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Griswold Street: 1906

Griswold Street: 1906

Detroit circa 1906. "Griswold Street." My favorite detail here: The American Still Alarm auto at lower right. Detroit Publishing glass negative. View full size.


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1906 automobiles

A number of the cars, including the "alarm" car, show the early body design of the "horseless carriage". But the automobile to the right of the closest streetcar, rear-facing, seems to have a more advanced body and top. Anyone care to guess brand and date?

Also: the pennants flying above the building just beyond the Detroit Savings Bank - corporate or signal flags?

Another Lost World

Beginning in 1909 and continuing through the 20s up to the Depression, then picking up again in the 1960s, nearly every building in this picture was replaced with something larger and newer. Griswold is still at the center of downtown Detroit, but the "old" skyscrapers on that street are all from the 1910s and '20s now. Other than Capitol Park (site of the Michigan State Capitol for Michigan's first 10 years as a state)in the background, what you see here is a completely lost world.

Taking Flight

The woman's hat just to the left of the Alarm car is a humdilly too.

Some Kind of Wonderful

Grand Trunk Railway? Hey, I remember them!

Fascinating Time

Great photo! I particularly like images of America during the brief period between the first cars appearing on the street and the last horse leaving. It was such a huge upheaval that happened in such a short time. It must have been a crazy thing to live through. Imagine if cars were completely replaced with something orders of magnitude better over the next 8-10 years!

Rubber Stamps

Two competing rubber stamp companies on the same street, right across from each other -- boy, if I had a nickel for every time I've seen that.

American Still Alarm Company

In a letter addressed to Insurance Engineering, dated December 10, 1906, Mr. John Winter, president of the American Still Alarm of Detroit, conveys information of value in view of the interest in the interior fire alarm question.

We have read with considerable interest the matter contained in the November number of Insurance Engineering, and as our companies, the American Still Alarm and the American District Telegraph Company [which we know today as ADT], are the only companies who are operating in the Central Station system of night watch and fire alarm signal system, we are very much interested in anything that improves our service.

The American Still Alarm is operated on a different basis from any A.D.T. system in the country. Some of the special features are that we use automobiles and police officers to wait upon delinquent watchmen; we also use this same service to take owners and managers and engineers to the plant in case they are wanted for emergency in the night.

Another splendid feature of the Still Alarm system is the direct wire fire alarm system, which in brief is as follows: The second the circuit opens in the plant, transmission is immediate to the Central Telegraph headquarters of the fire department, giving them the building and floor.

In addition to that we operate the circuit system which also goes through our Central Station, but requires transmitting. We have practically every concern in this city equipped with this system, who have night watchmen. This is not due, however, to our own energy so much as the opportunity the field affords, there being no other reliable system of the fire alarm in operation in this city for many years.

Very interesting.

But what is a ‘’Still Alarm.''

[A silent alarm that signals various responders telegraphically. -Dave]

Cute, but not about moonshine

What I find most fascinating are the details of the gorgeous Gothic building across the street. It still has its hardware for the external shutters, though all its wooden shutters are gone. And the modifications for the knob and tube electrification are outside the building to see. (Unless those are phone lines, not electric lines, in which case, you can report the fire from the comfort of your desk, and not use any kind of alarm box at all).

Also interesting are two competing rubber stamp companies across from each other.

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