Aretha’s Hat

Think back to last January, when President Obama was inaugurated. Aretha Franklin made a lot of noise by sporting a unique chapeau, designed and built by Detroit’s own Mr. Song. Here’s Aretha in said hat, in case you’ve forgotten what it looked like:

aretha-franklins-hat-1532-1232472744-2The Queen of Soul

Here’s where she got it: Mr. Song Millinery on Woodward near Grand Blvd. Detroit fashion rules. And don’t forget it.

arethahatWorld famous hats from the Motor City

I ‘discovered’ a truly unique building today. It’s on Baltimore near John R. It must’ve been a restaurant or something. A club? Meeting hall? Scientology testing lab? Whatever, it probably gets great mobile phone reception.

It’s for sale, but it’s been on the market so long the phone number on the “for sale” sign has been washed away, so I can’t hook you up with the seller. (You know you want to live here).

wackbuildingPotential Jetson bachelor pad?

More typical of Detroit’s abandoned properties is this trashed apartment building near Wayne State University, which is named for “Mad Anthony” Wayne, a brigadier General under George Washington. (He died of gout, by the way).

forestNo spaces available for rent

I’ve mentioned the Avalon Bakery many times before, but haven’t actually shown why I stop there regularly. Since you’ve all seen a cappuccino before, I thought I’d feature some of the baked treats on offer instead. Amazingly enough, I didn’t indulge today.

stickybunCarb-loading opportunity

For reasons that escape me at present, I took Geology 101 whilst at University. I can’t remember much about it, except for plate tectonics and the shape of the silicon tetrahedron, basic building block of everything geological. (I think). After seeing this graffiti, I thought that perhaps one of my classmates tagged this wall:

tetrahedronGeologists in the hood?

I wish he or she had managed to not upend the Mercedes logo, and I’m not sure what the letters stand for, but I didn’t take any geology courses beyond that intro class.

More mysterious than the tetrahedron was this post-modern sentence I spotted on John R. Help me out folks, I don’t know what this means.

mysterygraffitiAuoto? I’m stumped

Maybe it’s some super-secret Masonic code.

Back on earth, I also passed this temptingly-named restaurant:

firewaterCan’t identify the “Fire” and “Water” fonts. Sorry

The II in the name suggests there’s another Fire Water somewhere else in the city. I’ll have to keep an eye out for it. Maybe it’s the beginning of a new “casual dining” chain to take on Chili’s and Applebees.

Enjoy your weekend!

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8 thoughts on “Aretha’s Hat

  1. Wonderful history, as usual. I’m trying to think of a hat I need. Oh, and that first building is definitely a church (or used to be).

    When we win the lottery let’s buy that apartment building so I can have another design project to work on. Okay? We’ll fix it up, and rent out the apartments. We can live in one of them and I’ll decorate all of them (we’ll put that stipulation in the rental agreement).

    So now that I have our lives all sorted out, you just need to buy the lottery ticket. Okay?

  2. I love that church building! I don’t know its origin though. It does seem to me that it was in use not overly long ago (a few years, anyway).

    That apartment building is the Forest Arms apartments. They were fully occupied (including Amsterdam Coffeehouse and People’s Records on the ground floor) until a fire broke out about a year and a half ago. What the fire didn’t wreck, the water damage did.

    It is actually going to be rehabilitated, even though the most economic thing was apparently to tear it down. Nice Model D article about it here:

    http://www.modeldmedia.com/features/forestarms19009.aspx

    As for Mr. Song … well, enjoy it while it lasts. He’s moving to Southfield. Sad face.

    OH I almost forgot – Firewater is a bar/grill owned by a fireman. It’s actually supposed to be pretty decent, although I’ve never been. Metromix has a little writeup on it:

    • I used to live near that first building and if I remember correctly it was a polynesian restaurant, not that it was open when I lived there a year ago.

  3. The Jetson joint was called ” Stanley’s Mannia Cafe”. I have a photocopy of an old News ad, which shows an artist’s sketch of the building, with a photo of owner Stanley Hong. The ad has this to say: “Our new restaurant, Stanley’s Mannia Cafe. To be built within one year at our new location “(arrow points to Baltimore between John R & Brush on map). The ad also welcomes diners to his current spot with this info: “Exotic Chinese-American Dining. When it is important that everything be exactly right! Visit One of Detroit’s Most Beautiful Chinese-American Restaurants. Sun. and weekdays 3:30pm to 2am, Fri. & Sat 3:30pm to 3:30am ( !) ASK FOR OUR CARRY OUT DEPARTMENT ( !!) 565 E. Canfield TE 2-3006”

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