In the streets of Detroit (MI)

(continuer en français) – Published: July 11, 2022

Detroit, Michigan, United States

Michigan’s largest city is not its capital. Founded as a trading post by the French in 1701, the city experienced a great industrial boom thanks to the automobile industry. When the auto industry began to decline in the late 20th century, the city’s fortunes were shaken to the point where it had to declare bankruptcy in 2013. Since then, the city has been trying to recover, in particular by making its city centre attractive again.

Detroit is located on the border with Canada, which begins across the river. A bridge and a tunnel connect the two banks, but the city of Windsor has a very different residential feel.

Detroit, Michigan, United States

Cadillac

Antoine de Lamothe-Cadillac (1658 – 1730) was a French adventurer who found in New France a land to match his ambitions. He led the expedition that established Fort Pontchartrain du Détroit in 1701, with the main objective of developing the fur trade.

Cadillac
Cadillac

Cadillac left Detroit in 1710 after being appointed governor of Louisiana, and then returned to France. However, he remained the owner of the Detroit seigneury until 1722.

In 1902, a small local car manufacturer chose the name Cadillac as a tribute to the founder of the city. The company was integrated into General Motors in 1909.

Cadillac

General Motors

The car company was formed in 1908 and grew by buying out competitors while retaining their brands. For almost 70 years it was the world’s leading automaker.

The crisis of 2008 led to a temporary nationalization, but this was only one step in a process of general regression of the historical automakers. The new headquarters, the Renaissance Centre, remains the main attraction in the city centre.

General Motors
General Motors
General Motors

Wayne County Building

The former county administration building is a good example of late 19th century administrative architecture, still drawing its references from European styles. Today the administration has moved elsewhere and the building is being renovated.

Throughout the city, public spaces are being redesigned to make the city more pleasant, especially during the hot summer months. These efforts seek to keep residents busy and visitors interested.

Downtown Beach
Wayne County Building
Water features
Riverwalk

Guardian Building

Built in 1928 in the Art Deco style, the Guardian Building has been preserved due to its outstanding decoration. The building has become the new headquarters of the Wayne County Administration.

Guardian Building
Guardian Building
Guardian Building
Guardian Building

Some traces of the past

Despite the efforts of the authorities to modernise the downtown area, there are still pockets of resistance from old buildings reminiscent of the past. Their vintage presence gives some flavour to a city centre, let’s hope that one day they will be protected and valued like the Guardian Building.

Old buildings
Biergarten
Biergarten
Jeweller

Sculptures at the water’s edge

Still with the idea of making the city centre more attractive, the riverside promenade has been embellished with several sculptures. They usually have a link to the history of the city, which is a good way to learn about it.

One of them is this sculpture about the Underground Railroad, a 19th century organisation that helped fugitive slaves cross into Canada.

Underground Railroad
Boxer Joe Louis’ fist
Spirit of Detroit
Transcending Arch
Detroit, Michigan, United States
Ambassador Bridge
Detroit from Windsor, Canada

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10 comments

  1. It has been a long time since I was in Detroit. Riots were going on at the time, so we did not slow down until we were through. Detroit has a rough time over the years and have had to keep reinventing themselves. It looks like there is still a lot of pride there and that is a good thing. Cheers. Allan

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve driven through Detroit a couple of times, but have never stopped to explore. The city has gotten a bad rap over the years, but glad to hear that they are trying to revitalise their city centre. The Guardian Building looks gorgeous.

    Liked by 1 person

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