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A B R I E F P E CUL I AR HI S TORY

OF DE T R OI T
Edited by Peter OKeefe
Edited and curated by Peter OKeefe.
Copyright 2012 by Peter OKeefe.
Epub Edition (date)
ISBN: 978-0-9888481-0-8
Cover and Book design by Kevin Fye.
Cover image Factory from Jef Bourgeaus Art as Logo series.
Secton openng muges Hut und Cce udng rom }e ourgeuu's Art us Logo seres
Mups copyrght CpenStreetMup contrbutors (openstreetmup.org). Addtonu desgn eements by
Dunny Moh.
lhoto o My Crundpurents \orkng 1her Lunch \ugon At the Cutes o Dodge Mun by }m Dunes
vus orgnuy pubshed n Detrot Stores.
Legy or 1ger Studum by }m Dunes vus orgnuy pubshed ut urdbu.com.
A rghts reserved, ncudng the rght to reproduce ths vork, n vhoe or n purt, n uny orm. No
purt o ths book muy be reproduced n uny orm by uny eectronc or mechuncu meuns (ncudng
photocopyng, recordng, or normuton storuge und retrevu) vthout permsson n vrtng rom
the artists.
Lness othervse noted, u photogruphs, poems, und urtvorks n ths voume ure reproduced by
permsson o the urtsts. A rghts reserved.
COP Y R I GHT
1hs book exsts becuuse the urtsts took u eup o uth und couboruted vth me on ths proect:
Jef Bourgeau
}m Dunes
Barbara Greene Mann
Tom Hagerty
Bruce Harkness
Cne o the most dcut tusks l undertook or ths proect vus ussembng u representutve sumpe
of Barbara Greenes work from the 1970s and 80s. The artwork had been scattered to the four
vnds over the course o three decudes und l voud ke to thunk the oovng ndvduus or ther
assistance in this artistic treasure hunt:
Anne Cummings
Ronud }. Czurneck
Laura Freeman
Stephen Coodeov
Tribes of the Cass Corridor
Barbara Greene Mann
Bruce Harkness
Christopher King
lumeu Anne lng
\um und every lng
Ruph lozursk
Chrs Mtche
Vsuu Arts Munuger
Workman Arts
1oronto, Cnturo
Hovurd }umes Norme
Sandra Schemske
Art Coecton Coordnutor
Wayne State University
Aen Schuerges
Annette Seip
Dune Sperry
Assstunt - \SL Art Coecton
Wayne State University
Mke 1vumey
Managing Director
Workman Arts
1oronto, Cnturo
l voud uso ke to thunk the oovng ndvduus or ther generosty n permttng me to reproduce
ther postngs on Stephen Coodeov's vonderu ste, 1he 1rbes o the Cuss Corrdor (corrdortrbes.
com).
ACK NOWE L DGE ME NT S
lrunk Cus
Stephen Coodeov
obb Corevtz
Mchue Roper
Cdu Snovden
Ceneru Motors udng, Detrot, c. l958 (Abert luhn & Assocutes)
Lnkdu returns rom the Lndervord vth tues o u vust Motor Cty.
Nov ost.
Cgumesh, 1ubet XlV, Coumn Vll
CONT E NT S
PART ONE: GHOST STORI ES
INTRODUCTION 11
Peter OKeefe
GHOST LAND detroit 27
Jef Bourgeau
Photo of My Grandparents Working Their Lunchwagon at the Gates of
Dodge Main 45
}m Dunes
DODGE MAIN 47
Peter OKeefe
POLETOWN 97
Bruce Harkness
CONT E NT S
PART TWO: LOST WORLDS
DETROIT: THE MISSING YEARS 179
Tom Hagerty
THE CASS CORRIDOR 243
Bruce Harkness
BARBARA GREENES DETROIT 297
Legy or 1ger Studum 335
}m Dunes
TIGER STADIUM 339
Tom Hagerty
ARTIST BIOGRAPHIES 374
CREDITS 378
}ohn l. C'leee vth my brother Mchue, c. l946
11
I NT R ODUCT I ON
A BRI EF PECULI AR HI STORY OF DETROI T
Peter OKeefe
A BIT OF HISTORY
My grunduther }ohn l. C'leee vus u hurd mun, or so l've been tod. He spent more thun orty yeurs
grndng sheet metu ut the Humtrumck Dodge Assemby lunt, uso knov us Dodge Mun. Lqupped
vth ony u hgh schoo educuton, }ohn C'leee vus u member o the very rst cohort o unon
stevurds n the Detrot uuto punts. He vus uso u mun vho ddn't buck dovn. Dut us he vus
knovn (no one remembers vhy), hud hs nose broken once, tvce, three tmesdependng on vho
vus teng the storydurng pcket ne bruvs. Accordng to my uther, Dut's ubty to squunder hs
puycheck on booze cuused the umy to move so oten thut the umy hud ved on u our corners
o one purtcuur Detrot ntersecton over the course o my uther's chdhood. As u kd, l thought
those stores vere pretty coo. My uther reucted somevhut derenty: he never touched u drop o
ucoho n hs e.
l don't knov hov much s true und hov much s myth. My grunduther ded ong beore l dscovered
my ovn uscnuton or re-ussembng ructured nurrutves. \hut l remember s the bury mun vth
the shung gut vhose hund engued mne on the vuk to the ocu murket. He tod me ubout the
buckets o beer they brought onto the urnuce-ke uctory oor so the dehydruted vorkers coud
ude t nto ther mouths ke thrsty convcts on u chun gung. eer, he expuned, hud u greuter
restorutve pover or u mun nvoved n hurd ubor thun mere vuter. l ddn't knov vhether or not to
beeve hm. l st don't.
I NTRODUCTI ON
Dodge Mun, lressed Stee udng, l9l5
A B R I E F P E CUL I AR HI S TORY OF DE T R OI T
13
l l coud go buck n tme l'd usk my grunduther to te me u ot more ubout those orty yeurs ut Dodge
Mun. 1he mussve uctory compex strudded the borders o Detrot und Humtrumck und empoyed
us muny us 40,000 vorkers n ts prme. A seventy-ucre compex o mut-story uctores, oundres,
stumpng punts, orges, und ru sdngs, Dodge Mun vus u cty vthn u cty, vth ts ovn hosptu,
phone exchunge, und re depurtment. \orkers ke my grunduther typcuy begun und ended ther
careers there.
Dodge Mun vus shut dovn or good n l980 uter seventy yeurs o operuton. 1he spruvng uctory
ste und the uducent resdentu neghborhood knovn us loetovn vere then oered to Ceneru
Motors us the ocuton or u nev ussemby punt. Resdents ought u btter egu butte to prevent the
destructon o ther communty, but the outcome vus never reuy n doubt. 1he regon vus n u deep
recesson, unempoyment vus ut l8 percent, und Detrot vus desperute to retun even u ructon o ts
munuucturng buse. ln the end, loetovn's l,500 homes, busnesses, und churches vere demoshed
und the nev CM ussemby punt vus but on the combned Dodge Mun/loetovn ste.
I NTRODUCTI ON
lmugnury Vev o the Crund Cuery n Runs, Hubert Robert, l796
A B R I E F P E CUL I AR HI S TORY OF DE T R OI T
l5
1he lubuous Runs o Detrot
Dodge Mun und loetovn ure gone--so eectvey deconstructed thut the rootess specters o ormer
resdents voud nd nothng et to huunt. Detrot, on the other hund, s dsuppeurng n stuges,
pussng through u sov, seemngy nevtube process o decuy vth u hu-e meusured n decudes.
1he combned orces o ubundonment und negect huve curved vust svuths o ths proud cty nto
exotc vstus o rugged urbun buttes, post-upocuyptc prure, und runed ndustru tempe mounds,
ther ugged edges sotened und ubstructed by the urtu vork o oxduton und nuture. Detrot, n ts
decne, hus become un obect o terrbe, uchng beuuty.
Romuntc undscupe urtsts o the eghteenth und nneteenth centures creuted u cut o runs centered
uround the pcturesque remuns o uncent Rome und Creece. ln the openng decudes o the tventy-
rst century, trpods huve repuced euses us photogruphers rom uround the vord puruchute nto
Detrot, euger to cupture the most compeng muges o the cty us the vsuu touchstone or urbun
decne. 1he resutng photo essuys, veb bogs, und uvsh coee tube books reveu u beuk vson o
Detrot us u ost cty vhere nuture hus not ony recumed the vorks o mun, t hus erused u memory
o hm. lt s u nurrutve thut euves tte room or men ke my grunduther. lt s u undscupe vthout
peope.
I NTRODUCTI ON
lumy n un Lust Crund ouevurd upurtment, ruce Hurkness, lebruury l98l
A B R I E F P E CUL I AR HI S TORY OF DE T R OI T
17
A re lecuur Hstory
A re lecuur Hstory o Detrot s u coecton o muges und texts creuted by urtsts vho ure
current or ormer resdents o the cty. 1hese very personu reectons on the cty's recent pust ure
bre n terms o the ndvduu tme rumes they uddress und pecuur n the cuprcous nuture o ther
guze. 1hut guze extends ur beyond the vsuu cches o the ubuous runs o Detrot genre thut
hus come to dene ths cty or much o the vord. Cur gou n these puges s to begn the process
o repopuutng the desoute moonscupe muge thut hus become the quus-ocu portrut o Detrot.
\e'd ke to put some o the peope vho but ths cty buck nto the pcture.
1he oovng chupters ure dsputches rom observers vho huve ourneyed beyond Detrot's udng
edces o commerce und ndustry to uncover u ost vord o both beuuty und stre, vtuty und
oss. 1he reports rom the scuttered stes o ther excuvutons reveu compuct, shmmerng ucets
o countess ves ved--ve und not so ve--by the peope vho huve cued ths cty home. 1he
urtucts recovered ure the muges, the stores, und the memores contuned n these puges.
l, on the other hund, you st preer scenc runs, l hghy recommend lompe. l've been there. lt
rocks.
I NTRODUCTI ON
Jef Bourgeau
GHOST LAND detroit
There are times as an artist or a writer when an
encounter vth someone ese's vork orces you to
mutter under your breuth: Dumn, l vsh l'd done
that. Jef Bourgeaus Art as Logo series had that affect
on me vhen l rst encountered t severu yeurs ugo. l
contnued to oov }e's vork rom uur, us ve us the
ercey ecectc gongs-on ut hs guery, the Museum
of New Art (MONA).
\he seurchng or muteru or ths voume l trucked
dovn some o }e's recent vork undn the mmortu
vords o Yog errut vus deu vu u over ugun: }e
hud urrved there rst. l et ke un Arctc exporer, exhuruted ut nuy reuchng my destnuton,
ony to nd unother udventurer's bunner ureudy vuvng n the breeze. ln ths cuse, hovever, l'm
thred to huve hm on bourd. }e ourgeuu's photos n the CHCS1 LAND detrot seresvth ther
sense o grtty urbun mugcu reusm--ure u vsuu munestuton o ths coecton's theme: Detrot
us u ost cty.
}m Dunes
Photo of My Grandparents Working Their Lunch Wagon At the Gates of Dodge Main
Legy or 1ger Studum
A rend once tod me thut }m Dunes vus my doppegunger.
She ddn't reuze hov rght she vus. ln uddton to beng my
hundsomer, more ucudemcuy-ncned brother rom unother
mother, }m's Detrot poems oten strke me us the dury entres
rom my younger se thut l vsh l'd vrtten. lmuges o hs
utherexhuusted und dstunt uter mnd-numbng hours ut
the uuto puntevoke memores o my ovn oten voute dud,
vorkng tvo obs hs entre udut e to keep u umy o ten
teeterng on the hurdscrubbe edge o u mdde cuss exstence.
The tremor of recognition I experience when reading Jims Detroit
vork s provoked by more thun ust the purue experences
o tvo uen-uvuy Cuthocs rom the urbun Mdvest. Lke u
tuented punter vho requres ony u ev det brushstrokes to
cupture the purtcuur quuty o ght umnutng u specc
undscupe, }m's Detrot poems nvoke the ost vord o Detrot
vhen uctory vorkers vere the mdde cuss und deud-end obs
und un ndenube sense o dreud vere the provnce o youth,
destned to be shed ke u temporury skn.
A B R I E F P E CUL I AR HI S TORY OF DE T R OI T
19
}m's Detrot poems ure embedded n u uttcevork o utttudes und sensbtes nstunty recognzube
to eov members o the Detrot dusporu. 1he secret trbu hundshuke s the surcustc sense o
humor, veded not so much us u veupon, us t s un nvtuton to bunter und to bond. And there's
thut unmstukube edge, euvened vth the durk vt und the generosty o someone vho knovs vhut
t s to strugge, vthout the guuruntee o success. Mosty though, t's u erce sense o oyuty, both
to peope und to puce, deservedy or not, thut nvuruby stumps the speuker vth the ube Mude
in Detroit.
Barbara Greene Mann
Barbara Greenes Detroit
lor me, urburu Creene's muges--more thun those o uny
other artist of the era--capture the creative ferment and
the humun tupestry o Detrot und, speccuy, o the
Cuss Corrdor n the l970s und eury 80s. \hen l urrved
n the Corrdor n the lu o l972, urburu Creene vus
ureudy un estubshed purt o the Cuss Corrdor urt scene.
Athough l vus, und st um, u huge un o urtsts such us
Corde Nevton, rendu Coodmun, und rudey }ones,
urburu's vork vus coser to my ovn ved experence--ut
once uccessbe und exotc. 1o u resdent o the Corrdor
ke myse, her smu, mugcu prnts und vutercoors
seemed to be everyvhere--on the vus o burs, cues, urtst
studos, und upurtments--oten depctng her ovn ructured,
untustcu verson o the occupunts und nterors o those
sume estubshments.
urburu's seemngy cruzy-qut druvng stye s uctuuy
but on un urmuture o shurp, ncsve nes. And her skeved,
unmuted mugery cun come ucross us both euress und
chd-ke. 1hose quutes, combned vth her choce o subect mutter, the smu, umost precous
scue o much o her vork, und her ovn pxy-ke uppeurunce, prevented her rom beng tuken us
serousy us she shoud huve been n the ruv, hurd-edged, e s tough und so s our vork, vord
o Cuss Corrdor urt. urburu, nov urburu Creene Munn, s st creutng her very personu, tvo-
dmensonu vords n 1oronto, Cunudu.
I NTRODUCTI ON
Tom Hagerty
Detroit: The Missing Years
Tiger Stadium
Severu yeurs ugo vhe trong the nternet or muges o Detrot, l hud
u sturtng moment o recognton vhen, by chunce, l encountered 1om
Hugerty's 1he Mssng Yeurs. lt vus us l hud stumbed upon u secret
trove o pctures documentng orgotten moments o my ovn e. 1here on
the computer screen vere the uces o peope l hud knovn, the streets ve
ved on, the curs ve drove, und the dmy t burs vhere ve msspent ur
too much o our youth. Lookng coser, l dscovered muges o the quor
store purkng ot vhere, too young to buy our ovn, ve pettoned dubous
strungers to buy us beer, und the rumshucke buckyurds und guruges o the
homes vhere ve drunk t. l voud not huve been ut u surprsed to cutch u
gmpse o my younger se somevhere on the perphery o the rume.
1om's muges ocus on one tny sver o the northvest sde n the ute
l970s--vth occusonu oruys to Creektovn, ee lse, und 1ger Studum-
-to cupture u street-eve vev o u very specc tme und puce n Detrot's pust. 1he photos, uthough
cureuy rumed, retun the cusuu nuture o snupshots vth ther spontunety und unvngness to
udge. 1hey ure muges thut cun ony be cuptured by someone vho s purt o the trbe he s recordng
und hus the nstnct or ust the rght moment to cck the shutter.
Bruce Harkness
loetovn
The Cass Corridor
l met ruce Hurkness n the ute l970s vhe he vus
competng hs Muster o lne Arts n photogruphy
at Wayne State University and we both worked
ut Lnon Street (nov the Lnon Street Suoon) on
Woodward Avenue. In between serving Heinekens
und pub-burgers ve dscovered u mutuu nterest n
the grtty vord o Detrot's Cuss Corrdor, us ve us
the controversy rugng over the mmnent demoton
o loetovn. \hen ruce emburked on hs proect to
creute u personu record o loetovn us t dsuppeured,
he guve me tvo prnts rom the unodng seres. 1he
loetovn epsode uter becume one o the nsprutons
or my screenpuy ud Advce und over the yeurs those
tvo muges huve served us evocutve tusmuns o thut tme und puce. 1he ruce Hurkness loetovn
Coecton, comprsed o more thun ve hundred muges, s nov purt o the hodngs o the \uter
P. Reuther Library on the campus of Wayne State University.
A B R I E F P E CUL I AR HI S TORY OF DE T R OI T
21
The images contained in this book represent a fraction of the body of work Harkness created between
l975 und 2000 us he vuked the streets o Detrot und photogruphed the peope he met uong the
vuy. Muny compeng muges vere creuted by Hurkness us purt o the ute l980s Lrbun lnterors
proect, conceved by \uyne Stute lroessor }ohn ukovczyk us u oov-up to the l98l loetovn
seres. A seecton o these muges cun be ound n the Lrbun lnterors chupter o the ruce Hurkness
vebste, brucehurkness.com. As n prevous proects, ruce ound the best vuy to meet potentu
subects vus by vukng the od eust-sde neghborhoods und beng open to chunce encounters.
Peter OKeefe
Dodge Main
Detroit is the Motor City. For the past century the citys fortunes
huve been nextrcuby bound to those o the uutomobe ndustry.
Munuucturng punts ke Dodge Mun vere the ttunc, pusutng
engnes thut drove the cty orvurd, povered by cou, moten stee,
bood, sveut, und gusone. lt s not possbe to te the stores o
the men und vomen vho nhubted ths cty vthout exporng
the vord vhere they spent ther vorkng ves.
PART ONE: GHOST STORI ES
A B R I E F P E CUL I AR HI S TORY
OF DE T R OI T
27
GHOS T L AND d e t r o i t
Jef Bourgeau
lostcurds rom Detrot ure u trendy uscnuton ut the moment. Actuuy uny photogruphs ure
uscnutng, or u vhe ut eust. ut muges rom u runed cty uscnute becuuse n ther gruphc
drectness they strke u prmordu chord thut seems hed on sustun throughout the current nevs
cyce. Lke pctures o cur uccdents, they ure eectve communcuton. 1hey hook. \th the udvent
o dgtu cumerus und scunners, grtty muges by struggng Detrot urtsts ure nov seen us u nev
orm o urbun porn. And seen by u ot o peope. No surprse, you voud thnk, vth the lnternet.
1hs seres by Detrot urtst }e ourgeuu pees uvuy ut these uyered stereotypes to the extent thut,
ve, the muges ure ust brghter und more poetc. 1hey ure pushed und tnkered tovurd urt, but not
ut u druggng ther eet. Cne s st ookng ut hurd core snupshots o u orgotten cty, but perhups
ths tme n ther proper context, vthout the usuu hype und vth the ghts turned on.
And yes, ths vork hus been throvn buck nto the very pubc dspuy thut these tmes seem to cruve
or such nvusve ucts. Muybe there s tte derence betveen un urtst shovng muges o cty e
n u stuged deuth throe und the uctuu thng. \e seem to be vng n un uge o exhbtonsm, drven
by u compuson to be bud und to dspuy u thut mukes us pecuury so to un unsuspectng, but
nsutube, pubc.
}esscu Hopkns, Art Room Cuery
lover House, roo, bottom o stucks, ookng vest, l980 (S, H & C)
T HE HAMT R AMCK DODGE AS S E MB LY P L ANT
DODGE MAI N
1 9 1 0 - 1 9 8 0
Peter OKeefe
oys n un uey betveen 1romby und Adee, Murch 2l, l98l
P OL E TOWN
Bruce Harkness
PART TWO: LOST WORLDS
A B R I E F P E CUL I AR HI S TORY
OF DE T R OI T
Cctober 3l, l975
179
DE T R OI T: T HE MI S S I NG Y E AR S
Tom Hagerty
\hen l rst encountered 1om's photo essuy 1he Mssng Yeurs, l vus not ony struck by the umurty
o hs subects, but by the tte us ve: the peope und puces n those photos represent u perod o
my ovn e thut coud eusy huve been entted 1he Mssng Yeurs. Detrot's lumer lurk (Cesu)
neghborhood, nov knovn us the Lnversty Dstrct, munuged to muntun ts stubty durng the
decudes o vhte ght thut reshuped the vest sde ke u rucuy turgeted tsunum. 1he Cesu pursh
schoo, severu neurby Cuthoc hgh schoos, und the proxmty to the Lnversty o Detrot guve the
neghborhood the cupucty to ro vth the punches und uvod the vorst o the bght thut ruvuged the
rest o the cty. ln uddton, muny o the mdde cuss vhtes und bucks uttructed to the neghborhood
by the burgun-busement prces on enormous brck homes hud u stubborn commtment to dverstyu
rure quuty n l960s-eru Detrot.
\e moved nto the neghborhood n the summer o l967 oovng my uther's ued three-yeur
experment o reocutng the umy rom Detrot's ur vest sde to the suburbs. y the tme ve
urrved, lumer lurk's vestern border, Lvernos Avenue, the Avenue o lushon, vus ureudy n
decne. Muny o the busnesses thut hud eurned t thut desgnuton hud ooved ther centee to the
suburbs. Cthers vere burned out durng or moved out oovng the rots thut sume summer. eov
Sx Me Roud vere the quor stores vhere uny sxteen-yeur-od vth the proper umount o chutzpu
coud buy cgurettes, beer, or hurd quor. lor ong-hured vhte teenugers ke myse, deung vth
the cod stures und the occusonu vhut you don' here vhte boy: verbu conrontuton vus us
much u rght o pussuge us buyng thut rst pnt.
My rst cur vus un noperube l962 Corvur purchused or Sl00. My consutng mechunc, Dune
Moons (puge l84), nstued un engne suvuged rom u unkyurd und equpped me vth my rst set o
vhees. My rends und l vore our hur ong und uvored vhte tee-shrts, heuvy putched euns, und
vork boots. \e crunked up Led Zeppen ubums unt the vndovs rutted, drunk too much beer,
smoked dope, drove umessy n our curs, protested the vur n Vetnum, und dunced to Motovn ut
basement dance parties.
Muybe t vus u sgn o the tmes, or perhups t hud somethng to do vth the envronment vhere ve
cume o uge, but ve vere the rst cohort rom the neurby Lnversty o Detrot Cuthoc hgh schoo
thut dd not move en musse rom gruduuton to coege. lnsteud, ve drted nto menu obs, sporudc
coege courses, und u perverse uecton or shot und u beer onts ke the Nev lumer ur und
Toms Tavern.
Peter OKeefe
Ceorge Antonson, l977
243
T HE CAS S COR R I DOR
Bruce Harkness
Contemporury Dunce lll, l977
297
BAR BAR A GR E E NE S DE T R OI T
l urrved n the Cuss Corrdor n l975, reudy to go or my musters ut \uyne Stute Lnversty. My heud
vus ed vth u cucophony o sy tte vocesthe so-cued nstructors rom my urt student duys
n Hu n the North o Lngund. 1o muny o them - vth notube exceptons - puntng vus somethng
to be uvoded. 1he conceptuust ruve vus hot und unybody usng u puntbrush vus to be ostruczed.
C course l hud messed uround vth the humun gure. My ounduton course vus ury rgorous, so
l hud some decent underpnnngs. Hovever, n my lA course, l coud ony punt gures urtvey, ut
home, so us to uvod the endess verbu durrheu o the conceptuust stu.
y the tme l got to the Corrdor l vus secretve und conused ubout my desre to ncude recognzube
humuns n my puntngs. 1hs u chunged overnght vhen l huppened upon u shov thut ncuded
urburu Creene's untustc mugery. 1here ure not muny tmes vhen un urtst cun denty u snge,
denng moment n ther cureer, or me, t vus my dscovery o urburu Creene's urtvork. lut smpy,
t set me ree. lt vus vth greut peusure thut l uter hud the opportunty to exhbt vth her n the
Shoestrng Detrot shov ut 1he Detrot Artsts Murket n l977. l ost truck o urburu n the eury
1980s.
Stephen Coodeov
1ger Studum, Apr l6, l979
T I GE R S TADI UM
Tom Hagerty