The Smitty and Detroit’s University Club

the-smitty-detroit-mi

the.smitty // Detroit, MI, photo by Brian Day

Historic Detroit says that the University Club:

…was a fraternal organization where the city’s educated men could go to hang out and network.

The organization was founded in 1899 in Swan’s Chop House at the northwest corner of Woodward and Larned. To be a member, you had to have graduated from a university or college. George P. Codd, a congressman and mayor, was the group’s first president. The group would move several times before it would move into this structure on East Jefferson in 1931. It was designed by William Kapp of the architectural firm Smith, Hinchman & Grylls in the Collegiate Gothic style. Among its features were underground 4 Singles and 1 Doubles Squash Courts, and 1 Racquets Court, and a grand two-story great hall. There were also 24 bedrooms on the third floor. This building was for only the boys, and women were forced to use a side entrance on Jefferson.

…At 4:30 a.m. on June 15, 2013, a massive fire ripped through the club’s dining hall and destroyed other parts of the building. “It took fire crews nearly six hours to completely extinguish the blaze, which continued to flare up into the evening,” DetroitUrbex.com notes.

Click the pic to view it bigger and see more of Brian’s work at BrianDay.org.

Back into the Woods Day, 2016

the-runner

The Runner, photo by Scott Laidlaw

December 1st is one of my personal holidays, Back into the Woods Day, which of course is the day after deer hunting season ends when it’s once again safe to wander Michigan’s woods & trails.

View Scott’s photo background big and see more in his Explored! slideshow.

Kiteboarding in Frankfort

kiteboarding-in-frankfort-michigan

Kiteboarding in Frankfort Michigan, photo by Tony Demin

View Tony’s photo of a kiteboarder taking advantage of big, late fall winds coupled with WAY warmer than usual temps background big, see more in his A Big Blow in Frankfort slideshow, and follow Tony Demin Photography on Facebook!

 

Anchors Aweigh: S.S. Greater Detroit Anchor Recovered

ss-greater-detroit

Launch of the SS Greater Detroit,  courtesy Great Lakes Maritime Institute

Thanks to an alert reader who let me know that the dredge in yesterday’s photo was on the way back from a mission to retrieve a 6000-pound anchor from the Detroit River for the Great Lakes Maritime Institute. There’s a video below and you can get the story via mLive:

The anchor emerged from the river just before the sun set behind the Ambassador Bridge, catching its first glimpse of daylight for the first time in 60 years.It once belonged to the luxury steamer Greater Detroit, one of the two largest side-wheel steamers ever built, which ferried passengers around the Great Lakes in style from the mid-1920’s through the mid-1950’s.

The Great Lakes Maritime Institute has a nice history of the SS Greater Detroit aka “Leviathan of the Great Lakes” that says in part:

The Detroit & Cleveland Navigation Company was planning on expanding after World War I by providing more daily commercial traffic on Lake Erie between Buffalo, New York and Detroit, Michigan.

…In 1922 the naval architect Frank E. Kirby provided the Detroit & Cleveland Navigation Company with a architectural drawing for a massive side wheel steamer that would carry passengers and freight on the Buffalo to Detroit route. The plan called for the Detroit & Cleveland Navigation company to construct two vessels, the S.S. GREATER DETROIT and the S.S. GREATER BUFFALO which would provide continual service across Lake Erie.  The length overall of the vessels was 536 feet and with the side paddle wheels the overall width of the vessel was ninety six feet.

…The Detroit & Cleveland Navigation Company was so proud of the Steamer GREATER DETROIT that when they issued new stock certificates in 1925 the image of this vessel was engraved at the top of the certificates. The vessel could not only carry some 2,127 passengers, but provided 625 staterooms and made allowances for the storing of 103 automobiles on the main deck.

There were excellent accommodations provided for the passengers and the crew. In the pilothouse there was a separate steering wheel for the bow rudder to help navigate the narrow rivers and harbors. The bow rudder also helped when the steamer left the Detroit dock. At 5:30 P.M. the captain would ring the telegraph to the engine room and request the engineer to start the engines and to back away from the dock. Using the Detroit River current and the bow rudder the vessel would swing out into the current and turn around headed downriver to Lake Erie.

Read on for lots more including some cool old brochures and click to their homepage for more in the recovery!

Barge on the Detroit River

barge-on-the-river

Barge on the River, photo by charles hildebrandt

View Charles’ photo background bigtacular and see more in his Detroit slideshow.

Still Standing … on the Superior Shore

still-standing-along-lake-superior

Still Standing, photo by Bobby Palosaari

Back in June, Bobby wrote, “Weathered and worn, these trees are enjoying a gorgeous summer evening along the shores of Lake Superior.

I’m assuming they’re still there, but I’m guessing it’s a bit less idyllic. View Bobby’s photo taken on the Keweenaw background bigtacular and see more in his slideshow.

Not ready to let summer go? There’s lots more summer wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures!

Black (duck) Friday

black-duck

Duck Silhouette, photo by diane charvat

This is a shout-out to everyone who’s struggling with being alone or simply for the bare necessities of life, and to those who are helping to ease their burden. I was so heartened by stories of friends serving meals, inviting lonely friends, and in general reaching out over the Thanksgiving holiday.

We’re all a family. Every one of us, every day.

View Diane’s photo bigger and see more in her Birds slideshow.