Exclusive: Touring the Detroit Institute of Art’s Research Library & Archives with Director MARIA KETCHAM!

Exclusive: Touring the Detroit Institute of Art’s Research Library & Archives with Director MARIA KETCHAM!

Detroit Institute of Arts (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) is a 134-year old Detroit institution.

Founded in 1885, the DIA relocated to its present location in 1927.

Over 65,000 works of art, subdivided into 100 galleries, are spread throughout the 3-story, 658,000-square foot building, which, being made of white Montclair Danby marble streaked with gray veins from Vermont, exudes a very regal vibe.

Attached to the rear of the DIA is a beautiful 1,100-seat theater called the Detroit Film Theatre (DFT).

I’ve watched dozens of great films here over the years: Breathless, The Killing, Sweet Sweetback, Dolemite, Gimme Danger, etc.

Also behind the DIA, is the best place to park your car, the John R parking lot (5290 John R Street) where you can park all day for only $7.00 per car.

DIA Rodin (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

Walking around to the front, you’re greeted by a version of Rodin’s The Thinker, a 12,000-lb. bronze sculpture of a contemplating man lost in rapturous thought, which beautifully sets the tone for your DIA visit.

Once inside, you check in and pay the fee or, thanks to the tri-county millage (property tax), if you live in Wayne, Oakland or Macomb Counties, you can enter for free any time you want.

As you pour yourself into the uniquely shaped cup of the DIA with its vaulted ceilings and mesmerizing sweeps of grandeur, you are immediately absorbed into a quasi-alternate dimension of one of the greatest art museums in the United States.

DIA Detroit (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

Being at the DIA is very inspiring. You’re surrounded by gorgeous art and this immersion does something positive to your mood, attitude and thoughts.

Waltzing through grand hallways and great rooms, you encounter Egyptian mummies, Hindu sculptures, ancient Sumerian statues made of diorite, William Randolph Hearst’s collection of suits of armor, Diego Rivera’s entire room of Detroit Industry murals, and thousands upon thousands of paintings.

The paintings include Van Gogh’s 1887 Self-Portrait, the first Van Gogh painting ever purchased by an American museum, which the DIA smartly acquired at auction in 1922.

Van Gogh-Self Portrait (1887) DIA

 

DIA Research Library & Archives: 191,000 Volumes on Tap

Maria Ketcham @ DIA Research Library & Archives (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

In the North Wing, on the 3rd floor, the Kirby Street side, lays one of the hidden gems of the museum, the DIA Research Library & Archives.

I myself was unaware of the existence of this incredible resource until a recent BCD tour, thanks to Frank Castronova, DIA functionary and president of The Book Club of Detroit.

The library is open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. by appointment-only.

DIA Research Library & Archives (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

It consists of the lovely Reading Room (open to the public) with its row of skylights and book elevator (aka: 1970’s-era dumbwaiter) & the Mezzanine Stacks (closed to the public), a secret sub-level between floors 2 and 3 where thousands of books are held. People can discover and request materials from the stacks via the online catalog.

I’m here meeting with Maria Ketcham.

She is the Research Library, Archives & Collection Information Director and has graciously agreed to subject herself to a kaleidoscope of questions and give yet another tour.

DIA Research Library & Archives (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

Maria explains:

“Here at the DIA Research Library & Archives, we have 191,000 volumes, 100 journal subscriptions, thousands of bound periodicals and auction catalogs, and 7,000 cubic feet of archival materials.”

“In comparison to other libraries worldwide, about 30% of our collection is considered rare or unique to our institution.”

“Some of our archival holdings include thousands of photographs, blueprints, slides, color transparencies, oral histories, recorded lectures dating back to the 1970s, the business papers of former directors & curators, and an amazing collection of reel to reel recordings of our LINES poetry series (1980-1991) and our Jazz at the Institute series (1977-1987).”

“Our most popular requests are for information on the Diego Rivera Detroit Industry murals, the For Modern Living (1949) Exhibition, and Dragged Mass (1971) Michael Heizer.”

“We also have thousands of Artist Files, which are manila file folders containing news articles, ephemera, small exhibition catalogs, anything less than 30 pages long, about a particular artist and are especially useful for research on local artists. These are in our online catalogue as well as in WorldCat, the world’s largest online network of libraries.”

DIA Research Library & Archives (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

The Archives serves the museum as a repository for anything DIA-related that has enduring historic value. We’ve begun digitizing some of our archival materials and early DIA Bulletins, exhibition catalogues and finding aids, which can also be found in the DIA Research Library online catalog.”

Some university professors bring their classes here on tours and we also represent at conferences and events.”

“On average, we get about 1,200-1,500 requests per year, mostly via phone or email from all over the world. Many researchers find us via WorldCat. And since this is a noncirculating reference collection, depending on the size of their request, we can often help researchers remotely, such as emailing them scans of relevant materials for their reference.”

“We get visitors from all over the world. We even hosted Japanese royalty when Princess Akiko from Japan visited last summer.  We were very honored that she chose to spend some of her time at the DIA with us in the library.”

Our library is in the top 10 largest museum libraries in the USA. The largest is the Getty Research Institute, which is the Getty Museum library. They have over 1 million books and 100 librarians. Some other large ones are The Met, Philadelphia, and Nelson Atkins.”

 

Quick Biography

Maria Ketcham @ DIA Research Library & Archives (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

“I’m a native Detroiter. I grew up on the Northwest side near Joy and Southfield. A product of the Detroit Public School system, I attended Renaissance High School, then graduated from Wayne State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography and later a Masters in Library and Information Science with a concentration in Archives.”

“Before coming to the DIA, I was an Archivist for Ford Motor Company. I used to live in the Alden Park Towers on the riverfront for several years. The “new Detroit” has changed drastically since I’ve lived here. It’s exhilarating.”

DIA Detroit

I have a library family. My husband is a librarian at a local public library. My two sisters are also librarians. One is a children’s librarian in California. The other is a senior medical informationist at a university medical school.”

I started working at the DIA in 2001 as the reference librarian. In 2003, I was laid off. Came back in 2005 and I’ve been here ever since.”

“I’m the only full-time employee overseeing the Research Library & Archives. James Hanks is our part-time archivist. We have 2-3 interns at a time, usually grad students in the process of earning their Masters of Information Science.”

The DIA Library is a True Community Resource

DIA Research Library & Archives (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

Being a Librarian and Archivist is all about connecting people with information and being able to manage that information in a way to make it as accessible as possible. We acquire materials, provide access to the public, create indexes and inventories and more. Our mission is preservation for future exploration.”

The DIA has 7 curatorial departments. We support museum staff including curators, conservators, and educators, helping them obtain the research materials they need for their respective research projects.”

“We interface with a lot of people. We get information requests from institutions, artists foundations, big auction houses (Christies and Sotheby’s) about things like exhibition installation photos, fact-checking, etc. We assist where we can with research on artists, exhibition history, and provenance, which is tracing the ownership history of artwork.”

“We frequently get questions from people who have a piece of art they’ve inherited. We might be able to help them with biographical information on the artist and sometimes exhibition history, but we are unable to do valuations. The Appraisers Association of America can direct you to a qualified appraiser near you. There’s also DuMouchelles auction house in Downtown Detroit. These are just a couple of suggestions from the list on our FAQ page

Maria Ketcham @ DIA Research Library & Archives (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

“Not many people know this but the DIA has about 700 puppets, it’s one of the largest puppet collections in the United States and one of our special collections here at the library is the papers and books of legendary local puppeteer, Paul McPharlin.”

“We also have a collection of Albert Kahn’s personal books. Lawrence Tech has the larger part, which is housed in its own dedicated room at their library.”

“In terms of new acquisitions, we acquire roughly 700-1,000 books per year.”

“We purchase books from a restricted fund. On average, I purchase 10-15% of the books, which are usually recommendations from the curators. The others are donated to us by institutions, private owners, galleries, and other museums.”

“Our older books are still catalogued in Dewey. Everything else is Library of Congress style classification. Our interns help update access to these older books in our collection by conversion cataloging to LoC.”

Maria Ketcham @ DIA Research Library & Archives (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

“As an example of our books, we have Verdute di Roma (Views of Rome) from the Venetian engraver, Piranesi.”

“Published in 1835, this is a beautiful 29-volume set of over-sized folios, featuring etchings produced from his original plates, including his Imaginary Prisons series (La Carceri d’Invenzione). This was gifted to the DIA by the estate of former Michigan senator James McMillan in 1905.”

“And yes, in addition to digital offerings, we also still have the old index card catalogs.”

Piranesi’s Views of Rome @ DIA Research Library & Archives (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

Piranesi’s Views of Rome @ DIA Research Library & Archives (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

Maria’s Final Thoughts for Now

Maria Ketcham @ DIA Research Library & Archives (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

“I really enjoy working with all the different people, the curators, researchers, general public, giving tours, etc. As much as I think I know as a librarian & archivist, I find there’s always more to learn.”

“The challenges are coming up with creative ways to use what resources we have. There’s also so many hidden parts of the collection. I’d like to make them more well-known and help people discover something new, something they didn’t even know they might be interested in.”

“For about 90 years, the DIA used to have an annual Michigan Artists Exhibition. It stopped in the early 90’s due to financial difficulties. I wish the DIA would bring it back.”

“At some point, we might start a Friends Group for the DIA Research Library & Archives. I would like that very much.”

“This work keeps me busy. I still have about 200 boxes of books to sort through and catalog. This work is thoroughly enjoyable, I love it. Come visit us sometime and explore the collection.”

Detroit Museum of Art, aka: the original DIA Building (image courtesy of DIA Research Library and Archives)

Donate your books

 

The DIA selectively accepts donations of art and art history books & associated materials.

Contact

libraryadmin@dia.org

 

DIA Research Library & Archives

3rd floor

Monday-Friday (9 a.m.-5 p.m.)

Open by appointment-only

(313) 833-3460

libraryadmin@dia.org

 

Diego Rivera’s Detroit Industry Murals @ DIA (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

 

Homepage

https://www.dia.org/art/research-library

 

WorldCat

https://www.worldcat.org/libraries/46836

 

ArchiveGrid

https://researchworks.oclc.org/archivegrid/?q=contributor:7141&sort=title_sort+asc&limit=100

 

Map of the DIA

https://www.dia.org/sites/default/files/map-dia.pdf

 

Become a member of DIA

https://www.dia.org/membership

 

When visiting the DIA, what eateries are within walking distance?

 

Kresge Court (inside the DIA)

Located on Level 1, this beautiful eatery is designed like an open-air Italian medieval palace courtyard. They have coffee, wine, beer, liquor, sandwiches, salads, etc.

Try the Woodward Avenue Sandwich.

Hours: Tues-Thurs 9am-3:30pm, Fri 9am-9:30pm, Sat-Sun 10am-4:30pm

 

Kresge Court inside the DIA (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

Kresge Court inside the DIA (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

Kresge Court inside the DIA (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

Outside of the DIA are:

 

Wasabi (15 E. Kirby, ste E) This Japanese-Korean spot is one of Maria’s personal favorites. Try the sushi and bibimbab.

Chartreuse (15 E. Kirby, ste D) Try the Cap steak and Madagascar vanilla pudding. Make sure you check the hours before coming.

Shields Pizza (5057 Woodward Ave) Try any of the pizzas and the dry rub wings.

Tony V’s Tavern (5756 Cass Ave) Try the pesto artichoke pizza and Tony V’s club sandwich.

Socratea (71 Garfield St, ste 50) Try the Moroccan mint tea.

Common Pub (5440 Cass Ave) Try the duck fat fries and the fried chicken.

Seva (66 E. Forest Ave) try the yam fries and the sweet potato quesadilla.

 

Bruegel the Elder-The Wedding Dance (1566) DIA Detroit

Copley-Watson and the Shark (1782) DIA Detroit

DIA Research Library & Archives (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

DIA Research Library & Archives (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

DIA Research Library & Archives (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

DIA Research Library & Archives (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

DIA Research Library & Archives (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

Piranesi’s Views of Rome @ DIA Research Library & Archives (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

Piranesi’s Views of Rome @ DIA Research Library & Archives (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

view from 3rd floor, DIA Research Library & Archives (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

Exclusive Interview:  Author, Lawyer & Former Detroit Mayor DENNIS ARCHER on his memoir ‘Let the Future Begin’!

Exclusive Interview: Author, Lawyer & Former Detroit Mayor DENNIS ARCHER on his memoir ‘Let the Future Begin’!

Photo Courtesy of Detroit Archives

 

“Ding!” the elevator door opens. I step inside. Whoosh! The marble-paneled elevator cruises fast up to the 40th floor of Ally Detroit Center, tallest office building in the State of Michigan and the 2nd tallest building in Detroit.

I spill out onto the 40th floor, immediately enraptured by the fantastic vantage of Detroit’s cityscape, including spectacular views of the Guardian Building, Detroit’s main US Post Office and the Ambassador Bridge.

 

Photo by Ryan M. Place

 

619 feet tall. 43 floors. I’m almost at the very top of the building, here inside the world headquarters of the Dickinson Wright law firm where Dennis Archer is Chairman Emeritus.

Dickinson Wright has 450 lawyers in over 20 offices in the United States, helping people in 40 different areas of law.

I’m here discussing Mr. Archer’s new memoir, Let The Future Begin’.

 

 

The title is based on the slogan his mayoral campaign manager, David Axelrod, created for him. Axelrod later became President Obama’s chief strategist, senior advisor and CNN commentator.

Mr. Archer’s memoir is a fascinating, thorough and riveting account of his incredible life and career.

Sitting here now with me, Dennis is soft spoken, careful, measured, brilliant, a natural tactician and we have an absorbing 2.5-hour long conversation, going well beyond the initial 45 minutes we originally intended.

 

Photo by Ryan M. Place

 

Dennis is a patient listener and thoughtful conversationist. Listening to people, rather than telling them what they want, has always been his leadership style.

Archer was a popular Mayor because he was perceived by most people, regardless of political affiliation, as someone who truly cares about the city of Detroit and its residents. Speaking with him, you can tell his concern is sincere and genuine and not some contrived act for the cameras.

Widely admired for his strong moral philosophy, Archer has spent his life relentlessly focused on the value of education and encouraging people to learn as much and as often as they can to help improve their lives and communities.

 

 

Having attended Wayne State University, Western Michigan University and Detroit College of Law, Dennis Archer went on to become:

A husband, father, teacher, Michigan Supreme Court Justice, partner at Dickinson Wright law firm, two-term Mayor of the City of Detroit, the first African American president of the Michigan Bar Association and of the 400,000-member American Bar Association, president of the National League of Cities and creator of the Dennis W. Archer Foundation, where he’s given out $1.5 million dollars in scholarships to students.

Dennis Archer is a hard-working, dedicated, no-nonsense, man of action and this is his tale.

 

Quick Biography

Photo by Ryan M. Place

 

Born New Year’s Day 1942 at Rogers Hospital in Detroit, Dennis Archer lived here until 1947, when he moved to Cassopolis, a rural village in Southwest Michigan.

Dennis grew up poor in a house with an outhouse and he bathed in a big metal tub every Saturday night.

 

Cassopolis Court House

 

His father’s family was from North Carolina and Logan County, Ohio and he had one arm, a 3rd grade education and was an extremely hard worker. His mother’s family was from Virginia and both were very influential in Dennis’ life.

Cassopolis was small town USA. Cat litter was invented here in 1947 by resident Ed Lowe. Dennis grew up here listening to doo wop, caddying & golfing and working at the local pickle factory. In 1959, he moved back to Detroit after high school graduation and enrolled at Wayne State University.

 

MLK in Detroit c. 1963 (photo courtesy of Detroit Archives)

 

He was a drummer in the school marching band when they played for President JFK in Washington, D.C. in 1961. Two years later, Dennis marched with 125,000 people led by Martin Luther King Jr. down Woodward Avenue in Downtown Detroit when he gave his first ‘I Have a Dream’ speech in 1963.

Dennis eventually transferred from Wayne State to Western Michigan University to become a teacher. He graduated and returned to Detroit where he met fellow teacher and future wife Trudy DunCombe, an EMU grad, in 1965.

After that, he enrolled in the Detroit College of Law, got married and became involved in the fields of law and politics in Detroit.

 

Kresge’s Department Store (photo courtesy of Detroit Archives)

 

“What do I like most about Detroit? Everything. I was born here. I remember my first five years on earth here. My dad sent my mother, who was pregnant with me, from Cassopolis to Detroit to be born in a hospital. Cassopolis had no hospital and our house didn’t have a telephone.”

“The first place I lived in Detroit was my Aunt Hattie’s on McDougall Street, a few blocks down from Joe Louis’ mother’s house, they lived at 2100 McDougall. Then we moved to my Grandma’s on Rivard and Lafayette in the Black Bottom neighborhood. We’d walk downtown to Kresge’s Department Store frequently. Detroit has always been a fascinating and wonderful place to me.”

 

Writing His Memoir

Photo by Ryan M. Place

 

“I did not keep diary or journal but my wife kept news articles. I wrote the book after having been encouraged by a number of  people who finally convinced me that it might be very helpful and enlightening to my sons and grandsons and the general public to have a record of my experiences.”

“My grandsons were 11 and 8 years old when I started writing the book in August 2015. Took me a while to figure out how best to write a book without a lot of emphasis on “I”. If you pass by a fencepost and happen to see a turtle sitting on top, you know it didn’t get there by itself.”

 

Eliabeth Ann Atkins (photo courtesy of Atkins Greenspan)

 

“By working with a co-author, Elizabeth Ann Atkins, she could interview the people who were a part of Detroit and my life and they could share their true feelings with her. The book was finally published in December 2017.”

 

People of Color

Dennis Archer playing golf (photo courtesy of Doug Ashley)

 

“People of color used to not be able to join the Detroit Golf Club until Coleman Young helped change that. Cardinal Szoka nominated Mayor Young and he became a Social Member in 1986, which paved the way for other people of color to join like Walt Watkins, Walt Douglas, S. Martin Taylor and myself, etc.”

 

The Detroit Riots

Detroit Riots 1967 (photo courtesy of Detroit Archives)

 

“The Rebellion of 1967 increased my motivation to be a lawyer. In Spring 1966, I started at Detroit College of Law. I taught school during the day and attended law school at night and graduated January 1970.”

“In 1967, I was a student law clerk at the firm of Damon J. Keith. I got married on June 17, 1967. My father-in-law and I liked to play golf, so I picked him up the morning of July 23rd . We were coming home, and we could see smoke in the air, hear sirens. A lot of sirens, more than usual. Distant yet deafening. I dropped him off and drove home to our apartment.  That’s when Trudy told me how things had started.”

Gov. Romney and Mayor Cavanagh asked for troops to come in. We lost 47 lives and over 7,000 people were arrested and were housed on Belle Isle.”

“Detroit Recorder’s Court judges put a call out for all lawyers to come out and help the people held in custody by explaining to them the legal process and what they were charged with. I watched Judge Keith’s firm participate in providing people legal assistance and I saw how important lawyers were in the process of protecting people’s rights and the whole experience really increased my motivation to be a lawyer.”

 

Being Mayor of Detroit

Mayor Dennis Archer (photo courtesy of Detroit)

 

On January 1st, 1994, Dennis Archer became the 67th Mayor of Detroit, which at the time was America’s 8th largest city. He served two terms and ended his service on December 31st, 2001.

 

Dennis inherited a monumental task of revitalizing the city. He experienced:

photo by Ryan M. Place

 

General Motors purchasing the Renaissance Center which changed the city in a very positive way.

The Nancy Kerrigan knee bashing at Joe Louis Arena.

The creation of 3 casino’s in Detroit: MGM, Motor City and Greektown.

Allowing Detroit Electronic Music Festival (aka: DEMF, Techfest) to start in Hart Plaza. This festival continues today and is known as Movement.

The creation and flourishing of Campus Martius.

Encouraging Peter Karmanos to move his Compuware Corporation from Farmington Hills to downtown Detroit.

And more.

 

Photo by Ryan M. Place

 

“Well, my motivation to run for Mayor was built up over several years and came from a broad spectrum of people who encouraged me to seriously consider running for Mayor.”

“For the longest time, I thought ‘Me run for Mayor? I’m just happy to be on the Supreme Court!’”

“I saw the businesses leaving the city, crime rate going up, city having fiscal problems, buses not running on time. People were taking 2-3 buses just to get to their jobs, which were outside the city. We’re the largest metropolitan area in the USA that did not have a rapid transit system.”

 

Loveland’s Detroit Map (image courtesy of Detroit Archives)

 

“Detroit in the 1990 U.S. Census was said to have 1,027,000 people and led the nation with the highest percentage of people living below the poverty line, 32.2%.”

“It was ironic that in the Motor City, 35% of our residents could not afford to own a car.”

“At its peak, 1953-54, Detroit had almost two million residents.”

“When you fast-forward to the early 1990’s and subtract over 800,000 people who were no longer living here, the same housing stock was not needed and, thus, we had many vacant homes and empty blocks.”

 

Photo courtesy of Detroit Archives

 

“Some blocks only had 1-2 houses on them and there was a lot of illegal dumping of trash and waste. Our residents didn’t have jobs. Businesses had left the city. We were having challenges with public schools. There’s was not a lot of optimism or hope here. But there was a deep yearning for change.”

“I was fortunate to be able to attract over 6,000 campaign volunteers who believed in our thoughts for a greater Detroit. I had asked the people directly what were their real problems and what did they want for their city, their children and what would make them excited? Together, we devised a plan of action.”

 

Inheriting a Deficit

Photo courtesy of Detroit Bail Bonds

 

“We had a big surprise after the election and I found out from the head of my financial transition team, Jay Alix, that the city of Detroit was anticipating an $88.5 million-dollar deficit.”

“We went to New York and met with the powerful ratings agencies Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s. They knew every detail about the city of Detroit, it was incredible. We were at junk bond status. The city had to actually buy insurance in order to sell our bonds.”

We brought us back up to investment-grade status.”

 

Kevin Orr (Photo courtesy of Detroit Archives)

 

“When my successor Kwame Kilpatrick stepped down, Mayor Bing inherited a $315 million-dollar deficit. Governor Snyder tried working with the city of Detroit to avoid appointing an emergency manager, however, when the Consent Agreement failed, he had to appoint Kevyn Orr.”

“Kevyn ended up doing a masterful job and helped guide Detroit through the largest municipal bankruptcy in USA history. $18 billion dollars in debt was successfully restructured and a revitalization plan was implemented.”

“Back in the 1960’s, Mayor Cavanagh had predicted unless he had help, Detroit faced bankruptcy. One of the main reasons was population decline. Revenues in the form of income tax & real estate tax were not coming in to help fund the running of the city.”

 

Being a Big City Mayor is Tough

Photo by Ryan M. Place

 

“We had some very outstanding plans for the city but when you find out you’re facing a deficit and there’s no money to implement those plans, that money goes to balancing the budget.”

We had a modest surplus, a rainy-day fund and every single year I was in office, the budget was balanced and at one point the two pension funds were overfunded. The hardest part was not being able to live up to the citizens high expectations for the city of Detroit.”

 

Photo by Ryan M. Place

 

“By earning an Empowerment Zone designation, President Clinton’s urban renewal program gave us a hand up. Governor Engler’s Renaissance Zones helped us bring in new business. I convinced Vice President Al Gore to have an EZ (Empowerment Zone) meeting in Detroit. We had the most successful EZ out of all the EZ’s in the USA. The number of investments were staggering.”

While I was in office, we were able to attract $20.2 billion dollars in new investments to the city.”

Brenda Schneider documented the investments and number of projects that came in every year. Her findings are in the Appendix of my book.”

 

Dennis Helps Attract Investments to Detroit

Greektown Casino (Photo courtesy of Detroit Archives)

 

“In 1994, we had a ballot initiative for a riverboat casino at Atwater and putting an Indian-owned casino in Greektown.”

“The casino ballot passed for Greektown and Gov. Engler appointed a commission to study casino gaming. We convinced them we could have up to 4-5 casinos in the city of Detroit. We had several proposals.”

 

Trump Casino in Detroit rendering (Photo courtesy of Detroit Archives)

 

“Even Donald Trump wanted to build a Detroit-themed Trump Casino here. Another casino mogul, Don Barden, later tried getting pop singer Michael Jackson to be a casino partner with him here. Barden eventually went to Ohio to support a statewide ballot. The issue lost there and we won a statewide privilege of having up to 3 privately owned casinos in Detroit.”

MGM and Motor City opened in 1999, then Greektown in 2000. Without revenue from those casinos, the city of Detroit would’ve been bankrupt a long time ago.”

 

Ilitch’s, Gov. Engler, Mayor Archer (Photo courtesy of Detroit Archives)

 

Comerica Park, the new Tigers stadium, was on its way. Mike Ilitch had bought the Detroit Tigers from Domino’s Pizza founder Tom Monaghan.  Like Mayor Coleman Young, we wanted to help Ilitch keep the Tigers here in the city.  I investigated the feasibility of upgrading the stadium.  The upgrade could not be done to accomplish their goals and the fans’ needs. We were able to get funding from the state and city to help build a new stadium.”

“Then the Lions came to Detroit from Pontiac. Bill Ford Jr. of Ford Motor Company couldn’t work out a new deal with the city of Pontiac, so we worked with him to bring the Detroit Lions football stadium downtown. We were blessed to have the Ilitch and Ford Families to work together.”

 

Devil’s Night

Devil’s Night Detroit (Photo courtesy of Detroit Archives)

 

Devil’s Night in Detroit was the name for the night before Halloween. It was notorious because of the arson. In 1983, there were 650 fires on Devil’s Night.

In 1984, there were over 800 fires. After I became Mayor, I said this has to stop, especially since we had a problem in 1994.”

We created Angel’s Night after the idea was presented to us by John George. It took a few years, but it has been deemed a complete success. ”

 

Detroit Fire Department t-shirt (Photo courtesy of Detroit Fire Dept.)

 

Urban Renewal of the Sprawling Motor City

Photo courtesy of Detroit Archives

 

“New housing was being built in the city. Bob Larson (Vice Chairman of Taubman Co.) led a group that developed a zone concept to deal with vacant land in Detroit.”

“They divided the city into 10 zones. We invited representatives from each zone to Cobo Hall and we engaged them to elect people from each zone to talk to citizens in their zone to find out what they wanted done to help improve their lives.”

“Like I said in the book, when I was Mayor, the pace was frenetic, crisis management was constant, but the crime rate declined every single year I was in office.”

“We also helped beautify the parks. At the time, many were overgrown, dangerous, had no basketball nets. Bill Davidson, owner of the Detroit Pistons and his colleagues installed basketball courts and baseball diamonds. Then we helped to generate 30 more parks being cleaned and fully upgraded. Later they set up a $1 million-dollar endowment to help keep up the parks. The deal was that the City of Detroit Parks and Rec Department would keep it mowed and maintained.”

“Community organizers were painting houses, fixing porches, etc. Habitat led to a major effort within the city. ”

 

Photo courtesy of Detroit Archives

 

Edsel Ford II said yes to being our Champion to celebrate the 300th Anniversary of Detroit on July 24th, 2001. He raised millions of dollars for Detroit.  He also started the RiverWalk from Cobo to Ford Auditorium. We had tall ships, a 100-person choir singing. Part of the funds Edsel raised helped to build Campus Martius.”

Roger Penske got the Grand Prix to come back to Detroit, spent a lot of his own money to do so.”

“I remember I was looking at Belle Isle with the Parks & Rec Department, thinking what would it take to redo Belle Isle? Our bond rating had gone up and we could borrow up to $80 million to redevelop Belle Isle. I said, we could charge per car and that money would go toward the maintenance of the park and we could pay off the bond in 14 years.”

Had we done that, it would’ve already been paid off by now. But, as a result of Detroit’s bankruptcy, the state of Michigan has Belle Isle for 30 years and are upgrading the island.”

 

Advice from President Clinton

 

“A few weeks after I got elected in 1994, I spent the night at the White House in the Lincoln Bedroom. President Clinton lost his voice after the State of Union address that evening, but we still talked while watching the Arkansas basketball game.”

“At the time, I was doing 3-4 speeches per day, trying to promote the city of Detroit. I asked him ‘how do you do this all the time?’ He said, ‘never make an important decision when you’re tired.’”

 

Deciding Not to Run for Mayor Again

Photo courtesy of Detroit Archives

 

“I decided not to run again because I was physically tired. I was working 16-18 hour days 7 days per week. Religious entities have church on Sunday, so I attended multiple functions every single Sunday. I enjoyed being mayor but also felt a new person with new and different ideas could take us to the next level and would be more helpful.”

“A few years later, I became President of the American Bar Association and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Detroit’s Regional Chamber.”

 

What Makes a Great Mayor

Photo by Ryan M. Place

 

Caring more about the people they’re serving than about themselves makes a great mayor.”

“Someone who is not afraid to stand up and fight for what’s right for the citizens of the city, help those less fortunate, improve opportunities for everyone, improve the police and fire department, listen to people and help solve their problems, etc, there’s a lot of components. Treat everyone fairly and with respect.”

 

The Law firm of Dickinson Wright

Chairman Emeritus is a title of appreciation for my accomplishments on behalf of the Dickinson Wright firm while I was chairman.”

“When I left the Michigan Supreme Court in December 1990 and joined Dickinson Wright as equity partner in January 1991, I was trying cases, having meetings, and searching for solutions to the problems of the city of Detroit.”

“I was delighted that I could also help open doors for minority businesses and it allowed them to show that people of color can be successful.”

 

Some of Dennis’ Favorite Detroit Spots

Central Kitchen + Bar (photo courtesy of CKB)

 

Central Kitchen + Bar (“my son’s and his investors’ restaurant”)

London Chop House

The Caucus Club

Joe Muer’s Seafood

The Rattlesnake Club

Sinbad’s

Bakers Keyboard Lounge

Jimmy D’s Celebrity House (used to be on Livernois, it’s gone now)

Lafayette-Orleans Bar (also gone now)

 

Favorite Authors & Books

 

“I like John Grisham books. ‘Bobby Kennedy’ by Chris Matthews. Authors Charles Ogletree, Jesse Jackson, Robert Harris, and other Civil Rights leaders. ‘Dr. Martin Luther King’ by Taylor Branch.”

“Usually, I have to do a lot of required reading as a lawyer, so my reading-for-pleasure time is very limited.”

 

Eastern Market: A Detroit Gem

Photo courtesy of Detroit Archives

 

Eastern Market is an outstanding resource for the city. Go by and visit Father Norman Thomas at Sacred Heart Catholic Church. One of the things on my agenda was to try and have Eastern Market open seven days per week, not just Saturday.”

“I asked Fr. Thomas to chair the initiative and he became head of the Eastern Market Task Force to help make Eastern Market a more attractive destination. My family and I still go down to Eastern Market frequently. We buy real Christmas trees there and buy BBQ at Bert’s and we’ll be at Detroit Bookfest.”

 

The Legacy of Dennis Archer

Photo by Ryan M. Place

 

What do I want to be remembered for the most? I’ll leave that to historians.

Just remember, when you put people first, good things will happen. And yes, the small things in life do make a difference.”

 

Let the Future Begin

https://www.amazon.com/Let-Future-Begin-Dennis-Archer/dp/1945875127 

 

Dennis Archer profile 

https://www.dickinson-wright.com/our-people/dennisw_archer?tab=0

 

Atkins & Greenspan

https://www.atkinsgreenspan.com/blog/2017/12/11/former-detroit-mayor-dennis-w-archer-to-release-memoir?rq=archer

 

American Bar Association

https://www.americanbar.org/diversity-portal/diversity-inclusion-360-commission/commissioners/dennis-w–archer.html

 

Photo courtesy of Detroit Archives

Win a FREE Copy of ‘Brewed in Michigan: The New Golden Age of Brewing in the Great Beer State’!

Win a FREE Copy of ‘Brewed in Michigan: The New Golden Age of Brewing in the Great Beer State’!

Unfortunately there is no prize draw with this ID.

 

*Special thanks to Jamie Jones & the crew at WSU Press for this*

 

 

*3 winners will be selected at random. Enter now for your chance to win!*

The raffle will run from Monday, May 14th to Sunday, May 20th.

 

 

 

Michigan is one of the USA’s great craft beer states.

The Michigan beer industry is enormous, internationally well-known, growing rapidly and generates billions of dollars and creates thousands of jobs annually.

According to the Michigan Brewers Guild, the great State of Michigan has over 260 craft breweries!

Michigan’s Great Lakes water helps make great beer. The State of Michigan is also ranked # 2 nationally in hops production, just behind Oregon.

Brewing started in Michigan around 1829 and started in Detroit in 1831 with the Farmer’s Brewery of Owen & Scott.

About 160 years later, in 1989, Ben Edwards inadvertently kicked off the craft beer revolution in Michigan when he wanted to make his own beer at Detroit’s Traffic Jam & Snug which shortly thereafter became Michigan’s first brewpub.

Bill Rapai (Photo by Jodi Westrick, Michigan Radio)

Local author William “Bill” Rapai, a Grosse Pointe resident and University of Michigan grad, decided to compile an overview of the Michigan craft beer industry by visiting over 100 of Michigan’s craft breweries.

Bill was an award winning reporter & editor for the Detroit Free Press, Boston Globe, Grand Forks Herald, and his journalism talents are evident throughout the book.

Brewed in Michigan: The New Golden Age of Brewing in the Great Beer State‘ was published by Detroit’s own Wayne State University Press and named a Michigan Notable Book in 2018 by the Library of Michigan.

You can also buy the book from WSU Press here:

http://www.wsupress.wayne.edu/books/detail/brewed-michigan

Founded in 1941, Wayne State University Press publishes a wide variety of great books. They also host an excellent book sale every Noel Night at their warehouse in Detroit.

Bill’s book was published by WSU Press imprint Painted Turtle, which “publishes books on regional topics of cultural and historical interest.”

We are also proud to report that the Detroit Festival of Books will feature two beer vendors this year: East Dearborn’s Downey Brewing Company and Detroit’s Eastern Market Brewing Company! Come check it out!

 

 

WSU Press Homepage

http://www.wsupress.wayne.edu/

 

WSU Press Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/wsupress/

 

WSU Press Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/wsupress/

 

WSU Press Twitter

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

 

You can also buy the book from WSU Press here:

http://www.wsupress.wayne.edu/books/detail/brewed-michigan

 

Michigan Brewers Guild

http://www.mibeer.com/

 

Know Beer (Annette May’s Michigan beer education courses) 

http://knowbeer.org

 

Eastern Michigan University’s Fermentation Science Degree

https://www.emich.edu/chemistry/fermsci/

 

Exclusive Interview: FRANCIS GRUNOW, co-creator of the annual Marche du Nain Rouge, Detroit’s Mardi Gras Parade!

Exclusive Interview: FRANCIS GRUNOW, co-creator of the annual Marche du Nain Rouge, Detroit’s Mardi Gras Parade!

*The Nain! (photo by: Kate Sassak)

Detroit legend has it that a taunting, menacing red dwarf with glowing, piercing crimson eyes, sinisterly named The Nain Rouge, terrorizes the City of Detroit for fun.

This devious trickster is the ingenious creator of 10,000 torments for Detroiters. And every year when he manifests for a confrontation, it is our duty as Detroiters to banish him back to the shadows.

The Nain Rouge lives in the shadows. He also lurks in the sewers, inside the cavernous underground salt mines in Southwest Detroit, in the blast furnace pits on Zug Island, inside the rubble mounds of old buildings, curled up inside rusted out car trunks at junkyards, atop piles of old mildewed carpets in shipping containers, coiled inside unoccupied coffins in abandoned funeral homes, wedged in secret boroughs along the Detroit Riverfront, inside the backyard doghouse at the Manoogian Mansion, etc.

Marche du Nain Rouge! (photo by: Kate Sassak)

The Nain is a paradox. He is everywhere and nowhere.

You may have seen him before somewhere, in quick glimpses, out of the corner of your eye. You’re stopped at a light on Gratiot. You peek in your side view mirror just in time to see the Nain’s head quickly duck down from the open window of an old building.

You may have seen him, illumed by moonlight, lapping up pools of discarded Faygo in the sunken warp of old alleys or rummaging thru the dumpsters behind Coney Island for coney dogs.

There are even people who think the secret ingredient in Bucharest’s ridiculously good Chicken Shawarma recipe is a drop of blood from the Nain Rouge.

 

Legend Has It…

Marche du Nain Rouge! (photo by: Kate Sassak)

 

Nain Rouge means “Red Dwarf” and there have been hundreds of reported sightings of this strangely grinning ghoul in Detroit since 1701.

According to Marie Hamlin in her 1883 book ‘Legends of Le Detroit’, Cadillac landed in Detroit on July 24th, 1701 at the foot of present-day Griswold Street near villages of Hurons and Ottawas.

He built Fort Pontchartrain and shortly thereafter, encountered the Nain Rouge. Cadillac hit the red imp with his cane, saying “get out of my way!” That was a big mistake. The Nain Rouge laughed madly and great strife ensued.

Supposedly, the mere appearance of the Nain Rouge heralds disaster. And if offended, he can only be appeased thru flattery. In the Great Fire of 1805, the Nain Rouge was seen running thru burning buildings, doing cartwheels and cackling wildly.

 

Detroit’s Mardi Gras

Marche du Nain Rouge! (photo by: Kate Sassak)

 

The annual Marche du Nain Rouge was started by Detroiters Francis Grunow and Joe Uhl in 2010.

This is a free family-friendly march down Cass Avenue thru the old Chinatown section of Detroit’s Cass Corridor.

All attendees are supposed to be masked and/or fully costumed.  Pets and kids are welcome.

 

Francis Grunow Speaks!

Francis Grunow

 

I was fortunate enough to sit down with the co-creator, Mr. Francis Grunow and this is his tale:

“The Marche du Nain Rouge is a family-friendly community art parade. It’s the theme of Mardi Gras meets Burning Man in Detroit’s Cass Corridor.”

“This is a ritualized Spring event of starting fresh. The entire concept is themed around the Nain Rouge in that for the past 300 years, on the Sunday after the Vernal Equinox, Detroiters gather together to banish the Nain Rouge.”

 

How it All Started

Marche du Nain Rouge! (photo by: Kate Sassak)

 

“My friend Joe Uhl and I were sitting at a bar in the dead of winter in 2009. I was still at Wayne State University, Joe had graduated.”

“Joe was saying how he went to Mardi Gras in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and it was one of the most cathartic things he’d ever felt. There was a surging sense of renewal and a reestablishing of a center of gravity for the whole community.”

Marche du Nain Rouge! (photo by: Kate Sassak)

 

“It was then that we realized there was a void in Detroit which needed to be filled. The city of Detroit is older than New Orleans and we needed our own Mardi Gras celebration.”

“Both cities have different cultural trajectories and both have connexions with Cadillac. He founded Detroit, then became Governor of Louisiana. Both cities grew from French colonial outposts and both are important and unique American cities that have given tremendous cultural gifts to the world. What would Detroit’s Mardi Gras be like? Our response was the Marche du Nain Rouge.”

 

The Marche du Nain Rouge

Marche du Nain Rouge! (photo by: Kate Sassak)

 

“We want the parade to be intimate, homemade, and accessible. There’s a unique Detroitness to it. Overall, it’s about rebirth and renewal and getting the stuff that keeps us down off our backs and bringing the city together as one unified whole.”

“The Marche is a sort of younger brother to Theatre Bizarre. It’s participatory, we’re giving people a large theme/concept they can make their own and keep evolving.”

“There’s a tremendous amount of creativity, self-expression and participation at the Marche. The level of involvement and effort and attention to detail that are put into the costumes and parade floats every year, just blows me away.”

Marche du Nain Rouge! (photo by: Kate Sassak)

 

“We’re working on how a thing like this can be more popular, accepted and evolve to be more inclusive for the greater community. I want everyone to feel like they can absorb themselves into this parade and use it and evolve it.”

“In the 1500’s, Rabelais talks about how the role of the fool in the court was very important. The fool was able to put everyone on an equal level, bringing the king and the peasant into the same space. The Marche du Nain Rouge is the same type of deal. It serves a healthy role in society to have this safe space where people can be ridiculous in a safe and fun way. We need creative outlets like this.”

 

Sponsors and Organizers

The Nain Rouge Crew!

 

“We have 30 or so sponsors. Midtown Detroit Incorporated gives us half of our $60,000 budget. There’s also the two dozen local bars, restaurants, and retail shops in the area who help out.”

Ralph Taylor, a native Trinidadian, is our host and he runs Caribbean Mardi Gras Productions.”

“We’re a non-profit and we have a core group of 6-10 committed people who actively work on the Marche du Nain Rouge throughout the year, giving thousands of hours of unpaid volunteer time.  Then we have an extended base of 40 or so volunteers who help with marshaling (crowd control) and other aspects.”

Marche du Nain Rouge! (photo by: Kate Sassak)

 

The City of Detroit has been a great partner in this amazing journey with us. It’s officially endorsed by them every year and they work with us on public safety. We pay for Detroit Police and Wayne State Police, Detroit Fire Deparment, porta johns, Poco barricades, etc, it’s a lot to organize.”

Scrubby Bubble from Eddy Bullock’s Three Fifty Concepts will be there.”

“Our creative director Vince Keenan, designs a lot of the banners, costumes, and so forth.”

“This year, we have Anime Manga mechanized, toy, roboty Japanese type stuff, designed by Dave Presnell. Dave works as a fabricator at The Parade Company.”

Marche du Nain Rouge! (photo by: Kate Sassak)

 

“Our design this year was done by local artist Pink (aka: Nicole LaPointe) she’s an awesome collaborator from Woodbridge. She did this year’s poster and the comic book.”

Ryan Doyle did the cockroach and the fire-breathing dragon. He’s a visual artist and film set designer, he did work on Kong: Skull Island.”

Clare Pfeiffer is our PR and media person. She also does great marketing work for the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores and the Henry Ford Fair Lane Estate on the campus of University of Michigan-Dearborn.”

The Masonic Temple has been a tremendous host to us over the years. We are grateful to them and love working with them.”

 

Biography

Marche du Nain Rouge! (photo by: Kate Sassak)

 

I grew up on Detroit’s Northwest side. Then there was a period where I lived in NYC for 10 years. Went to Columbia University to be a city planner, lived in Manhattan and Brooklyn. I came back to Detroit in 2001 and now I do consulting, community development, and housing policy.”

 

What kind of costumes should you wear?

Marche du Nain Rouge! (photo by: Kate Sassak)

 

“We encourage homemade costumes, the more creative the better. Anything goes. People do really cool things both as individuals and as groups. It can be conceptual or free form.”

“Whatever the case, at least do something, rather than just coming plain. Wear an accessory, even a little something. You are the spectacle. There are no observers, everyone is a participant. For example, one year, this guy had 50 stuffed animals torn open and attached to his body in different ways.”

“Every year, we also have custom art cars with a different look and aesthetic. We have a lead car at the head of the procession and the art cars follow. We would like to incorporate more custom cars, bikes, parade floats as time goes on.”

 

Advice for First Time Attendees

Marche du Nain Rouge! (photo by: Kate Sassak)

 

“Come with an open mind. Come dressed as an alter ego. Come ready to explore Detroit in a different way and experience the Cass Corridor, talk to new people. The streets are open to you on this day, they are yours.”

 

The Marche du Nain Rouge is an incredibly fun time. If you have never experienced it, do yourself a favor and go check it out!

8th annual Marche du Nain Rouge

Sunday, March 26th, 2017

Noon-3pm

 

Parade route!

 

Noon = everyone gathers outside Traffic Jam Restaurant (511 W. Canfield, Detroit)

1pm = the March starts. We walk down Cass Avenue to the steps of the Masonic Temple (500 Temple Street, Detroit)

3pm = March disperses

2pm-6pm = official after party inside the Masonic Temple Theater. There will be DJ’s, beer, food. There will also be a Kid’s Area.

Some surrounding bars to check out: Temple Bar, Old Miami bar, TV Lounge, 8 Degrees Plato, etc

 

Marche du Nain Rouge! (photo by: Kate Sassak)

 

Parking:

Parking Lot #72 (4510 Cass) $7.00

Structure #8 (91 W. Forest) $7.00

 

Any other questions?

Contact:

marchedunainrouge@gmail.com

Marche du Nain Rouge! (photo by: Kate Sassak)

 

Homepage

http://marchedunainrouge.com/

 

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/MarcheduNainRouge/?ref=page_internal

 

Facebook event page

https://www.facebook.com/events/1892752097615022/

 

Marche du Nain Rouge! (photo by: Kate Sassak)

 

Marche du Nain Rouge! (photo by: Kate Sassak)

 

Marche du Nain Rouge! (photo by: Kate Sassak)

 

Marche du Nain Rouge! (photo by: Kate Sassak)

 

Marche du Nain Rouge! (photo by: Kate Sassak)

 

Marche du Nain Rouge! (photo by: Kate Sassak)

 

Marche du Nain Rouge! (photo by: Kate Sassak)