Photo: Library of Congress
Detroit may be in bad shape now, but it was once an elite American city.The automobile industry had its home base in Detroit and the population spiked from just over 285,000 in 1900 to over 1.5 million by 1930. Downtown was bustling with large industrial buildings, hotels, trolleys and street cars. There were also numerous parks, theatres and opera houses for recreation.
But the past few decades haven’t been kind. Detroit lost 25 per cent of its population in the first decade of the 21st century, falling to only 713,777 people. The decline of the domestic auto market and overall migration from the Rust Belt to the Sun Belt has drastically reduced the quality of life.
We dug up some pictures of Detroit in its glory days from the Library of Congress.
THE BIG RACE: These boats are participating in the Detroit Boat Club yacht regatta as they turn towards the next portion of the race.
THE HOTEL: A majestic look at the Hotel Pontchartrain with a glorious view of a set of trolley cars and a lush green park.
THE CANAL: The canal at Belle Isle Park was made for a romantic boat ride. Here in 1907, a band plays on the bridge above the canal while people watch in the boats and on the banks of the water.
THE OPERA HOUSE: One of the top culture destinations in old time Detroit, the Detroit Opera House is still operating today.
PLAY DATE: Children frolic and play around at Belle Isle Park in 1905. The women are wearing fine dresses as they push fancy looking carriages.
BUSY DAY AT THE HARBOR: The wharf was already bustling in 1901 when steam ships Tashmoo and Idlewild came in as spectators look at these massive steam machines.
THE CHURCH: Right in the heart of the city on Woodward, First Presbyterian Church was built in 1889 and is now a Michigan State Historic Site.
WATER WORKS PARK: As nasty as it could get in winter, this scene from Water Works Park shows how gorgeous Detroit can be when the weather gets nice.
CAPITAL SQUARE: In the middle of the busy corporate world in Detroit, there was this oasis in the middle of town where anyone could relax and enjoy.
POST OFFICE: Post offices are being shut down now, but in the early 1900s, they were the bustling hearts of many towns. Check out the stunning architectural design.
HEART OF DETROIT: A stunning shot of downtown Detroit including Hotel Pontchartrain and Campus Martius.
WOODWARD: A street view of Woodward Avenue shows a slew of stores and scores of people out on the streets going about their daily activities.
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