Historic Detroit


New book update

Jan. 28, 2017

We’ve launched a Facebook page for our upcoming book of vintage Detroit postcards. It will be out this winter via Wayne State University Press. Give us a “like” on Facebook here, won’t you?

Greater Detroit's anchor to be raised

Nov. 14, 2016

An anchor from the legendary steamship Greater Detroit will be raised Nov. 15, 2016, and will eventually be put on display at the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority downtown. Donations are being sought to help pay for the cost of the recovery at the Great Lakes Maritime Institute’s website. Donations are tax deductible.

Updates continue

Jul. 25, 2016

We continue to upload more photos and postcards. We’re also adding new locations, including one we’re particularly excited about: William M. Worden, an expert on Great Lakes steamships and Detroit architectural history, has secured permission from a magazine for us to reprint his history of the steamer Britannia to the site.

A retirement party for "Lost Detroit"

Mar. 16, 2016

Friends, I’m writing with a bit of news about the shop. We’re sold out of “Lost Detroit: Stories Behind the Motor City’s Majestic Ruins” again, and I’ve decided that I’m not going to restock it. The book has been wildly successful, as it has sold more than 28,000 copies. I want to thank each and every one of you who bought a copy and supported the work we do here. But a lot has changed in our city in the past five and a half years. Indeed, the book is almost entirely out of date. I’ve decided to retire it, at least personally. The Broderick Tower? Almost 100% occupied from the moment it reopened its doors more than three years ago. The G.A.R.? Back in business. The Metropolitan? Slated for rehab. Others, such as Cass Tech and the Eastown Theatre, have been demolished. Sure, the Vanity and Grande ballrooms still sit empty, awaiting unknown futures, but the point is this: “Lost Detroit” is no longer representative of the progress and excitement and the change taking place in our city today. To that point, the whole purpose of writing the book was to counter the “ruin porn” narrative of the time. I wanted to tell the stories behind the images of Detroit’s decline that were being broadcast over the Internet and in other books published by out-of-town photographers that lacked any context. Whether I succeeded in that goal or not, “Lost Detroit” has served its purpose. You’ll still be able to buy it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble or wherever, and I’ll still gladly collect the 50 cents in pre-tax royalties I get for each copy sold, but we won’t be selling it on HD’s online store anymore, and I won’t be hawking them at future speaking engagements. I’m still really proud of Book No. 2, however, and hope you consider thumbing through Forgotten Landmarks of Detroit sometime if you haven’t already. Time will tell if I ever find the time to write a third one, but I want to thank everyone who follows this site, bought my books and loves this city as much as I do. -d.a.