Detroit in 1989 – 26 years ago, when the movie “Back To The Future II” came out – was a little different than it is today. Our younger readers might not remember it, but some of us do.

So, in honor of Back to the Future Day we’ve put together digital time capsule with 10 artifacts from Detroit in 1989.


1. The Detroit Pistons won their first World Championship

Names like Aguirre, Dumars, Laimbeer, Mahorn and Thomas dominated sports coverage and the Bad Boys defeated the Los Angeles Lakers to win it all. It was also their first year at the brand-new Palace of Auburn Hills after playing in the Silverdome for awhile.


2. The Detroit Free Press and Detroit News started their joint operating agreement

From then on, the two media rivals would be financially connected, and today are in the same office building. The initial terms were for 100 years; they share business operations and split profits but keep their editorial staffs separate.

3. Coleman Young wins his fourth and final term as Mayor of the City of Detroit

He defeated Tom Barrow and Representative John Conyers, Jr. (who is now the longest serving member of the U.S. House of Representatives).


4. Cobo Hall was expanded to 2.4 million square feet, doubling in size at a cost of $225 million


5. Rappers N.W.A. host their now-famous concert in Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena

If you’ve seen the move Straight Outta Compton, you’ll recall the scene with the disobeying local authorities by performing “F___ the police.” The group is later arrested by Detroit Police.


6. The Detroit Auto Show was renamed the North American International Auto Show

The Detroit Auto Dealers Association was looking to expand the show with the addition of Lexus and Infiniti brands and the growth of Cobo. Cars introduced that year include the Chevy Lumina, the Geo Prism, the Chrysler LeBaron, and a concept car called the Dodge Viper.


7. The Greening of Detroit was founded

The non-profit still exists to this day to help restore the city’s natural infrastructure

West RiverWalk Ambassador Bridge

8. The Detroit River is designated an American Heritage River by the Environmental Protection Agency

At the time it was the only one in Michigan and the nation’s only international American Heritage River.


9. Detroit’s downtown auto race switches circuits

They move from Formula One, a circuit more familiar to international race fans, to the CART “Indy Cars” for two years before the race moves to Belle Isle.


10. The Ilitch family moves their company headquarters into the offices above the newly restored Fox Theatre

The pizza moguls that made Little Caesars a household name and own the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings are now building a brand-new arena district complex just blocks away.

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