Cass Corridor’s own Casey Kasem

Remember Casey Kasem? If you do, you’re probably among that group of us who mumbles our age when asked. But whether you actually remember the days of Casey Kasem, or know enough about music history to know the significance of the man who single-handedly revolutionized the music industry with his Top 40 format (some would say for the best, others not so much), perhaps not as many know that Kasem is from Detroit. But not just Detroit. The larger-than-life radio personality, who ruled the airwaves for more than 30 years from 1970 on with a worldwide listenership that at its peak reached nearly 8 million, was raised right here in the Cass Corridor (it definitely was not Midtown at the time). But not just in the Cass Corridor. Casey Kasem’s childhood home was located in the exact spot … [Read more...]

Ralph Rinaldi remembers a Cass Corridor in full dimensions Part 2

  If you closed your eyes and listened to Ralph Rinaldi reminisce about the Cass Corridor that surrounds the El Moore, the way it used to be before Midtown was barely an idea, you would see it at first, then you would hear it and smell it. Then suddenly you’re there, looking around at a very different place in time. It is a counter-cultural neighborhood, but also exceptionally tolerant. A diverse neighborhood of artists, students and professors as well as junkies, pimps and prostitutes. But there was room for them all, and somehow they made it work… Because that's what neighborhoods do. This is Part 2 of a fascinating discussion with longtime Cass Corridor resident/activist Ralph Rinaldi. (Read Part 1 here.) The following is a slightly edited transcription. Mr. Rinaldi … [Read more...]

Podcast: Stories of the El Moore – The Elevator Tower

The decisions leading to the elevator tower being built on the west side of the existing historic El Moore building is probably one of the most challenging design aspect of the entire renovation project.  This podcast shares our design thinking that lead to the eventual design.  It shows how triple bottom-line thinking can lead us to a more holistic design and new possibilities.   The picture shows the elevator tower still under construction; more to come.   Thanks for caring...thanks for listening.  Please share your thoughts with us....we're listening too. … [Read more...]

The Voices of Detroit: French Detroit

Those who know the history of the City of Detroit know that our City was founded three hundred and thirteen years ago in 1701, by French explorers. Our Area Code is also “313”, so we have been really celebrating this year! “De-troit” can be roughly translated from the French to “the straits”. French explorer and trader Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac established a fort on the Detroit River in 1701; it was named Fort Ponchartrain du Détroit. Cadillac brought with him to establish the original settlement 5- French-Canadians. That number of “new Detroiters” was increased to 800 after the French government offered free land to attract French families to the area, making Detroit the largest city between Montreal and New Orleans by 1765. Cadillac remained the outpost commander until 1710 when he … [Read more...]

A sketch of turret windows

  "This is the first image that I did, and it's more illustrative. I wanted this to be a sketching project, which is why I went back to my sketchbook. With this one, it probably took me about an hour, and I just wanted to focus on that turret. And so there's a little bit of detail so far as the pattern of the brick goes, but I really just highlighted the windows and then the upper turret." So what was it about the turret that made it the first drawing? "I don't know. I kind of walked around, and there was a spot where I could sit across the street with my back up against the tree. So I sat there and looked, and I didn't know where to start, you know? So I just started drawing. I wanted to focus on that, so I purposely kind of pushed it over to the side of the building, … [Read more...]

So long, Tom Boy…

So Tomboy Supermarket  (some might say the 'notorious' Tomboy Market) is no more. Perusing the handful of articles and posts about the location over the years offer a conflicted portrait of the El Moore's rugged neighbor on the east side  opposite corner of Second Avenue. If there is any kind of common thread among the commentators, it's safe to say there is agreement that Tom Boy Market would never be confused with Whole Foods. But then again, that was never Tom Boy's intention. It's true the market was known for awhile to be a bubbling hub of seamy activity that had little to do with grocery shopping. Hookers, pimps, junkies, and other regulars of the once-upon-a-time Cass Corridor that now seems to be fading into the rear view mirror hovered constantly in the vicinity, as if … [Read more...]

The automotive widows of Cass Corridor

"This whole area was big automotive when it started." --Pat Dorne, Executive Director, Cass Corridor Neighborhood Development Corporation Cass Corridor has been a lot of things throughout the years, but in those early years during the latter part of the 1800s when the area was really coming to life, the area surrounding the El Moore and the Green Garage was home to quite a few automotive dealerships. It was also an area known to be home to a fairly upper crust segment of the population, and the El Moore was one among several locations that provided comfortable lodging to such a clientele. But as to who that clientele was, the names and faces,  there are the records...and then there are the stories. Originally built by Charles Moore in 1898 at a cost of $24,000, and … [Read more...]

Entering the El Moore

  "This is the second image that I did, and it kind of captures another moment in time. It's a front doorway, but it's the most iconic part of it. You're seeing the El Moore sign in it, but at the same time you're seeing how rough the stairway to it is, the overgrown brush that's around it, and even a little detail - I'm not sure if it's graffiti or whatever - that's on the doors. And then peeking inside a little bit, because the door was propped open." Kevin Gardner,  from K Creative, a Green Garage business-in-residence is the resident sketch artist for the El Moore. … [Read more...]