History – Daily Detroit http://www.dailydetroit.com What To Know And Where To Go In Metro Detroit Sun, 25 Nov 2018 14:29:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 Documentary On Legendary Detroit Bar, The Lindell AC, Airs Thursday http://www.dailydetroit.com/2018/08/22/documentary-on-legendary-detroit-bar-the-lindell-ac-airs-thursday/ http://www.dailydetroit.com/2018/08/22/documentary-on-legendary-detroit-bar-the-lindell-ac-airs-thursday/#respond Wed, 22 Aug 2018 14:23:55 +0000 http://www.dailydetroit.com/?p=42576

Fans of Detroit watering holes of yore, take note: A documentary about the legendary Lindell AC sports bar makes its TV debut Thursday night on Detroit Public Television.

It’s called “Meet Me At the Lindell: The Story of America’s First Sports Bar.” The 44-minute documentary from director Jason Danieliwicz first screened in 2017 at the Freep Film Festival.

The Lindell AC was famous for many reasons, including for being a place where professional athletes showed up and mingled with common folk — something that’s virtually unheard of in today’s big-money sports era.

Greek immigrant Meleti Butsicaris and his sons, Johnny and Jimmy, purchased the bar in 1949, when it was part of a seedy hotel called the Lindell. Legend has it that New York Yankees infielder Billy Martin suggested they adopt a sports theme, using framed photographs and donated game mementos.

The bar quickly became a favorite gathering place for local and visiting athletes from all four professional sports leagues, and for journalists. It relocated just down the street in 1963 and became the Lindell AC, short for “Athletic Club,” a nod to the much tonier Detroit Athletic Club across town.

The list of famous names who drank in the bar is a long one and includes Martin, who fought his own player in the alley behind the bar; Gordie Howe; Al Kaline; Andre The Giant; Mickey Mantle; and Sonny Eliot; and, in a famous photograph, an actual elephant.

Photo via Meet Me at the Lindell Facebook page

The Lindell AC closed in 2002, a victim of plans for the Rosa Parks Transit Center.

“Meet Me At the Lindell” airs Thursday, August 22 at 9 p.m. on Detroit Public Televisio, Channel 56..

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Ilitch Family Makes Deadline To Fix Code Violations On Two Blighted Properties On Cass Avenue http://www.dailydetroit.com/2018/07/10/ilitch-family-makes-deadline-fix-code-violations-two-blighted-properties-cass-avenue/ http://www.dailydetroit.com/2018/07/10/ilitch-family-makes-deadline-fix-code-violations-two-blighted-properties-cass-avenue/#respond Tue, 10 Jul 2018 17:32:25 +0000 http://www.dailydetroit.com/?p=42326

Crews were on the scene today making repairs at two long-blighted properties owned by the Ilitch family on Cass Avenue in Detroit.

Monday was the deadline to fix code violations at the former Hotel Ansonia and the former Atlanta Apartments. Both buildings have long been without windows and are unsecured. The city flagged the violations in May and has reportedly twice extended the deadline for the Ilitches to come into compliance. No fines have been issued.

The two buildings are also among seven that are being proposed as part of the Cass-Henry Historical District. The fate of that proposal has also been postponed by the Detroit City Council. The Ilitches own several buildings within the proposed historic district and have requested permits to demolish three of them, including the two being worked on Monday.

An advisory board has recommended that Cass-Henry be designated as a historic district. But the City Council last week delayed a vote without explanation. The new vote is supposed to take place Tuesday.

It’s worth noting that the Ilitch family’s record of historic preservation is mixed at best. They bought and renovated the Fox Theater during the 1980s at a time when investment and jobs were high-tailing out of the city. But on projects such as the Madison-Lennox Hotel and several properties in the Cass Corridor, they’ve pursued demolition to create surface parking lots.

They have opposed creation of the Cass-Henry historic district, though proponents see the repair works under way the Ansonia and Atlanta buildings as a good sign.

This story originally aired on the Daily Detroit News Byte.


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PODCAST: Detroit Bar & Prohibition History With Mickey Lyons http://www.dailydetroit.com/2018/05/18/podcast-detroit-bar-prohibition-history-mickey-lyons/ http://www.dailydetroit.com/2018/05/18/podcast-detroit-bar-prohibition-history-mickey-lyons/#respond Fri, 18 May 2018 19:10:52 +0000 http://www.dailydetroit.com/?p=41801

We’re getting back to our boozy roots with this Daily Detroit Happy Hour conversation with barchaeologist Mickey Lyons.

She’s the talent author behind a recent Hour Detroit piece, “Dry Times: Looking Back 100 Years After Prohibition.”

Sven Gustafson — no stranger to a bar himself as a former bartender — and Mickey have a great conversation talking about the old time history of Detroit bars and prohibition, and how drinking changed in Detroit forever.

Mickey Lyons has a book coming out this fall and you can follow her work at her site, Prohibition Detroit.

Of course, if you like the show – you shouldn’t miss another episode. You can subscribe free on Apple Podcasts or wherever shows are found. There are also more than 50 back episodes here. 

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Life At The Historic Grande Ballroom? Supporters Are Fundraising For A Structural Engineering Report http://www.dailydetroit.com/2017/11/19/life-historic-grande-ballroom-supporters-fundraising-structural-engineering-report/ http://www.dailydetroit.com/2017/11/19/life-historic-grande-ballroom-supporters-fundraising-structural-engineering-report/#respond Sun, 19 Nov 2017 05:31:06 +0000 http://www.dailydetroit.com/?p=39676 The Grande Ballroom is one of the most hallowed spaces in Detroit music history. It has been home to jazz, big band, rock. It was a center of Detroit’s counterculture movement.

It also is a gem of a building designed by Charles Agree and completed in 1928. He left his mark on a variety of structures around town like the Vanity Ballroom, the Whittier Hotel and others.

But what will be next for the place that’s seen a couple lives and been sitting closed since 1972?

It’s currently owned by the Chapel Hill Missionary Baptist Church, and the building is being hugged by a dedicated group of volunteers that are now raising money to get the ball rolling on turning the corner for the place.

A GoFundMe has been started by Leo Early, a passionate advocate for the place, in conjunction with the Friends of the Grande Ballroom and the church that owns the structure to see what needs to be done.

Per the fundraiser page:

Donations will go towards the engineer’s fee and any  inspection costs to include construction/carpentry and equipment rentals. This report will be used to make a decision for launching a 501-(c)3 non-profit organization, aid in determining a business case and to calculate the extent of work necessary to stabilize the structure.  Assuming positive viability can be determined, any balance will go towards startup costs and a much larger construction fund raising campaign. Exercising this due diligence will benefit the church in pursuing grants and additional funding. As the building has a perforated roof, time is of the essence and we hope to have the inspection complete as soon as possible, weather permitting. Our latest potential inspection date is December 15.

As of this writing, they’re raised $3,045 of their $5,000 goal. There are also a variety of rewards ranging from a lapel pin to a blueprint to a custom dinner tour. If you’re interested, visit the fundraiser by clicking here. 

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LISTEN: Talking The Witch Of Delray, Detroit Murder Mysteries And History With Author Karen Dybis http://www.dailydetroit.com/2017/10/18/listen-talking-witch-delray-detroit-murder-mysteries-history-author-karen-dybis/ http://www.dailydetroit.com/2017/10/18/listen-talking-witch-delray-detroit-murder-mysteries-history-author-karen-dybis/#respond Wed, 18 Oct 2017 06:20:34 +0000 http://www.dailydetroit.com/?p=39011 [smart_track_player url=”http://traffic.libsyn.com/dailydetroithappyhour/DD-30-Happy_hour_Karen_Dybis_mixdown.mp3″ image=”http://static.libsyn.com/p/assets/5/7/2/b/572b926ef364f47a/daily-detroit-happy-hour-karen.jpg” download=”true” social_gplus=”false” social_linkedin=”true” social_email=”true” twitter_username=”TheDailyDetroit” ]

Today, we step back to Detroit in the 1930s at a bar that was open (well, as an ice cream shop during the prohibition part) to talk to Karen Dybis.

She’s an author of a few books, but her latest promises from what we’ve seen to be a great read. “The Witch of Delray: Rose Veres & Detroit’s Infamous 1930s Murder Mystery” is a true crime book that’s set in Detroit’s Delray neighborhood.

Dybis is a former newspaper reporter, and utilized that background as well as her colorful style paint a picture of a city and a boarding house where, as she says, renters walk in and pine boxes come out.

So join Sven Gustafson for a great conversation on the back patio of Nancy Whiskey’s.

To pre-order the book that comes out October 30 from The History Press on Amazon, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Witch-Delray-Detroits-Infamous-Mystery/dp/1467137545 or support your local independent book store.

Thanks to Podcast Detroit for their support of the Daily Detroit Happy Hour: http://www.podcastdetroit.com

Also, if you want to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, you can do so here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-daily-detroit-happy-hour/id1168444594?mt=2

Use Android? We’re on Google Play Music, too: https://playmusic.app.goo.gl/?ibi=com.google.PlayMusic&isi=691797987&ius=googleplaymusic&link=https://play.google.com/music/m/Iwc3prrpluduhfvsclhcl4inhtu?t%3DThe_Daily_Detroit_Happy_Hour%26pcampaignid%3DMKT-na-all-co-pr-mu-pod-16

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The Best Mayor In Detroit’s History And “Idol of the People” Deserves More Recognition http://www.dailydetroit.com/2017/09/15/hazen-pingree/ http://www.dailydetroit.com/2017/09/15/hazen-pingree/#respond Fri, 15 Sep 2017 17:31:29 +0000 http://www.dailydetroit.com/?p=38404 The city of Detroit is rife with nods and tributes to ghosts of its past, legendary and sometimes infamous individuals who have helped shape the city for hundreds of years. Names like Woodward, Lodge, Fisher, and Cass are so synonymous with the thoroughfares and buildings they represent that many people don’t even associate the names with the actual individuals they represent.

However, one name that doesn’t appear on any major road signs or building facades is that of a man who may be the greatest and most influential political figure in the city’s history.

In fact, Hazen S. Pingree was once ranked the four best Mayor in American History by a collection of scholars however the only major public recognition of him is a commanding statue that sits in Grand Circus Park and gazes proudly yet discerningly down Woodward Avenue.

A true “Idol of the People” (as the statues inscription reads) Hazen ran on the campaign slogan “Equal Rights to All, Special Privileges to None” and throughout his time as Mayor he embodied that mantra.

What interests and impresses me most about Hazen Pingree is how relevant his work and beliefs are in today’s political and social climate and so I’ve decided to share some of my favorite nuggets of Pingree lore in the hopes that you will be inspired to do your own digging at places like the Detroit Historical Museum and Detroit Public Library to learn more about Hazen and some of his peers and predecessors.

Hazen the Urban Farming Pioneer

Perhaps the most well known aspect of Mayor Pingree’s time in office was his encouragement and advocacy for farming within the city of Detroit. When the Panic of 1893 struck he opened up tracts of land to the public, including the poor, and encouraged them to use the land for farming and harvesting their own food. This initiative earned him perhaps his most endearing nickname; Potato Patch Pingree.

Hazen the Entrepreneur

An advertisement for Pingree & Smith.


It’s still highly debatable whether great businessmen make great politicians but this was certainly true in Mayor Pingree’s case. Before becoming Mayor, Hazen was in the shoe and boot making business and he was damn good at it. By 1886 he was running a million-dollar company that was the second largest shoe manufacturer in the United States.

Anti-Corruption & Monopoly

Hazen despised corruption and monopolies and notably took on the Electric, Telephone, and Railroad lobbies to expose their corruption and bribery and sought to give control of those services to the public, successfully doing so with the Public Lighting Commission which was formed under his administration.

Big Fan of Public Works

We love to talk about placemaking and investment in public projects these days in Detroit, and rightfully so. Hazen recognized the importance of this over 100 years ago and invested heavily in schools, parks, and public baths (the “urban beaches” early 1900’s).

He Looked the Part

Hazen Pingree. Photo via Library of Congress.

Finally, Hazen was a trendsetter for his time not only civically in appearance as well. He was known to get the “last word on fashion” amongst his peers in the city and bore a striking resemblance to England’s King Edward VII, so much so that when he was fatally ill the King himself sent his own physicians to assist in his recovery.

Still want more Pingree bits? I’ve only scratched the surface on what a fascinating individual “Potato Patch” was; did you know he was present at the Appomattox Court House for the Robert E. Lee’s surrender of the Confederate Army, or that he was also elected Governor while he was Mayor and attempted to serve both positions?

If you want to get the full story of Hazen S. Pingree and all of his amazing anecdotes and accomplishments I suggest you check out these sources:




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Renovation Project On Woodward In Downtown Detroit Reveals Old Sanders Sign http://www.dailydetroit.com/2017/08/08/renovation-project-woodward-downtown-detroit-reveals-old-sanders-sign/ http://www.dailydetroit.com/2017/08/08/renovation-project-woodward-downtown-detroit-reveals-old-sanders-sign/#respond Tue, 08 Aug 2017 20:27:11 +0000 http://www.dailydetroit.com/?p=37752 For 85 years, Sanders did business at this location on Woodward Avenue – 1529 Woodward, just south of Grand Circus Park.

That’s until the December of 1982, when, according to newspaper reports, it closed up shop. The signage was was covered over, and except in the minds of the older among us, the downtown Detroit store was forgotten.

Sanders was founded in 1875 and is a legendary name in Detroit and is the company that makes all kinds of sweet treats like bumpy cake, candies and hot fudge.

The words “Sanders” are unmistakable from across the street and are actually engraved into the facade.

According to a reader, this facade with the “Sanders” was installed in 1948, nearly 70 years ago. Below is the original facade from 1912.

Posted by Benjamin Gravel on Tuesday, August 8, 2017


In the 1970s, Sanders as a company had ran into trouble. At one point it had 143 outlets, but competition drove it to the brink of erasure.

The brand and the recipes were purchased by Morley Candy Company in 2002. Now there are seven Sanders stores in the region and two on Mackinac Island.

According to a promotion site for Bedrock, the 60,422 square foot building will become office and retail space.

Sachse Construction is the construction management firm, hired by Bedrock Detroit to lead the historic restoration and the core and shell work of the buildings.

“The Grinnell and Sanders Buildings have been part of the fabric of the city for more than 100 years,” said Todd Sachse, CEO of Sachse Construction when reached for comment. “Having our headquarters in Detroit, we understand the importance of our city’s history firsthand and we’re proud to lead the historic restoration on this project, preserving these buildings for use by future generations.”

So what’s next? Work on this stretch of Woodward began in late 2016 and is expected to be complete in early 2018.

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PODCAST: The History Of Henry The Hatter And Its Future With Paul Wasserman http://www.dailydetroit.com/2017/07/16/podcast-history-henry-hatter-future-paul-wasserman/ http://www.dailydetroit.com/2017/07/16/podcast-history-henry-hatter-future-paul-wasserman/#respond Mon, 17 Jul 2017 02:52:10 +0000 http://www.dailydetroit.com/?p=37415 [smart_track_player url=”http://traffic.libsyn.com/dailydetroithappyhour/DD-21-Happy_hour_Wasserman_mixdown.mp3″ image=”http://www.dailydetroit.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/henry-the-hatter-detroit-podcast.jpg” download=”true” social_gplus=”false” social_linkedin=”true” social_email=”true” twitter_username=”TheDailyDetroit” ]

Henry the Hatter is one of the most beloved establishments in all of Metro Detroit. The clientele of the oldest hat shop in the United States, owned by Paul Wasserman, is a who’s who of musicians, politicians, and even a president.

For this special episode of the Daily Detroit Happy Hour Podcast, Sven Gustafson stopped into the iconic store to talk to Paul.

Paul shares how his lease got unexpectedly ended, the history of the place (including how his father came to buy it), and we even touch on the future plans for this piece of living Detroit history that has roots back to 1893.

If you enjoyed this episode of the Daily Detroit Happy Hour, we have much more where that came from. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-daily-detroit-happy-hour/id1168444594?mt=2

You can also find our podcasts on all major podcatchers.

Thanks also to Podcast Detroit: http://www.podcastdetroit.com/

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Get A Sneak Peek Of The Restoration Of The Historic Palmer Park Log Cabin This Saturday http://www.dailydetroit.com/2017/06/21/get-sneak-peek-restoration-historic-palmer-park-log-cabin-saturday/ http://www.dailydetroit.com/2017/06/21/get-sneak-peek-restoration-historic-palmer-park-log-cabin-saturday/#respond Wed, 21 Jun 2017 20:02:56 +0000 http://www.dailydetroit.com/?p=36786 There has been a lot of work done on the Palmer Park Log Cabin. So much in fact that the People for Palmer Park want to invite people to a special grand opening concert celebration this Saturday. Usually the cabin is only open during Log Cabin day, however this year it will be open both Saturday and Sunday.

If you have been around Detroit for any amount of time you probably know about the log cabin in the middle of Palmer Park. It was the former summer home for Senator Thomas Palmer and his wife Lizzie.

The cabin was built in 1885 and was designed by George D. Mason and Zachariah Rice. Mason also did The Ransom Gillis House and The Masonic Temple.

While it looked like a log cabin from the outside, it had all of the modern conveniences of its time. The first floor had a parlor, dining room, a kitchen, and an indoor bathroom. The bedrooms were on the second floor.

The cabin also has two large fireplaces. The cabin also had all of those great décor accents that you find in homes of that era, like the carved staircase and decorative door hinges.The Palmers gave the City of Detroit 140 acres of land and the cabin in 1893. The cabin became a museum until the 1970s. After the museum closed the cabin was boarded up and left to decay. For years raccoons took up a residence inside the cabin.

For the past few years the People for Palmer Park have been working with the City of Detroit to try and get the cabin stabilized and renovated.

The City of Detroit has worked on the cabin extensively in 2016. The cabin has had the cedar shingle roof replaced, the foundation repaired, replaced the porch canopy, fixed the back wall and added a new rear entrance. The city also removed all of the remaining animal feces from the walls and ceiling.

For their part the People for Palmer Park raised money during the “Light Up The Cabin” campaign to get the 32 stained glass windows restored.

The organization brought in Andrea Sevonty of Sevonty Restoration to restore the stained glass windows. Sevonty did a complete restore on each of the windows. There were seven windows missing so she had to build the window with new stained glass that matches the original windows.

“Up until this week the windows have always been covered with plywood. We now have a new security storm system that will allow light to come in. Our whole campaign for the window restoration was called ‘light up the cabin’. It was entirely based on fundraising,” said Sevonty. “We’re eternally thankful to anyone who donated any amount of money because it made this thing possible. Part of that was the security system to replace the boards to let light into the cabin. This might be the first time in 40 years that this has happened.”

The new windows bring in a ton of light into the cabin, and the installation should be finished in time for this weekend.

The “Concert in the Cabin” is a fundraiser for the People for Palmer Park. The money raised will go toward the work that still needs to be done inside the cabin, like permanent lighting, the kitchen, and chimneys.

The concert will feature musicians A. Spencer Barefield, Shahida Nurullah, and Ibrahim Jones.

Concert goers will enjoy refreshments during the reception as well as a tour of the cabin.

There are two times for the concert 4 p.m.-6 p.m. and 7 p.m.-9 p.m.

Tickets for the concert are $50 per person or $60 for VIP tickets.

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Detroit’s Legendary Goat Yard Is For Sale http://www.dailydetroit.com/2017/06/19/detroits-legendary-goat-yard-sale/ http://www.dailydetroit.com/2017/06/19/detroits-legendary-goat-yard-sale/#respond Tue, 20 Jun 2017 02:33:11 +0000 http://www.dailydetroit.com/?p=36749 Detroit has a long history of misfits, creatives, gadflies, rabble rousers, and people who are wonderfully outside of the social “norm.”

One of the many places in the city that was defined by the people in it was the “Goat Yard,” a small boat yard on the east side of the city over by the foot of St. Jean. It was maybe the last hippie boat yard, the Detroit Boat Works.

Via Realcomp
For years it was home to a litany of never-ending nautical restoration projects, low key social gatherings and some of the most interesting people in the city of Detroit. There’s even a local documentary about it. 

View of the canal. Via Realcomp.
Now, why was it called the “Goat Yard” as opposed to a “Boat Yard?” Well, I’m going to let a great clip from an interview with Stephen Hume (more on this colorful character later, may he rest in peace) on how Nemo the Goat showed up.

“I was talking to someone in the Detroit Police … and they had some old mounted horses they were going to retire. We had a lot of space here, and so I thought I’d get a horse for Sue for her birthday. So I brought it up to Charles, and Charles was an old Hungarian calvary guy, and he said Stephen, this is no yard for a horse … if you get a horse, I will report you myself to the Humane Society. Why don’t you get her a goat?”

Let’s turn the page to Stephen Hume himself.

Columnists used to cover him with some regularity, including relaying a story of how he would regularly needle former Mayor Coleman A. Young, including many unsuccessful attempts at various political offices.

For a particular project in 1992, Hume took a small boat and flew from it a box kite that had attached a giant banner that read, “RETIRE YOUNG.”

He then piloted that boat, kite with banner in tow, past city hall in view of the ‘ol Hizzoner. He was not amused.

The police harbormaster got ahold of Hume and ticketed him for having inadequate identification on the side of his aquatic vehicle of protest. There seem to be a thousand stories floating around about Hume’s run-ins with Detroit police.

I heard Mr. Hume died a few years ago. 2013, if I remember.

This one is a little personal, as I had the good fortune as my grandmother was friends with the group to paw around the place a few times as a young kid.

It was one of my first tastes of the best of what weird Detroit really could be. Experiences like the Goat Yard are what made me fall in love with this city at an early age.

The physical place that was the Goat Yard is 1.73 acres for sale for $1.35 million and has 220 feet of canal frontage that’ll get you right to the Detroit River.

But not included in the property deed is Detroit’s weird and eccentric soul embodied in part by the Goat Yard crew. It is a spirit I hope never leaves our 139 square miles. It is priceless and part of what makes our city special.

To the Detroit Boat Works, I’ll be heading to 95 St. Jean sometime soon for one last, “Hoy, Hoy, Hara!” as grandmother used to cheer.

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