Tag Archives: history

Shorpy Saturday – Open Wide: 1908

By Jeffrey Buck

How many different dentists can you count?

Take a look at the photograph entitled “Open Wide: 1908“:

Open Wide - 1908

Detroit circa 1908. “Grand Circus building.” Named after the large, semicircular park nearby, and home to a curiously high concentration of dentists. 8×10 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company.

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Shorpy Saturday – Union Trust: 1906

By Jeffrey Buck

I want to first apologize for the long hiatus; It’s been a busy few weeks. There has been a lot of buzz lately with all of the renovations and new construction going on in Downtown and Midtown. The announcement of the new hockey arena probably being the biggest. Work continues on the David Whitney Building and Woodward is shut down in several spots for the M-1 Rail. It’s an exciting time for the city and the region.

Take a look at the photograph entitled “Union Trust: 1906“:

Union Trust - 1906

 

 

1906. “Union Trust Building, Detroit.” Romanesque Revival wedding cake at Griswold and Congress that went up in 1896, came down in 1956.

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Be a Part of the Preservation of the Alger Theatre

Alger Theatre

By Jeffrey Buck

Detroit is one of the greatest cities in the world. Many may not believe that statement because of the hardships it has endured these past decades but those same people often have never visited Detroit. It’s not a major tourist destination; we don’t draw out-of-towners like Los Angeles, New York or even Orlando. The city however has strong roots and although the population has plummeted the residents of the tri-county area and all over the state continue to support and preserve the rich history of a city that has changed the world more than once.

Support and generosity is not hard to find when it comes to funding and preserving the institutions, buildings and activities we all here in the Detroit area love. Time and time again we have come together to help support the Detroit Zoo, The Detroit Institute of Arts, The Michigan Science Center, just to name a few. We love our heritage; especially the vast amount of architectural gems not only in Detroit but spread across the region. Saving these historic structures has become more of a priority and the mentality of the past to wipe away these beautiful buildings is often bulked at by the majority of the community.

We are still losing some of these masterpieces to the wrecking ball but groups like Preservation Detroit are leading the charge to slow that number down. Another group of dedicated crusaders have been on a mission to help save and preserve a gorgeous theatre built in 1935. The Friends of the Alger Theatre purchased the building in 1986 and have made it their mission to restore the theatre to its former glory. The group is currently in the process of raising $5,000 to help put on a new roof and keep out the elements of mother nature. They are asking the community for their help and generosity to save a Detroit jewel and to be a part of the rebirth of the Alger Theatre. The theatre along with the Redford Theatre are the last remaining intact neighborhood theaters in Detroit.

Through the website indiegogo.com they are not only saying thanks but offering perks for certain donation levels. These perks range from a collector Alger Theatre ticket to a poster of the first film shown at the theater to an original Alger Theatre chair. Be a part of the history and future of the Alger Theatre by clicking here to donate.

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Become a Member Today!

Edsel and Eleanor Ford House | Woodward SPine 2013

Edsel and Eleanor Ford House | Woodward Spine 2013

By Jeffrey Buck

I’ve written about this subject before but as I travel throughout the year to new places I am always reminded how important it is to support our local attractions. In hard times and in good these great places are always in need of local support to fund upkeep, special exhibitions and events. Detroit and its surrounding communities have an extensive amount of historical places that are great for local residents and tourists alike. I’m currently a member of the Detroit Zoo, Royal Oak Historical Society and the Henry Ford and want to continue to support others each year. Below is a list, by no means complete, of some of our great institutions you can support.

The Detroit Zoo | detroitzoo.org
The Detroit Zoo is located in Royal Oak, Mich. Memberships range from $43 to $160 depending on size of family and where you live. Open year round with hours that vary by season.

The Henry Ford | thehenryford.org
A membership gives you access to both the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village. Memberships range from $45 to $600. Members receive discounts to IMAX movies, the Ford Rouge Factory Tour and much more.

Pewabic Pottery | pewabic.org
Members receive discounts to the Museum Store and Galleries. This historic institution dates back to 1903 and is located on Jefferson Ave. Typical memberships range from $25 to $150.

Preservation Detroit | preservationdetroit.org
Preservation Detroit is known for its spectacular walking tours. A leader in the preservation of Detroit’s architectural history they offer several events throughout the year. Membership levels range from $20 for a student to $2,500 for the Founder’s Circle.

Detroit Institute of Arts | dia.org
The DIA has one of the greatest collections of art. Although supported by the tri-county area you can still become a member. Membership dues are $60 and up.

Motown Museum | motownmuseum.org
The Motown Museum does not currently offer memberships but can be supported through its Annual Fund. The historic set of houses on Grand Blvd. are a Detroit landmark. The museum also accepts the donation of artifacts.

Meadow Brook Hall | meadowbrookhall.org
Open year round this National Historic Landmark is a gathering place for many throughout the year. Memberships start at $100 and include admission, discounts and more. Meadow Brook is also always looking for volunteers.

Detroit Historical Society | detroithistorical.org
Having just gone through a large-scale renovation there’s no better time to become a member. Membership levels start at $25 for the “Researcher” level. Become a member of the Dossin Maritime Group for an extra $20.

Royal Oak Historical Society | royaloakhistoricalsociety.com
This Detroit suburb offers great exhibits in a former fire station. Single memberships are $10 and a family membership is $18.00. Members receive free admission to the museum as well as newsletters and special event alerts throughout the year.

Edsel & Eleanor Ford House | fordhouse.org
Located on 80 acres of lakefront property, this historic home is absolutely gorgeous. Members enjoy many benefits starting at just $25 for a Grounds Pass. Enjoy a guided home tour as well as an iPod Touch tour of the grounds.

Michigan Science Center | mi-sci.org
Formerly the Detroit Science Center, this family friendly attraction is better than ever. Memberships start at $35 for students and only $75 for a Family. Benefits include free admission, discounted IMAX admission and many more discounts.

Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History | thewright.org
Become a member of the world’s largest institution dedicated to the African American experience for as little as $25 for a college student and $65 for a family. Located near the Michigan Science Center and DIA, make a day out of all three.

Belle Isle Conservancy | belleisleconservancy.org
For as little as $10 you can become a member of a group dedicated to preserving the largest city-owned island park in the USA. The island is home to some of Detroit’s greatest attractions including the Detroit Aquarium, Dossin Great Lakes Museum, and Belle Isle Nature Zoo.

Are you a member of a group not on the list? Please let us know so we can include it.

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40th Annual Noel Night

NoelNight2012_2c

By Jeffery Buck

Hoping the rain holds off, Saturday is sure to be a fun night in Detroit. Midtown Detroit’s Cultural Center Area will play host to the 40th Annual Noel Night. The one night event will be open free to the public from 5:00 pm to 9:30 pm in numerous venues including the newly renovated Detroit Historic Museum, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Detroit Public Library, only to name a few. With plenty of music, dancing, shopping and food; there will be plenty to enjoy with family and friends.

The main footprint of activities that will take place can be found between Cass Avenue & John R Street (run north and south) and Kirby Street & Willis Avenue (run east and west). There will be free shuttles available for transportation between venues and parking can be found in area lots. Noel Night will feature over 120 acts performing music, theatre and dance. The night will feature special performances by:

The Ahn Trio
Irma Thomas
The Good Lovelies
The Wiyos
Thronetta Davis
and many more

With so much to do and see please find below links to a Noel Night schedule and map to help prepare you for Saturday’s festivities!

Noel Night Schedule
Noel Night Map

Noel Night is produced by Midtown Detroit, Inc., a nonprofit community development organization that supports economic growth in Detroit’s Midtown district. For additional information visit their website by clicking here.

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The Ahn Trio | 40th Annual Noel Night

The Ahn Trio | 40th Annual Noel Night

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Irma Thomas | 40th Annual Noel Night

Irma Thomas | 40th Annual Noel Night

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The Good Lovelies | 40th Annual Noel Night

The Good Lovelies | 40th Annual Noel Night

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The Way It Was, Part 2: More glimpses of Detroit’s history

Book Cover

By Jeffrey Buck

Photographs play an integral role in preserving our history, regardless of the subject. Societies can change—sometimes for the better, but unfortunately also sometimes for the worse.

A photograph can tell a story for both present and future generations and has the ability to take someone back in time. George Bulanda knows the power of photography and the curiosity of the past, especially the immense history of the Motor City. For over 10 years now, Hour Detroit has featured a historic image of Detroit in every one of its monthly editions.

The idea was the brainchild of a former publisher, but Bulanda took the reins only a few months after its inception and has been the voice behind each photograph ever since.  It quickly became one of his favorite parts of his job and soon changed the way people read the magazine.

“I just kind of inherited it in 1998,” said Bulanda. “They were freelancing it out and I said you know you don’t have to do that. I’m pretty knowledgeable with history, I can do it.  I’ll research it. To this day it’s still my favorite part of my job.

“A lot of people say I begin when I get the issue in the mail by flipping and starting at the back. And it doesn’t really seem to matter the age of the reader. Some people might remember these from the 40s and 50s. But a lot of young people have said to me ‘I never knew Detroit had this, I never knew Woodward Avenue was so packed at Christmas.”

It was these photographs that made the book The Way It Was possible. Following the success of the first book, Bulanda released a second volume filled with new photos in December 2011. The new book was offered as a special edition which included the first volume and unique slip cover as well as on its own. Continue reading

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Hidden History of Detroit

Woodward Spine © 2011

By Jeffrey Buck

Why did someone build that building there? What was there before that? Why is that man immortalized with a bronze statue? What did we do before the automobile?

These are some of the questions that Amy Elliott Bragg, of Night Train to Detroit, wanted answered. You may not know it, but the “hidden” history of Detroit is present in a lot of unique landmarks scattered throughout the area. Last night Bragg held her very first book release party for Hidden History of Detroit in arguably the best venue dedicated to preserving Detroit’s history– the Detroit Historical Museum.

“A lot of history is behind the bronze statues that we don’t necessarily think about,” said Bragg. “I love the history behind that and I think that’s really where hidden history is, right under your nose. I didn’t crack any unsolved mysteries or dig up any long lost documents. Everything I worked from was right in front of me.”

The evening began with Bragg’s Husband, Scott, introducing his wife. From the moment she took the podium you could feel the energy and passion for Detroit history that Bragg posses. She beamed with excitement as she took us through the interesting journey of writing her first book. Continue reading

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