had held within its walls a family of eight and all that that entails had grown too large. Dad was gone and gradually the family had dispersed as families do. Now it was just me and my Mom.
She had rented the bottom of a house across from the University of Detroit. She worked there managing the bookstore so the location made sense. The local Catholic school … Read More… →
Kevin’s recent illustrated humor post on Detroit’s Museum Yard Sale, about the proposed selling of the city’s more valuable art pieces, reminded me of the last time I visited the Detroit Institute of Arts about 10 years ago (I live in New York so have an excuse for not visiting there more often).
My husband, author Warren Berger, and I were there on a scouting mission. Warren was checking out locations for scenes in his novel THE PURPLES, which chronicles/imagines the rise and fall of the young rumrunner Purple Gang in 1920s Detroit. [Nota bene: The novel started life as a great screenplay … Read More… →
I love this picture. It was taken in 1966 in the basement of my parents’ home on Ward in Detroit. It almost looks like a Norman Rockwell painting, the way my Uncle Bill is leaning back with the cue, my Uncle John is supervising in his vest, and my Uncle Joe is taking the shot with cousin Matt advising. My dad is holding me and even my grandpa is watching from the booth.
It’s a perfect image of this nostalgic time that I can’t even truly remember. We moved from the house in 1970 and those pre-6-year-old memories aren’t … Read More… →