Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Crusin' The Original Woodward Avenue

Woodward Avenue, which just celebrated its 200th birthday, has been getting a lot of attention over the past decade or so. With the corporate co-opting of the Woodward Dream Cruise, summer cruising has become almost unbearable. But how did this traditional rite of summer become the monster money grabbing enterprise that it is today? Arcadia Publishing's Crusin' The Original Woodward Avenue delves into the history of Woodward Avenue and the auto industry that developed along side of it.
This book is another installment in the Images of America Series so the emphasis is on the images rather than giving a detailed history. It is still an interesting read. The early chapters are devoted to the development of this National historic By-way. It reaches back to the original Woodward Plan and moves forward to parallel to rise of the automotive industry along Detroit's main street. The core of Crusin' recounts the cruising experience in Detroit further establishing the link between the Big Three and Woodward Avenue. It includes a range of cruising anecdotes. One teenager had her odometer disconnected to avoid her father's detection of her cruising tendencies, while others received under the table parts and support from engineers. One of the highlights of the book are the pages devoted to cruising destinations. It gives a taste of the drive-in restaurants of yesterday including historic photos and menus from these long gone establishments.

As the auto industry declined in the 70's with the energy crisis so did cruising. Attitude towards cruisers had also changed. Many establishment no longer allowed cruisers to gather in their parking lots without purchasing food. Some forbade anyone eating outside at all. Fortunately, this was not the end of Crusin ' Woodward. The Woodward Dream Cruise was originally launched in 1995 as a fund raiser for a youth soccer field. 250,000 people attended that day. It now attracts over 1.5 million people annually from around the world. Unfortunately, cruising Woodard in July and August has become a corporate affair.
Crusin' The Original Woodward Avenue is the perfect way to celebrate the 200th birthday of Woodward Avenue. The book is packed with historic photos of Woodward Avenue, the Detroit auto industry, and the cars that made it all possible. If you have an interest in the history of crusing in Detroit, you'll definitely want to check this book out.

Photos reprinted with permission from Crusin' The Original Woodward Avenue, by Anthony Ambrogio, Sharon Luckerman. Available from the publisher online at or by calling (888) 313-2665.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

David Broderick Tower

David BroderickTower, originally uploaded by A Dubs.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The View From Compuware

The View From Compuware, originally uploaded by A Dubs.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Stinky Rose

The Stinky Rose Resturant & Martini Bar was torched this past Friday. It was still quite Stinky this afternoon. The building was originally home to the Woodbridge Tavern which held the first alcohol license in Michigan post-prohibition. It re-opened as the Stinky Rose in 2005.

Crystal Lofts

The Crystal Ballroom was gutted this winter in preparation for its conversion to lofts and retail space. Phase one the Crystal Lofts project will include 17 lofts ranging from 950-2,200 square feet and 14,000 square feet of first floor retail space plus indoor parking.

Historical photo from Virtual Motorcity

Park Avenue

Today's post is a quick re-hash of the revitilization of Park Avenue.

The Park Bar and Bucharest Grill opened towards the end of 2006.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Dark Skies

Dark Skies, originally uploaded by A Dubs.

The Detroit Commerce Building (Center) is halfway through its demolition.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Home Improvement *Updated*

Here's a look at a couple of completed restorations in Brush Park.
This House is located on Winder

This is 255 Winder and an address to be named later.

Above is Edmund Place at Brush Park. 291 Edmund Place was built in the French Second Empire style for Frederick Butler in 1882. It has been converted into 4 condo units.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Monroe Ave

Monroe Ave, originally uploaded by A Dubs.