An introduction to Rear View Mirror


This is the introduction to the “Rear View Mirror” category, where we go back and forth through Detroit history. Just remember this; history is elastic. 

It’s hard to love what you don’t know, just like it’s hard to truly hate what you don’t understand. It’s no secret that Detroit, in recent years, has been the butt end of just about every ugly joke and stereotype that can be imagined. If it’s bad then it  must be somehow related to Detroit.

Right about now is when a little understanding might be in order. It’s not that we’re denying the obvious wrongs, missteps, mistakes, and outright screwups that have plagued this city for years. As any true and honest Detroiter knows, Detroit is too often its own worst enemy. Might as well get that one out of the way up front because it’s the truth and we all know it’s the truth. Anybody who has ever loved this city for any real length of time has the teeth marks and the broken heart to prove it, and more than likely has questioned his/her sanity at one time or another, wondering how he/she could have ever been fooled into believing that something so harsh and brutal would ever allow itself to be loved.

And that’s usually right about the time when something strange beautiful will happen to you that can only happen in Detroit and you can’t help but laugh and shake your head. Maybe one day you really will pack up your things and move on to the next phase in your life, putting as much space between your next destination and Detroit as you possibly can. But maybe today won’t be that day. Probably won’t be tomorrow either.

Something’s got a hold on you.  

Here’s the thing; a city as complex as Detroit didn’t get to be this way in any simple fashion. Complex events are derived from complex origins, and in Detroit’s case it is that tangled nest of origins that have given birth to both a history and a present that is both maddening and fascinating.

In this section we’d like to take a trip through the history of Detroit because, like we said, it’s hard to love what you don’t know just as it is equally hard to hate what you don’t understand. The better we know ourselves, perhaps the easier it will be for us to love ourselves.

Just to give you some idea of what to expect, we don’t plan to simply recite historical facts since you can find those kind of facts pretty easily on your own. There will, however, definitely be links to various sites we believe are informative and of great value to anyone wishing to dig in deeper to the heart of  “The ‘D’  “, and we will also eventually be including a detailed historical timeline. But the primary purpose of this area is to glance back at random milestones and events in the city’s history to discuss how they helped to create the place we now call home.

Please believe us when we say we hardly hold ourselves up to be experts here. What we are hoping for is to stimulate some good conversation on an interesting topic that might even shed light on some answers – or at least on some directional markers -pointing toward those answers.

But just to get this party started, we figured why not jump on in with both feet and attach some rhythm to this thing…

Consider this an invitation.


~ by Keith A. Owens on February 25, 2007.

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