Text by Allan Lengel | Photos by Norbert Daniels Jr.
Grand River in Detroit was once a thriving avenue, full of life and commerce, from big furniture stores to neighborhood bars and restaurants, including the iconic Carl’s Chop House. It was also the home of Olympia Stadium, where the Red Wings played and some of the biggest artists performed, including Marvin Gaye, Bob Dylan and the Beatles.
Then the Detroit riots came in 1967. Stores burned. Some thriving blocks turned to vacant lots. The street became a shadow of itself. Eventually, the Red Wings moved to Joe Louis Arena along the river and Carl’s closed.
Over the years, a few new places have popped up, including the MotorCity Casino Hotel. Still, for the most part, the street looks rather distressed.
On the upside, there’s still some impressive architecture and eye-popping art, thanks to mural support from the Grand River Creative Corridor, a neighborhood revitalization project between Rosa Parks Boulevard and Warren Avenue.
We ride the fabled avenue and capture the flavor of a street that still deserves love.