Search This Blog

Thursday, January 15, 2015

ROOTS: How Important Are They?

Old Chrysler HQ in Highland Park, Michigan

I was driving She-who-must-be-obeyed to her dental appointment down by MLK Jr.Boulevard and Rosa Parks Boulevard. We were taking I-75 to the Davison Freeway; the Davison is the world's first concrete depressed freeway, and it is driving the way it should be.
I remember once taking Oakman Boulevard  (lots of "boulevards"... we used to have a lot of stately elm trees in Detroit which lined them and the streets were beautiful) from Dearborn up to catch onto the western end of the maybe 3 miles that make up the Davison.
Oakman Boulevard at the Davison was a vibrant, bustling black community. In my memory, it is sort of like a Midwest Harlem, but my memory must be embellishing. It was bustling, but it could not have been as interesting as I remember. It was still a living community, however.
My memory is script, script writer, redactor, editor, actors and actresses, Foley editor, camera man, producer and director. One cannot rely too heavily upon it, as it seeks fascination rather than truth.

It makes me think of doing a project documenting the neighborhoods of Detroit, actual and disappeared. Same thing for Flint. I have already spent hours scooping out things around the Millard Saxton House in Flint.

That is all not part of Roots, however.

As you turn onto the Davison from I-75 heading south, you immediately pass Oakland Avenue - not Oakland Boulevard, even though there is a median with trees for a mile or so - and that is in the City of Highland Park, and a stone's throw from the Davison Freeway is where the headquarters of the Chrysler Corporation was until the 1990s, when it moved to Auburn Hills, Michigan.

The financial effect of Highland Park was devastating. Lee Iacocca worked out a fund of some sort to help the city financially for a while, but city politics being what they are, the fund is gone.

In Flint, within walking distance from the Millard Saxton house is the site of the old vast Chevrolet facility - "Chevy In The Hole" as it was called, probably because it was built on both sides of the flood plain of the Flint River, and there is a bit of a drop as you drive through it.
GM's abandonment of Flint has been recorded in many places. Michael Moore's Roger and Me comes to mind.

Some Remains Of Chevy In The Hole

Now, is it not interesting that the two car companies - GM and Chrysler - which abandoned their birth places, causing great financial upheaval, both had to be bailed out in 2009?

Ford Motor Company did not need any government and taxpayer money.

Ford World Headquarters still exist in Dearborn, Michigan, not far from the rural farm where Henry Ford was born.

 Ford HQ

He was born in what was then Greenfield Township. Greenfield Twp. is now part of Detroit and Dearborn and Highland Park. His first motor car was built and run on Mack Avenue in Detroit, and Mack avenue exists today, running from the eastern suburbs into Detroit up to Woodward Avenue, or M-1 and Woodward has its own long history, where Mack changes its name to Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard...

Which is where we were going.....

And Mack Avenue is named after a Mr. Mack who had a farm there.
He was the maternal uncle of Joseph Smith, the prophet of Mormon. I cannot remember whether Joseph Smith ever was documented as having spent time with his uncle at the farm....

And Greenfield is remembered in Ford's Greenfield Village, Henry Ford's recreation of the era of his birth:

 Greenfield Village At Christmas

History is everywhere, coming from our Roots.


No comments: