BPD Update Online, Fall 2004
Enjoy Detroit
Home | Editor's Prerogative | President's Report | 22nd Annual Conference | Detroit Conference Links | Got a Question About Detroit? | About Detroit | Enjoy Detroit | September 12 | Organizational Report | Technology Corner | BackPage: I Had a Dream | Photo Album: Detroit | Photo Album: Detroit | BPD Membership Form | Mailbag | Contact BPD Update Online | Archives: 2003 - 2004 | Archives: 2001 - 2002

John M. Staudenmaier, B.A., M.A., Ph.D.
Professor of History, University of Detroit Mercy. Author of
Technology's Storytellers: Reweaving the Human Fabric

Detroit is one of the nation's leading industrial centers and the world's foremost automobile manufacturing center. The automobile industry gave Detroit its nickname, The Motor City. Its official name, Detroit, comes from a French word that means "the narrow place." The city is located at the narrowest point of the channel connecting the upper and lower regions of the vast Great Lakes water system. This strategic location greatly aided the city's economic growth, as it became a major port of the Great Lakes industrial basin, linked to global markets in Europe and Asia.

"Detroit is currently undergoing a multimillion dollar renewal of its cultural resources."

The 1980s saw renewed investment in the Detroit Historical Museum, most notably in its acclaimed Motor City Exhibition that interprets the influence of the automobile industry on the city's life and development. During the same period, a group of volunteers renovated Orchestra Hall on Woodward Avenue, which was slated for demolition. This acoustical masterpiece is once again home to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and is the centerpiece for an $80 million art-centered educational and office complex currently under construction. The city's center includes the world-class collections of the Detroit Institute of Arts, in particular its signature murals by Diego Rivera, titled Detroit Industry (1932-1933). The nearby Detroit Science Museum with its IMAX theater and hands-on exhibits cooperates with area schools to promote science. The recently completed Museum of African American History, also located near the Institute of Arts, is the largest museum in North America devoted to African American history, art, and culture. Slightly to the north, in the New Center area is the Motown Museum, formerly the headquarters of Motown Records. Motown Records became famous in the 1960s as the world headquarters and recording studios for an array of popular black soloists and musical groups.

Outside the city limits, two key cultural institutions consistently attract international attention to the metropolitan area: Dearborn's Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village, which house a vast assemblage of technological and historical artifacts and buildings, and Bloomfield Hills' Cranbrook Academy. Founded in the 1920s and principally designed by Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen, Cranbrook is a unique cultural center composed of five separate educational institutions. Outstanding collections are housed in the library and galleries of the Cranbrook Academy of Art and in the museum of the Cranbrook Institute of Science.

The Detroit River, besides providing lanes for freighters and speedboat races, is home to the city's largest park, Belle Isle. Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who also created New York's Central Park, Belle Isle is a 19th-century landmark that offers vistas of Detroit and Windsor, Canada. The park's approximately 400 hectares (1000 acres) provide areas for picnicking and swimming as well as a marine museum, conservatory, children's zoo, aquarium, riding stable, and the Detroit Yacht Club. The Detroit area is home to several professional sports franchises. The Detroit Lions football team plays at Ford Field, and the Detroit Tigers baseball team plays in Comerica Park. The Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League play at the Joe Louis Arena downtown on the Detroit River. The Detroit Pistons professional basketball team plays in The Palace of Auburn Hills on the metro region's northern rim.

To access these and other attractions in Detroit, please see the hotel concierge. We hope you get a chance experience and enjoy some of the unique historical, cultural, and culinary features of Detroit!

John M. Staudenmaier, B.A., M.A., Ph.D.
Professor of History, University of Detroit Mercy. Author of Technology's Storytellers: Reweaving the Human Fabric

"Detroit (city, Michigan)," Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2004
http://encarta.msn.com © 1997-2004 Microsoft Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

Click here to go to the Encarta Online Encyclopedia:

An article on September 12 is on the next page...

Spiral, Horizontal Line Spinning

BPD Update Online, Volume 26, No. 3, Fall 2004

The BPD Update Online Web Site is sponsored by Lyceum Books.