Discuss Detroit Archives - Beginning January 2006 North Corktown/former Briggstown Previous Next
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Cris
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Username: Cris

Post Number: 380
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 71.227.26.44
Posted on Monday, March 06, 2006 - 5:32 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I can remember what this neighborhood near the old Tiger Stadium looked like years and years ago. Most of the houses were destroyed, but I never knew what happened there. Was it just a matter of abandonment, or did something happen all at once?

I got to thinking and wondering about it again the other day when I drove through that neighborhood. I love what is developing there now... the new houses are perfect. The colors are so cool. It looks great... I'm just curious about the history.
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Jjaba
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Username: Jjaba

Post Number: 3230
Registered: 11-2003
Posted From: 67.160.138.107
Posted on Monday, March 06, 2006 - 7:04 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Ther area around Briggs Stadium was a solidly working class car-shop john neighborhood. Ofcourse, East on Michigan Avenue, there was Chinatown and skid row with cheap hotels, seedy bars, and flophouse missions.

It is inner city Detroit and has had a rough time of the last 50 years. Corktown proper has seen great improvement recently and ofcourse had that urban renewal project of the 1970s which produced the Holiday Inn (Corktown Inn) and a suburbanesqe NBD on Trumbull. The industrialization or what was called "slum clearance" had mixed results although some of the small facories and shops have stayed up and running.

Corktown still has those mom and pop parking lots, although the stadium is dark now. jjaba can remember all those old guys and women flagging customers before the ballgames. jjaba's dad always made us walk without paying for parking.
We almost walked half-way back home to save a buck.

And we'll always remember our Canadian neighbors huddled like socialist hoardes on the SE corner of Trumbull and Michigan Ave. waiting for their Tunnel bus after each Tigers game. They were loyal fans, eh.

jjaba, Westside Memories.
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Thnk2mch
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Username: Thnk2mch

Post Number: 40
Registered: 02-2006
Posted From: 71.65.11.152
Posted on Monday, March 06, 2006 - 7:43 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

jjaba- any clue on the history of the vacant used car lot 1 block east of Tiger Stadium on south side of Michigan Ave?
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Cris
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Username: Cris

Post Number: 383
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 71.227.26.44
Posted on Monday, March 06, 2006 - 8:38 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

But why, at one time (I'm remembering late 80s/early 90s), was practically every house in the area just south of Grand River near Trumbull ruined and abandoned? Same story as so many other parts of Detroit, or was it hit particularly hard for some specific reason?
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Jenniferl
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Username: Jenniferl

Post Number: 249
Registered: 03-2004
Posted From: 4.229.156.20
Posted on Monday, March 06, 2006 - 9:45 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Read John Hartigan's "Racial Situations", which gives a detailed account on the history of this particular neighborhood.

The short version of what happened (according to Hartigan) is that the neighborhood deteriorated slowly, beginning during WW2 when many of the larger homes became boarding houses. The businesses in the area were hard hit during the 1967 riots, which in this longtime mixed neighborhood were not viewed as racial at all. At least, not according to the people Hartigan interviewed. Here, both whites and blacks participated in the riots-- and both whites and blacks condemned their neighbors who did so. Ten years later, the neighborhood suffered another blow when its elementary school was closed. (I believe this is the same building that now houses the Burton International School.) Overall, a lot of the area's residents blamed the decline of their neighborhood on the many "hillbillies" who first moved there during WW2. I must emphasize again that this is Hartigan's take on the neighborhood, not mine. I never saw the place until after I read the book. The last time I was there was in October or November, and it looked nice with so many new homes under construction.
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Cris
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Username: Cris

Post Number: 386
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 71.227.26.44
Posted on Monday, March 06, 2006 - 10:28 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Interesting... I'll have to pick up that book, Jenniferl. My earliest real memories of Detroit are of the early 80s, and at the time I didn't realize that a lot of the devastation I saw in the city was still there from the 67 riots.
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Jjaba
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Username: Jjaba

Post Number: 3235
Registered: 11-2003
Posted From: 67.160.138.107
Posted on Monday, March 06, 2006 - 10:33 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

jjaba can believe Hartigan's book. When you lose your neighborhood school, you do lose alot. But neighborhoods without homes and children don't require a public school.

Grand River and Trumbull is an inner city area, old, tired, and overlooked. Those with any money could move up and out; and they did.

Now a lot of the land on the corner is parking lot for a casino in the old Wonder Bread Bakery.
The bakery was a regular tour stop on school field trips in the 1940 and 1950s. Carl's Chop House holds on. The Teamsters hold on with their parking lot sign prohibiting foreign cars.

Now, newer homes are going in, and maybe we can return the area to a Detroit-version of hope.

jjaba, Westsider, remembering the Trumbull streetcar running down to the ballpark.
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623kraw
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Username: 623kraw

Post Number: 792
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 68.41.224.200
Posted on Tuesday, March 07, 2006 - 6:18 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Excerpt from "Prospects for the Proletariat"
By Russell Kirk
The Heritage Foundation

When the tremendous Detroit riot of 1967 occurred, some of the rioters, as they threw bottles of gasoline to burn down shops, cried mockingly, "Instant urban renewal!" They were not grateful for the ministrations of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Governor George Romney, in his last public address before leaving Michigan to take a cabinet post in Washington, declared that the riot-almost an insurrection- had been caused by resentment against urban renewal and federal highway building. Too true!

The Kerner Report (the author of which, you may recall, presently was sent to prison) declared that the fierce disorder had been a race riot, provoked by "white racism." In fact, blacks and whites were nearly equal in numbers among the looters and arsonists; of those arrested on suspicion of sniping, all were white...

Go figure.
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Rustic
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Username: Rustic

Post Number: 2161
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 130.132.177.245
Posted on Thursday, March 09, 2006 - 1:11 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The Briggs neighborhood had survived up through the mid 80's suprisingly intact in both population numbers and housing stock (cw many other neighborhoods within and along the GB loop). This neighborhood had a mishmash of generally low quality old smaller wood frame houses with the notable exception of some 19th century mansions (which had been subdivided on the cheep in the olden tymes) and a few multifamily buildings (apt, duplex, overunder and rowhouse style).

Demographics: in the mid 80's it was a mix of poor older whites (figure immigrant and 1st generation euros and immigrant and 1st generation appalachain whites) and poor younger blacks (figure 1st generation southern blacks) and a variety of miscellaneous transients living mostly in the old brick mansion/boarding/house/flop houses. It had roughly had those same demographics for ~30 years prior to that too, with younger black families gradually replacing older white families but no were near at the fire sale rates that were typical of white flight Detroit of the 50s-80s. In this sense ironically this neighborhood even with the crappy housing, poverty, and the winos and crazies living along Trumbull, was oddly MORE stable than infinitely nicer lower middle class neighborhoods further west during this time.

Historically it had been strongly irish catholic but by the 80's with the exception of a couple of bars and some other nearby businesses which were irish owned and operated I doubt there were Irish Catholics living there in significant numbers (they had generally followed Detroit's expansion westward up GR and out along Warren a generation or two earlier).

That neighborhood suprisingly survived a generation or two of freeway construction to the south, urban renewal in virtually every neighborhod around it (particularly to the north), the sort of piecemeal arson/stripping that plagued older Detroit neighborhoods back then and even the ill-effects of white flight (as I mentioned earlier). In the late 80's still fairly populated and reasonably intact it started to empty out. FAAAST. By the early 90's it was obviously terminal and by the mid 90's it was in large part pretty much cleared out buildings and all.

It is now called being called North Corktown. Seems like a good name for it. The new developments look nice.

Yay Detroit.

ps -- Histeric holds a grudge against me for discussing Briggs/North Corktown in the past so I haven't included any politics in the above description. Just the facts, Chris just the facts. Detroit is a terrible wonderful place.
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Cris
Member
Username: Cris

Post Number: 394
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 71.227.26.44
Posted on Friday, March 10, 2006 - 8:41 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Rustic, it sounds like you knew the area fairly well. I remember how-- just as you described-- it emptied out in the late 80s in a way that seemed very sudden. It was as if it was all occupied and then, almost overnight, it seemed the houses were abandoned and the windows were all broken.

That's why I always wondered what happened there. Sounds like the reasons are controversial... Thanks for the info!
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Skulker
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Username: Skulker

Post Number: 3648
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 67.103.104.93
Posted on Friday, March 10, 2006 - 10:13 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The area is more properly referred to as Woodbridge Heights.
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Toolbox
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Username: Toolbox

Post Number: 845
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 66.184.29.148
Posted on Friday, March 10, 2006 - 12:05 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I thought it was South Woodbridge Heights?
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Skulker
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Username: Skulker

Post Number: 3650
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 67.103.104.93
Posted on Friday, March 10, 2006 - 12:52 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I think we are both mistaken. Like our neighbors to the east it is actually five small areas...
"Southe Woodbridge Farms"
"Southe Woodbridge City"
"Southe Woodbridge Shores"
"Southe Woodbridge Park"
"Southe Woodbridge Village"
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Dabirch
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Username: Dabirch

Post Number: 1415
Registered: 06-2004
Posted From: 208.44.117.10
Posted on Friday, March 10, 2006 - 12:58 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I think you forgot Southe Woodbridge Woods
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Neilr
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Username: Neilr

Post Number: 209
Registered: 06-2005
Posted From: 69.242.215.65
Posted on Friday, March 10, 2006 - 3:36 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

But regardless of its legal name, of course we'll have to refer to the neighborhoods as:
The Farms
The City
The Shores
The Park
and The Woods

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