No small thanks to globalization’s impact, Detroit remains a mere shadow of its former glory for the most part of the 21st century. While the city strives and continues to thrive in some areas, Detroit still has a long way to go to reclaim its title of being once considered the Silicon Valley of America.
In the last 60 years, the city has lost its steam and almost 70% of its population. But forget about the slums, urban graveyards, and high crime rates for now and let’s take a quick look back to the days when Detriot’s infrastructure, landmarks and cultural significance symbolized the indomitable power of American industry and labor.
These 24 wonderful vintage photos will take you there. Enjoy!
Welcome to Detroit
Detroit’s Michigan Central Station. It was built in 1903 and was one of the largest rail stations in the country.
Detroit’s Belle Isle, 1905
Detroit circa 1915
The Woodward Spine
Ford’s Highland Park plant, 1914
Detroit in 1917
A Liberty Bond rally in Detroit that took place around 1918.
A glimpse of the interior of Detroit’s First Congregational Church in 1918.
Detroit’s bustling city streets back in 1920.
A quaint Polish-American grocery store in 1922.
The Ford River Rouge Complex
Tropics of Meta
Olympia Stadium (eventually known as the home of the Detroit Red Wings) was built in 1927.
Boats float along the water outside of Detroit in 1930.
After World War I, Detroit was home to some of the most innovative and cutting-edge industries.
NY Daily News
Men walk in a Labor Day parade in 1938
Deep snow makes driving in Detroit impossible.
An aerial view of Detroit in the 1940s.
The Detroit News Archivist
Children run through Pingree Park. Hazen S. Pingree was a local politician who expanded public welfare programs and created many new parks and schools.
Detroit Metro Times
During World War II, many wartime factories were located in Detroit.
28-ton tanks called “General Grants” were mass produced by the Chrysler Corporation’s tank arsenal in 1942.
In 1945, gasoline in Detroit cost just 17 cents per gallon.
Employees work on cars at Detroit’s Packard Motor Car Company.
A peek at the 1960 National Auto Show held at Cobo Hall.