Exclusive Interview: Detroit artist BILL MORRISON on his life & career with The Simpsons, Futurama, Mad Magazine, his new Beatles book, and more!

Exclusive Interview: Detroit artist BILL MORRISON on his life & career with The Simpsons, Futurama, Mad Magazine, his new Beatles book, and more!

Detroit artist Bill Morrison at his home studio (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

Bill Morrison is a tremendously talented artist and writer.

A child prodigy in art and drawing, he could draw better at age three than I can at age thirty-six. His competency across a broad range of specialties and his career trajectory are jaw-droppingly impressive as he continues upping the ante by challenging himself with new and different projects.

He lives in a lovely stately historic home in St. Clair Shores, Michigan, which backs up to the vast and beautiful Lake St. Clair.

Bill lives with his wife Kayre (pronounced ‘Care’), two dogs Gidget and Ripley, two cats Ziggy and Freddie, and a world-class collection of comics, collectibles, and artwork. His home studio is a delightful wonderland of creativity, pop culture inspirations, and gobs upon gobs of wickedly good Bill Morrison original art.

Detroit artist Bill Morrison at his home studio (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

I’m here chatting with Bill. He was both brave enough to let me into his home and kind enough to answer my 10,000 rambling questions.

As a lifelong fan of The Simpsons and Bill’s work, I’ve owned several of his comics, watched several of his shows, and for years had the amazing full cast of The Simpsons poster on my wall that Mr. Morrison did.

Meeting him was an honor and I can tell you that he is a thoroughly cool dude.

The Simpsons kitchen sink poster art by Bill Morrison

He is also admirably, perpetually busy, as evidenced by his new book, The Beatles Nerd Search: All You Nerd is Love: A Yellow Submarine Puzzle Book, which came out November 02, 2021.

Published by Hero Collector, it’s a treasure trove of trivia masked as intentional continuity errors that are artfully designed to test your mental abilities of recognition and recall.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Bill Morrison!

 

Bill on The Beatles

Nerd Search: All You Nerd is Love: A Yellow Submarine Puzzle Book by Bill Morrison

I’m a huge Beatles fan. My involvement with creating The Beatles books goes back to 1998 when Dark Horse Comics asked me to do a graphic novel for the 30th anniversary of Yellow Submarine. The deal unfortunately fell through midway. However, in 2018, I ended up doing a 112-page graphic novel adaptation of The Beatles Yellow Submarine for Titan Comics.”

Titan Comics is based in London. They published our Simpsons stuff for Bongo in the UK. Initially, the licensing agent for The Beatles merchandise was interested in having me link up with Titan for the graphic novel. Then they came to me with a second project because they needed a pre-approved artist and put me in touch with Hero Collector, which is owned by Eaglemoss.”

“Hero said they have a series of books called Nerd Search where each scene has purposely incorrect information & items that the reader has to find, clues to solve, and at the end you get all the answers and rate yourself. I had a great time doing the book and I’m looking forward to seeing what the fan reaction is.”

“I’ve been a lifelong Beatles fan. Favorite song is Hey Bulldog. Favorite album is Rubber Soul. And I listen to The Beatles Channel on SiriusXM all the time.”

“I saw ‘A Hard Days Night’ (1964) at the drive-in when I was five, sitting in the back of the station wagon. Back then everyone was playing Beatles records.”

“The first album I had was Alvin and the Chipmunks Sing the Beatles Hits, then I got into the Saturday morning cartoon (1965-67), and saw Yellow Submarine (68) the first time it aired on TV in 1970.”

Beatles Yellow Submarine graphic novel by Bill Morrison

“I remember in high school there was a Broadway show called Beatlemania (1977-79) which was really popular and created a resurgence of interest in The Beatles. By that time, I was doing artwork and t-shirts.”

“At high school, my friend Steve Colwell and I started a small t-shirt business selling shirts of rock stars. We passed an order sheet around to everyone at school and they would place orders for our shirts.”

“My sister actually got to see The Beatles live in 1966 at Olympia Stadium in Detroit. My dad drove them and sat in the parking lot. The Beatles only played for a half hour, but they had several other opening bands, which was common at the time. Dad was smoking a cigarette outside the car when the big garage door on the side of the stadium rolled up. A big black limo pulls out as he hears the kids leaving. Suddenly the crowd spots the limo, and this horde of Beatles-crazed fans starts running towards him. My dad is between The Beatles and the kids. He says he had to jump onto a lamp post to avoid being trampled!

 

The Early Years (or who is Bill Morrison and why am I in his house?)

Bill Morrison as Batman (photo courtesy of Bill Morrison)

“I’m an artist, writer, collector. I like working at my home studio where I use mostly traditional tools of the trade, some digital. I sketch with a blue pencil, use graphite and ink for comics, acrylic for painting, brush painting or airbrush, depending on the texture I’m trying to achieve. As for writing, I frequently jot down random notes in a book, otherwise I type in Microsoft Word.”

My passion, thankfully, is my career and I don’t really have any other hobbies or interests beyond it. I love collecting toys, comics, art, but that all pretty much relates to my job. My wife and I like Art Deco, NY World’s Fair memorabilia, books (especially books on comics, comic collecting, illustrating, graphic novels).”

“My most marketable ability as a commercial artist is I can pick up other artist’s styles very quickly, which is very helpful in animation. I need a few practice sketches to find the rhythm, then I have it.”

Bill Morrison with Casper doll (photo courtesy of Bill Morrison)

“I was born January 15, 1959, and grew up in Lincoln Park, Michigan, about ten minutes south of Detroit. My dad is from the Hocking Hills, Ohio area and my mom is from Wyandotte, Michigan. Her father was Judge Arthur Decker, who as a young man, was a prize fighter nicknamed Kid Decker. My parents have always been very supportive of my artistic ambitions.”

“I have four living siblings: Alice, Donna, Sue, and Janice. My brother Don just passed away recently. Two of my sisters live here in Michigan, and two live elsewhere. My wife Kayre is also from Lincoln Park. Yes, we started dating in high school, and we recently moved back to Michigan to be closer to our families. This fulfills the mission of my youngest sister Alice, who lives in Novi, and has been trying to re-gather all of us for years.”

“Growing up, my older sister Sue was artistic, and she taught me how to draw at age three. She sat me down at the kitchen table and taught me how to draw a stickman. She drew a figure and told me to copy it. Then she left, came back in ten minutes, and says I had “vastly improved” on the drawing. She got real excited, thought I was a natural talent. She was always keyed into what I was into. Early on I would emulate her character drawings of Snoopy, the Wolfman, etc, whatever my mania was at the time”

Detroit artist Bill Morrison at his home studio (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

“In 1977, I graduated Lincoln Park High School and immediately enrolled in Detroit’s College for Creative Studies. I started off wanting to be a comic book artist but learned I’d have to go to NYC to establish myself. I love New York now, but back then the idea of living there sort of terrified me. I had a teacher Gary Ciccarelli for airbrush class. He was really into the whole West Coast airbrush scene, which was highly glamorized, stylized, lot of palm trees and neon. And he turned us onto stuff I hadn’t been exposed to.”

“I graduated CCS in 1981 and got a job at Artech, Inc. in Livonia doing technical drawings for the automotive industry. I would be in a big room with 15 artists. The guys in the other room would look at a blueprint and sketch it out in 3D, then they would send it to us and we would refine and perfect it. We did mostly engine stuff, mechanics manuals & parts catalogs, cut-away paintings of diesel fuel pumps, etc.”

“In 1982, I married Karen “Kayre” DeLosier, the love of my life, and we lived in Plymouth, Michigan for a bit near Plymouth Road and Haggerty, before moving to the West Coast. Moved to Beverly Hills briefly, then Sepulveda (which became North Hills), then Simi Valley.”

 

L.A. in the ‘80s: a town awash in neon and perms and mohawks, oh my!

Bill Morrison with Roger Rabbit (photo courtesy of Bill Morrison)

Bill was employed as a professional illustrator at B.D. Fox and Friends Advertising from 1982-86, which is where he first met legendary cartoonist, Matt Groening, who was just an unknown scribbler at the time. After that, Bill was at Willardson & Associates. During this time, he also worked on iconic movie posters like the famous Little Mermaid (1989), The Land Before Time (1988), Oliver and Company (1988), all sorts of Disney movies, of which he said his favorite poster is The Prince and The Pauper (1990).

My first job in Hollywood was doing movie posters at B.D. Fox and Matt (Groening) was a freelance writer there. B.D. Fox was a boutique ad agency for the entertainment industry. A co-worker, Mili Smythe was an art director there and she was friends with Matt, they’re both from Portland, and she introduced us. Mili told me about Matt’s comic strip, Life in Hell.”

“Occasionally she would ask us for input on things like childhood songs to give to Matt, who would then put the song references in the comic strip. At work, Matt would pitch tag lines for posters, but we didn’t really become good friends until The Simpsons.”

The Prince and the Pauper (1990) poster art by Bill Morrison

“I designed the posters for horror movies House (85), Blood Diner (87), and I was the in-house illustrator doing rough sketches and comps for films like The Return of the Living Dead (1985). Art directors would come to see me with ideas they needed me to draw up. For the Return of the Living Dead poster, I don’t know who did the final painting but I remember being surprised that Bill Stout didn’t do it. He was a well-known poster artist, and he designed the zombies for the film”

“In 1986, I was invited to work at an illustration studio owned by David Willardson, the California airbrush artist, called Willardson & Associates. We did all sorts of advertising for all different products, mostly photo realistic work but glorified, Nestles Quick, Maxell Tape, etc, and one of the jobs was for Disney. It was a re-release of Cinderella, they wanted a one-sheet poster. I did a teaser they liked, then another one, and another one, then anytime Disney released an animated film into theaters. I did Little Mermaid, Oliver and Co, Rescuers Down Under, Roller Coaster Rabbit, Prince and the Pauper (a Mickey Mouse featurette), Peter Pan, Jungle Book, Bambi, Lady and Tramp, Fox and Hound, etc.”

“I did The Land Before Time movie poster for Amblin Entertainment. I only did the characters, not the background. This was in the pre-photoshop days and I’m at the studio and I get this big painting delivered. They said we need you to re-draw the dinosaur characters and paste them over the existing ones. I did it on one-ply Strathmore paper, which was tricky to paint on because it’s so thin. Then cut out the outline perfectly with an x-acto knife then painted the edges with a brush. It’s very hard to match outline colors perfectly. Then I took spray mount and permanently sprayed them onto this guy’s painting, which seemed kind of unethical but I had to do it.”

 

The Simpsons & Matt Groening

First signing with Matt: from L to R are Matt Groening, Steve Vance, Bill Morrison (photo courtesy of Bill Morrison)

Bill joined The Simpsons crew in 1990 and played a seminal role in the global expansion of the franchise. He was doing illustrations for 20th Century Fox and creating all sorts of art for merchandise, sketches, t-shirts, posters, etc, while simultaneously art-directing other merchandise artists at Klasky Csupo Animation Studio.

In 1987, The Simpsons made their global debut on the Tracey Ullman Show. It was one of the animated bumpers they did. Then it morphed into the December 1989 Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire holiday special episode, then the show officially premiered February 1990. It was an immediate blockbuster hit.”

Simpsons Yellow Album art by Bill Morrison (image courtesy of Bill Morrison)

“I knew Matt (Groening) from our time working together at the ad agency a few years prior. He brought me into The Simpsons creative family, and I started doing character drawings for merchandise. I created the merch style guide, which is for companies who license the brand. If a licensee takes out a license, they get a style guide of images they can use. Some licensees pay extra for custom artwork. I also did almost all of the video game packaging in the early days, along with calendars, books, and more.”

“I didn’t have anything to do with the characters beyond what they looked like until we did the comic books. Sometimes the stories in Simpsons Comics necessitated creating new characters. For Radioactive Man we got to create a broader cast of characters because they didn’t exist on the show. Radioactive Man’s origins are similar to the Hulk. Fallout Boy’s origins are similar to Spider Man. It’s mostly parody and satire. At one time there was talk of doing a Radioactive Man cartoon show but the idea was shelved when Futurama came out. I would love to see the idea get revived and think it could be a big hit.”

Simpsons Comics & Stories # 1 art by Bill Morrison

“In April 1991, Simpsons Illustrated launched and the series ran for ten issues. It had a comic section, and at the end of the second year, Groening and Editor Steve Vance wanted a gimmicky annual issue, so we decided let’s do a comic book. We named it Simpsons Comics and Stories and it came out in February 1993.”

“It was such a big hit that it gave Matt the confidence to start Bongo Comics, so we did. Starting a comic was a dream come true. We started it in November 1993. I served as Art Director, Steve Vance was the editor and his wife Cindy was colorist and letterer. After the first year the Vances left, and I became the Creative Director (Editor and Art Director.) I was directly involved in some way with every issue (writing, penciling, inking, supervising, art direction, etc). My favorite character to draw is probably Radioactive Man.”

Matt and I are still good friends to this day.

The Simpsons episode: A Serious Flanders (November 2021) poster art by Bill Morrison

“In terms of The Simpsons tv show, my favorite episodes are Radioactive Man, Black Widower (great art direction), and many of the episodes from the Conan O’Brien era (1991-93). Also, I love the recent two-part episode “A Serious Flanders” for which I created an advertising poster.”

Bill also did the cover artwork for The Simpsons DVD’s.

And Bill won several Eisner Awards for Simpsons Comics (2000), The Amazing Colossal Homer (1994), and Radioactive Man.

 

Roswell Little Green Man, Futurama, and more!

Roswell Little Green Man art by Bill Morrison (image courtesy of Bill Morrison)

“In 1996, I produced my own comic series for Bongo called Roswell, Little Green Man. Although Roswell loosely takes place in the late 1940’s, it was my love of 50’s sci-fi films that inspired it. The first story deals with giant ants, harkening back to Them! (1954 sci-fi movie). The series was nominated in four different categories for the highly coveted Eisner Award. We ended it because we started a little show called Futurama and I didn’t have time to work on the show, along with my Bongo duties, and also my own comic.”

I was the Art Director on Futurama from 1998-2003. I assisted in the creation of the cast of characters with Matt Groening. Matt was the creator of the show and Futurama was done by The Curiosity Company, Matt’s own production company.”

“We did four seasons, 140 episodes. It was on Tuesday nights when it first premiered, and Matt didn’t like that. He told Fox execs to put it on Sunday nights 8:30 p.m. right after The Simpsons. They wouldn’t do it. Finally, they put it on Sunday’s but at 7:00 p.m., which was too early. Futurama is a workplace adult comedy, it’s about adults, romances, and it was inappropriate to put on then. Plus, at that time slot, if sports games ran longer than anticipated, which they frequently do, they had to cut portions of the episodes or not even air the episodes.”

Futurama art by Bill Morrison (image courtesy of Bill Morrison)

“I loved Futurama, especially Leela, and I helped design many of the weirder characters before Matt pitched the show. Matt would always do a final cut and tweak it. We’d be at his studio, he would give me a paragraph on a character, I would do drawings, then show him, it sparked him visually, then he would do a drawing, I would refine it, etc, it was a collaboration. I always felt my biggest contribution to the show was sometimes showing Matt what he didn’t want because it would help him decide which way to go with a character. It’s very difficult to create unique and original characters. Having some input from friends is valuable, the visceral reaction is valuable.”

“In 2000, I did a six-issue mini-series for Bongo called Heroes Anonymous. My editorial assistant at the time was Scott Gimple and I invited him to work on it with me. It’s about a support group for superheroes. We had it in development at the SyFy Channel for a while. Scott had moved on to Disney where he was working on a show called Fillmore, which was a safety patrol played as a 70’s cop show. He had an agent at this point who wanted him to go out and pitch ideas for shows that he owned. Since we co-created Heroes Anonymous he called me and we started pitching it to networks and the SyFy channel took an option. Scott and I worked together on the story for the pilot and Scott wrote the script. I was going to be on board as a producer. The network would give us notes on the script, and at first they were good notes. But eventually the notes got silly and were making the script worse. Finally, it got to the point that their suggested improvement notes were too embarrassing to seriously consider. We chose not to renew the option when it came up. Scott did okay though, he’s now the showrunner on The Walking Dead.”

“After that, I was lucky enough to be able to do my first book, which was a career retrospective on Dan DeCarlo, one of my favorite comic book artists. Dan is best known for drawing Archie comics and creating Josie and the Pussycats and co-creating Sabrina the Teen-age Witch. The book is called Innocence and Seduction: The Art of Dan DeCarlo. I knew Dan personally. We were friends until he passed away in 2001. I was also a fan and there were no good books on Dan’s art. I wanted to create something that didn’t exist yet.”

The Art of Dan DeCarlo book by Bill Morrison

“A few years later, I collaborated with Jane Wiedlin, co-founder of The Go-Go’s. In 2010, we did a comic book called Lady Robotika which was published by Image. The concept is based on Jane as a cyborg space hero.”

“In 2015, I wrote and illustrated Dead Vengeance for Dark Horse Comics. It’s a tribute to the gritty 1940’s pulp era and takes place in Detroit.”

Dead Vengeance by Bill Morrison

“Near my end at Bongo, Matt was working on a new show (what later became the show Disenchantment) and I was talking to the businesspeople telling them I’m looking for something creatively challenging. They said Matt wants to do a new company, comic, show, etc, but he’s not quite there yet. But we do want to develop a comic reader app for mobile phones and iPads, so I did that.”

“I designed comic reader apps. Here I am, devoted to printed comics, and I had to develop and promote comics on electronic devices. Had to learn the guided view mechanics of reading a comic online, panel to panel scrolling, etc. To do this I had to download digital comics and study them. I started taking them on trips with me and realized that you can still have your physical collection at home but also embrace digital comics as a convenience. I started promoting the app, called The Simpsons Store, then the Futuramaland comic reader.”

 

The National Cartoonists Society

Bill Morrison (National Cartoonists Society)

Founded in 1946, the prestigious National Cartoonists Society is the world’s main professional organization for people working in cartoons and comics. To be admitted membership, published cartoonists must send in samples of their work. Once vetted, they can become Artist members. Bill joined NCS in the mid-90’s and served as President from 2015-2019.

“I was a casual member for years. Then served on the board for Jeff Keane (Family Circus), then continued as VP on the board of Tom Richmond (Mad Magazine cartoonist). Then I became president.”

National Cartoonists Society 27 Club

“It was a lot of work but very rewarding. It’s mind boggling to think I’m part of that lineage, a fraternity of my heroes. It’s very difficult to get people to join clubs nowadays as regular dues-paying members. I’m glad that I was able to help come up with some good ideas to move NCS forward.”

Sergio Aragonés, Steve McGarry, and I were discussing effective strategies for reaching out to cartoonists and making it easy for them to join NCS. We came up with The 27 Club, where they don’t pay the $180 annual fee, and any cartoonist under 27 years old can join for only $27/yr. Jason Chatfield, who served as my VP and is now the president, continues taking it on. I love the NCS. We have the Reuben Awards every year for the Outstanding Cartoonist of the year. And last year we had our first annual online convention, which was great and well-received.”

 

MAD Magazine

MAD Magazine has been around since the Atomic Fifties, 1952 to be exact. This legacy institution had the foresight to hire Bill Morrison as Executive Editor in 2017.

“When DC Comics moved from New York City to Burbank, California, the MAD guys didn’t want to go. Finally, the publisher at DC worked out something with Warner Bros where the MAD Magazine offices could stay in NYC, but it was agreed that once they found someone to take over MAD, it would move to Burbank.”

Then they hired me, and I had to hire a full staff, except for one guy who did decide to move from NY. I had done some freelance jobs for MAD in the past and now here I was overseeing all creative aspects of the magazine. We had good people, especially the art director, Suzy Hutchinson. I’d look at everything, make notes, some minor changes, etc. I loved working there.”

Bill Morrison with Alfred E. Neuman (art by Tom Richmond)

“We were given a really tough assignment, which was to take a magazine read by mostly white males (ages 11-16 and 45-60), most of whom subscribed and they wanted us to expand the readership to women, other ethnicities, and other age-ranges, while not losing our current subscribers. We succeeded in getting subscription numbers up, had expansion ideas that were ambitious but doable, talked about the possibility of live comedy shows at the Hollywood American Legion Post 43, simulcasting, taking it on tour, new merchandise, etc.”

“We were getting great positive feedback. I’m connected with hardcore (and therefore critical) MAD fans who told us we had struck a great balance. But corporate decisions beyond my control caused MAD to go to a reprint format.”

 

Bill’s Influences & Collections

Detroit artist Bill Morrison at his home studio (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

“I’m real big on Batman art and toys, non-superhero stuff like horror (especially Universal Monsters) and sci-fi, teen humor (any era but mostly 50’s 60’s). I typically go for eras and artists over genres. My favorite eras are 50’s-60’s.”

“Some favorite artists are Dick Sprang, Bob Oksner, Sergio Aragones, Dan DeCarlo. Growing up, some favorites were Neal Adams, Bernie Wrightson, Jim Steranko.”

It Rhymes with Lust (1950) cover art by Matt Baker

“Another favorite artist is Matt Baker, but his art is so expensive. He did the great cover for It Rhymes with Lust (1950) which many people consider to be the first-ever graphic novel.”

“Fine art, I like Salvador Dali, John Singer Sargent, M.C. Escher, Alphonse Mucha…though some might consider him more of an illustrator. Comedically, I’ve been influenced by Jerry Lewis, Woody Allen, Steve Martin, Mel Brooks, and more recently by Melissa McCarthy and Tina Fey.”

“To this day, I’m constantly discovering new influences. I also like the painter Norm Saunders, illustrator Wally Wood, Will Eisner, Robert Crumb, etc, too many to list!”

Mars Attacks art (card 32) by Norman Saunders (1962)

 

Upcoming Projects

Bill Morrison holding a giant eyeball bowling ball (photo courtesy of Bill Morrison)

“Right now, I’m working on a new one-shot comic for Ahoy Comics. I just did a cover for an Image comic called Stray Dogs.”

“I’ve been doing stuff for the fine art print market. And I’m doing some animation development projects and helping producers visualize their concepts.”

 

Final Thoughts

Bill at the drawing board, Bongo Comics (photo courtesy of Bill Morrison)

“At Comic Con (SDCC) one year, maybe ‘94-95, right after a speculator boom, when the industry took a turn downturn and was downsizing and consolidating, some publishers were shutting down, things at the time were looking down not up. The great Will Eisner walked by the Bongo Comics booth and I asked him his thoughts about the doom and gloom end-of-the-industry rumors. He said ‘I’ve seen this happen five or six times since the 1930’s. Comics is a language and a medium that people love. It might change shape, but graphic storytelling is an artform and is always going to exist’ and I thought that was tremendously uplifting and insightful and I try to always keep that in mind.”

My advice to aspiring creatives is to always be open to opportunities you didn’t necessarily anticipate. For example, I never thought I’d be a writer, art director, editor. But I said yes, I was open to it and ended up discovering that I love those roles. Talented young people tend to focus on one single thing only and might invariably miss out on other areas of rich potential. Sometimes you just gotta say yes and then figure it out. If you don’t like it, you can always stop doing it and do something else until you find the things you’re great at and love doing.”

 

Atomic Battery Studios (Bill’s official Facebook page)

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100063233047912

 

Comic Art Fans

https://www.comicartfans.com/gallerydetail.asp?gcat=9451

 

Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/atomicbattery/?hl=en

 

Twitter

https://twitter.com/billmorrisonman?lang=en

 

LinkedIn

https://www.linkedin.com/in/bill-morrison-679341b

 

More images from the Bill Morrison archives

Bill Morrison tiki mug (photo courtesy of Bill Morrison)

Jetson’s Robot Basher art by Bill Morrison (image courtesy of Bill Morrison)

Alice Cooper Make Parties Sparkle art by Bill Morrison (image courtesy of Bill Morrison)

Bartman # 1 art by Bill Morrison (image courtesy of Bill Morrison)

Bill Morrison with Dave Willardson, Calvin Patton and Dave Stevens (photo courtesy of Bill Morrison)

Angry Donald Duck art by Bill Morrison (image courtesy of Bill Morrison)

Dr. Phibes Rises Again VHS art by Bill Morrison

Little Mermaid movie poster art by Bill Morrison (image courtesy of Bill Morrison)

Bill Morrison, Cindy Vance, Will Eisner, Steve Vance circa 1995 (photo courtesy of Bill Morrison)

Bongo Comics art by Bill Morrison (image courtesy of Bill Morrison)

movie House (1985) poster art by Bill Morrison (image courtesy of Bill Morrison)

Aretha art by Bill Morrison (image courtesy of Bill Morrison)

Disney Bambi movie poster art by Bill Morrison (image courtesy of Bill Morrison)

Bongo Comics art by Bill Morrison (image courtesy of Bill Morrison)

CAPS (Comic Art Professionals Society) bon voyage to Bill Morrison

Hot Coffey in the D album cover art by Bill Morrison (image courtesy of Bill Morrison)

Futurama art by Bill Morrison (image courtesy of Bill Morrison)

Peter Pan-American Airways art by Bill Morrison (image courtesy of Bill Morrison)

The Jungle Book movie poster art by Bill Morrison (image courtesy of Bill Morrison)

Rollercoaster Rabbit poster art by Bill Morrison (image courtesy of Bill Morrison)

Bongo Comics art by Bill Morrison (image courtesy of Bill Morrison)

Bongo Comics art by Bill Morrison (image courtesy of Bill Morrison)

Homer Simpson with Rocky & Bullwinkle art by Bill Morrison (image courtesy of Bill Morrison)

 

 

Photos from the Bookfest Interview

Detroit artist Bill Morrison at his home studio (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

Detroit artist Bill Morrison at his home studio (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

Detroit artist Bill Morrison at his home studio (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

Detroit artist Bill Morrison at his home studio (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

Detroit artist Bill Morrison at his home studio (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

Detroit artist Bill Morrison at his home studio (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

Detroit artist Bill Morrison at his home studio (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

Detroit artist Bill Morrison at his home studio (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

Detroit artist Bill Morrison at his home studio (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

Detroit artist Bill Morrison at his home studio (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

Detroit artist Bill Morrison at his home studio (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

Detroit artist Bill Morrison at his home studio (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

Detroit artist Bill Morrison at his home studio (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

Detroit artist Bill Morrison at his home studio (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

Detroit artist Bill Morrison at his home studio (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

Detroit artist Bill Morrison at his home studio (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

Detroit artist Bill Morrison at his home studio (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

Detroit artist Bill Morrison at his home studio (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

Detroit artist Bill Morrison at his home studio (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

 

Spooky true story: Detroit’s Eastern Market Sheds are built on top of the old Russell Street Cemetery

Spooky true story: Detroit’s Eastern Market Sheds are built on top of the old Russell Street Cemetery

Graveyard stock photo (courtesy of Unsplash)

*PLEASE NOTE: This paper is not intended to be a scholarly dissertation. It is a true story of Detroit history intended for the general public. This article will be periodically updated as new information crops up. As stated at the end of the article, please fact-check me and feel free to email me at place313 at gmail dot com and let me know if anything needs to be updated for greater accuracy. Thank you! *

 

I first heard this story a few years ago from my friend, Lonni Thomas. Since then, I’ve scoured libraries, old newspapers and online for more information.

Eastern Market, the largest historic public market in the USA, consists of a series of Sheds, essentially a row of large indoor consumer buildings running North to South along the eastside of Russell Street in Detroit, Michigan. The Sheds host vibrant weekly markets and lively annual events like the Detroit Festival of Books, Detroit Fall Beer Festival, Flower Day, etc.

What many people don’t know:

These Sheds are built on top of the old Russell Street Cemetery (1834-1882) and where a portion of the old prison, Detroit House of Corrections, aka: DeHoCo, used to be located (1861-1931).

This is a largely hidden and unknown spooky true tale of Detroit history.

Let’s take a look back into the mysterious pre-Eastern Market history of Old Detroit.

 

Essential Background Details on the creation and dismantling of the Russell Street Cemetery

 

Graveyard stock photo (courtesy of Unsplash)

In the 1800’s, Detroit was not the sprawling cosmopolitan city it is today. It had a more rough-and-tumble frontier town feel to it.

According to Gen. Palmer, there was a town water pump at the foot of Randolph Street and tramps and thieves used to be whipped at the public whipping post on Woodward Avenue.

By 1834, the city had around 5,000 residents when the Russell Street Cemetery was established. Michigan was a vast territory at that time and didn’t even become a state until 1837.

Russell Street Cemetery was open 1834-1882 in what’s now known as the Eastern Market neighborhood of Detroit. It was located along Russell Street roughly from modern day Gratiot to Eliot. It was also known as the Second City Cemetery.

The First City Cemetery, often called Clinton Park Cemetery, was created May 29, 1827, on land the city had purchased from Col. Antoine Beaubien’s ribbon farm. It was a long, narrow, 30-foot wide plot of land stretching from Gratiot Ave and Clinton St down to Jefferson Ave. Supposedly, Gen. Friend Palmer’s father was the first person buried here. The cemetery closed to further interments in 1854 and was officially vacated by November 12, 1869. So, yes, it did exist concurrently for a few decades with Russell.

On May 31, 1834, the city of Detroit purchased 55 acres of farmland from the probate estate of Charles Guoin for the then-handsome sum of $2,010. The Guoin family had farmed this land for almost 100 years, since 1742. Charles Frances Guoin was born February 2, 1755 and died sometime between 1830-32. At some point, Charles had relations with Little Snipe, a local Pottawatomie woman, and they had a daughter named White Feather (Marie LaVoy).

A few months after the purchase, in August 1834, 38 acres became the Russell Street Cemetery. This decision was made by the Detroit Common Council. This area supposedly (although not conclusively) was bound by modern-day Russell Street, Eliot Street, the Freeway, Gratiot Ave, and an undefined eastern boundary. At its peak, supposedly, some 10,000-15,000 graves are estimated to have been here but nobody knows for sure because various records have either been lost or were never kept in the first place.

By August 1834, the burials at Russell Street Cemetery were numerous because Detroit was in the throes of a second cholera epidemic, which killed an eighth of the city’s population. Cholera epidemics hit Detroit hard in 1832 and 1834 and “congested the graveyards,” (Burton, page 969). There were most likely multiple bodies per grave in many instances.

In those days, the City Sexton was the title of the official gravedigger and person in charge of a cemetery. Originally, the City Sexton was tasked with selling plots (half or full) at the Russell Street Cemetery to people, which ranged in cost from five to ten dollars. The city of Detroit created the office of City Sexton on March 17, 1829 and it was abolished in 1879.

The first sexton of Detroit was Israel Noble. He was nominated by the mayor, then appointed by Common Council. He served as Sexton from 1829-32, then 1835-49. Noble, incongruously detached from living up to the meaning of his last name, supposedly sold Russell Street Cemetery lots under the table for some side cash, hence the mysterious lack of “official records”.

Noble was also, at one point, the keeper of the lighthouse in Monroe, Michigan.

Detroit Daily Advertiser (April 3, 1873)

In 1841, Mt. Elliott Cemetery opened, which helped divert burials from Russell Street.

In 1842, Dr. George Russell built a “Contagious Disease Hospital” on the potter’s field area of the Russell Street Cemetery. In reality, it was a small rickety shed. However, it may have been the first building in the Midwest dedicated to treating contagious diseases. The shed didn’t last long.

Then in 1846, the posh new Elmwood Cemetery opened, which served to briefly alleviate the overcrowding of the Russell Street Cemetery.

As the years went by, the city notoriously failed to maintain the Russell Street Cemetery and it became desperately rundown. One report stated that “People would steal tombstones and use them as doorsteps and beer counters,” (Lazar, page 15).

April 10, 1855, the Health Committee advises Detroit Common Council that no more burials should be allowed at Russell Street Cemetery. This was 27 years before the cemetery was officially closed in 1882, so there was definitely a long history of the cemetery being wretched and unkempt.

old Russell Street Cemetery, Detroit map

In 1857, Mayor Ledyard publicly called the cemetery a “disgrace” and wanted it torn down. Also, in May 1857, modern-day Division Street was constructed and cut right through the cemetery.

On July 6, 1861, a prison was built on a part of the cemetery (area roughly bound by Russell, Riopelle, Alfred, and Wilkins) called the Detroit House of Corrections (aka: DeHoCo). It remained there until 1931 when the prison was relocated 30 miles west to the city of Plymouth, Michigan.

original Detroit House of Corrections (DeHoCo) map (1861-1931) possible boundaries

Detroit Advertiser (May 16, 1865)

In 1868, modern-day Winder Street opened through the cemetery.

Fed up with the abysmal conditions of the cemetery, on April 20, 1869, Detroit city council ordered that no more bodies be buried at Russell Street Cemetery. Over the next 13 years, thousands of corpses were periodically transferred to Elmwood, Mt. Elliott, and the new 250-acre “rural cemetery” called Woodmere, which was formally dedicated July 14, 1869.

Woodmere Cemetery was located only a mere 8 miles west of Russell Street Cemetery, but at that time was considered rural countryside. Prior to being a cemetery, Woodmere was a Revolutionary War-era shipyard where several ships were built.

The City Sexton at the time, a German man named Valentine Geist, spearheaded the transfer of bodies from Russell Street Cemetery to Woodmere. He lived 1824-95 and served as Sexton in the years 1864, 1871-74, 1878. He also ran an undertaking business on Monroe Street downtown. He’s buried at Elmwood.

Around about 1870, the first makeshift Hay and Wood Market was built on Russell Street (between Adelaide and Division) and some independent street vendors started selling farm-grown produce from their own carts and wagons in proto-Eastern Market along Russell Street near the cemetery.

However, over the decade (1870-1880), nothing much happened at the Russell Street Cemetery except the tombstones became mossgrown, the cemetery became weedy and neglected, and people used to mess around in the cemetery at all hours of the day and night. A sad trend throughout history is that old, neglected cemeteries tend to become general dumping grounds.

Detroit Daily Advertiser (November 16, 1871)

Then on May 14, 1879, the Circuit Court ordered the cemetery to be officially vacated. Various contracts were issued for the removal and reinternment of the remaining cadavers in other cemeteries: Woodmere, Elmwood, Mt. Elliott, and elsewhere. This task was coordinated by the Board of Public Works. One of the few names mentioned in the newspaper, a man named John Griswold, was reinterred at Woodmere.

One wave, some 1,493 caskets, were removed in 1880 and re-buried at the City Hospital grounds in Grosse Pointe. In 1881, another 1,668 remains were shipped out. Then in early 1882, some 1,357 bodies were relocated. Various numbers are given in the newspapers, but the final destination of the caskets is not always given, thus, it’s impossible to know for sure what bodies went where.

By 1882, all known remains were removed from Russell Street Cemetery.

 

The Unclaimed Dead (or what happened next?)

 

April 22, 1906 (Detroit News) page 21

Conner’s Creek, named for Henry Conner, existed from 1840-1925, according to Dr. Krepps (page 21 of her report). The Algonquin lived here prior to city development.

In 1872, Antoine Dubay owned a farm here. The deed was purchased from him on August 24, 1872 by Frederick Ruehle (sometimes spelled Ruelle). Frederick quickly turned around and sold the 34-acre property to the city of Detroit on October 18, 1872. He purchased the 34 acres for $3,000 and conveniently sold it less than two months later for $6,000.

At the time, this property was in the neighboring city of Grosse Pointe, which is where Detroit wanted to build a City Hospital for smallpox victims (aka: the Grosse Pointe Pest House), but the deal never fully went through. A structure was built here but was never used as a hospital.

Instead, a large corner of the farm became the Conner Creek Cemetery (aka: Third City Cemetery or the City Hospital Grounds, as it was commonly called at the time). It was used to re-bury the unclaimed/unidentified bodies from the Russell Street Cemetery.

The cemetery was dedicated August 27, 1880. It eventually contained around 4,500 bodies, which were (most likely) transferred via wagon some five miles NE up Gratiot Ave to Harper Ave and over to Conner Creek. Between 1880-1882, some 4,500 bodies were taken from Russell Street Cemetery to Conner Creek Cemetery.

Gratiot Avenue, at that time called Fort Gratiot Road, was constructed  between 1829-1833.

Conner Creek Cemetery, Detroit map

In November 1881, the city of Detroit did build a pest house structure on the SW corner of Conner at Olga Street, however, it was never used because Grosse Pointe effectively blocked the construction of a pest house (smallpox hospital) in their town. So, the city rented it to a farmer, whose name is listed sometimes as August Stahlman, other times as August Schultz, and he ended up living inside the 24 x 76 building for a few decades.

The structure burned down in 1923. Currently, the Wayne County Community College Eastern Campus is located where this structure used to be.

Furthermore, a playground called the Conner Playfield (located on Conner, north of Harper) was built over a portion of the cemetery at some point, possibly in the 1930’s or early 1940’s.

The Conner Creek Cemetery was largely forgotten for decades until October 6, 1950 when utility workers accidentally dug up some corpses and a tombstone across from a house at 6020 Gunston. During Virginia Clohset’s discovery interview of Ida and Pasquale Gianfermi (residents of 6020 Gunston St), Ida said she vividly recalled the 1950 dig and said that spectators took bones home as souvenirs.

Then on April 4, 1958, the city of Detroit sells the property containing the Conner Creek Cemetery to the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) via quit claim deed. MDOT ends up building a freeway interchange over a portion of the cemetery. The construction of the (Edsel) Ford Freeway, which jaggedly divided the area, facilitated the unearthing of more remains.

Nearly two more decades passed without any press or acknowledgement.

Conner Creek Cemetery boulder-plaque memorial

Then, on October 16, 1976, a boulder-plaque was officially placed at the intersection of Conner St & Hern St to commemorate the Conner Creek Cemetery, which was listed as having 4,518 known graves at the time. “It is the only cemetery belonging to the Michigan State Highway department. Many bodies now rest under the roadbed of Conner Street.” (Detroit Free Press article).

The boulder-plaque was courtesy of the Michigan Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

In April 2013, MDOT archeologists and their Pavement Evaluation Unit performed spot excavations and used ground penetrating radar (GPR) to investigate the subsurface of the Conner Creek Cemetery. They found “clearly defined subsurface anomalies, indicative of dense, solid objects.” However, the soil profile (ie: moist silt) in that particular area makes it essentially impossible to use GPR accurately.

Currently (October 2021), the triangle patch of land with the boulder-marker is still there at Conner and Hern. To get there, plug in the address 6008 Gunston Ave, Detroit. This is the neighborhood where Ravendale meets Chandler Park on the NW side of the Chandler Park Golf Course, which itself has been there since the 1920’s (most likely 1923).

Thanks to the amazing efforts of Dr. Karen Krepps, this area has been designated as an archeology site #20WN383. In 1984, she was commissioned by the Eastern Wayne County Historical Society (EWCHS) to write a report about the cemetery. Her report is fascinating, highly detailed and insightful, and I especially agree with her assertion that “cemeteries are important cultural resources.”

Big Question:

Are the various unclaimed human remains still there? Nobody knows.

However, on page 46 of her report, Dr. Krepps states, “The prime area has enjoyed minimal below ground disturbance and may well contain human remains reinterred from the Russell Street Cemetery.”

What ended up happening with the old Russell Street Cemetery property? Let’s take a look.

Conner Creek Cemetery boulder-plaque memorial

 

Some Eastern Market History

early Easter Market Detroit (DPL Burton Historical Collection)

After the dismantling of the Russell Street Cemetery, Eastern Market gradually came into being and transformed the area.

By 1885, there was a small market and scales for weighing produce at the NE corner of Division and Russell.

Eastern Market was created in 1889 when the Detroit Common Council formally established the boundaries of the Eastern Hay Market, also known as the Hay and Wood Market.

The construction of Eastern Market’s Shed 1 (Russell St, between Winder and High St) by Richard E. Raseman, was completed in September 1890. It was tiny, supposedly only 575 x 208 feet, rickety and was destroyed in a violent storm on December 23, 1890.

Aerial drone photo of Eastern Market Sheds Detroit (courtesy of Josh Garcia at JDG Innovative)

Shed 1 was rebuilt in 1891 and lasted until 1967 when the creation of the Fisher Freeway forced the shed to become a parking lot. In 1898, Raseman built Shed 2.

Shed 3 was built in 1922 as an “all-weather shed”. Shed 4 was constructed in 1938 and Shed 5 in 1939. They are connected by a covered walkway. In the 1950’s, Rosie the Riveter (real name Rose Kurlandsky) ran a produce stand here at Eastern Market. Her stall was located across from the Samuel Brothers Deli.

In 1965, Shed 6 is built. It’s a long, narrow shed with a roof and no walls.

In 1980, the original Shed 5 is demolished and a new Shed 5, along with a 2-story parking structure, are built in 1981. All of the Sheds were majorly renovated in the early 2000’s.

To this day, Eastern Market is a major cultural attraction in the city of Detroit, visited by millions of people annually.

 

 

Final Thoughts

Graveyard stock photo (courtesy of Unsplash)

In 1834, when the Russell Street Cemetery was created, Detroit had a population of around 5,000 people, according to census data. By the time the cemetery officially closed in 1882, Detroit was a rapidly expanding metropolis with a population of around 150,000 people.

Big cities have fascinating histories and trajectories. They tend to expand so rapidly that many of the historical facts and stories are lost to time and never fully recovered.

Detroit’s very first cemetery was located behind St. Anne’s log church at the NW corner of Jefferson and Griswold. This cemetery was functional 1701-1760 and consisted mostly of French Catholics in mostly unmarked graves. The cemetery moved several times after that.

Are some still buried there? The probability is high that there are indeed still human remains there. Such is the case with any large city. All big cities are dotted with random buried corpses from centuries past, hidden under modern-day structures like skyscrapers and apartment buildings.

Is this true of all early cemeteries? Were ALL the graves exhumed and relocated? Or are some still hidden down below, awaiting discovery?

The unclaimed dead from the Russell Street Cemetery. The nameless who were buried, most likely multiple bodies per grave, in the Conner Creek Cemetery, who were they? Where are their bodies at this exact moment?

Whatever may happen or not happen in the future, PLEASE RESPECT the land and the remains.

 

 

Where did you find this information?

Libraries, mostly, and some online repositories. I love libraries. As a lifelong library enthusiast and haunter of book collections, I highly recommend everyone spend more time at these sanctuaries of knowledge. Leave your phone in the car. It’s a good respite from the endless overwhelming digital switch-tasking bombardment perpetually fragmenting your time and sanity.

The bulk of this information was derived from poring over hundreds of vintage Detroit newspapers, along with heavy digging inside the Library of Michigan, the State of Michigan’s main library, in Lansing. Shout out to librarian, Adam Oster, for helping this wayward lad track down some primary source material. I would’ve been at the DPL’s Burton Collection in Detroit talking Mark Bowden’s ear off, but they’ve been closed for a while, first Covid, then flooding. Hope to explore upon their glorious re-opening.

Big thank you to the State Historic Preservation Office (archeologist Michael Hambacher) for providing Dr. Krepps report. And, to MDOT state archeologist James Robertson, for his kindness and alacrity on the FOIA request.

Thank you to Patrick Shaul at the Detroit Society for Genealogical Research for tracking down and scanning the incredibly hard-to-find 5-part article by Detroit archeologist Charles Martinez.

Thanks also to MDOT’s FOIA coordinator Fae Gibson for sending me a disc containing several key documents.

Also, this article is a work-in-progress. Please fact-check me and help me update it. If you have any pertinent and critical information, please email me at place313 at gmail dot com. Thank you!

 

 

Bibliography

Krepps, Dr. Karen Lee. Land Use History of Conner Creek Cemetery (20WN383) Containing as Well Background Studies of Clinton Park and Russell Street Cemeteries in Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan. K.L. Krepps, 1984.

Burton, Clarence & Agnes. History of Wayne County & the City of Detroit. Vol 2. SJ Clarke Pub. Co., 1930.

Caitlin, George & Robert Ross. Landmarks of Wayne County and Detroit. Detroit, Evening News Association, 1898.

Clohset, Virginia C. The Detroit City Cemetery in Grosse Pointe. Self-made, 1976. (this detailed 64-page report can be FOIA’ed from MDOT)

Detroit Free Press archives.

Detroit News archives.

Farmer, Silas. History of Detroit and Michigan. Detroit, S. Farmer & Co, 1889.

Fogelman, Randall & Lisa Rush. Detroit’s Historic Eastern Market. Arcadia, 2013.

Hershenzon, Gail. Detroit’s Woodmere Cemetery. Arcadia, 2006.

Krepps, Dr. Karen Lee. Land Use History of Conner Creek Cemetery (20WN383) Containing as Well Background Studies of Clinton Park and Russell Street Cemeteries in Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan. K.L. Krepps, 1984. (this incredibly difficult-to-obtain report can be located at the State Historic Preservation Office).

Lazar, Pamela. Directory of Cemeteries in Wayne County. Dearborn Genealogical Society, 1982.

Maps (assorted).

Martinez, Charles. “Death Defiled: The Calamity of Russell Street Cemetery.” The Detroit Society for Genealogical Research Magazine, vol. 63-64, Spring 2000-Winter 2001. (this hard to find 5-part article can be purchased via the Detroit Society for Genealogical Research).

Palmer, Gen. Friend. Early Days in Detroit. Hunt & June, 1906.

 

Detroit Free Press newspaper clippings (and some Detroit News clippings):

*These are screenshots of newspapers Detroit Free Press and Detroit News mainly, along with a few other papers. The ones not marked are Detroit Free Press.

January 09, 1838 (entry for James Witherell from the Biographical Directory of American Congress)

May 01, 1870

At this time, the Eastern District hay and wood market was on Hastings Street.

 

November 02, 1870

 

February 02, 1871

 

July 29, 1873

“At a late hour Saturday evening, some boys discovered a man disrobing himself near the Russell Street Cemetery. When they approached, he attacked them vigorously. The next morning he was discovered in the cemetery. He jumped up from behind a tombstone and fired shots from his revolver. He was not wearing any clothes and went running down Russell Street.”

 

September 17, 1874

“A dreary spot. The Russell Street Cemetery is one of the most dreary and neglected spots in Detroit. Scraggy trees, rank weeds, broken tombstones and sunken graves meet the eye everywhere, and the fences are falling down and going to decay.”

 

January 30, 1875

An old horse of an ash collector fell while pulling his wagon. He fell in front of the cemetery and was flogged by the owner so badly that someone came up and shot the horse in the head to put it out of its misery.

 

May 29, 1875

“Condemned as a public nuisance and recommending it’s abatement.”

 

April 15, 1876 (from the Detroit Daily Advertiser)

 

May 02, 1876 (from the Detroit Daily Post)

 

May 04, 1876

“Oscar Davis tries to steal a human skull at the Russell Street Cemetery but is caught and arrested.”

 

November 23, 1876 (from the Detroit Daily Advertiser)

 

 

April 26, 1877

George Moorehouse (9) got his left eye knocked out by a spear while hunting for frogs with a group of boys inside RSC.

 

August 22, 1877

 

1878

Alderman Youngblood states that the city wants to make Russell Street Cemetery the location of Eastern Market.

 

 

October 20, 1878

Proposals for disinterring bodies from Russell Street Cemetery and re-interring them at Woodmere Cemetery are entertained by William Purcell, president of the Board of Public Works.

 

October 03, 1879

In one of the graves, 3 corpses were found, “believed they were victims of cholera and buried in haste”

 

October 29, 1879 (DFP, page 5)

special thanks to Eloise for this article

Capt. John Burtis and John Griswold, Russell Street Cemetery, Detroit (thanks to Eloise for this)

 

 

October 30, 1879

 

 

November 14, 1879

“A pile of old coffins, which were dug up last week, presents a ghastly sight in the old RSC.”

 

November 18, 1879

Germans want to hold Saengerfest (a type of choir singing festival) on the old RSC grounds.

 

November 22, 1879

 

November 12, 1880

Still digging up bodies. Body removal is funded by “collection of city taxes”.

 

October 04, 1881

Bid to disinter bodies and re-inter them is awarded to Hugh Fallon who says he will do it for 93 cents per body and 25 cents per fence.

 

October 31, 1881

“An interesting discovery was made on Saturday in the old RSC, where the work of digging up the dead is in progress. Two bodies were found to be petrified and in a natural state with the exception of the heads, which had crumbled into dust.”

 

November 03, 1881

 

January 11, 1882

 

October 26, 1882

Contract for removing 1400 bodes to the City Hospital in Grosse Pointe. Disinterred at 100 per day, being done under the direction of the Board of Public Works. Reinterred at City Hospital Grounds GP.

 

October 30, 1882

 

November 03, 1882 (Detroit News)

“Some coffins are very primitive. One was made of sidewalk planks. The remains of a very small body were found inside a soap box. The depth at which they’re buried varies greatly. Some are a foot and a half under the surface, others are 6-7 feet. Some bodies are missing (from coffins). Students having snatched them for dissecting purposes.”

 

February 14, 1883

“The remains of 1,357 bodies were removed from the Russell Street Cemetery to the City Cemetery Grounds at Grosse Pointe at an expense of $1,153.10”

 

May 30, 1883

 

September 04, 1887

August Stahlman (Grosse Pointe) farm 36 acres, 2 acres used for bodies from the Russell Street Cemetery, “several thousand skeletons removed from Russell Street Cemetery”.

 

 

June 15, 1898

“Laborers brought up a decayed coffin containing a skeleton while excavating for drainage pipes for the new Eastern Market on the old Russell Street Cemetery”.

 

June 14, 1902

Human bones are found while digging at the old Russell Street Cemetery grounds.

 

 

April 22, 1906 (Detroit News)

The city of Detroit owns 34-acre farm in Grosse Pointe. “The farm is rented by a tenant, August Schultz, who has occupied the property for 20 years. It was bought by the Detroit board of health October 18, 1872 to be used as a site for a pest house, or contagious disease hospital.”

 

 

June 30, 1910

 

 

October 06, 1950 (Detroit News)

“A page of Detroit’s past has been rudely opened by a gang of workmen who have uncovered an ancient cemetery while extending an electric cable pit along the Gunston playground between Harper and Conner avenues.”

 

May 23, 1967 (DFP page 3-A)

special thanks to Frank Castronova for sending this article over

 

 

November 19, 1978

 

 

Assorted Maps and Images

old Detroit cemeteries map (Detroit Free Press)

Map from Dr. Krepps 1984 report Land Use History of Conner Creek Cemetery (20WN383) Containing as Well Background Studies of Clinton Park and Russell Street Cemeteries in Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan. K.L. Krepps, 1984.

Map from Dr. Krepps 1984 report Land Use History of Conner Creek Cemetery (20WN383) Containing as Well Background Studies of Clinton Park and Russell Street Cemeteries in Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan. K.L. Krepps, 1984.

Map from Dr. Krepps 1984 report Land Use History of Conner Creek Cemetery (20WN383) Containing as Well Background Studies of Clinton Park and Russell Street Cemeteries in Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan. K.L. Krepps, 1984.

Map from Dr. Krepps 1984 report Land Use History of Conner Creek Cemetery (20WN383) Containing as Well Background Studies of Clinton Park and Russell Street Cemeteries in Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan. K.L. Krepps, 1984.

Photos from the 4th annual Detroit Festival of Books @ Eastern Market

Photos from the 4th annual Detroit Festival of Books @ Eastern Market

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

THANK YOU to everyone for making Detroit Festival of Books (aka: Detroit Bookfest) fun and successful.

These photos are courtesy of photographer Corrine VanOstranShe runs a company called Cori Kay Photography.

Thank you, Corinne!

 

Homepage

https://www.corikayphotography.com/

 

Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/corikayphotography/

Corinne VanOstran @ 4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Detroit Bookfest)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

 

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Cori Kay Photography)

 

 

 

 

Some random shots from the Bookfest palm-cam

 

Lauren Rautiola, a member of the Detroit Bookfest Committee at the 4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Detroit Bookfest)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Detroit Bookfest)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Detroit Bookfest)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Detroit Bookfest)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Detroit Bookfest)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Detroit Bookfest)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Detroit Bookfest)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Detroit Bookfest)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Detroit Bookfest)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Detroit Bookfest)

4th annual Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest (photo by Detroit Bookfest)

 

Virtual Detroit Bookfest (July 16-18, 2021) click here to ENTER

Virtual Detroit Bookfest (July 16-18, 2021) click here to ENTER

In addition to our in-person event on July 18, we are offering our inaugural Virtual Detroit Bookfest all weekend long!

Because of the limited # of in-person vendors we are allowed this year, we are experimenting by creating a geographically boundless Virtual Bookfest open to ANYONE ANYWHERE in the world.

This event is FREE to attend. We encourage you to visit the Virtual Bookfest and help support these amazing vendors!

 

Virtual Detroit Bookfest (July 16-18, 2021)

https://detroitbookfest.com/virtual/

 

Facebook event page

https://www.facebook.com/events/438220427342981

 

Decontaminating Chernobyl, Rebalancing Nature & Saving the Planet: A Conversation with RJ King, Andrew Niemczyk & Frank Muller about RJ’s Biography of Andrew

Decontaminating Chernobyl, Rebalancing Nature & Saving the Planet: A Conversation with RJ King, Andrew Niemczyk & Frank Muller about RJ’s Biography of Andrew

‘Ground for Freedom: Saving Chernobyl’ book by R.J. King

 

Initially, it sounded crazy. Nine out of ten on the crackpot scale.

However, you read the book, view the results, meet the man, and it still seems fantastically wild but plausible and valid. Perhaps Andrew Niemczyk is the real deal, a sort of modern-day Leonardo Da Vinci or Nikola Tesla.

A mystical visionary Polish polymath inventor in Detroit is helping humanity in ways so profound they could be called revolutionary.

His name is Andrew Niemczyk (pronounced neem-chick) and this is his story.

 

What exactly is going on here?

RJ King, Andrew Niemczyk, and Frank Muller at Exlterra in Hazel Park, Michigan (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

 

Detroit author and journalist, R.J. King, has masterfully penned a hot page turner.

Ground for Freedom: Saving Chernobyl,” his non-fiction biography of Andrew Niemczyk, reads like a futuristic espionage thriller novel, except for one important detail: everything in this book is real.

A book about the necessity of balance and sustainability, it is also punctuated by helpful and informative historical asides. This is a wholly unique story and I found it tremendously inspiring and engrossing. Meeting Andrew personally solidified this and further piqued my interest.

The basic, and by basic, I mean very basic gist of this enormous offering is that Andrew was once a prisoner in Communist Poland.

He escaped to Detroit via Rome, Italy, in August 1984 and settled in Hamtramck, Michigan, where he lives to this day.

 

Andrew Niemczyk at Exlterra in Hazel Park, Michigan (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

 

The reason this was such a profound gain for humanity, and the Detroit area, is that Andrew is not a normal person. He possesses an exceedingly rare brilliance, and once in America he was free to invent unabated, especially now that he’s retired after 24 years from the Rouge Steel Plant in Dearborn.

Currently, Andrew has created over 80 inventions.

Five of those inventions (NEPS, GEPS, NSPS, HAZL, MAZL) are commercially manufactured, and they are revolutionizing entire industries.

NEPS involves better delivery of nutrients to trees and vines by bringing nutrients located deep in the soil to the root systems, GEPS accelerates stormwater infiltration and replaces drainage, NSPS is a ‘de-reactor’ that decontaminates radioactivity, and HAZL and MAZL are highly portable drill rigs.

Furthermore, it should also be noted that once installed, these simple inventions require no further maintenance.

 

Exlterra logo

 

Andrew and his Swiss business partner, Frank Muller, run Exlterra in Hazel Park, Michigan. They also have offices in Geneva, Switzerland, and Tczew in northern Poland.

Andrew is an inventor, not a businessman, and he needs assistance in that regard, which is where Frank comes in.

In 2011, Frank and his family moved from Geneva to Grosse Pointe, Michigan, and soon after he met Andrew they became business partners and launched Exlterra. Plus, Frank’s wife has a Ph.D. in biotechnology and is a native of Warren, Michigan.

Right now, according to the reports, Andrew’s NSPS invention is successfully decontaminating Chernobyl in a rapid timeframe.

In fact, Andrew projects that Chernobyl may be completely clean of radioactivity by the end of 2025 because of his invention.

The 19-mile exclusion zone of Chernobyl, Ukraine, is one of the world’s most polluted areas. A few dozen attempts at decontaminating the site have been unsuccessful until Andrew’s NSPS system was installed in a 2.5-acre (hectare) test site near the No. 4 reactor that exploded on April 26, 1985 (due to human error and a faulty design).

 

 

(Very) Quick Biography of Andrew

Andrew Niemczyk at Exlterra in Hazel Park, Michigan (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

 

Born on Nov. 16, 1960, Andrzej ‘Andrew’ Niemczyk grew up in Kietrz (key-air-itch), in southern Poland.

From 1945-1989, Poland was a Communist country. Andrew’s unique creativity was smothered in this environment.

He spent time in 11 prisons (two were repeat visits), was a coal miner 4,000 feet underground, learned karate, military tactics, and after four escape attempts, finally succeeded in 1984.

Assisted by the Tolstoy Foundation, he worked at an auto supplier until 1990, joined Rouge Steel where he worked until 2014, and co-founded Exlterra with Muller in July 2016.

Exlterra is a 6,000-square foot industrial design and assembly facility in Hazel Park where Andrew is chairman and CTO, while Frank serves as CEO.

 

Exlterra in Hazel Park, Michigan (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

 

Andrew’s various inventions have so far proved successful at hundreds of locations across the world, working with public clients such as cities and municipalities as well as private and commercial clients.

He has a photographic memory combined with unique “out of the box” solutions to large-scale problems.

He also has visions and claims to be able to see at both the subatomic molecular level and macro universe-wide levels.

One more thing about Andrew: he designs everything in his head and then builds it from the schematics he envisions.

Throw in an impressive knowledge of global geography, an ability to chat on everything from quantum mechanics to hydraulics and fluid dynamics, and the claim of utilizing 100 percent of his brain and that’s Andrew.

 

The Conversation

RJ King, Andrew Niemczyk, and Frank Muller at Exlterra in Hazel Park, Michigan (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

 

This is a transcript of a rousing conversation I had with R.J. King, Andrew Niemczyk, and Frank Muller in the conference room at Exlterra in Hazel Park in early June 2021. Enjoy!

 

R.J. King                Andrew is unlike any person I’ve ever met or heard of. When I started listening to Andrew’s life story, I quickly realized it could be a great book. He grew up in a Polish working-class family under the Communist regime. His escape through Rome in 1984. What he was able to accomplish on the factory floor in terms of inventions and advancements, then Exlterra, everything is just mind-blowing. His perseverance, dedication, and commitment are examples of how you can succeed in life. You can’t do it alone. You have to work as a team instead of constantly competing. And open your mind to possibilities that do not initially seem realistic.

 

Andrew                I’ve been in the Detroit area for almost 40 years. I have four children. I live in Hamtramck where you have closer to a European feel, very neighborly and social. There are more than seven different nationalities living on my street alone. I don’t go to bars or restaurants too often. My wife Jadwiga (Yaad-viga) cooks our food. I typically hang out in garages, that’s where I work on stuff, that’s where I feel free. I have one garage for cars, one for inventions, and I have an extra side lot attached to my house. I do not have any set routines, just make sure I have eight hours of sleep, and try to control my diet. Mostly I drink water or herbal tea with lemon. There are too many chemicals in processed foods, and many drinks are too overly carbonated, and not good for your body. My inspirations come from real life, finding a way to solve problems.

 

Frank Muller       Andrew reduces the complex to a simple solution to the point where it’s impossible to simplify it more. That’s the key element. His unique ability enables him to deliver beautifully simple and workable solutions for the environment.

 

R.J. King                All of his main inventions are novel and unprecedented and really will help the world in terms of widespread applicability.

 

Frank                     Real sustainability is key. To achieve sustainability is the real goal. Not many products can achieve that.

 

Andrew                I want to teach people to understand how nature operates. They don’t see that nature is an entire system and connected to the universe. New thoughts can open new doors. Mathematics is good at approximations, but targeting 100 percent is a difficult to achieve goal. You have to have a positive but can’t forget about the negative, you need to blend and combine them to achieve balance.

 

Frank                     Match negative with positive to create neutral. No side effects. Can’t exist without each other. The duality of the union.

 

R.J.                         Nature always seeks balance.

 

Andrew Niemczyk and RJ King at Exlterra in Hazel Park, Michigan (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

 

Andrew                Yes, balance is key. When I was five years old, I realized I was not an average thinker. I thought how am I going to adapt to this world? To this day, I’m still learning to be normal and fit in. The languages, my relationships, the most important thing for me is to deliver the reality of the product.

 

Frank                     Nature is always hiding its secrets and always fixing its own problems by constantly rebalancing. Very deep but locked up in layers.

 

Andrew                 Nature locked me with an inability to express myself because I’m here for a mission.

 

Frank                     He struggles to accurately express himself.

 

R.J.                         Through the process of writing this book, Andrew provided me with a second education. You start to look at your place on this earth in the context of the solar system and with special insight.

 

Andrew                I can go beyond infinity, bring it to the solar system, earth, go deep, open up under what you cannot see, a different layer. I see this stuff. I am using almost 100 percent of my brain all the time. Because of this I have learned to lock myself. I can store knowledge in bits in my brain and assemble it when I am ready to use it. All the pieces, in seconds. The HAZL rig, for example, was built in my mind in six minutes. I had the entire picture of how it would function, everything, the hydraulics, everything.

 

Frank                     Whenever he invents a product, that’s when he puts everything together in his brain in seconds and minutes.

 

Andrew                Take the past, present, future, fold them together into one. Know the failure rate, the lifespan. I can see it and feel it.

 

Andrew Niemczyk at Exlterra in Hazel Park, Michigan (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

 

Frank                     What Andrew does is he tests everything in his head, so it’s already understood by him. We have faced skepticism until now we have evidence. You must accept the results. Plus, each of these products (NSPS, NEPS, GEPS) are completely different. The only common denominator is they are installed in the ground. This man needs to be helped. His knowledge is for humanity. The whole planet. Most people just see the money. If scientists don’t see a formula on paper, they’re upset. It comes from Andrew’s head, it can’t be written down on paper, this is our struggle.

 

Andrew                The bacteria, the roots, the subatomic world, how everything relates. I told Frank I had 87 inventions in my head, not gadgets, these are just four. Simplicity is important. My visions, this ability to see, I invoke only when I need to use it. I see the entire thing, then zoom in on how each part functions. Not a trance, but a deep focus when developing a product. I transfer myself to the depths to see the whole functioning, which takes a lot of energy.

 

Frank                     There’s no other person like Andrew in the world. We are all unique, yes. He just has a rare ability to understand the extremes of largeness and smallness, the macro and the micro, and put them together. One of the most gifted heart surgeons in Switzerland said of Andrew, “I think he is a mutation.” When Andrew starts talking technical stuff and breaking barriers in physics, it’s an overload of information, and a lot for the listener to process cognitively. Andrew will only open his mouth when he knows. No theories. He’s not into theories or hypotheses, only in demonstrating results, real results now. Andrew has no limitations.

 

Andrew                People want to trash what they don’t understand. My world is yes or no, with nothing in the middle. I hate the word “if.” I look at pictures, sketches, the inventions themselves, that’s how I’m inspired.

 

R.J.                         It doesn’t seem possible but everything he’s done so far has panned out. Sometimes you have to suspend disbelief and be open to understanding new concepts that might initially seem impossible or unfeasible.

 

Frank                     Andrew left school around 13 years old, and yet he can solve big problems in such a simple manner. It’s very difficult to emerge when you know something new. Entire industries will protect established knowledge and try to block new and better ways of doing things. Andrew goes beyond mathematics. It’s about understanding relationships in nature and how to improve and maximize them for the benefit of all.

 

Andrew                We have abundant resources here on earth, that’s not the issue. The issue is the food and water, how we’re managing these resources, they’re currently being mismanaged, that’s the issue. Drainage at houses is good example. Global warming, oceans rising, house rooftops wasting rainwater. Everything is interconnected. Gravity and earth’s magnetic fields play a part. Human population growth is manageable. We have more than enough water. Now, let’s start using everything better. There are nutrients underground, we need to recharge the ground. I want to re-greenify the earth. Make everything green and lush with vegetation, oxygen. Help the chain of the food. We can bring nature back. Give me the tools. Our civilization is the problem. We need to change ourselves, our habits, and recycle more energy and waste to help the planet. We need shorter, real, more practical timeframes for a solution, not thousands or even hundreds of years, we won’t last that long at our current rate. It’s about balancing the system, everything combined correctly.

 

Frank                     Currently, Exlterra has no plans for an IPO or going public. What we have is the IP (intellectual property), the proof of concept across the world and what we do is forge relationships with established companies that we partner with to market our various technologies.

 

Andrew                I have no limit. Infinity on both sides. There’s always positive and negative, you need both. Quantum physics is good example, just because it’s not visible to the average person’s naked eye, doesn’t mean it’s not there. Limitless energy exists all around us and within us and we just need to tap into it. There is life in outer space. We are not alone. I have designed a new spaceship (in my head) that uses a totally different type of energy to go much faster than current ships, we just need money to build it. Mathematics is too restrictive, too limited. Humans invented mathematics, it’s a human invention and too linear. I need support, not questions. You’ll see results. Questions are too cumbersome, counterproductive, slow everything down. Just give me a chance to show results, that’s all I ask.

 

Buy RJ’s book ‘Grounds for Freedom: Saving Chernobyl’

https://www.amazon.com/Grounds-Freedom-Chernobyl-RJ-King/dp/B0933NTYDT

 

Exlterra homepage

https://www.exlterra.com/

 

Contact

info@exlterra.com

Andrew Niemczyk at Exlterra in Hazel Park, Michigan (photo by: Ryan M. Place)