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Eureka Vacuum: 1912

Detroit, Michigan, circa 1912. "Woodward Avenue." A shopper's paradise. Meet you in an hour at Cinnabon. Detroit Publishing glass negative. View full size.

Detroit, Michigan, circa 1912. "Woodward Avenue." A shopper's paradise. Meet you in an hour at Cinnabon. Detroit Publishing glass negative. View full size.


On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

More piano stores

I'm counting possibly seven piano stores--Bush and Lane Pianos, Manufacturers Piano Co, Cable Piano Co, Tarrand Pianos, Grinnel Bros Pianos, Melville Clark Pianos, and another just to the upper right of the Grinnel Sign. I'm surprised that there isn't a Wurlitzer sign somewhere in this. I'm also seeing a Victor Records. Pianos were all the rage for years--before everyone had radios and tv. People learned to play for entertainment for themselves and others.

Piano Stores

OK, I count at least six piano stores! And at least three fur stores.

Majestic Theatre

The Majestic Theatre opened in April 1915 per its website, so I wonder it that dates this post to 1915.

[Detroit had several Majestic Theatres over the years. The Majestic in this photo opened in 1908 at 231 Woodward. - Dave]

Right Rules

Looks like all the cars of the time were right hand drive. Anyone know when we decided to change?

[Gradually. - Dave]

Bush & Lane Piano Co.

on the left had their main manufacturing facility in Holland, MI. They went out of business in 1930, victims of the Depression as were many other piano manufacturers.

What happened

Growing up in Detroit and remembering my mother taking me downtown on the streetcar and shopping at Hudsons, Kerns, and Crowleys and then for being a good kid she took me across the street to Kresge's downstairs and bought me a waffle sandwich which I will never forget. I often hear the phrase "you can't go back" but I miss and loved the way the city was.


I counted 6 piano stores not 3.

Re What were they thinking?

"When this is 'View full size' we're all be dead."

What were they thinking?

I love pictures like this! This is a frozen second in the lives of all these people. Where were they all going? What were they thinking about? Who was worried, or excited, and about what? Who had just gotten good news, or bad news? Who was going to work, or to do something fun? Who was pregnant, or had new a child, or grandchild?

I also wonder what was playing at the theater. I assume it was live theater, primarily, although there were quite a few short films, and the production of feature-length films was only a few years away.

If I had my choice

I have to agree with user "tterrace", I'd much rather walk down the 1910 version of Woodward than today's, oh if just for a day. What sights to behold.

Grinnell Brothers

Grinnell Brothers (sign on right side of street) was a Detroit area institution all the way into the 1980's, when the entire chain went out of business. They had stores in every area mall and not only sold pianos, but other musical instruments, lessons, records, sheet music, pianos rolls, everything to do with music. Wonderful stores, they just couldn't keep up with the times.

Woodward buildings still stand

I think the current street view above is a little off. I think this picture was taken from a spot just south of Grand Circus park between where the Whitney Building and Broderick Tower are now. Most of the buildings on the right including Grinnell Brothers still stand. Also the block of buildings on the left south of the Pontchartrain Hotel are still standing.

View from Grand Circus Park

Detroit renumbered all of their street addresses in 1920. Therefore, the old 260 address on the left indicates that this photo was actually taken from Grand Circus Park where Park Ave. (foreground) intersects with Woodward.

View Larger Map

View Larger Map

I am disappointed!!

Just when I was in the mood for some Chop Suey and not a place in sight.

Player Pianos, Fifth Floor

Hope they had a good elevator!

Mouse Furs, yuck!

Oh wait, it's Mau's Furs.
Never mind.

Lots of piano stores

I counted three different piano shops on this block, Bush & Lane, Manufacturer's and Melville Clark. Was this a sort of "piano district" at the time, or were pianos just ubiquitous enough in parlours of the day that several dealers on a single block was nothing unusual?

[Player pianos were, I think, something like the plasma TVs of their day. - Dave]


I won't get in to the prettier/not prettier debate, but based on Anon. Tipster's Google Street View links, the adjectives that occur to me are more along the lines of : 1910: alive, vibrant, visually diverse, inviting; 2011: sterile, lifeless, visually monotonous, inhospitable.

Hats anyone?

As far as I can tell, with the exception of one small boy, everyone is wearing a hat. Ah, those were the days.

What Could It Be?

I wonder what the three objects are on the street to the left and in front of the second streetcar. No one is near them.

[Newspaper bundles, thrown off the streetcar for pickup by Woodward Avenue newsies, would be my guess. - Dave]

Urgent need to tinkle

Is there anyplace on this street that sells pianos??

"Spirit of Detroit"

The buildings at the left have been replaced by the statue "Spirit of Detroit" and Coleman Young Municipal Center. There's an automatic "people mover" tram running almost directly above where the camera was. This part of Detroit is quite a bit prettier now than it was a century ago.

View Larger Map

View Larger Map

Are You Properly Attired?

The boy about to board the trolley seems to be, although the ring around his shoulders could also be a part of whatever he's dragging behind him. A lamp maybe? Hard to tell - I run out of pixels before I can enlarge/enhance it enough. Still, it looks like a bicycle tire to me. Perhaps other Shorpists will have better data.

Of course it's Detroit

More cars here than any other 1910 picture we have seen.

One thing, I think I'm pretty knowledgeable about antique cars, but does anyone know what the heck that round tank on the rear of the car at center right is? Has me puzzled.

[Something steamy, perhaps. Condenser? Reservoir? - Dave]

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