Life

Detroit's worst snowstorms

Snow blankets the streets of Detroit in winter of 1892. “You people don’t know what snow is,” grandpa used to say. “When I was a boy we had REAL snowstorms and we had to walk . . . yakkity yakkity yak. . . ” Well, chalk up one for grandpa. It seems he was right. … Continue Reading →

When Detroit danced to the big bands

The Bob-Lo Island Pavilion on the Detroit River was one of the most popular dance halls in the swing era. There was a time when glittering palaces were vibrated by thousands of dancing feet, making Detroit one of the busiest of ballroom cities. These palaces now are empty abandoned hulks where a footfall is seldom … Continue Reading →

The toy train that rules Christmas

Since the 1930s, the toy that meant Christmas to young boys and girls was the trains that chugged around the circle of track under the Christmas tree. Even today, when most children have never been on a train, the toy still ranks among the 10 most-asked-for Christmas gifts. No toy is more closely identified with … Continue Reading →

How Detroit lost its stately elms

Graceful elms provide a cathedral ceiling over Archdale Street looking north from Schoolcraft in 1957. Perhaps if they had not been so beautiful. Perhaps if they had been planted 100 feet apart instead of 40. Perhaps if the space between the sidewalk and the curb had been wider. Perhaps if the homeowners had watered them. … Continue Reading →

The Purple Gang's bloody legacy

Detroit News file photos Purple Gang members teased photographers by doffing their hats to hide their faces as they waited to be booked by Detroit police. By Susan Whitall / The Detroit News They are unlikely souvenirs from the bloody Purple Gang portion of Detroit’s history: European porcelain so delicate you can see through it, … Continue Reading →

The war between Michigan and Ohio

The mouth of the Maumee River at Toledo on Lake Erie was the prize in the 1835 war between Ohio and the Michigan Territory.  By Tom Jones / Special to The Detroit News President Andrew Jackson It was a “war” that both Ohio and Michigan could rightfully claim they won, a one-casualty conflict in which … Continue Reading →