James Robertson, dubbed the Detroit “Walking Man”, walked 21 miles a day to get to and from work for over 10 years. In 2015, he was given a new Ford Taurus, and his situation shed light on the lack of proper public transportation for the impoverished to Detroit’s city officials.
Little Caesars’ founder Mike Illitch’s family received $340 million in taxpayer dollars from the City of Detroit to redevelop a 50-block neighborhood, but instead broke their promises, built 29 surface parking lots, and demolished or abandoned 27 historic buildings.
The city of Detroit sits on top of a working salt mine. Since 1910, the mine has provided road salt for most of North America.
For a few thousand bucks, Detroit police will give a business higher 911 priority.
Detroit once had a tourist attraction more popular than the Statue of Liberty. The Ford Rotunda was built for the 1934 World’s Fair and was the fifth most visited site in the U.S. before burning to the ground in 1962.
There is a 1/2 mile long wall in Detroit originally built to separate blacks from whites.
Detroit’s city flag contains a four-world Latin phrase on the seal: “Speramus meliora; resurget cineribus.” It translates to “we hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes”. But it’s not a reference to the city’s present-day struggles. The flag was designed in 1907 and officially adopted in 1948, and the motto dates back a century further back, to 1805. On June 11, 1805, a fire ravaged the city, with devastating results: “with the exception of one stone fort and the brick chimneys of wooden houses, the city was leveled to the ground by that afternoon,” according to the Detroit Historical Society. Fortunately, no one died, and the population decided to rebuild Detroit where it was. As the Wall Street Journal explains, a local priest coined the saying to encourage the rebuilding effort.
In 2009, Detroit had a worse unemployment rate than during the Great Depression.
Alex Alsup, a committed Detroit citizen, captures the rapid disintegration of his hometown by comparing Bing and Google Street View images of the same homes over the course of several years.
Here are a few examples…
In Detroit you have to wait on average more than 58 minutes for the police to respond to a call, compared to a national average of 11 minutes. Most police stations in Detroit are now closed to the public for 16 hours a day.