Friday, March 14, 2014

Do you remember J. L. Hudson’s in downtown Detroit?

Looking at old pictures of years gone by can certainly stir up a lot of memories!  Friends from Michigan often send me emails with pictures they’ve come across and then I'll spend a little time looking for my own.  One of my favorite places was the J. L. Hudson Store in Detroit during the holidays when the windows were beautifully decorated.  I was born in Detroit but moved to the burbs when I was eight.  Later as a teenager, I was back marching in front of Hudson’s with my high school band in the Thanksgiving Day Parade.  I never thought that would ever happen and yet it did.

 This is a picture of empty display windows at Hudson’s before going out of business.  Picture from the Detroit Free Press archives.

And this, sadly, is when it was imploded.  I thought Hudson’s would be on that block forever.  A part of me just slipped away when I saw this picture!  Picture credit goes to the Detroit Free Press archives.

Another building I always liked walking through is the Fisher Building in the New Center area on West Grand Boulevard.   From what I've read, it is still as gorgeous as ever with scenic arched ceilings and beautifully tiled floors and gold everywhere.  It also houses the Fisher Theater where you can attend live performances.  Picture from Detroit Free Press Archive.

I worked in that area for years and naturally hung out at most of the bars and restaurants.  It is hard to believe that the building is over 80 years old.  It is the tallest one below. 

 I worked for an engineering company this side of the Fisher Building,  It is on the right, the middle building of the three smaller ones shown.  The Fisher Building is on the corner left side and the GM Building is on the right.  There is an underground tunnel that connects those two buildings.  I worked for another engineering company a few blocks to the left or north of the Fisher Bulding.   The New Center area was definitely my old stomping grounds because our apartment was in that area too.  Picture credit goes to the Detroit Free Press.

Old Cadillac Square Building - After my son was born, I took a government job downtown in the Cadillac Square building,  It was years after this picture was taken though – I’m not quite that old!  And then it was demolished later and a new building plus an apartment complex was built.  I haven’t been in Detroit in years but I would be curious to see all the changes that have taken place downtown.  Picture credit goes to the Detroit Free Press.

As a child, I lived near Briggs Stadium, later to be named Tiger Stadium and now the structure no longer exists.  Sniff.  Picture credit goes to the Detroit Free Press.

   I also used to play on the Edsel Ford Expressway when it was being built with connections to the John C. Lodge Expressway.  This picture reminded me of that.  Picture credit goes to the Detroit Free Press.

When I finished high school I moved back to Detroit and got a job in a factory and a part-time job as a ballroom dance instructor.  It was difficult to find an office job because most employers wanted typists and secretaries with experience.  Luckily, I found a company that took me on as a novice and I was able to demonstrate my abilities.  I worked in corporate for many years after that.   

This is the Grand River bus station just around the corner from the studio where I worked.  I took a bus to and from work every day.  Picture credit goes to the Detroit Free Press. 

 I came across this old picture of a streetcar which I remember as a child, and of course there is Detroit's own Vernor's Ginger Ale truck.  My mom and I would ride the streetcar to the farmer’s market occasionally on Saturday’s and I’d always ask her to buy our ‘muscle’ food, aka okra.  Some of those old trolleys in small towns such as Pigeon Forge, Tennessee remind me of those old noisy streetcars.  I think everyone was happy when they were replaced with city buses!  Picture credit goes to the Detroit Free Press.  

I love my little walks down memory lane if only for a little while!  I now just noticed the fire hydrant between the two vehicles and remembered those hot, sunny days when the fire department would open one up for us to play in the water for a half hour or so.  It was so nice to get cooled off from the blistering city heat! 



7 comments:

  1. I WORKED AT HUDSONS FOR A WEEK TRYING TO SELL SWEATERS.I LEFT TO WORK IN THE UNDERWRITING DEPT. AT MICH MUTUAL INS. CO. WHICH WAS NEXT TO THE BRASS RAIL BAR AND DOWN THE STREET FROM HUDSONS. IT IS A SHAME WHAT HAPPENED TO HUDSON'S AND DETROIT. MW

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    1. I was an auto insurance underwriter for Nationwide for about 2 years. I picked it up real fast but decided I wanted to work part-time with newspapers, although that turned into full-time and then some! I remember the Brass Rail and yes, the downfall of Detroit is a real shame! Just my opinion, but I don't think crime was ever really controlled after the riots and so much property was destroyed. A continual downturn is very difficult to recover from! .

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  2. YOU SURE DO GIVE A GREAT DEPICTION OF YOUR SUBJECT. HAVE YOU EVER CONSIDERED WRITING A BOOK? I BET IT WOULD BE A BEST SELLER.
    THANKS FROM ANOTHER EX-DETROITER.

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  3. Thanks and yes I have considered writing a book but not all about Detroit - just the years I lived and 'played' there will be included. Look for it on Amazon Kindle in the near future but most likely I'll give it a mention here on my blog first. It's always nice to meet another Detroiter, ex or otherwise. Do you play Euchre?

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  4. PLEASE LET US KNOW ABOUT YOUR BOOK. I KNOW IT WILL BE GREAT.GOOD LUCK. MW

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  5. I LOVE EUCHRE BUT DON'T KNOW ANYONE NEAR WHERE I LIVE WHO DOES PLAY. TRIED TO TEACH A COUPLE OF NIECES BUT THAT DIDN'T WORK OUT. USED TO PLAY WHEN FRIENDS FROM MICHIGAN CAME DOWN BUT UNFORTUNATELY THAT DOESN'T HAPPEN ANYMORE.

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