Discuss Detroit Archives - Beginning January 2007 What's under Detroit? Previous Next
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Irvine_laird
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Username: Irvine_laird

Post Number: 59
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2007 - 3:01 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Last night my girlfriend watched a History Channel program that explored what is under the ground in major cities like Istanbul and New York. She found it fascinating how layers of history lie hidden in the ground.

Our conversation got us wondering: What is underground in Detroit? That is, what of ARCHAEOLOGICAL significance lies below the city?

We are aware of the Detroit Thermal system, the salt mines, and the railroad tunnel that dives below the Detroit River. What else could we find from the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries if we started to dig (e.g. remains of old Fort Lernoult, etc.)? What of this stuff could be accessible without digging (e.g. tunnels that connect downtown buildings, etc.)?

Anyone with firsthand knowledge or plain old speculation?
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Urbanize
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Username: Urbanize

Post Number: 1312
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2007 - 3:03 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Indians? Frenchmen? Waste?
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Chitaku
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Username: Chitaku

Post Number: 1396
Registered: 03-2006
Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2007 - 3:04 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

salt
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Kenp
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Username: Kenp

Post Number: 522
Registered: 03-2006
Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2007 - 3:05 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

HOFFA
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Oldredfordette
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Username: Oldredfordette

Post Number: 1909
Registered: 02-2004
Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2007 - 3:10 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

there be dragons
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El_jimbo
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Username: El_jimbo

Post Number: 206
Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2007 - 3:13 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

My guess is 30km of solid rock, followed by about another 2870km of magma known as the mantle. Then 2300km of liquid Iron and Sulfer referred to as the outer core. From that point until the very center of the Earth is the solid Iron core. That, in a nutshell is what is under Detroit.
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Cheddar_bob
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Username: Cheddar_bob

Post Number: 1026
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2007 - 3:29 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Satan
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Dexterpointing
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Username: Dexterpointing

Post Number: 110
Registered: 05-2007
Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2007 - 3:43 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

oh lord,,,,, some of you should take up the hobby of metal detectors.

You'd be surprized at what you could find all it takes is a few hundred bucks and lots of trips to the main library .
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Tetsua
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Username: Tetsua

Post Number: 1199
Registered: 01-2004
Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2007 - 3:46 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

No American city is old enough to really have anything cool under it. The only thing under NY was a railroad line, and some type of command center from the WWII days ... nothing really too interesting. Istanbul however has been kicking around for a couple thousands of years, and under several different regimes. That's where the castles, roads, and other cool stuff come from there.
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Ray1936
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Username: Ray1936

Post Number: 1527
Registered: 01-2005
Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2007 - 3:52 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Cool is in the eye of the beholder, Tetsua. In my view, finding some artifacts from the 1700s in central Detroit would be fascinating, and from the 1800s most interesting.

When Fort Lernault was rediscovered in the 1960s during an excavation, the biggest find in the way of artifacts was old clay pipes. For smoking tobacco-type pipes, that is.
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Burnsie
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Username: Burnsie

Post Number: 1005
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2007 - 3:55 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

With metal detectors, obviously you won't find pieces of brick, ceramic, glass, wood, etc. that often are found at archaeological sites. Also, in the city, you'd be constantly running into pipes and electrical conduit, especially downtown.

Tetsua wrote, "No American city is old enough to really have anything cool under it."

That's simply not true! No, you're not going to find remnants of old castles and dungeons, but what about the colonial remnants of St. Augustine, FL, Sault Sainte Marie, Mackinaw City, etc. etc.? And saying the "only thing under NY was..." can't possibly account for every possible interesting artifact that's underneath the whole city. There are plenty of interesting things buried under cities-- even if a certain place doesn't have remains of forts, there are always old gold and silver coins to find. I don't mean ancient coins, but rather old US coins that are often very valuable-- not just for the gold and silver content, but for their rarity.
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Kathleen
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Username: Kathleen

Post Number: 2323
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2007 - 3:58 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Wayne State's Department of Anthropology has been involved with many of the local excavations that have taken place in the last 40-50 years.

Check out their Collection Summaries for a couple dozen excavation sites around Detroit: http://www.clas.wayne.edu/unit -inner.asp?WebPageID=1510
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Mikeg
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Username: Mikeg

Post Number: 917
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2007 - 4:03 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Here is a summary of the WSU Museum of Anthropology's past exhibit titled "Archaeology of Everyday Life in Early Detroit"

Here is a listing with additional information about their local Archaeology Collections.
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El_jimbo
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Username: El_jimbo

Post Number: 208
Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2007 - 4:04 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Underground Seattle is supposed to be pretty cool.
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Billk
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Username: Billk

Post Number: 15
Registered: 09-2005
Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2007 - 4:11 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

When they were digging up Woodward to make Campus Martius, they found the 'Point of Origin' and a time capsule. I wonder if they found anyting digging that hole for the BC parking garage?
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Lmichigan
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Username: Lmichigan

Post Number: 5595
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2007 - 4:16 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Irvine,

I love that show, and was thinking while watching it "it would be cool if they went under Detroit". They'd have much less to explore, but I can see them touring the salt mines and the network of tunnels beneath downtown.
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Oldestuff
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Username: Oldestuff

Post Number: 20
Registered: 01-2007
Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2007 - 4:17 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I thought underground Seattle was a disappointment. It was damp and moldy and only contained what had once been the streets and first floors of existing bldgs that had to be built up because of the water table. They take guided tours down there, but there isn't much to see. The photographs on display are way more interesting and you don't have to worry about mold allergies.
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Professorscott
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Username: Professorscott

Post Number: 422
Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2007 - 4:30 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

When they last rebuilt the Lodge in 1987 or so, the project folks were constantly annoyed at finding things beneath the freeway that weren't indicated on any maps - long-abandoned utilities being the most common item.

When the City or County rebuilt Livernois into a boulevard from McNichols to Eight Mile last year, among the things they removed were old streetcar tracks. If you drive on the brick Michigan Avenue near Tiger Stadium, you can still make out where tracks were from changes in the brick pattern.

Lots of cool stuff under a city. Hard to get at, is all.
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Kenp
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Username: Kenp

Post Number: 524
Registered: 03-2006
Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2007 - 4:35 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Underground Seattle was like seeing the Mystery spot at the straits. When your done with the tour you realized you just payed money for nothing.
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Burnsie
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Username: Burnsie

Post Number: 1006
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2007 - 4:40 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The asphalt strip down the center lanes in front of Tiger Stadium on Michigan Ave. is there because the streetcar tracks are immediately underneath.
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Rfban
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Username: Rfban

Post Number: 86
Registered: 02-2004
Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2007 - 5:09 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Actually I have see trolley track iron where the asphalt has eroded on many roads including Michigan Ave., Atwater, and W. Jefferson.
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Psip
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Username: Psip

Post Number: 1909
Registered: 04-2005
Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2007 - 5:23 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

During the construction of the Cobo expansion in 1984, there was a discovery of some Mastodon bones. That led to a sizable dig.
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Neilr
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Username: Neilr

Post Number: 517
Registered: 06-2005
Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2007 - 5:47 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

For a fascinating view at what's underneath a city's streets and buildings, take a look at Underground by David MacAulay (1976).
MacAulay's best-know book is Cathedral which was a Caldecott Award winner for 1973. Among his other works are City and Pyramid.
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Ray1936
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Username: Ray1936

Post Number: 1528
Registered: 01-2005
Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2007 - 5:58 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I think it was in 1985 that some divers from the DPD recovery team discovered a circa 1812 cannon at the bottom of the Detroit River during a practice dive. They were able to make the recovery. I'll just bet there's a whole bunch of good stuff on the bottom between Belle Isle and Zug Island.
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Aiw
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Username: Aiw

Post Number: 6271
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2007 - 6:27 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Ray go farther along from Zug to Boblo and you could find a whole pile of old cars too...
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Jrvass
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Username: Jrvass

Post Number: 93
Registered: 01-2007
Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2007 - 7:28 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I seem to remember reading in the "Detroit 300" Freep book that rivers and other artifacts were covered over after the Detroit fire 200 years ago. The Royal Oak area used to be swamps. Lord knows what it was filled with.

James
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Dan
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Username: Dan

Post Number: 1408
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2007 - 7:34 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

"No American city is old enough to really have anything cool under it."

What about cities built on top of Native American cities?


*On a side note, I heard that when they were digging the foundation of the RenCen they uncovered an old septic pit from an outhouse, which had live cholera in it. Can anyone confirm or deny this?
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Jimaz
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Username: Jimaz

Post Number: 2219
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2007 - 7:34 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

One of the funniest books I've ever read was Motel of the Mysteries by David MacAulay.

It's a fictional account of a future archeologist (based on Heinrich Schliemann) who completely misinterprets the ruins of a contemporary motel. Hilarious.
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Korridorkid
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Username: Korridorkid

Post Number: 87
Registered: 01-2005
Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2007 - 9:41 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I mentioned this before on a similar thread several months ago, however, i'm too fascinated by even the POSSIBILITY of this.

(I'll paraphrase)

From a credible, lucid, no nonsense, salty old DTE/MichCon maintenance worker, apparently good ole' Henry Ford constructed an underground rail line that ran from the former Lincoln plant on Mc Graw and Livernois, down Livernois to where Fort Wayne is. This rail line aparrently had flatbed cars that transported heavy artillery and/or whatever machines of war they produced at the Lincoln plant during World War II directly to the base for shipping. They sunk it near 100 feet below the surface to avoid detection from possible "enemy reconnaisance" and not to disturb neighbors with the almost constant shipment. Now it's just a tunnel for fiber optics, electrical channels and gas lines. He said it's about 2 feet submerged in some "funky water".

The abandoned service track that crosses McGraw east of Livernois and West of Warren supposedly led underground at some point to the locomotive doors.

Knowing him, i tend to believe him, but whether or not time has exaggerated his memory, i can't say.

Pretty cool either way!
(Guess i didn't paraphrase..got excited.)
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Yaktown
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Username: Yaktown

Post Number: 175
Registered: 02-2006
Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2007 - 9:46 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

CHUDs?
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Eastsidedame
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Username: Eastsidedame

Post Number: 171
Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Wednesday, June 06, 2007 - 12:56 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Dan: I do know that cholera was a serious problem in Detroit. In the 1830s and again in 1873, we had epidemics. Lewis Cass' daughter was a victim of the first epidemic in Detroit. Mt. Elliot and Elmwood Cemeteries are filled with multitudes of people who died during July to September 1873. It's very eerie.

I'd like to see a serious excavation of the Detroit River someday. The artifacts from the depression era alone would be mind boggling. Wonder how much good Canadian booze and antique cars are down there?
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56packman
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Username: 56packman

Post Number: 1390
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Wednesday, June 06, 2007 - 7:08 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

When I was but a fallow schoolboy at Holcomb elementary in NW Detroit we had an occasion where one of the big local banks (remember when they were all local?) like NBD or DB&T brought a "rolling museum" to my school to showcase all of the Fort artifacts found when they excavated the site of their (relatively) new building downtown on Fort st.
This would have been around 1967-68. I remember that it was a trailer, they pulled it right into the middle of the rocky playground on the south side of the school and that it was very professionally done inside--objects inside vitrines with very proper ID labels. There were old glass bottles, arrow heads, uniform buttons--all sorts of things. Each class was taken through this museum on wheels by our teachers.
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Ro_resident
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Username: Ro_resident

Post Number: 243
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Wednesday, June 06, 2007 - 11:56 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I saw some of the wooden water pipes that were pulled out of Campus Martius. They were basically tree trunks that had a hole bored down the center.

Talking to one of the engineers a few years later, she said they get pulled out from time to time in the older portions of the city.
http://www.sewerhistory.org/gr fx/components/pipe-wood1.htm
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Ray1936
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Username: Ray1936

Post Number: 1530
Registered: 01-2005
Posted on Wednesday, June 06, 2007 - 12:11 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Back in my DPD days a lifetime ago I remember when a homicide suspect confessed, and stated he threw the gun off the Belle Isle bridge. The Homicide crew took him to the bridge, and he pointed to the spot where he threw it from. The dive team responded and searched that area downstream from the bridge.

They found seven guns, but not the one they were looking for. True story.
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Sbyman
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Username: Sbyman

Post Number: 5
Registered: 06-2007
Posted on Wednesday, June 06, 2007 - 1:41 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Was that the same program talkin about people being sold to china? Probably a portal to hell.
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Ladyinabag
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Username: Ladyinabag

Post Number: 274
Registered: 03-2007
Posted on Wednesday, June 06, 2007 - 5:05 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

China and Cheddar Bob.

(Message edited by ladyinabag on June 06, 2007)
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Bulletmagnet
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Username: Bulletmagnet

Post Number: 577
Registered: 01-2007
Posted on Wednesday, June 06, 2007 - 8:42 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Poo.
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Detroitnerd
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Username: Detroitnerd

Post Number: 1003
Registered: 07-2004
Posted on Thursday, June 07, 2007 - 11:57 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

There were two "subways" -- that means underground passages -- under Cass in front of the old Burton International School and also under Grand Blvd. between the Fisher and old GM buildings. If somebody looked hard under St. Antoine, there would probably be traces of an aborted tunnel to canada begun more than 100 years ago.
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Gingellgirl
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Username: Gingellgirl

Post Number: 16
Registered: 04-2007
Posted on Thursday, June 07, 2007 - 12:20 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Nothin' down here but mismatched socks and dryer softner sheets. Oh, wait! THERE'S my car keys!
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Dede313
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Username: Dede313

Post Number: 18
Registered: 11-2006
Posted on Thursday, June 07, 2007 - 1:00 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Cheddar-bob I cant believe you said Satan ..i got a good laugh for today..
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Detroitnerd
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Username: Detroitnerd

Post Number: 1004
Registered: 07-2004
Posted on Thursday, June 07, 2007 - 1:32 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

DETROIT -- June 7, 2012: The discovery of vast petroleum reserves beneath the city of Detroit has a forest of derricks going up along Woodward, and oil-hungry drillers, refiners and drivers watching with whetted appetites.
The most notable sign of government interest is the new Preserve Detroit's Oil Act of 2012, signed into law today by Emperor Bush. The act, the first federal piece of legislation concerning Detroit exclusively since 2001, would fund extensive exploratory drilling. Environmental legislation guaranteeing safety for local residents has met with opposition. The emperor, in a rare news conference, announced that, with oil hovering around $6.79 9/10 a gallon, oil companies are ruthless about rooting out waste, and that "Citizens of Detroit should be grateful to get any oil spray they can."
"We stand together with the people of Detroit to bring a new era of prosperity and security. A long era of fear and cruelty is ending. American and coalition forces are now operating inside Detroit. The government of the city, and the future of your country, will soon belong to you. Coalition forces will help maintain law and order, so that you can live in security. We will help you build a peaceful and representative government that protects the rights of all citizens, whether they're rich or merely well off."
Calling the "long wait over," his imperial highness discussed how the federal government's "longstanding committment to that great American city" was held up by "red tape and torte lawyers" and how federal money would turn downtown Detroit into a cluster of soaring energy-industry office towers, and how the city's decaying neighborhoods would be replaced with shiny new oil derricks and "safety centers" where the city's poor and indigent could be transported for wholesome, healthful work in the factories that produce black smoke that smells like hot dogs.
Countering some doubts, Lord Cheney denied that the project would be expensive, pointing out how, with Detroit's allegedly mammoth oil reserves, "the intervention will pay for itself."
The federal investment of $100 billion in Detroit comes in the wake of last year's $50 billion investment in New Orleans, where the Army Corps of Engineers uncovered sizable uranium reserves.
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Irvine_laird
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Username: Irvine_laird

Post Number: 61
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Thursday, June 07, 2007 - 4:31 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The "Streets of Old Detroit" exhibit at the Detroit Historical Museum is made of cobblestones that used to pave an alleyway somewhere downtown. The same exhibit also features a section of street that resembles an old paving method of jamming 6 - 8 ft. sections of logs longway down into the roadbed.

Several of you mentioned the rails below the asphalt on some Detroit city streets and apparently the old brick surface is visible in some places.

I mention this because I grew up in an old factory/farm town near Cleveland, Ohio, where many of the roads were still made of red brick. The surface of these streets was over 50 years old and showed little sign of wear and tear. Only in the last three years did the city pave over the brick with asphalt.
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Downtownguy
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Username: Downtownguy

Post Number: 28
Registered: 07-2004
Posted on Thursday, June 07, 2007 - 5:04 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Detroitnerd: DETROIT -- June 8, 2012:
Suburbs insist on regionalizing the system.
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Detroitnerd
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Username: Detroitnerd

Post Number: 1006
Registered: 07-2004
Posted on Thursday, June 07, 2007 - 5:29 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hee hee. Good one, Downtownguy!
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Irish_mafia
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Username: Irish_mafia

Post Number: 919
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Thursday, June 07, 2007 - 10:49 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

http://www.detroitsalt.com/hom e.htm

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