Diego Rivera’s Industrial Symphony

Diego Riviera Mural by Ashleigh Mowers

Diego Rivera Mural by Ashleigh Mowers

“As I rode back to Detroit, a vision of Henry Ford’s industrial empire kept passing before my eyes. In my ears, I heard the wonderful symphony which came from his factories where metals were shaped into tools for men’s service. It was a new music, waiting for the composer with genius enough to give it communicable form.

I thought of the millions of different men by whose combined labor and thought automobiles were produced, from the miners who dug the iron ore out of the earth to the railroad men and teamsters who brought the finished machines to the consumer, so that man, space, and time might be conquered, and ever-expanding victories be won against death.”
― Diego Rivera, My Art, My Life

There’s probably not a better monument to the massive role of labor in building Michigan & the United States than the Diego Rivera’s Detroit Industry murals. Commissioned for the Detroit Institute of Art, these 27 massive paintings that cover the four walls of the Rivera Court at the DIA:

In 1932, Mexican muralist Diego Rivera (1886-1957) began illustrating the walls of what was then the DIA’s Garden Court. Using the fresco technique common in ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, and the Americas, Rivera created a grand and complex cycle of murals that portray the geological, technological, and human history of Detroit. He also developed an ancient context for modern industry rooted in the belief system of the Aztec people of central Mexico.

Ashley took this photo back in January of 2017. You can see more in her Detroit gallery & on her website!

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Celebrate National Farmers Market Week in Michigan!

130 Years at Eastern Market by Eastern Market Partnership

130 Years at Eastern Market by Eastern Market Partnership

August is when the harvest of Michigan’s diverse bounty of farm products really gets going. The Michigan Farmers Market Association invites you to join them in celebration of National Farmers Market Week from August 1-7:

Many of Michigan’s nearly 250 farmers markets will be hosting special events, activities and more to celebrate farmers and vendors, and express appreciation for volunteers and shoppers.

In the midst of a global pandemic, farmers markets — like all other small businesses — have innovated to continue operations for the farmers and communities that depend on them. Market managers have been at the forefront of adapting rapid solutions and innovating to protect staff, customers and the community. When conventional food supply chains faltered at the start of the pandemic, farmers markets and local food systems clearly displayed the resiliency of short supply chains and interest in local foods spiked nationwide.

“2020 was not an easy year, but we know farmers, market managers, and MIFMA staff and board members are no strangers to hard work and overcoming challenges,” said Amanda Shreve, executive director of MIFMA. “As we celebrate 2021’s National Farmers Market Week, we’ve already seen the strength, resiliency and hope we share as a farmers market community, and know our markets will continue to positively impact their communities long beyond this week.”

Head over to the Michigan Farmers Market Association for a list of all the markets in the state!

One of my favorite Michigan farmers markets is the one at Eastern Market in Detroit. You can click the pic to check out their Facebook page & learn more about the work they do at easternmarket.org.

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Happy 320th Birthday Detroit!

the lamp post by kare hav

the lamp post by kare hav

320 years ago tomorrow on July 24, 1701, Antoine de la Mothe, Sieur de Cadillac realized the success of his plan with mentor and Governor General of New France, Louis de Buade, Comte de Frontenac, to found a new settlement at the south of Lake Huron to increase the security of French interests on the Great Lakes. Frontenac died, and his successor was not fond of Cadillac so, as History Detroit explains, the story of Cadillac took matters into his own hands:

Cadillac set sail for France in 1698 in order to convince King Louis to allow him to found a new settlement lower in the Great Lakes. Specifically, he was interested in the area south of Lake Huron known as le détroit, or the straits.

The area known as le détroit was ideal for a new settlement because the land was fertile, the location on the river was felt to be easily defended against the British and the climate was more hospitable than that in the more northern settlements like Michilimackinac.

Cadillac returned to Quebec, then travelled to Montreal where he gathered canoes, farmers, traders, artisans, soldiers, and Native Americans to accompany him on his quest. The men set sail on June 4, 1701.

Cadillac and his men reached the Detroit River on July 23, 1701. The following day, July 24, 1701, the group traveled north on the Detroit River and chose a place to build the settlement. Cadillac named the settlement Fort Ponchartrain du Detroit in honor of King Louis’s Minister of Marine.

Kare hav took this photo of the Detroit skyline from across the Detroit River back in 2017. See more in their Detroit gallery & have a great weekend!

Lots more Detroit photos & history on Michigan in Pictures!

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Detroit City Football Club are National Champions!

NISA Champions by Detroit City FC

NISA Champions by Detroit City FC

A belated congratulations to the Detroit City Football Club who are the 2021 National Independent Soccer League champions following a 1-0 victory over the LA Force! The team is a local favorite & a real success story for the power of community in sports:

Founded in 2012, Detroit City FC has established itself as one of the most talked about soccer teams in North America. Our club motto, Passion for Our City, Passion for the Game, evokes the three ideas the grassroots organization was built upon: to satisfy the demand for soccer in downtown Detroit, represent the city in a positive light, and build community through “the beautiful game.”

In an era when sports teams are defined by billionaire owners and millionaire players, we are a team founded by a group of young Detroiters. Detroit City FC has developed into a minor league soccer success story, with one of the most exciting match atmospheres in North America, consistently sold-out games and passionate supporters.

Head over to their Facebook or Instagram for photos.

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The Detroit Flood of June 2021

Detroit Flood by Camera Jesus

Detroit Flood by Camera Jesus

On Friday night as much as 7″ of rain fell in the city of Detroit creating a truly nightmarish situation as the New York Times reports:

Up to seven inches of rain fell early on Saturday in parts of Detroit and Wayne County, Mich., stranding hundreds of vehicles on flooded freeways and prompting the rescue of about 50 drivers, officials said.

“This isn’t normal here,” said Lt. Michael Shaw, a spokesman for the Michigan State Police. “Every freeway in the county had some level of flooding.”

By 3 p.m. Saturday, the authorities counted about 350 vehicles that had been damaged in the flooding.

“Some suffered some type of wire damage, some had water up to the top of their tires, some had it up to windows, and some were completely submerged,” Lieutenant Shaw said. “A lot of people thought they could make it through the water, but there was just no way.”

You can see some shots reader-submitted shots from across the city at Click on Detroit.

The photo was taken Saturday on I-94 aka the Edsel Ford Freeway by Joe Gall aka Camera Jesus. Click the pic for several more shots, follow him @camera_jesus on Instagram & for sure check out his website to view and purchase his work!

More Michigan flooding including the Detroit Flood of 2014 on Michigan in Pictures.

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America’s First Urban Freeway: Detroit’s Davison Freeway

The Davison Urban Freeway by Wayne State University

The Davison Urban Freeway by Wayne State University

The Daily Detroit is one of my favorite Michigan podcasts, and their story on The Davison, America’s First Urban Freeway in Detroit is pretty cool: 

While freeways are pretty standard in American cities now, it wasn’t always that way. Instead of the ability to potentially go up to 70 miles an hour like on today’s highways, motorists had to use regular city streets to cross town. That was especially the case for motorists who wanted to cross Highland Park and enter Detroit.

Everyone piled onto Davison Avenue, the only large street that ran through Highland Park and connected to Detroit running roughly east to west. The avenue and freeway was named after an English immigrant from the 1840s that settled in the area, Jared Davison (it was then Hamtramck Township). His farm was approximately between Woodward and Oakland avenues along the south side of the street.

It wasn’t uncommon for drivers to spend 15 minutes sitting in traffic to reach Detroit. By 1940, thanks to Detroit’s growth and the growth of auto factories, Davison Avenue was approaching gridlock during rush hour by 1940.

…By November 1942, the five and a half mile long Davison Freeway was finished. It opened without a dedication ceremony, probably due to the desperate need the defense plants had for a functioning freeway. Despite its lack of dedication, the freeway became the first one of its kind – an urban freeway meant to connect one part of a metro area with another with as little interruption as possible.

…Ironically, the invention from Highland Park eventually played a key role in emptying the city out. In 1992, Chrysler moved their headquarters down the road – off of I-75 with a special off-ramp built for the development – to Auburn Hills, to follow the trend of suburban sprawl that the American highway system helped enable.

Read more at the Daily Detroit!

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It’s baseball, even if the Tigers are struggling

Chicago Cubs at Detroit Tigers by Dan Gaken

Cubs at Detroit Tigers by Dan Gaken

Dan went to Comerica Park this weekend to see the Tigers face the Cubs. The Tigers lost, but as John commented,  “It’s baseball even if the Tigers are struggling.” Indeed!

See more awesome shots from Comerica & elsewhere in Dan’s America’s Baseball Stadiums gallery on Flickr.

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Love gives back

Love by Ansonredford

Love by Ansonredford

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
― Lao Tzu

Here’s an awesome piece of graffiti that Donald captured last summer in Detroit. Check out his Graffiti gallery on Flickr for more!

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Happy Birthday, Tiger Stadium

Tiger Stadium Deconstruction by Paul Hitz

Tiger Stadium Deconstruction by Paul Hitz

Tiger Stadium at the corner of Michigan & Trumbull in Detroit opened 109 years ago on April 20, 1912. As good of a field as Comerica Park is (and it’s pretty darned good), I’m never not going to miss Tiger Stadium. If you’d like to read a wonderful account of the history of the stadium and The Corner, head over to Historic Detroit. It begins:

Whether as a 103-year-old site for pro baseball or as an 87-year-old stadium, the corner of Michigan and Trumbull is the home of memories for millions of fans. The park sat vacant since hosting its final game on Sept. 27, 1999, until June 30, 2008, when demolition began.

Professional baseball was first played on the site, at a 5,000-seat ballpark known as Bennett Park, on April 28, 1896 — three years before Detroit even had an auto plant. The field, named after fan favorite Charlie Bennett, was built on the former site of a municipal hay market. The park was razed after the 1911 season and replaced with 23,000-seat Navin Field. The ballpark as we know it today opened April 20, 1912, the same day as Fenway Park in Boston — and five days after the RMS Titanic sank.

Paul took this photo back in 2008 when they were demolishing the ballpark. It’s long been one of my favorites. See more from Paul in his Detroit gallery on Flickr & at United Photo Works.

PS: The Corner Ballpark sits where Tiger Stadium. It is the home of the Detroit Police Athletic League program and features a great ballpark with the Willie Horton Field of Dreams.

PPS: Tons more Tiger Stadium photos on Michigan in Pictures!

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Remembering Better Made’s Salvatore Cipriano

Better Made Potato Chips - A Detroit Tradition by Derek Farr

Better Made Potato Chips – A Detroit Tradition by Derek Farr

The Freep reports that Better Made Snack Foods CEO Salvatore (Sam) Cipriano passed away yesterday:

Salvatore “Sam” Cipriano with sister Cathy Gusmano
Salvatore Cipriano with sister Cathy Gusmano

He was the second generation to lead Better Made, and the family-owned Detroit potato chip company said he took the business to new heights. Even amid the pandemic, Better Made has been rolling out new flavors.

“He was loved by everyone at Better Made and those that knew him,” said his sister, Cathy Gusmano, chairwoman of the snack food company’s board, adding he “will be missed tremendously.”

…”Our family has always taken pride in how we make our products with quality being paramount,” Cipriano said at the time. “From our humble beginnings when Detroit had over 20 potato chip manufacturers, we’ve tried to make the best product possible, and that hard work paid off as we’re the last one standing.”

Better Made started in 1930 as the Cross and Peters Co., named after the founders, Cross Moceri and Peter Cipriano (Salvatore’s father), but incorporated a few years later to reflect the goal that the two men had set: To make a better potato chip.

More at the Freep & be sure to check out Better Made’s Instagram where I got this nice photo of Sam & Cathy.

Derek took this photo of Better Made’s Detroit factory & store. See lots more awesome pics in his Detroit Gallery on Flickr.

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