Courtesy Burton Collection, Detroit Public Library
As Dan Gilbert and company prepare to break ground (with a helping hand from Michigan's taxpayers) on Detroit's long-dormant Hudson's site, we're presented with an excellent opportunity to examine the history of that block. It wasn't always a "girder farm" as some have joked. In fact, over the years, the block has been one of the most coveted parcels of Detroit real estate.
Lucky for us, history hound Paul Sewick, the blogger behind Corktown History
and Detroit Urbanism
(as well as an occasional contributor to MT
), has authored a post for Curbed Detroit delving into the history of the block. There's plenty there we knew, but some surprises for even a dedicated Detroit history maven:
The block was part of Augustus Woodward's original plan for a city of hexagonal sections.
• The lot was first staked out in 1805.
• By 1853, a structure was located on every parcel on the block except one.
• Hudson's wasn't the first department store on the block. A competitor named Newcomb-Endicott was there first.
• Hudson’s was the tallest department store in the world.
The article has all that and a whole lot more, as well as some great old photographs. View it by clicking here