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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Cadillac Square: 1916

Cadillac Square: 1916

Detroit, Michigan, circa 1916. "Hotel Pontchartrain and Cadillac Square from City Hall." Detroit Publishing Co. glass negative. View full size. Earlier views of the hotel: Circa 1907, minus the upper floors, and 1910, minus most of the cars.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5


Look at the two trolleys in the foreground. They are pulling trailers!
A very rare thing in the US-trolley history.

Another view

Old Detroit

I have been told that my father worked at the Hotel Pontchartrain. He died in 1929. In the late 1930s I went to the Gayety once in a while. Left Detroit in 1953. Left Michigan for Seattle in 1980.

Re: The Throne

The Cadillac Chair, a tribute to Detroit's founder, Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, was dismantled in the 1940s after it became a popular seating location for "vagrants and drunks."

There are definitely more than a few buildings in that picture still standing, and the square itself is still somewhat intact.

The Pontch

The Pontchartrain to me is the angular-brown-glass '70s building, with its "Top of the Pontch" restaurant, that fascinated the suburban kid I was then on terrifying but exciting field trips or sporting-event trips downtown. Was that a completely different building?

[The Hotel Pontchartrain in this photo was torn down in 1920. - Dave]

Asking for it

I think I'd be afraid nowadays to ask for something advertised as the "Cock of the Walk."

I was born in Detroit, but was 9 when my family moved us away. This looks like it was a really neat place. At one time.

Does anyone know what the "throne" was for?

Hotel What?

To the right and behind the Pontchartrain, it looks like "HOTEL ROOKSTOO" What could it be?

["Room $1.00." - Dave]

Recent Anniversary

On July 12, 1909, at the Soldiers & Sailors Monument, a large group of cars began a 2000+ mile trek known as the Glidden Tour. On that same spot, 100 years later, a small group of cars gathered to commemorate the event.

The Glidden Tour, along with the AAA, did much to promote road improvement in America by demonstrating the awful state of roadways of the day.

How sad.

You'd never see that many people downtown today.

Don't tell the management...

I believe we have a coathanger from this hotel hanging in my closet (in Atlanta). I guess I got it from my father, who probably got it with some of his father's clothes when my grandfather died in Pensacola, FL. I think my grandfather spent some of his youth in Michigan, and I've always wondered how, when, and under what circumstances this thing came to be in our hands...

For a Good Time..

Go to Detroit. The Gayety Burlesque and the Old Kentucky Whiskey Co. are almost next door to each other. And if you overshoot the Whiskey Co. on your way from the Burlesque, there's a Bar just past it.

Long-gone cityscape

Of all the buildings in this photo only two still stand, the old Wayne County building in the center background and the commercial building next to the Pontchartrain at the far right.

View Larger Map

Convention City

Note the "Worlds Salesmanship Congress - Automobile Salesmen" going on at the Pontchartrain Hotel that particular week. I wonder if car salesmen were as pushy then as they later became.

Bertha Kalich,

Soldiers and Sailors Monument

The Soldiers and Sailors Monument at left honored those who served in the Civil War. Dedicated in 1871, it sat there until 2004, when it was moved about 100 feet for a street widening project.

In the base of the monument was found a copper box, which was taken to the Detroit Historical Society. It was opened only to find that water had seeped in. All that was found was a bronze medallion and papers (which had the names of all Detroit CW volunteers, according to papers of the day) that had turned to mush.


Well, you certainly don't look your age, or something like that.

Kudos on your ranking, though it's hardly high enough -- I tell anyone who has the slightest interest in photography OR history about this site.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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