Last winter, I was interviewed as part of a series called “Detroit Stories”. (I had gone to a gallery opening of photographs taken by a friend of mine.) They wound up making 9 short videos of me, which you can find at http://detroitstoriesproject.com/arthur-mitchell
Here’s one of me talking about cycling in Detroit.
The people behind Atlas Obscura Day have released a video commemorating last April’s event. The Tour De Hood’s Detroit tour is featured prominently. Take a look here. We had a great time. Thanks to the people at Atlas Obscura, and who knows, maybe we’ll do it again in 2012.
Looking for long-ish roads to cover on my rides, I decided to ride Junction Street from its foot to its head, mostly to discover the Junction for which I assumed the street was named.
(BTW, the title of this post will probably mystify anyone younger than a baby boomer – it’s a reference to one part of the “Hooterville” trilogy – “The Beverly Hillbillies”, “Petticoat Junction”, and “Green Acres”.) All TeeVee Klassics.
On the way down to the start of Junction, I passed a “coming soon” sign for what I can only imagine is a motorcycle club:
Brick City? A nickname for Detroit that’s new to me
“Brick City”, according to Wikipedia, is the nickname of Newark New Jersey. Maybe this is a franchise of some kind. Over at the Urban Dictionary, the claim is made that the nickname “is derived from the large amount of crack bricks that can be purchased” [there]. Your guess is as good as mine as to the truthiness of that claim.
The Mies Van Der Rohe memorial on Lafayette is looking pretty sharp, though I can’t tell for sure whether the foliage is on purpose or is just weeds.
Sadly, “Less is More” appears to refer to the number of empty shops in the plaza
To get to Junction, I rode down Fort Street. Along the way, I passed McCarthy’s Pub. From what I can tell, via a cursory internet hunt, it’s open for business.
More incendiary delights awaited, as further along, I spotted a plume of smoke to my right. It so happened that I rode past a fire station shortly after I saw the smoke, and spoke to a firefighter who informed me it was a car fire. Sure enough, on Military & The Fisher Freeway service drive, a Mustang GT convertible was being doused with water.
Move along folks, nothing to see here
Making a detour onto Military turned out to be a good thing. I spotted this nice sign for a defunct appliance dealer:
Does a happy owner make for happy customers?
I also pedaled by an interesting metals provider. Devoted readers of this site will know that I have a particular fondness for misspelled signage. In this case, however, I suspect the word in question (you’ll spot it) is probably not a mistake as much as it is some nomenclature peculiar to that industry. You decide.
How much is that fine, anyway?
Back at the junction of Junction and West Jefferson, I began my trek up the street. I wouldn’t call this intersection a junction.
Riding in the Shadows of Mistersky
I began the hunt for whichever junction that was the inspiration for the street’s name. The junction of what. I don’t think a railroad crossing qualifies.
Not exactly a junction
Nor does a Mexican seafood restaurant.
Mmmm. Seafood. Not a junction
A bit further up, I passed one of two beautiful churches on Junction. This is Holy Redeemer.
A junction betwixt heaven and earth?
At the intersection of Junction and Vernor, I spotted some tracks in the pavement – but I think these were street car tracks, and, since they’re curved, seemed like an oxymoronic junction anyway.
Tour De Hood philosophical question: Can a curve without a stop be a junction?
At the same intersection, I spotted this nice Coney Sign. Not a junction.
Crossing under 4 railroad tracks near Junction and McGregor was the closest thing yet to a junction – but even they didn’t seem to be the inspiration for the street name.
Not a junction. Maybe an intersection
The second beautiful church I passed is St. Hedwig. Saint Hedwig, the Duchess of Silesia, was married at the age of 12(!) to Henry I “The Bearded”, had seven children, then took a vow of chastity. She’s the patron saint of brides and Bavaria (among other things).
Two towers do not a junction make
While junctions were difficult to find, riding up Junction Street led me past another great ghost sign. This one’s for Finck’s Overalls. I’m going to post a couple of photos. One of the sign itself,
Always look for the Union Label
the other, a close-up of Finck’s great advertising slogan:
“They wear like a Pig’s nose”. That’s a good thing
As usual, the superb blog Sweet Juniper got there first, and researched the company. Please pay the site a visit to read more.
Still, a mighty ghost sign is not a junction.
I was beginning to believe that there was no junction to be found on Junction Street. Detroit did have a Milwaukee Junction (about which you can read here), and there is a West Vernor-Junction historical district, but no actual junction that I could see. And I was running out of Junction Street.
Before its terminus, I cycled by this place for tots:
Nothing up my sleeve. Including a junction
The Kronk Community Center (on Junction & McGraw), looks as if it hasn’t been open since our former Mayor, Kwame “The Disreputable” Kilpatrick was in office.
Kwame Kilpatrick, jailbird
At Warren, Junction Street ends. Across Warren you’ll find Hazlett Street. But at the end of the road, no Junction. No Shady Rest. Just a do-it-all auto repair store.
Virtually no spelling errors! (Maybe there should be an “s” on “hose”)
Riding down Warren, I passed this nice community billboard
Look closely – there are ghosts on the swing set
Another sign attracted my attention. Simple and to the point.
I’ve heard of Parker House rolls, but not the sausage to go in them
I stopped, as is my wont, for refreshment and sustenance at the Avalon International Bakery. I had, unfortunately, missed their anniversary party. My cinnamon roll (with pecans), and a double short cappuccino were delicious, as always. I did espy this mysterious tag on the Avalon’s wall.
Paging Dr. Brule
Junctionless, but sated, the rest of the ride was over grounds that I’ve covered before, so I won’t bore you with repetition.
Afterword. Douglas Grant was kind enough to send me “The list of streets in Detroit, the names of which have been changed, with the dates of city ordinances changing the same”, published in 1891. Until March 19, 1887, Junction Avenue was named “Lover’s Lane”. Awww.