Thursday, January 6, 2011
The Motor City
Joe Lewis had a mighty big fist.
Over the summer, I made my first trip up to Detroit, Michigan to visit my friend Ricardo for a few days. I didn't really know much about the city, other than General Motors used to be based up there years ago, before the big plant closed, and that it was the home of Motown Records.
Other than that, I'd pretty much heard that it was just a poverty-stricken ghost town in Michigan that was best to just drive through quickly with the doors locked.
Thankfully, I prefer to visit a place myself and make my own decisions from there.
Of course, if you're in Detroit, you have to go visit the Motown Historical Museum which is actually located inside its original location...an old converted home.
It offers a pretty entertaining and informative tour that gives you a very detailed history of the origins of Motown and the effect that Berry Gordy, his family, and a ragtag group of singers had on Detroit and the music industry at the time.
Stevie Wonder is also a big part of Motown, so it was interesting to drive through the run down First Ward area of Saginaw, Michigan to find his historical marker (noting where he was born and raised).
Ironically, Ricardo's grandmother owned a house right next to Stevie's family, so their families knew each other very well at the time.
I'm never playing "Six Degrees of Stevie Wonder" with him.
There are definitely areas of Detroit that you'd probably want to avoid, especially the variety of abandoned homes and buildings downtown that the crackheads frequent, but most big cities have that too.
We spent much of our time just wandering around the city-center and hanging out in some of the really nice suburbs. You can certainly find plenty to do and see while you're there.
Detroit turned out to be a lot more fun and interesting than I thought it would be. Would I live there? Probably not. Mainly, because I'm not a big fan of the cold winters or Eminem.
But, I'd definitely go back for a visit.