In 1954, the city of Detroit had a population of over 1.8 million people. The place bustled with activity and was the nation’s epicenter for mass production of automobiles.
During World War II, Detroit was known as “The Arsenal of Democracy” as auto plants were converted to manufacture tanks, airplanes and other weaponry that played a major role in defeating our enemies in relatively short order. Detroit of the 1950s was a proud and happy place full of proud and happy people.
I’m just old enough to remember what Detroit was like in the mid-1970s — while there were still active remnants of what a great place it once was. I remember business people walking around downtown in suits, the heavy, all-day traffic up and down Michigan Avenue, the Michigan Central Depot, and the buzz around Tiger Stadium on game days. It’s getting more and more difficult to even imagine the Detroit I remember from my childhood.
The color home videos below were taken on the streets of Detroit in 1954 from a moving automobile. For those who grew up in Detroit, the videos will bring back wonderful memories of what a vibrant place it was during its heyday. What I find most interesting are the casual images that were shot of Briggs Stadium. This is exactly what the stadium would have looked like to an 18-year old Al Kaline as he arrived in Detroit from Baltimore just one year earlier.