Detroit Swag-o-mania

Work in nearing completion on the Art Deco-styled Salvation Army Building on Bagley across from DTE HQ in downtown Detroit. A conversation with Scott Simons of DTE Public Relations revealed that the restoration / renovation will be completed around the end of December.

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DISCUSSING ALL THINGS DETROIT-WINDSOR SINCE 1999

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  1. #1
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    Default Another Detroit shot on Shorpy, 1903

    This one's a great shot of the old County building and Campus Martius. What I wouldn't give to be there for one day!!!

    http://www.shorpy.com/node/10282?size=_original

  2. #2
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    WOW!! What a find, Ray. Beautiful shot. I like the background shot with Belle Isle.

    Stromberg2

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    Damn, Detroit was a handsome looking city in 1903.

    The detail in this photo is AMAZING -- you need to hit the zoom link. Check out the billboard on the right hand side that says William E. Metzger - Automobiles. In 1903 Packard was just moving from Warren, Ohio and building the plant on East Grand Boulevard on the outskirts of town.

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    Sorry, I should have added the photo in my prior post.

    Name:  East from majestic preview.jpg
Views: 818
Size:  44.7 KB

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    Wow! I think this is one of my favorite Shorpy photos!

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    What a filthy polluted city. Look at all the smoke in the air.

  7. #7
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    Default Pioneering auto dealer

    Quote Originally Posted by Packman41 View Post
    Check out the billboard on the right hand side that says William E. Metzger - Automobiles.
    I see your billboard, Packman, and raise you a few more bits of local automotive lore:

    • A year before this spectacular photo, Bill Metzger (Detroit High, '85) was among founders of the Cadillac Motor Car Co., where he stayed as sales manager until 1908.
    • Four years before this scene was preserved on an 8x10 glass negative, Metzger helped organize the Detroit Auto Show.

    As for the endlessly fascinating details visible, isn't it cool to count six modes of travel:
    Foot | Horse carriage/wagon | Trolley | Sidewheel steamboat | Freighter | Bicycle (center, to left of restaurant sign)

    Nearly 11 decades after an anonymous photographer on a rooftop or high ledge snapped a shutter, the scene he recorded speaks vividly of how downtown Detroiters lived, dressed and conducted business. Not bad for a commercial photo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eno View Post
    What a filthy polluted city. Look at all the smoke in the air.
    I was going to say this... even with all of Detroit's problems, I'd much rather live in the city now than back in 1903.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eno View Post
    What a filthy polluted city. Look at all the smoke in the air.
    Agreed. If it was also overcrowded, well, it would almost want to make everyone move to the countryside in some sort of new living arrangement.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by DetroitDad View Post
    Agreed. If it was also overcrowded, well, it would almost want to make everyone move to the countryside in some sort of new living arrangement.
    Well, that happened, really. It's not that funny.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by eno View Post
    What a filthy polluted city. Look at all the smoke in the air.
    ......and all the horse pollution in the streets and the open windows letting all that "fresh" air into the buildings. Thank goodness city folk don't have to put up with all that stench anymore - unless they're in "midtown"!

  12. #12
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    On the other hand, listening to a little ragtime sure would beat the hell outta rap............

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpartanTom View Post
    I was going to say this... even with all of Detroit's problems, I'd much rather live in the city now than back in 1903.
    Yes, I'd rather live in Detroit now with few viable neighborhoods, few shopping options, crime ridden, horrible services, lousy unsafe public transportation, recent rampant corruption in city govt on every level, trash & junk & urban prairies abounding, and I wouldn't get to see Ty Cobb & Sam Crawford play together a couple years later at Bennet Park.

    Gimme the early 20th c. anyday.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray1936 View Post
    On the other hand, listening to a little ragtime sure would beat the hell outta rap............
    Or Hard Rock and Country for that matter.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikeg View Post
    ......and all the horse pollution in the streets and the open windows letting all that "fresh" air into the buildings.
    Imagine on the really hot summer days when the air is so thick you can cut it with a knife... The smells must have made your eyes water.

  16. #16
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    I've seen this great shot before at the Burton Historical Collection when researching Detroit's "moonlight" lighting towers. This is, I believe, part of a panoramic set taken in 1903. You can see several towers in this picture, and the next shot over to the northeast shows literally dozens of them all over the east side.

    Whenever I look at one of these old pictures I always try to spot any structures in it that are still standing in our very changed city. Here you can see the Old County Building, of course, along with the Globe Trading Company behind it (helpfully labeled with a little globe-shaped sign on the top), and the "Greenwich Time" building at the point of Cadillac Sq. and Congress, but I believe that every other building visible downtown is either long-gone or disappeared during my lifetime (like the Monroe block).

    Further out you can clearly see the sun glinting off of the then-brand new Palms Apartments on Jefferson, Sts. Peter and Paul church just to the right of the County Bldg. tower, the spire of Christ Church just peeking out from behind that tower, and way off in the distance on Belle Isle just past the bridge glowing brightly in the sunshine the proud new clubhouse of the Detroit Boat Club.

    But that's it, I think. Does anyone spot anything else?

    Of course, there are other great details, like the wagons lined up in front of the food market businesses that still lined the north of Cadillac Square (only a few years then after it had been the site of the city's Central Market), the big white ferry out in the river near Belle Isle, another ferry that looks to be leaving Windsor, and the ruralness then of that area east of Windsor out to the Hiram Walker Distillery (another still-standing building?). Also, is that a masted sailing ship I see just off the coast of the east side?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikefmich View Post
    Yes, I'd rather live in Detroit now with few viable neighborhoods, few shopping options, crime ridden, horrible services, lousy unsafe public transportation, recent rampant corruption in city govt on every level, trash & junk & urban prairies abounding, and I wouldn't get to see Ty Cobb & Sam Crawford play together a couple years later at Bennet Park.

    Gimme the early 20th c. anyday.
    Mikefmich, you're right, there is plenty not to like today that was nearly nonexistent in 1903. But I look at it as which negatives are you willing to live with? when you look back with nostalgia at a different era and think how it must have been better to live then. Sure, you didn't have a lot of what you list above, but I wouldn't trade any of that for what was socially acceptable in this country in 1903, including lynching and all forms of racial inequality, gender inequality with no voting rights for women, children working long hours in factories, etc. Some may think negatives from 1903 are worth what was good back then, but some don't, including me. That idyllic scene in the photo is lovely, but we can't forget what societal ills were common back then. Yes, we've got plenty of societal ills today that we didn't have back then, but to me there's nothing worth trading for Jim Crow, lynching, child labor, minorities and women generally excluded from all levels of power in large numbers, disease and illnesses that are treatable now, etc..
    Last edited by lafayette; April-11-11 at 01:35 PM.

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    "women generally excluded from all levels of power in large numbers,"

    Yeah.....I just knew they'd get uppity if we gave 'em the vote..........

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    Quote Originally Posted by lafayette View Post
    Mikefmich, you're right, there is plenty not to like today that was nearly nonexistent in 1903. But I look at it as which negatives are you willing to live with? when you look back with nostalgia at a different era and think how it must have been better to live then. Sure, you didn't have a lot of what you list above, but I wouldn't trade any of that for what was socially acceptable in this country in 1903, including lynching and all forms of racial inequality, gender inequality with no voting rights for women, children working long hours in factories, etc. Some may think negatives from 1903 are worth what was good back then, but some don't, including me. That idyllic scene in the photo is lovely, but we can't forget what societal ills were common back then. Yes, we've got plenty of societal ills today that we didn't have back then, but to me there's nothing worth trading for Jim Crow, lynching, child labor, minorities and women generally excluded from all levels of power in large numbers, disease and illnesses that are treatable now, etc..
    I agree 100%. The whole "good old days" scenario is very selective at best. My great-great grandfather died at 43 from being a varnish rubber at Packard. Others died from the influenza epidemics. Architecturally, it was a great time to be alive, but the price of living was rather high.

  20. #20
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    Depending on where some of you people live it still smells like shit and the air can be cut with a knife. The difference being at least Detroit was more of a cohesive city back then; even with the horrible segregation. Now? It doesn't function at all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GOAT View Post
    Depending on where some of you people live it still smells like shit and the air can be cut with a knife. The difference being at least Detroit was more of a cohesive city back then; even with the horrible segregation. Now? It doesn't function at all.
    I kinda like the idea of a lot of ethnic neighborhoods. It shouldn't be forced, like social engineering, of course. But a lot of cities still have them. I would have liked living in 1903 Detroit; it was a small businessman's paradise. I would have shoveled up the horse poop and sold it for fertilizer!

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vox View Post
    I agree 100%. The whole "good old days" scenario is very selective at best. My great-great grandfather died at 43 from being a varnish rubber at Packard. Others died from the influenza epidemics. Architecturally, it was a great time to be alive, but the price of living was rather high.
    It wasn't the "good ole days" for black people, while it's marginally better now it's still a lot of B.S. Blacks are dealing with on a daily basis.

  23. #23
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    eastsideal; I think I can see the Parke Davis lab just over the top of The Palms

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omni_De...at_River_Place

  24. #24
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    Gnome, I believe you are correct.

    Quote Originally Posted by Packman41 View Post
    Check out the billboard on the right hand side that says William E. Metzger - Automobiles.
    William Metzger opened the first retail automobile dealership and showroom in the U.S. in Detroit in 1896. At first selling Waverley Electrics, and later Oldsmobiles. In 1903, the year of this photograph, he became one of the founders of the Cadillac Motor Car Company.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by lafayette View Post
    Mikefmich, you're right, there is plenty not to like today that was nearly nonexistent in 1903. But I look at it as which negatives are you willing to live with? when you look back with nostalgia at a different era and think how it must have been better to live then. Sure, you didn't have a lot of what you list above, but I wouldn't trade any of that for what was socially acceptable in this country in 1903, including lynching and all forms of racial inequality, gender inequality with no voting rights for women, children working long hours in factories, etc. Some may think negatives from 1903 are worth what was good back then, but some don't, including me. That idyllic scene in the photo is lovely, but we can't forget what societal ills were common back then. Yes, we've got plenty of societal ills today that we didn't have back then, but to me there's nothing worth trading for Jim Crow, lynching, child labor, minorities and women generally excluded from all levels of power in large numbers, disease and illnesses that are treatable now, etc..
    Well....are you getting a little deep with the social problems of that day? You're right, those things surely sucked. Don't forget you're looking at those things from a mindset of a 100 years later, and your speaking of things that were not limited to Detroit, but the entire country.

    But I digress. I was looking at the city as a viable safe place to live, which sadly for the most part is not true today. I'm old enough to remember almost the last two decades of a very viable vibrant city. That's what I miss.

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