The Voice of Detroit Community Building


Detroit in the 1950s Photo Credit:

The El Moore, a reconstruction project focusing on historic rehabilitation and modern urban sustainability, is based on the history of Detroit as a city of neighborhoods, and how that history shapes how Detroit is reinventing itself yet again. This is the first in a series of posts on the “Voice of Detroit” and how that voice is an integral part of the El Moore.

Community [Kuh-myoo-ni-tee] (n). defines “community” as a social group of any size, whose members reside in a specific locality, share a government, and often have a common cultural and historical heritage. By that definition, the City of Detroit has always been a community, and Detroit is a community going through major changes—again.

Although many say that there is now a “new” Detroit vs the “old” Detroit, there has always been only “one” Detroit community, made up of many unique neighborhoods. One of the goals of this blog is to chronicle how the El Moore Project is not just rehabbing an historic building, but more importantly, how the El Moore Project is building and rebuilding a community in Midtown Detroit (in the area formerly known as the “Cass Corridor”).

The El Moore project, like the Green Garage project before it, is an example of the blending of the “old” Detroit of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, being reworked to function in the “new” Detroit of the 21st century. The successful development of these two projects since 2008 has depended on not only knowing about sustainable architecture, but also knowing the history of Detroit and Detroit neighborhoods that includes celebrating the “new” investments in our neighborhoods as well as honoring the “old” treasures that have been here all along. This comprehensive knowledge and consciousness of the contributions of everyone is what makes the El Moore Project unique.

The “new” is not replacing the “old”, but combining the two into a model for the ever-changing community known as the City of Detroit.

This blog is a prime example: it is written by a community of authors, each of whom has a unique and particular theme and point of view.

Which bring us to me, the author of this post. I am looking forward to being the “Native Detroiter Voice” of

I was born in Detroit when Albert Cobo (after whom Cobo Hall is named) was mayor of Detroit.


Pam’s 1st birthday party on Pingree Street.

I attended the Detroit Public Schools and graduated from the “old” Cass Technical High School.


The “original” Cass Technical High School. Photo Credit:


I remember shopping at J.L. Hudson’s, and starting a cross-country summer vacation by train leaving from the Michigan Central Depot.


The original J.L. Hudson’s Department Store at 1206 Woodward Avenue. Photo Credit:


The Michigan Central Train Depot in Southwest Detroit. The train tracks were underground. Photo Credit:

I went ice skating and had pony rides on Belle Isle. I remember the Bob-lo Boat, the 1963 Freedom March down Woodward Avenue when Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King first delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech, the 1967 Rebellion, the 1968 Tigers winning the World Series, and Coleman Alexander Young (a former Eagle Scout, Tuskegee Airman, and Michigan State Senator) becoming the first Black mayor of Detroit.

As a former English and History teacher, I will bring a particular historical perspective to, and I will also be writing about how Detroit has always been one community of many neighborhoods; relating our past to our present. How did we get here? Where are we going next? Stay tuned…


The ice skating rink at Campus Martius in downtown Detroit is LARGER than the rink at 30Rock in New York City! Photo Credit: City of Detroit

El Moore