Life

When bomb shelters were all the rage

Nuclear air raid drills were part of everyday life for schoolchildren in the late 1940s and early ’50s. Children were taught to “duck and cover” under their desks and were herded into school basements for periodic air raid drills. In America, the 1950s  was a time of unprecedented prosperity, as well as unprecedented anxiety. The … Continue Reading →

How the Great Depression changed Detroit

Hundreds of job seekers line up outside the post office on Fort Street in November 1934, hoping for temporary jobs over the Christmas season. On March 4, 1929, Herbert Hoover was inaugurated  to the presidency after defeating Al Smith. Seven men were murdered in the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in Chicago as rival prohibition gangs … Continue Reading →

Detroiters and their beers

Detroiters celebrate the arrival of the first legal beer truck to arrive in the city at the end of Prohibition in 1933. Americans have always loved their brewskies. And we’re not the only ones. Beer has cheered mankind since the dawn of recorded history.  The ancient Sumerians made and consumed the brew more than 5,000 … Continue Reading →

How the egg came to symbolize Easter

Detroit News photographer William Kuenzel, leaning against the fire hydrant, photographs strollers in their Easter finery early in this century. Another Easter stroller. Eastertime By Anne Campbell / The Detroit News March 26, 1948 The world is ready for the Spring,The winter has been long and cold.The birds will soon fly home to singOf April … Continue Reading →

Sailing on Lake St. Clair's icy winter winds

When sailing “on the wind,” the iceboater may find himself “hiking,” with the boat skimming across the ice on two runners. Skillful handling is required to prevent harm to the boater and the boat. When snow blankets the Michigan landscape and the temperature dips well below freezing, ordinary sailors huddle before a roaring fire while … Continue Reading →

Detroit is fertile ground for art

Patricia Burnett works on portrait of Philippines President Corazon Aquino in 1987. When you think of Detroit you think of cars and the Motown Sound, but rarely of fine art. The truth is that the city’s grit and dirt have long been fertile ground for artists. Here is a selection of Detroit artists — some … Continue Reading →

Some haunting tales from Detroit's past

Historians trace Halloween back to the Druids, high priests of the Celts. This photo shows modern Druids who were prevented by British police from getting to the ancient Stonehenge tablets where they had hoped to celebrate the summer solstice. The origins of Halloween most likely date back more than 2,000 years to the Celtic festival … Continue Reading →

The Michigan State Fair

Jeff MacNaughton, 10, of Grand Ledge, sleeps on his prize-winning heifer at the Michigan State Fair in 1985. In 1839 a handful of Michigan pioneers planned a state fair, the first in the country. It was a disaster. And it probably explains why fair historians rarely if ever refer to the event, and instead start … Continue Reading →

Michigan's mysterious Indian mounds

Ancient Indian burial mounds near Grand Rapids. As Europeans settled Michigan they crowded out the native Indian populations, destroying ancient burial sites and raiding them for  treasures and artifacts. They were particularly fascinated by the burial mounds scattered throughout the state. Even the native Indians claimed not to know who the mound builders were. Some … Continue Reading →