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East From Majestic: 1903

East From Majestic: 1903

Detroit, Michigan, circa 1903. "Wayne County Building, looking east from Majestic Building." This view includes a couple of the city's arc-lamp "moonlight towers." 8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Co. View full size.


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Off in the distance, a glimpse of the future

In the distance on the right of this photo you can barely read the sign - "William E. Metzger, AUTOMOBILES" - but it provides a view into this city's swiftly onrushing future. This business, which was only six years old then, was the first automotive retail dealership and showroom in the U.S. But Metzger was up to even bigger things, and in the year of this picture would help to found the Cadillac Motor Car Co., which was the first of many such automotive ventures that Mr. Metzger was involved in. Within the decade automobile manufacturing would be the largest business in Detroit, Detroit would be the motor capitol of the country, and THE American boomtown of the early 20th century.

"William E. Metzger Automobiles"

Faintly in the distance, a couple of blocks from the Detroit River, is the dealership of William E. Metzger - the pioneering auto dealer. In 1903, his luck was about to peak. After 1908, he shifted from selling Oldsmobiles and Cadillacs, and put his money into brands that time has now forgotten. After trying to recapture the magic in the aircraft business, he died in 1933.

Wayne County Building Is in Good Shape

Built 1895-1902, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.

Looking east

The photo shows west side of the Wayne County Building in full sunlight, so it's afternoon.

Sooty Air

*cough cough*


So few people in a huge industrial town. The shadows say early morning, I think we are looking on a Sunday.

Pre-heavy metal

Hmph. The Vizcaya cannon isn't on the lawn yet, nor are the heroic bronze chariots up on the roof.

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