Tuesday, March 13, 2012

When Detroit Ruled - Part I – A World Leader

On May 21, 1961 The Detroit News published a 35-page color booklet, The Real Detroit.  Reading it today is heartbreaking.

Detroit was an innovative city that made it a World Leader:
·         Turned out more war winning tools than any other city in the world.
·         World leader in producing drugs, industrial chemicals, steel, paint, tires, storm windows, machine tools and accessories, stampings, office machinery, hardware, commercial films, architecture, advertising, even fishing lures.
·         Two-thirds of the WORLD’s milk cartons were made by Ex-Cell-O Corporation.
·         WORLD headquarters for the largest architectural and engineering firm, Giffels & Rosetti.
·         Detroit Edison’s atomic power plant (under construction) would be WORLD’S largest commercial fast breeder-type reactor.
·         COBO Hall & Convention center was the WORLD’s largest meeting facilities.
·         Downtown landmark store for J. L. Hudson, one of WORLD’s largest department stores.
·         Birthplace of the modern shopping center.  Two of the largest in the WORLD, Northland Center in 1954, and Eastland Center, the second.
·         Metropolitan Beach WORLD’s largest fresh water beach.
·         The Port of Detroit made Detroit River the WORLD’s busiest waterway; 25% of the waterborne commerce of the U.S. sailed through the Great Lakes system.  Privately owned terminals began expansion of facilities intended to relive marine traffic jams.
·         WORLD’s largest food distribution center (Kroger’s)
·         GM’s tech Center comprised of 27 ultra-modern buildings on 900 acres. It became a workshop for more than 5,000 scientists, engineers, researchers, stylists, designers and mechanics.  WORLD’s largest concentration of research facilities.
·         70% of people owned their own homes and businesses, a record amount of nation’s population centers.

Population for the greater Detroit area topped 4 Million.  Transportation was first-class: Four large airports, three railroad stations, 640 city buses, and Greyhound handled 173 buses at the Civic Center Terminal on a daily basis.

Religious institutions experienced its largest growth since World War II, with 300 new Protestant churches.  The Roman Catholic Diocese of Detroit gained 74 new churches, 61 new schools, and 100 new parishes for future expansion.  Lutherans added another 66.   Residents could attend 54 institutions of higher learning, including U OF M, Wayne State, and University of Detroit, the largest Catholic college in the NATION.

Part 2 - Part 2 – First in the Nation  will be posted later