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$5 Teeth: 1910

$5 Teeth: 1910

Detroit circa 1910. "Chamber of Commerce, State and Griswold streets." With the Hotel Richter and B. Siegel department store on State Street in supporting roles. Our title comes from the wonderfully graphic sign for Michigan Dentists. 8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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The Chamber of Commerce building is Detroit's oldest existing 'skyscraper', completed in 1895. After the Chamber of Commerce moved out, it was the Detroit Savings Bank; later, it was home to the United Way of Detroit. It is being refurbished for the Archdiocese of Detroit after sitting empty for a while. You can barely see the light well on the right side of the building. The well was glassed in and floors were built across to create more office space.

The Hodges building was replaced by the art deco David Stott Building in the mid-20's.

Radio Antenna

At the upper left is a bar jutting out from the building with 4 insulators and 4 wires running diagonally downward to the rooftops just to the right of the B Siegel sign. This parallel wire "flattop" was characteristic of low frequency antennas in the early days of radio. Possibly an Amateur Radio enthusiast.

Rule of Tooth

When your teeth cost more than a day's pay, they must be pretty high quality.

Building appears still there but

the first and second story exteriors have been largely redone, the "Chamber of Commerce" engraving and the bare-from the-waist-up statuary expunged.

Grotesque Figures

In viewing most vintage images of a public scene, you notice men dressed with hats and 3-piece suits. Women with hats and long full skirts and frilly blouses. Today's personal dress code is remarkably different.

Consequently, I've never understood the social acceptance of bare-breasted female grotesques displayed on early architecture as compared to what today's intolerance would be.

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