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Ten Cents a Branch: 1916

Ten Cents a Branch: 1916

Detroit circa 1916. "Dime Bank branch, Broadway & Grand Circus Park." Co-starring the Crescent Music Co. and a fine-looking carbon-arc streetlight. 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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Horse Racing

The Michigan Gaming Control Board website states that horse racing wasn't legal in Michigan until 1933. The first race held in Michigan was on September 2 at the Detroit Fair Grounds. The presence then of a horse racing poster (see below) in the photo came as a surprise. The poster shows the race dates for the grand opening of the Devonshire Park Race Track in Windsor, Ontario, Canada in 1916.

There was some controversy as to whether the track should have been built and added to the race schedule, but the objections to the track being created were much too late to make any difference (see article below from the Manitoba Free Press from September 30, 1916). The track was directly across the road from Kenilworth Park which was another horse racing track that opened in 1916. Along with the Windsor Jockey Club, all three tracks catered to Americans. Racing restrictions were quite heavy and limited each track to only seven consecutive days of racing twice a year (no racing on Sundays). The track was owned by Grant Hugh Browne a stockbroker and New York boxing promoter.

Dime to dance

The jokes aren't too far off - the Dime Bank's gimmick was that you could open an account with just 10 cents. It helped get new customers in the early years.

1900s Fire Hydrants

Fire hydrants have high and adjustable pressure and are separate from the domestic water supply. Pressure can be increased from the water department for large fires. Some cities like San Francisco have more than one fire hydrant supply system, I don't know about Detroit. I think the older two outlet Village hydrant, on the left may have been on an older main that could not supply the newer hydrant. I am surprised that it is the survivor. It is rare in a modern city to have a hydrant without a 5" outlet for the large capacity needed for truck ladder pipes, Snorkels, standpipes and sprinkler systems. The hydrant valve for the main supply line is located below the frost line four to six feet below ground. I do not think the mystery tubing has anything to do with the hydrant system, all pressure and volume checks are done from the hydrant outlets.

Dime banking

I'm ready to sign up and save, but I don't see the coin slot.

Fire Hydrant and Arc Light

A present day peek courtesy of Google street view shows the Detroit Opera House has replaced the bank, but a fire hydrant and updated arc light have survived. Detroit has an incredible number of original street light fixtures, and some new reproductions that mimic the old, that may surprise many people with perceptions of that city. Happy New Year to the Shorpy gang and contributors.

Can't be too careful

The way buildings went up in flames back in those days, I suppose you couldn't have enough hydrants around.

But perhaps one is hooked to city water and the other direct fed from the lake, hence the apparent tap coming off the right one?

Hydrant branch line

My guess would be that it feeds a sprinkler system in the building.

Water Line

Being 1916 and all, the small water line was where your buggy driver could draw water for the horse while you were depositing dimes (or taking a violin lesson upstairs).


Very curious of two hydrants on same corner. More curious is the water line coming out of one of them into the sidewalk.

Anent the fireplug placement

I believe we have a girl hydrant and a boy hydrant, but they're devilishly difficult to sex.

Pigeonhole corner

of the outside obtuse angle variety, but they can also be acute, and speaking of cute, how about those high water pants!

Greater Detroit March and Two Step

Just around the corner from the bank, great music was being composed by Prof. Joseph P. Leib of The Leib School of Music and Dramatic Arts.

Dog friendly

Am curious why two hydrants are placed so close together.

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