Visitors to the city of detroit

Soulful Detroit Forum: Archives: Visitors to the city of detroit
Top of pageBottom of page   By david, glasgow, scotland ( - on Wednesday, October 03, 2001 - 08:01 pm:

i would like to hear the experiences of other u.k. residents who have visited detroit.

Top of pageBottom of page   By steve ( - on Monday, October 08, 2001 - 03:42 am:


Congratulations on the site �. a great effort!

I'm not sure that I count as a UK resident as I left England in January 1988, and since then I've lived in Detroit, New York, Australia and New Zealand. But since no-one else seems to be replying, I'll give you my perspective anyway! .. As some background, I first lived in Detroit in the early nineties, and latterly from 1998 to now. I've also had a lot of friends from the UK, NZ, and other parts of the US, pass through, so I've seen Detroit through their eyes as well.

I can honestly say that there is no other city in the US that I would prefer to live in. I find Detroit to be endlessly fascinating; how did a city that generated so much wealth become so poor?, how did a city that was so often seen as the epitome of progress become so lost?, how did the racial divides become so stark? All of these questions fascinate me endlessly. Detroit is also the most inspiring city for a photographer, with such dramatic landscapes and stories

The other thing to remember about living in Detroit is that we have it pretty good. In Manhattan, my apartment, which has a great view of the Detroit skyline down Woodward, would probably be a good $2000/month. I pay just over $600. Bars / restaurants / venues / galleries, they're all here; the only things that are missing are retail and rush hour. (Neither of which I miss, to be honest).

I believe that all of my visitors have good memories of Detroit. Here are some of my tips: breakfast in Mexicantown, Eastern Market, a walk through some of the historical districts, the Heidelberg project, the DIA, the Guardian building, throw in a few trips to shows, restaurants, bars, the baseball etc, and you'd be surprised how full a week gets. Of course a trip to the Motown museum is a must. I've never known anyone leave there without a smile on their face. Last year my friend Jenny and I were lucky enough to be there when Gladys Knight turned up, which was a buzz.

As a footnote, I've walked past United Sound Systems many times, but never realized how historically important it was. When I walked past it on Saturday, it looked like they'd had a good clean out, with old electrical stuff, furniture, speakers etc out on the sidewalk. I'm not sure there is any of the good stuff, but who am I to say?

Once again thanks for the site. I'm sure there are still a lot of chapters to be written.

Best Wishes


Top of pageBottom of page   By david, glasgow, scotland ( - on Monday, October 08, 2001 - 07:53 am:

well steve. only response so far but i couldn't have received a better one.

you are far travelled, yet your favourite spot in the u.s. is detroit.

i can understand that completely.

i have received dozens of e-mails over the weekend from ralph terrana (former owner of tera shirma and employee of some stature at motown).

his stories of sixties detroit are absolutely stunning and fascinating.

my only regret is that i never saw the city then.

Top of pageBottom of page   By acooolat ( - on Friday, October 19, 2001 - 02:03 am:

I moved to Taiwan 2 years ago but before that I lived in Windsor for a few years.
The places that you mention are definately worth seeing and the Guardian Building is a national treaure.
The main library on Woodward is a really good source of information. Have you been in there? I spent a lot of my time tracking down former recording artists, song-writers and musicians, in fact anyone associated with the music business in Detroit. I met some great people. I was back over there in Sept (with David) and had a great time.
I regard Detroit as my spiritual home.
Best wishes, Graham (Taiwan)

Top of pageBottom of page   By Dave Moore ( - on Saturday, October 27, 2001 - 11:46 am:

David and Lowell,

Had to write and congratulate you on your site. My first trip to Detroit was a whirlwind affair in which I tried to get to Memphis, New Orleans and back to Detroit in 5 days! I then returned to Detroit the year later (93) as I realised that if I didn't get to the sites soon, they would disappear forever. You have really captured the magic of the place as far as soul fans are concerned. The city has no equal in stature in terms of talent, history, and atmosphere in soul circles. Your site has brought back many memories and made me determined to return and visit the sites and see how the city is changing. Thanks a lot and I will be revisiting the site to see how it develops. Good luck to both of you, and be sure, your efforts are appreciated.


Dave Moore

Top of pageBottom of page   By david, glasgow, scotland ( - on Saturday, October 27, 2001 - 11:52 am:

thanks for your kind words dave.

messages of support will be the key to the fulfilment of this project.

Top of pageBottom of page   By col mitch ( - on Tuesday, October 30, 2001 - 07:24 pm:

wasin detroit 4 years ago for a day. motown was great, also ford museum was good to.this is a great site ,photos are brill.regards col mitch.

Top of pageBottom of page   By david, glasgow, scotland ( - on Tuesday, October 30, 2001 - 09:42 pm:

thanks col mitch

Top of pageBottom of page   By steve ( - on Thursday, December 06, 2001 - 03:30 am:


Sorry to take so long to get back.

To answer your question, I regularly go to the Burton collection and the Detroit Pub;ic library. My apartment building is corner opposite to the library, so it's only about a couple of minutes walk there.

One of my interests is landscape photography; when I first came to Detroit I started taking pretty straight urban landscape photos, but more recently I've become more interested in photos that tell the story behind the landscape. I'll research a subject, and then go photo sites that relate to the story; for example a couple of things I've worked on recently have been the history of the Chinese in Detroit, and Malcolm X's stay in Detroit.

If there's anything I can look up or photo locally for you, please don't hesitate to drop me an e-mail ( It'd be good to help out a fellow East Midlander, I'm from Nottingham originally myself!

Best Wishes


Top of pageBottom of page   By acooolcat ( - on Thursday, December 06, 2001 - 04:07 am:

Steve, I spent a lot of time trying to find old photos of the clubs or recording artists.
When I was in Detroit this Sept' I found some nice pics in an old photographer's basement; some shots of Orthea Barnes singing at a club with Earl Van Dyke and the Funk Bros on stage. Also some of Johnnie Mae Matthews. They are all color - 8 x 10 - and date from around 1966 I guess. If you ever find any old pics please let me know.
PS. I see NFFC are going through a bad time.

Top of pageBottom of page   By david, glasgow, scotland ( - on Thursday, December 06, 2001 - 08:39 am:

i was lucky enough to see these photographs and they are absolutely stunning.

steve, i envy your position on woodward!

Top of pageBottom of page   By steve ( - on Tuesday, December 11, 2001 - 01:24 am:


Yes, bad times at the City Ground right enough. Just as they finally started getting a few good young players come through, it seems as if they'll have to sell them to keep afloat. Are you a reds fan by any chance?

I'll keep an eye out for photos, but you guys sound more than thorough.


I feel very lucky to live where I do. Let me try and send a photo of the view .... my apologies if this doesn't work.

BTW, I went out to the Bluebird on Sunday morning to take some photos, has that place always been purely a Jazz venue, or has it also had some soul connection?

my picture

Top of pageBottom of page   By acooolcat ( - on Tuesday, December 11, 2001 - 03:22 am:

Nice view Steve, you lucky so & so.
I recieved the Detroit jazz book (Before Motown) in today's post, which I guess you've read. The Blue Bird was never a soul venue, but I once went there with Buddy Smith! I showed the place to David when we were in Detroit in Sept and I think he also took some photos of it.
No, I'm not a reds fan, but I do have a World Cup ticket for England's games!
Cheers, Graham

Top of pageBottom of page   By david, glasgow, scotland ( - on Tuesday, December 11, 2001 - 08:47 am:

steve thanks for that photo. even better than i thought!

regards being thorough. this is a monumental story and we need all the help we can get.

there's bound to be all sorts of treasures out there in the photographic field.

please let us know if you spot anything.

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