When Eva Nelson-McClendon first moved to Detroit’s Birwood Street in 1959, she didn’t know much about the wall across the street. At 6 feet tall and a foot thick, it wasn’t so imposing, running as it did between houses on her street and one over. Then she started to hear the talk.
Stories and photos about people, places and events from Michigan's past
By Michael Hodges / The Detroit News Has there ever been a more seductive view of the future? The 1930s might have been a time of global depression, but that didn’t stop the design industry in its optimistic rush toward that more abundant life just around the corner. This glittering vision, in all its elegance … Continue Reading →
By Bill Loomis / Special to The Detroit News It was not long after the first steamboat, “Walk in the Water,” docked in Detroit in the summer of 1818 that emigrants from Europe and New England, tourists, soldiers and other visitors began pouring into the small town. By 1835 there were hundreds of newcomers daily; … Continue Reading →
By Michael Hodges / The Detroit News Could the world’s first abstract painter have been a Michigan fruit farmer and not, as art history has it, Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky? A recent gift of a Manierre Dawson abstract painting to West Shore Community College in Scottville, near Ludington, close to where artist-farmer Dawson had his … Continue Reading →
By Bill Loomis / Special to The Detroit News When visitors to the Detroit Institute of Arts park their cars in the Farnsworth lot behind the building, they walk by a curious brick building with a walled garden. The building is unadorned except for a Pewabic Pottery glazed scarab over the front entrance, a bronze … Continue Reading →
Eighty years ago, the Detroit Institute of Arts debuted “Detroit Industry,” the monumental murals by Diego Rivera that he intended to be a tribute to Michigan’s innovative technology.
The California Gold Rush began in the spring of 1848 at Sutter’s Mill off the South Fork River, northeast of Sacramento. A carpenter named James Marshall was overseeing the construction of a water-powered sawmill when he spotted “something shining in the ditch.” After some crude tests, he became convinced that what he held was real … Continue Reading →
In the years before the Emancipation Proclamation, a wagon full of what looked to be free black laborers would on occasion pull up to Mariners’ Church at its old location on Woodward Avenue close to the Detroit River. The group would dismount and start carrying goods back and forth from the wagon into the church … Continue Reading →
By Bill Loomis / Special to The Detroit News “It is always the big thief who shouts the loudest about the little thief.” — Hazen S. Pingree In the book “The American Mayor” published in 1999, Hazen S. Pingree was identified by U.S. scholars as one of the Top 10 mayors in U.S. history. … Continue Reading →
By Arthur Herman / Special to The Detroit News On May 28, 1940, the phone rang in Bill Knudsen’s office in the General Motors Building. Knudsen, a Danish immigrant who had made parts for Henry Ford’s Model T in a bicycle factory in Buffalo before working his way up to become president of GM, heard … Continue Reading →