Thursday, June 21, 2012


In 1961 Detroit was a city on the grow.  Its government appeared rigidly honest, non-partisan and often called a little dull.  Tri-country construction contracts totaling 443 Million were used to utilize vacant factories, cleaned out depressed areas, and developed Corktown.

 Other major expansions included:

1.       McLouth Steel’s $105 M mill expansion
2.       Detroit’s 20M post office
3.       The Bendix Aviation Engineering & Research Center in Ann Arbor
4.       New York Central’s 13M electronic yard
5.       Midtown Medical Center and University City area around Wayne State. 
6.       The Cranbrook Cultural Complex in Bloomfield Hills.
7.       Merrill-Palmer Institute.

Detroit led in other ways:
·         Detroit Zoo pioneered in displaying wild animals in natural settings without bars.
·         Six of top ten advertising agencies had offices in Detroit.
·         One of few cities whose electric utility was building an atomic reactor.
·         Detroit Institute of Arts was one of America’s finest.  It also boasted one of the greatest   symphony orchestras.

There were 104 hospitals, 99 convalescent homes, 5,570 practicing doctors, 18,000 licensed nurses.
Downtown boasted 37,000 parking spaces.

·         119 meat plants
·         72 beverage companies
·         50 iron & steel foundries
·         52 paint manufactures
·         86 soap manufacturers.
·         14 industrial chemical firms
·         11 manufactures of tires, tubes.
·         55 blast furnaces, steelworks, rolling and finishing mills.


In 1963 the country changed directions: prayer was outlawed in public schools.  That fall, the first of Devil’s Night fires erupted (400), for which Detroit became infamous.  When God is displaced, Satan moves in big-time.  A series of other national events, including political greed and cronyism, caused Detroit to spiral into decline.

On Sunday, July 23, 1967 a civil disturbance at a blind pig on the city’s West Side, escalated into a full scale riot, leaving 43 dead, hundreds injured and 2000 buildings destroyed.  The city was mortally and morally wounded. 

Detroit continued to make headlines, mostly for the wrong reasons.  The city’s 25-year Master Plan died an early death. 

The city that put the world on wheel now lies buried beneath the rubble.

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