Life

The Golden Age of the Motown Sound

Vintage Motown: A jam session from the 1960s features Kim Weston (microphone) Stevie Wonder(dark glasses), Berry Gordy Jr. at the piano, Smokey Robinson (center rear) and Marv Johnson, at Gordy’s left. In 1957 a singing group called the Matadors, who were fronted by a young singer called Smokey Robinson, auditioned  unsuccessfully for Jackie Wilson’s manager. … Continue Reading →

Pewabic tile, Detroit's art treasure

The Pewabic Pottery at 10125 East Jefferson. Mary Chase Perry was born in  copper country — the town of Hancock in  Michigan’s Upper Peninsula — on March 15, 1867. Her father was the town doctor. From those remote and rural origins came a creative genius who influenced the art world with her innovative and lovely … Continue Reading →

Clang, clang, clang went the trolley

Some Detroiters saw no need for the new-fangled electric trolley since horse-drawn cars like this one from the Chene Street line had served the city well since Civil War days. “Rapid transit, ahoy!” That was the greeting in The Evening News when Detroit’s first trolley car took to the streets. At the beginning of the … Continue Reading →

Detroit's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Santa and his reindeer arrive in front of Hudson’s at the end of the 1982 parade Michael Wiley, 2, and sister Pamela, 5, of Redford Township sit impatiently on the curb waiting for Santa in 1977. In 1924, Charles F. Wendel, display manager at the J.L. Hudson Company, conceived the idea of a grand Thanksgiving … Continue Reading →

Detroit's Infamous Purple Gang

Gangsters: Purple Gang members hide their faces from the camera in May 1929 after they were arrested on charges of providing protection to Detroit narcotics dealers. Over the years gang members were accused of hijacking, bootlegging, extortion, kidnaping and murder. The Detroit River was a highway for Canadian liquor during Prohibition. A Detroit News photographer … Continue Reading →

Once bustling iron town now mines tourism

Michigan Historical Museum photo Fayette iron workers pose on a blast furnace at the height of the town’s heyday in the 1880s. Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is littered with ghost towns, monuments to the  lumber and mining industries that flared in the last century and then quickly burned themselves out. One of those towns,  Fayette, a … Continue Reading →

The crosstown mob wars of 1930-31

Canadian inspectors wait at the Windsor liquor docks in 1928. The Eastside Mob operated a lucrative rum-running operation on the Detroit River during Prohibition. For nearly ten years after  Detroit’s  Giannola/Vitale gang war, there was relative peace in Detroit’s Sicilian underworld. The conflict which ended in 1920, claimed the lives of more than one hundred … Continue Reading →