Post Number: 9
|Posted on Monday, June 04, 2007 - 4:40 pm: || |
Any information about the neighborhood surrounded by Detroit City Airport, east of Van Dyke and south of McNichols would be appreciated. Satellite and birdseye views show the area to be devastated. The fact that it is surrounded by cemetaries, the airport and railroad tracks add to the isolation and overall eeriness of the area. It would be great to know the history of the neighborhood.
Maybe Bulletmagnet can ride through the east side neighborhood and get some pictures.
Post Number: 996
|Posted on Monday, June 04, 2007 - 4:54 pm: || |
That neighborhood has plenty of violence. I say that because for a few years there the ambulance company that served the hood was one of the country's busiest. Medic 15, at Whittier and Lakepointe.
Post Number: 1293
|Posted on Monday, June 04, 2007 - 7:09 pm: || |
Well, It's not the worst neighborhood in the city, just a bunch of Ghetto Hood Rats basically. Once you get over that, you'll be just fine. Just mind your P's and Q's. The homes overall are in decent shape compared to other parts of the city.
Post Number: 1483
|Posted on Monday, June 04, 2007 - 7:12 pm: || |
Mt.Olivet Cemetery is still alive and well....I mean uh.. Well you know what I mean.
New Arcadia book out about it, fascinating.
Remember when the plane from DCA crashed right into the cemetery ?
Post Number: 1393
|Posted on Monday, June 04, 2007 - 7:44 pm: || |
my moms friend owns a few houses over there and the tennants gutted the copper
Post Number: 57
|Posted on Monday, June 04, 2007 - 7:56 pm: || |
My Dad's aunt and her sister lived on Neurnberg St. east of Van Dyke and south of McNichols for a short time back in the late 70's. They were sitting in the living room one evening when gunshots came through the window. Needless to say, they moved shortly thereafter.
Mauser, thanks for the tip on the My. Olivet book. Most of my Dad's side of the family is buried there.
Post Number: 52
|Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2007 - 5:44 am: || |
As someone very interested in Detroit neighborhoods, I am curious about this area too. I am also curious about the neighborhood just east of City Airport - that "triangle" formed by 6 Mile, Conner, & Gratiot. I've seen a neighborhood map that calls part of that area "LaSalle College Park," but don't know the history of that. I knew a number of people who lived there and always got a little confused getting my directional bearings straight in that neighborhood.
Post Number: 997
|Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2007 - 10:48 am: || |
I think the Detroit Almanac says that neighborhood has the most confused street grid in Detroit, which is saying quite a bit! The property lines of French ribbon farms seem to cut through in two different directions, and the fractured grid bleeds on into the NSEW-oriented street grid to the north. Add to that the way sidestreets swoop off Gratiot Avenue at angles and you have major confusion.
Post Number: 1751
|Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2007 - 11:19 am: || |
It's one of the worst neighborhoods in Detroit, and it amazingly gets even worse as you move up Gratiot toward Seven Mile. I don't even like to drive around side streets in there during the day. Property values are certain to stay pretty low in 48213 and 48205 for the forseeable future.
Post Number: 103
|Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2007 - 3:32 pm: || |
"As someone very interested in Detroit neighborhoods, I am curious about this area too. I am also curious about the neighborhood just east of City Airport - that "triangle" formed by 6 Mile, Conner, & Gratiot. I've seen a neighborhood map that calls part of that area "LaSalle College Park," but don't know the history of that. I knew a number of people who lived there and always got a little confused getting my directional bearings straight in that neighborhood."
The name of this neighborhood would be news to people who lived in that neighborhood. For years it didn't really have defined or well known name. The LaSalle Part of the name originates from the fact the De La Salle was located at Conner and Glenfield until 1982. De La Salle had a college prep curriculum from the beginning so maybe that is the basis for the college part of the neighborhood name. By the way College is the name of a street in the neighborhood. Their is a playground at St.Patrick and Gunston. Not sure if that is where the "Park" part derives from. The frame houses in the neighborhood (mostly Whithorn down to Charlemagne were built in the mid 1920's). Sanford is the exception street with large number of brick houses in that part of the neighborhood. Many of the brick houses from Findlay up Portlance were built in the late 1930's. However, their were some houses built after World War II that filled in remaining lots in all parts of the neighborhood. Part of the reason why the streets are this way is probably because development occurred at different times within the neighborhood. Some houses were built before the airport in 1927 and many after the airport.
In the 1950's, 60's and early 1970's the neighborhood was still heavily Polish and Italian, along with some Germans. The two Catholic parishes serving the neighborhood were St.David at Outer Drive Rosemary; and Our Lady of Good Counsel at 6 Mile and Rowe. I believe the parish boundary was Findlay but it could have been as far north as College because of Good Counsel's size. If someone went to public school in the neighborhood(not that many did in the 1950's-60's) the high school was Osborn. In the early 1970's it was still a good area. However, as the baby boomers moved out the average age became a lot older. The neighborhood was having serious crime problems around 1978-1979. The year 1977 seemed like it was when it turned from "okay to borderline". By 1982-83 it was dangerous and family members can speak from personal experience on that one. Unfortunately, it wasn't just them. The people I know that lived there after the late 1970's and were there going back to at least the 1960's have no interest in ever seeing that area again for the rest of their lives. Too many bad memories about the end and I don't blame them.
Post Number: 234
|Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2007 - 4:32 pm: || |
I remember my high school years a gang from this neighborhood called "Earl Flynns" (YES, I know it's misspelled, but I didn't feel the need to tell the gang they got the name wrong... would you? ) near Van Dyke & 6 Mile. That is a rough neighborhood.
I actually lived near 6 Mile and Conner for a couple of years during high school. I hated the bus route I had to take because Van Dyke and 7 Mile had too many fights(lots of students from different schools meet at this corner to transfer busses or whatever) and Van Dyke and 6 Mile was isolated in a f-ed up neighborhood.
A couple of months ago I drove pass the gas station on Van Dyke across from Mt. Olivet (?) cemetary at around 2:30 AM to notice that someone was laid out behind a car with a blanket over them. A couple of people were standing over the person but looking more like the are waiting(perhaps for an ambulance, I hope), not doing anything else. That was so strange. That woke me up really quick.
I dropped my brother and his friends off, they were all too drunk to even see what I was looking at. I drove back past maybe 15 minutes later on the way home and the person was still there, and the people were still just chillin standing in the vicinity.
Post Number: 2
|Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2007 - 5:45 pm: || |
I believe that some of that area was cleared out to make way for a planned airport expansion, which is why it might look distressed. I myself would be really interested in knowing about that trailer park that was on Gratiot right across the street. Apparently, Detroit cops had places there so they could have a Detroit address while their main house was in the suburbs. Its just a walled-in field now. I would love to see photos of it when it was around.
Post Number: 35
|Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2007 - 6:54 pm: || |
My parents are buried at Gethsemane and my grandparents at Mt. Olivet....I very rarely get to Detroit anymore but I wouldn't go visit those graves unless I was packing a 9. My dad was Detroit PD during the 1920's through 1950. Our neighborhood was a couple of blocks east of Gratiot and just south of 7 Mile...same thing...the area looks gutted from Earth Watch...my sister, who lives in GPW, told me our house had been torched...our folks had moved from it to a condo in Harper Wds. in '71...sad to see what the city has become.
The trailer park on Gratiot was next to the old DPD 15th precinct...it went back to post WWII...if not earlier...I had an uncle, aunt and a couple of cousins who lived there in the mid-1940's until they bought a home somewhere in the Chalmers-Mack area. My recollection is that there might have been "quansett huts...sp?" that people lived in...in that area also. I think it was all due to the housing shortage in the post war era.
Post Number: 59
|Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2007 - 7:40 pm: || |
Mt. Olivet is fine to visit as far as I can tell, especially if you go around a Holiday (Memorial Day, Fathers Day etc.) There are plenty of old Polacks and Dagos to keep the riff-raff at bay !
I heard of incidents there years ago, but I never had a problem (saying that as a guy, of course).
Post Number: 54
|Posted on Wednesday, June 06, 2007 - 5:28 am: || |
Whithorn - your synopsis of the so-called "LaSalle College Park" history is interesting. I lived close to there until 1982 (over at Dickerson & Elmdale). At that time, several people I knew were still living in the LaSalle College area (although no one ever heard of or used that name for the neighborhood). I understand the confusing street patterns because of the ways the city grew around the area and the merging of different systems in that section of the city. At that time, the neighborhood was right on the edge - still some very healthy homes in the area. When I go back there now, it's heart breaking.
I know that Gooddale school was rebuilt, but has it been renamed too? I thought I saw a name change on a school website not long ago.
Post Number: 14
|Posted on Wednesday, June 06, 2007 - 5:34 pm: || |
Wow. It sounds like you're talking about a "hooverville", like in the book "The Grapes of Wrath". I just talked to some people who remember places like that in the area from childhood. Sort of metal shacks, half-circle shaped, not unlike what you see a few of on military bases. I person I spoke to said they recall one sometime around the early 50's in Hamtramck.
Post Number: 107
|Posted on Wednesday, June 06, 2007 - 6:47 pm: || |
Kville-Many of the frame houses on Whithorn are gone including the one at 11446. Speaking of schools I'm sure the parishioners of St. David had no idea that the high school they blessed in 1958 would ultimately become Rosa Parks Middle School. Some people like to discount the effect of the 1967 riots but ultimately it helped destroy that neighborhood. It just didn't take place immediately like some neighborhoods where the majority of residents sold between 1967-70, but the "push" was on in other nearby neighborhoods. Especially on the other side of the airport like French Rd-Gratiot area which in reality was starting before the riots; and along Conner south of I-94 which greatly accelerated after the riots. Basically, it was a compounding effect. Add the fact that the great majority of baby boomers that were raised in these neighborhoods had no plans to remain Detroit after getting married and starting families. Just my opinion.
Post Number: 1466
|Posted on Wednesday, June 06, 2007 - 7:53 pm: || |
That neighborhood is weird. I drove through there last year cause I wanted to see the DCX Lynch road facility. I'm probably too dumb to really feel any danger when I was there (middle of the day), but it was definitely strange, though seemingly so deserted I didn't get nervous. Drove down French, onto Lynch, then back out Mt. Elliot onto Mound and then over into Hamtramck.
Wouldn't surprise me at all that is a rough place. Hell, that one area east of the airport is essentially empty. It almost has a wild-west feel I suppose. Empty, but you wouldn't be surprised if the 2 people you see start shootin it out.
I can understand why people would move out with violence and gun shots ringing through. However, my big question is what the heck caused this to happen? Why suddenly in that time period (70's or so) did it start happening? Where did the people responsible come from? What caused it to go downhill, etc? Was it previously only in certain pockets in the city and expanded or just shifted around? Very strange.
Guess it is too late now, but what can you really do? Nobody deserves to live in an environment like that (no matter how poor), but if the place is running amok with riff-raff, what do you do? The cops can't fight it off, and probably don't have any interest in having shootouts. The neighbors can't (and won't or shouldn't have to) fear for themselves or have to take matters into their own hands. So how do you stop/prevent/end the garbage? How do you win the war? Was most of this stuff drug related? Is it still today? People just killing people for no reason (usually not the case, but could be)?
Post Number: 72
|Posted on Wednesday, June 06, 2007 - 9:40 pm: || |
Would your first choice of residence be next to an airport? Probably not. I'd say that's what drove the neighborhood to (near) extinction. Freedom of choice means that those without a choice do what they can to survive.
It actually surprises me that some nice brick bungalows were built along Conner and surrounding neighborhoods near the airport. I suppose these may have preceded the construction of the airport, and the general public's understanding of the noise associated with airplanes.
Post Number: 109
|Posted on Wednesday, June 06, 2007 - 10:31 pm: || |
"It actually surprises me that some nice brick bungalows were built along Conner and surrounding neighborhoods near the airport. I suppose these may have preceded the construction of the airport, and the general public's understanding of the noise associated with airplanes."
You have to understand for most of the years around the airport it was small planes. A good portion of the World War II generation and especially the people born before 1915 didn't think it was a big deal. It was a way of life and better than smelling smoke from a factory all the time. People thought they had it made in life by having a driveway(Simpler times). The neighborhood was centrally located. Close enough to downtown, east side Chrysler plants, GM tech center, Tank Arsenal, etc. These people were not wealthy for the most part(some exceptions) but they were not poor either.
The reality is most white residents of that era(1970's-early 1980's) were not driven out because of airport noise. They left because they didn't want to live in a racially mixed neighborhood with crime problems. On the other side of the airport the neighborhood east of Van Dyke was causing problems. Criminals don't necessarily always stay in their own neighborhood. When the brokers really took over the housing market in the late 1970's they did not care if they sold the houses to drug dealers. The first few black families that moved in during the early 1970's left before a lot of the whites did. My dad was told by a family member of one of the first black families around 1978 that they were leaving "before the real trouble starts". Oh, I forgot red-lining as well. By the 70's it was the good old land contract.
The World War II generation whites didn't want blacks there in the first place and they sure as hell didn't appreciate blacks involved in drugs. That is not the politically correct thing to say but its true. I am actually sugarcoating about what some of them really thought. Add the fact Coleman wasn't going to provide better police protection for that neighborhood even though the 15th precinct was nearby. It was not in his best interest to do that. In 1973 they sure as hell didn't vote for Coleman.
Also, The baby boomers that were raised in that neighborhood were not interested in raising families in Detroit let alone that neighborhood for a variety of reasons. Airport noise would have been one of the lesser complaints compared to other factors. I need a break from typing.
Post Number: 76
|Posted on Wednesday, June 06, 2007 - 11:00 pm: || |
All that being said, Whithorn (and I agree with most of your points) there was little reason for people to move IN during the 60's-70's because "who wants to live next to an airport."
Granted, that is perception more than reality, but most of this forum discusses the perception/reality dichotomy in almost every thread.
I still think that the "next to an airport" factor made an impact on any chance of revitalization in the neighborhood. But it becomes a chicken or the egg argument to me.
Post Number: 110
|Posted on Thursday, June 07, 2007 - 1:06 am: || |
In the 1960's not that many houses were for sale. Even after the riots their was not an immediate panic. The change in the early 1970's was very gradual. In the mid-1970's it accelerated and by the late 1970's and early 1980's it was a mess. Additionally, as I said previously the neighborhood was red-lined, and that was even before the first black family moved in.
The people that did move into "La Salle-College Park" (the residents never called it that) in the 1960's generally came from older neighborhoods inside of City Airport. Since they generally came from declining neighborhoods with older houses containing no driveway or garage, the Conner side of the airport was an improvement despite the noise. I know people who lived around E. Grand Blvd. and Gratiot in the 1950's-1960's that thought the "rich people" lived on the Conner side of the airport. The houses were better, and at that time it was a safe neighborhood which was more important than noise. Also, keep in mind we are talking about homeowners who were largely children of immigrants and in some instances immigrants themselves that mostly came from working class backgrounds. The standards are lower and the things people complain about today would be considered asinine thoughts to older people of that time.
Actually, some residents lived for seeing the takeoffs and landings at City Airport. Even into the 1970's you had many old-timers dating back to the 1920's and 1930's that loved their house and could not care less about the airport unless the plane was going to end up short of the runway. Some close calls occurred and the fence along Conner was clipped but it made for a conversation at Happy Landings, Snow Owl, Al's, etc.
I agree that if the neighborhood had been stable in the 1980's and they were trying to appeal to younger families to move in the noise from the airport would have been a big issue. Especially, after the jets started flying in there. However, so would non-attached one car garages, 32ft or 35ft wide lots, the Detroit Public school system, etc. Catholic schools were becoming more expensive and many baby boomers turned away from the church.
Overall, I still will stand by my belief that crime destroyed that neighborhood at that time. Now, if the neighborhood had remained more stable with the World War II generation staying until they died, then yes; the airport noise would have been a big deal.
(Message edited by Whithorn11446 on June 07, 2007)
(Message edited by Whithorn11446 on June 07, 2007)
Post Number: 10
|Posted on Thursday, June 07, 2007 - 1:36 am: || |
Thank you for responding Whithorn.
Post Number: 58
|Posted on Thursday, June 07, 2007 - 5:22 am: || |
Hpgrmln - the quonset huts were in a lot of places. My wife's family lived in ones around Conner & Warren back in the 50's.
Something else that no one has mentioned about the decline of that neighborhood and many other city neighborhoods was the issue of school busing. In 70's, the federal government was enforcing busing in the city and when that happened, I can't tell you how many people I know moved out. People were willing to send their kids to a neighborhood school, but when they were about to start busing to schools farther into the city for racial equality, many parents just upped & left for the suburbs. Drugs, crime, busing, etc. all had a snowballing effect. When I lived in the area in the 70's & 80's, racial equality no longer was an issue - our kids were the only white kids in their classes at Our Saviour School across the street from our house. The neighborhood was reasonably stable and we felt very comfortable. Now it looks like the neighborhoods looked when we traveled below Warren & Mack back then - a lot of houses gone (burned or torn down), trash strewn all over (I was really upset at how trashy Chandler Park was). In fact, the last time I toured through that area, I was with some other out-of-town former residents who had lived down on Hendricks north of Elmwood Cemetery. Their old street, although farther into the city, looked better than ours.
Post Number: 37
|Posted on Thursday, June 07, 2007 - 7:50 am: || |
My parents moved our family out of the neighborhood directly to the East of Detroit City Airport primarily due to the school busing issue, as well. Coincidentally (or not?), a few of our Detroit neighbors ended up being close to us in the northwestern suburbs where we ended up.
Even though I was really small, I have lots of fuzzy memories: a house fire two blocks away when a plane crashed onto it; Sonny Elliot "wingwalking" on a biplane; there was also a time a plane landed on Connor (I think it was a bigger non Cessna/Piper plane, too) and we watched them towing it into the airport through the gates.
(Message edited by MalcoveMagnesia on June 07, 2007)
Post Number: 2
|Posted on Thursday, June 07, 2007 - 8:28 pm: || |
Goblue: "The trailer park on Gratiot was next to the old DPD 15th precinct...it went back to post WWII...if not earlier...I had an uncle, aunt and a couple of cousins who lived there in the mid-1940's until they bought a home somewhere in the Chalmers-Mack area. My recollection is that there might have been "quansett huts...sp?" that people lived in...in that area also."
I'd be interested in knowing more about the Trailer Park..as well as the large burnt-out buildings below the billboard on Gratiot in front of the Trailer Park. What were those buildings used for, originally?
I'd see the one particular building, all the time..Driving by.. and planned to stop sometime and check it out. So, I did..Then discovered what turned out to be the Trailer Park behind it. I wasn't all too certain what the property was originally used for, at first. There are two crumbling Bath Houses still standing on the property. I could see they were fairly old..and there are all these small concrete slabs scattered about and remains of structures. Was really intrigued by it all. Ended up picking some roses that were on a bush likely once carefully attended to by a resident. Found a number of Mulberry Bushes as well back there. I need to go back when the berries are ripe.
Any information or pictures would be just great!
Post Number: 550
|Posted on Thursday, June 07, 2007 - 9:07 pm: || |
Q-huts were there ...trailer park to accomodate the returning vets from WWII....thats about as far as my memory can be stretched...
Post Number: 146
|Posted on Thursday, June 07, 2007 - 9:15 pm: || |
I was thinking of shooting part of a film project in this neighborhood... not a good idea??
Post Number: 3358
|Posted on Thursday, June 07, 2007 - 9:23 pm: || |
The burned out building below the billboard was a terminal for the interurbans, called the Gary Terminal.
Post Number: 656
|Posted on Thursday, June 07, 2007 - 9:44 pm: || |
Go for it!
Post Number: 18
|Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 2:01 pm: || |
My Mom grew up on Rowe St. near McNichols & all attended Our Lady of Good Council. My grandparents kept the house until the mid eighties when the neighborhood got too rough & they moved to Traverse City.
I have really fond memories of that area. My grandfather built 4 houses on that block with expert craftsmanship! The summer before I entered college (88) I spent some time painting a house on Rowe. I distinctly remember being nervous every time I had to drive in & out of that neighborhood, but I enjoyed being back one last time. A few years ago I put together a family history DVD. I was able to acquire a bunch of 8mm films & tons of
old photos of the fam & area. It was such a beautiful area, its hard to believe what its become.
Post Number: 599
|Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 6:23 pm: || |
I was able to acquire a bunch of 8mm films & tons of
old photos of the fam & area. It was such a beautiful area, its hard to believe what its become.
Anything you could share with us?
Post Number: 41
|Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 9:48 pm: || |
I'm surprised no one living in that neighborhood has any comment. Charter Comm down in that area?
Post Number: 25
|Posted on Monday, June 11, 2007 - 10:44 am: || |
Yeah, I looked over some of those photos & 8mm. I dont think it would interest anyone here. Mostly family stuff, but for me, brings back great memories of that area.