Discuss Detroit Archives - Beginning January 2006 Was Detroit really the world's weathiest city in 1943? Previous Next
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Al_t_publican
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Username: Al_t_publican

Post Number: 86
Registered: 06-2004
Posted From: 72.177.8.126
Posted on Thursday, May 18, 2006 - 2:15 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

A fellow student of history once dropped that on me. I gave it some thought and concurred that given the war materiel production of the time Detroit, indeed, was probably the wealthiest city in the world in terms the worth of what was being produced at the time.

Sorry to say, I did not ask what his source was, something I usual ask for. I'm curious if anyone has the figures for this topic.

By the way, in regard to my four month winter stay in SE Asia that had me visiting Angkor Wat near Siem Reap, Cambodia, it cost 20 USD to get in. When I asked a few weeks ago if Detroit could become another Angkor Wat, today it cost more to spend a day in Detroit than it does in Angkor Wat.

Curious sighting in Siem Reap, a salon called the Anchor Bar a la my old watering hole on W. Fort St. in downtown Detroit.

All of which has me wondering...Is the Watts Club Mozambique on Fenkell still in business?
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Jerome81
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Username: Jerome81

Post Number: 1003
Registered: 11-2003
Posted From: 64.142.86.133
Posted on Thursday, May 18, 2006 - 2:22 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

It wouldn't surprise me. But I would still think that with all the money flowing through New York City, that it would have been king back then.

Unless you're talking goods produced and not money channeled....
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Lmichigan
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Username: Lmichigan

Post Number: 3744
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 71.197.28.31
Posted on Thursday, May 18, 2006 - 2:27 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I've heard a lot things Detroit claimed in the 40's, including that Woodward and Grand River was the busiest intersection in the world, which I highly doubt. Kind of like the boomtowns of today, I'm pretty sure Detroit boasted a lot of superfluous claims that it probably never checked up on to see if they were true. Another one is the one concerning the most theaters behind NYC which I've never seen substantiated. It'd be great to see even this far past the fact if we could substantiate or disprove this high claims.
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Royce
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Username: Royce

Post Number: 1612
Registered: 07-2004
Posted From: 69.215.66.87
Posted on Thursday, May 18, 2006 - 2:31 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The intersection of Woodward and Michigan/Monroe was said to be the busiest intersection in the world.
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Karl
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Username: Karl

Post Number: 2409
Registered: 09-2005
Posted From: 68.230.22.99
Posted on Thursday, May 18, 2006 - 2:42 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Others can provide details, but during WWII Detroit was a HUGE supplier. Most assemblylines were converted to military production, including Willow Run. Tanks, planes, jeeps - many, if not most, came from Detroit. Neither the tanks nor the jeeps were known for being the greatest, but the D could churn them out by the gazillions without interruption - recall no bombing whatsoever on our shores, so production was continuous. OK historians, please take over, it would be great to know that Detroit was in fact the wealthiest city in 1943!
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7milekid
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Username: 7milekid

Post Number: 24
Registered: 01-2006
Posted From: 68.41.222.28
Posted on Thursday, May 18, 2006 - 2:44 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

And why wouldnt it be the busiest intersection in the world? People in Detroit all had cars before any other city. And about the theatre claim you are probably thinking about the fact that Detroit sells the most theatre seats behind NYC and yes that is true today.
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Lmichigan
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Username: Lmichigan

Post Number: 3746
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 71.197.28.31
Posted on Thursday, May 18, 2006 - 2:50 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I think the claim was claimed on foot traffic. But, who knows. The more ambiguous the claim, the harder it is to disprove (or prove).
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Al_t_publican
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Username: Al_t_publican

Post Number: 87
Registered: 06-2004
Posted From: 72.177.8.126
Posted on Thursday, May 18, 2006 - 3:04 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I once saw a documentary that said civilian automobile production in 1942 was only something like 250 units once war production took over.

If that is true I wonder if a 1942 model is a pricey collector's item today.
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Bongman
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Username: Bongman

Post Number: 1083
Registered: 12-2003
Posted From: 198.111.56.128
Posted on Thursday, May 18, 2006 - 8:11 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Ever notice how people from SE Michigan have this strange fascination that everything they have access to is either the biggest, best, or first of everything ?
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Dabirch
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Username: Dabirch

Post Number: 1495
Registered: 06-2004
Posted From: 208.44.117.10
Posted on Thursday, May 18, 2006 - 9:39 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)


quote:

Ever notice how people from SE Michigan have this strange fascination that everything they have access to is either the biggest, best, or first of everything ?




My favorite has always been the corned beef claims:

Grobbels "America's oldest corned beef specialist"

Wigleys "The world's largest daily display of Corned Beef"

We sure are a world class city...
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Lilpup
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Username: Lilpup

Post Number: 1028
Registered: 06-2004
Posted From: 152.163.100.8
Posted on Thursday, May 18, 2006 - 9:43 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)


quote:

Ever notice how people from SE Michigan have this strange fascination that everything they have access to is either the biggest, best, or first of everything ?




You think this is unique to SE Michigan? Do you just believe when someone says similar things about somewhere else?
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Iseries840
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Username: Iseries840

Post Number: 206
Registered: 08-2005
Posted From: 12.31.43.194
Posted on Thursday, May 18, 2006 - 9:53 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

______________________________ ________________
quote:
Ever notice how people from SE Michigan have this strange fascination that everything they have access to is either the biggest, best, or first of everything ?
______________________________ _____________

The problem with Detroit is that so many of its people (city and suburbs), seem to hate it.
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Dabirch
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Username: Dabirch

Post Number: 1496
Registered: 06-2004
Posted From: 208.44.117.10
Posted on Thursday, May 18, 2006 - 10:14 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)


quote:

The problem with Detroit is that so many of its people (city and suburbs), seem to hate it.




I don't think bongman's quote had anything to do with hating the city.

More like mocking the people who feel like they have to cling to the esoteric facts (or more likely unsupported claims) about the granduer that this city once was in order to justify to somebody why they still live in this region.
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Eric_c
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Username: Eric_c

Post Number: 741
Registered: 11-2003
Posted From: 68.76.202.10
Posted on Thursday, May 18, 2006 - 10:37 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I believe the boast was "highest grossing intersection for retail in the country", and "second largest number of theater seats".

But I could be wrong, too. :-)
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_sj_
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Username: _sj_

Post Number: 1350
Registered: 12-2003
Posted From: 69.220.230.150
Posted on Thursday, May 18, 2006 - 10:46 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)


quote:

Ever notice how people from SE Michigan have this strange fascination that everything they have access to is either the biggest, best, or first of everything ?




Uhh, Try America, not just Michigan.

LMichigan, it is seats, not theaters.
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River_rat
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Username: River_rat

Post Number: 123
Registered: 02-2006
Posted From: 68.166.44.44
Posted on Thursday, May 18, 2006 - 11:40 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

"Sic transit gloria".

Once, Detroit was great. For those of us who remember the absolute vibrancy of the CBD, it would be hard to dismiss that Woodward-Grand River was the busiest of intersections. The crowds at Hudsons and Kerns, every rstaurant busy, every office building filled...."sic transit gloria"
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Jimg
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Username: Jimg

Post Number: 595
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 68.20.140.8
Posted on Thursday, May 18, 2006 - 12:10 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Watt's was open as of Jan '06. Has been an 'exotic male dancer' outlet for at least a dozen years...
Same thing happened to many of the jazz clubs on 52nd street in the early 50s: converted into strip joints, or Chinese restaurants. Wonder if Watt's serves Asian food?
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Hornwrecker
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Username: Hornwrecker

Post Number: 1181
Registered: 04-2005
Posted From: 206.148.169.232
Posted on Thursday, May 18, 2006 - 12:28 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)


quote:

Wonder if Watt's serves Asian food?




Man Goo Gai Pan?



Sorry.
(No, I'm not.)
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Karl
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Username: Karl

Post Number: 2419
Registered: 09-2005
Posted From: 68.230.22.99
Posted on Thursday, May 18, 2006 - 12:31 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hornwrecker -

very, very bad.

:-) + LOLIAZ
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Ron
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Username: Ron

Post Number: 154
Registered: 03-2006
Posted From: 70.212.59.212
Posted on Thursday, May 18, 2006 - 1:46 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I believe that the year was 1922 that Detroit was, per capita, the richest city in the world. I would not casually dismiss this claim, when you take into account the boom in the auto industry at that time.

I came across this number in the documentary on the Book Cadillac hotel. It was stated in the documentary that the year the BC opened (1922), Detroit was per capita the richest in the world. Provided the other information in the documentary was accurate, I would not be surprised, and I actually campaign on this fact.

Isn't the producer of that movie a member of this forum? I did some casual research of the topic in the Census data, but have not been able to confirm it yet, but again, I have no reason to doubt it. Will keep you posted.
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Hornwrecker
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Username: Hornwrecker

Post Number: 1182
Registered: 04-2005
Posted From: 206.148.169.232
Posted on Thursday, May 18, 2006 - 1:53 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I'm sure the data is out there in some form, but I ain't finding it on initial searches, although I might be looking in the wrong places.

Census data would be from 1940 or 50, and census.gov turns up no old data. War production might be classified by contracts awarded, which has nothing to do with where the money went only with the winning company.

There are probably figures in a book somewhere, but "wealthiest" is a nebulous term for looking for an answer. Maybe one of the university sites might have something. Will search some more if I get bored.

Ron, that might be something the Chamber of Commerce has. It seems like they'd keep track of that history.

(Message edited by Hornwrecker on May 18, 2006)
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Danny
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Username: Danny

Post Number: 4155
Registered: 02-2004
Posted From: 141.217.173.154
Posted on Thursday, May 18, 2006 - 2:21 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Detroit; The Arsenal of Democracy:



Those were the days before the corruption.
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Karl
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Username: Karl

Post Number: 2426
Registered: 09-2005
Posted From: 68.230.22.99
Posted on Thursday, May 18, 2006 - 2:51 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I think they rolled out again in the summer of 1967 to correct some of the corruption.
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Jams
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Username: Jams

Post Number: 3323
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 68.79.102.113
Posted on Thursday, May 18, 2006 - 3:32 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Karl,
In an odd way I find your comment funny, but unfortunately it wasn't the politicians it was used against.
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Lmichigan
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Username: Lmichigan

Post Number: 3747
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 24.11.154.56
Posted on Thursday, May 18, 2006 - 4:07 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Danny, you're hilarious. Detroit has always been a notoriously corrupt city, the difference being that corruption in a booming city is much less noticable than corruption in a city that fell like a brick. Leave it to the self-profressed ghetto street prophet to state his own opinion and flatly wrong, contrived facts as fact.
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Mikem
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Username: Mikem

Post Number: 2523
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 68.43.15.105
Posted on Thursday, May 18, 2006 - 4:34 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Some bragging from 1925:




(Message edited by MikeM on May 18, 2006)
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Danny
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Username: Danny

Post Number: 4163
Registered: 02-2004
Posted From: 141.217.173.245
Posted on Thursday, May 18, 2006 - 4:42 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Now today Detroit is DEAD BROKE!

Detroit's population is 871,000 people.

Detroit's lost its white population

Detroit is one big African American ghetto.

Detroit has the 14% unemployment.

35% of Detroiters are in poverty.

And Detroit manufaturing jobs are almonst gone.
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Mikem
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Username: Mikem

Post Number: 2524
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 68.43.15.105
Posted on Thursday, May 18, 2006 - 4:52 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

From 1926:

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Detroitstar
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Username: Detroitstar

Post Number: 44
Registered: 01-2006
Posted From: 35.8.144.6
Posted on Thursday, May 18, 2006 - 4:52 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I like the last line..."largest municipal railway system in the world". My how the times have changed. :-(
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Mikem
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Username: Mikem

Post Number: 2525
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 68.43.15.105
Posted on Thursday, May 18, 2006 - 4:58 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Early '20s bragging:


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Hornwrecker
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Username: Hornwrecker

Post Number: 1183
Registered: 04-2005
Posted From: 63.41.8.122
Posted on Thursday, May 18, 2006 - 5:02 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

There are a few pages here of economic data over time for Detroit:

Detroit census trends

Scroll down to "Trends in Employment and Labor Force Activities".
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Lmichigan
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Username: Lmichigan

Post Number: 3752
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 24.11.154.56
Posted on Thursday, May 18, 2006 - 5:11 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Thank you, Mike!
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1630
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Username: 1630

Post Number: 34
Registered: 08-2005
Posted From: 12.2.196.17
Posted on Friday, May 19, 2006 - 5:45 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Every empire must fall. In the history of the world the empire that was Detroit will barely merit a footnote; it only lasted a generation or so.
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Lmichigan
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Username: Lmichigan

Post Number: 3761
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 24.11.154.56
Posted on Friday, May 19, 2006 - 8:24 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

As will the forgettable sprawlburbs of Phoenix, Atlanta, Houston...even more so as Detroit has left the impact of the automobile on the world for better and for worse. Time's moving faster than ever, in this regard, accelerating what would have taken centuries in the old world.
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Hysteria
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Username: Hysteria

Post Number: 277
Registered: 02-2006
Posted From: 152.163.100.8
Posted on Friday, May 19, 2006 - 9:03 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

It's been interesting reading all of this. As Lilpup said above, Americans want to think they have the biggest this and the busiest that. It's great that Detroit can historically claim many of these firsts.

BTW, thanks for the Detroit facts, Mikem.
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Karl
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Username: Karl

Post Number: 2467
Registered: 09-2005
Posted From: 207.200.116.139
Posted on Friday, May 19, 2006 - 9:11 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Yup - AZ, which boasts 2.5M visitors to the Grand Canyon each year, is planning to use it as a landfill to cut down on undesirable traffic caused by excessive tourism. Further, as smog increases and availability of water decreases, both visitors and residents alike are expected to flock to Michigan, where the water is plentiful, the air both clean and warmer (thanks to global warming) and the skiing on Mt Elliot improving each season. To placate displaced Phoenicians' close proximity to Disneyland and Calfornia beaches (a 5-hour drive away) vision-minded city fathers (and mothers) in Detroit plan a simultaneous reopening celebration of both Edgewater Park and Boblo Amusement Park, both rumored to have snatched untold tourism dollars from the Disney empire during the many years they were open. Matrons in the Grosse Pointes have been seen raking the wide, sandy beaches in eager anticipation of the hordes of new tourists, expected to sunbathe there yearound.

The residents of Houston, tired of traffic jams due to massive growth, eye the empty freeways of Detroit with envy and long to dump the open spaces of Texas for "the more urban feel" of innercity Detroit, said one oil baron. Realizing that the foolish settlers of Texas had nothing on the visionary founders of Detroit, residents of Houston long for the change, and hope their move (as well as the end of their single-generation lifespan) comes soon. Insiders admit (off the record) that increased numbers of workers from nearby Mexico have finally taken all jobs and are expected to cooperate with the Mexican government to annex the entire state anyhow, so the move to Detroit couldn't come at a better time. Nearly all Texans are excited about their new future in Michigan.

Meanwhile, in Atlanta excited residents begin packing......
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Lmichigan
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Username: Lmichigan

Post Number: 3764
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 24.11.154.56
Posted on Friday, May 19, 2006 - 9:50 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

lol
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Gistok
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Username: Gistok

Post Number: 2123
Registered: 08-2004
Posted From: 4.229.105.166
Posted on Friday, May 19, 2006 - 10:42 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Boasting is not a Michigan thing, or a USA thing.... Here's how I know.... the number of Cathedrals in Europe that claim to be among the 6 largest in the world... numbers at least 20!

Going off on a tangent.... as a kid I remember vacationing near Higgins Lake... they had signs all around it that said "Higgins Lake... 6th most beautiful lake in the world"... are those signs still there?
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Lmichigan
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Username: Lmichigan

Post Number: 3765
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 24.11.154.56
Posted on Friday, May 19, 2006 - 11:08 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Are you kidding about those Higgins Lake signs?! lol That's one subjective thing that after "most" doesn't even matter, anymore.

Just a few years ago when Lansing autoplants were up an humming the city proclaimed itself "The Car Capital of North America," and then though much quieter, employees of Dart (though, true) like to brag about how Lansing is the largest manufacturer of styrofaum products in the world. lol
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Danny
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Username: Danny

Post Number: 4175
Registered: 02-2004
Posted From: 141.217.173.162
Posted on Monday, May 22, 2006 - 8:50 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Detroit WAS the richest city in the world. So happen to all that money?

White folks took it to build their suburbs and freeways.

Corportate folks took it building the shopping malls and BIG BOX stores.

Black-folks took it so they buy CRACK, BLING JEWERLY, AND PIMP GIRLS. and move on the suburbs.

Coleman Young took it for his pleasure.

And KING KWAME KILLpatrick to took it so he can start a party at the Manoogian Mansion and to buy his wife a Red Lincoln Navigator.

And the city "CLOWNSIL" took it to pay their own bills.
Today Detroit is DEAD BROKE!
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Karl
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Username: Karl

Post Number: 2504
Registered: 09-2005
Posted From: 72.25.177.194
Posted on Monday, May 22, 2006 - 9:28 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Danny, using your logic I guess we should be thankful that all the bad folks lived in Detroit and brought it down, instead of living across the country in all the other cities and bringing them down too. Detroiters did it to Detroit for the good of the country? Has any other city suffered quite so much (yes, I know we have Rome, but I mean in the USA)
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Lmichigan
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Username: Lmichigan

Post Number: 3774
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 24.11.154.56
Posted on Monday, May 22, 2006 - 6:59 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Another brilliant synopsis by Danny. Good job. Now, time for your medicine, and to get you back to the home. Damn Michigan's dismantling of mental health programs and facilities. :-)

(Message edited by lmichigan on May 22, 2006)
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Irish_mafia
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Username: Irish_mafia

Post Number: 513
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 69.222.54.70
Posted on Tuesday, May 23, 2006 - 3:57 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

"Detroit WAS the richest city in the world. So happen to all that money?"

It didn't go too far Danny. I believe the richist city in the country, per capita, is Bloomfield Hills, MI.

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