This post continues a series using the Alphabet to go through streets that were significant in my life as part of the “Family History Through the Alphabet” challenge.
In 1969 I moved into my first apartment at 11750 N. Martindale and Elmhurst in Detroit. I was working at the Black Star Clothing Factory. To get to work I would walk a block down Elmhurst to Broadstreet. There I stopped by for a fellow sewer who lived on the corner. We would walk the 1.2 miles down Broadstreet to the Black Star Clothing Factory on Whitfield. According to Google Maps it takes 24 minutes to walk it. I think we were faster.
By the time the factory moved into the basement of the Shrine of the Black Madonna Cultural Center on Livernois, at the other end of Broadstreet, my walking partner was no longer working at the Clothing factory and I walked the 1.1 miles by myself. Google Maps says it takes 22 minutes.
I worked at sewing from March 1969 to November of 1969. I was not chased by dogs, accosted by maniacs, or any other disasters on my walks. The only outstanding event was that one day I bought an ironing board after work and carried it home the whole 1.2 miles.
View Broadstreet Avenue in a larger map
My aunt and uncle, Anna (Cleage) and Winslow Shreve lived at 12636 Broadstreet until 2010. Whenever I visited Detroit from Idlewild I tried to stop in for a visit.
We would have cookies and coffee or tea. One time Winslow was making oatmeal, so I had oatmeal. They would tell me about how things used to be in Detroit, how it was living there now. And always had a good family story or two.
While working on this post I spent several hours “walking” through my old Detroit neighborhoods on Google Maps. Seeing the buildings that are gone, the ones that are trashed, the ones that are well kept and the ones that are boarded up, was depressing. When I do the next street, I will try not to go traipsing down side streets to see how the neighborhood is doing because most of my old neighborhoods are doing terrible. Here’s something good though, Anna said that one thing that made their house livable through all of the decline was that there was a park across the street so that she could look out of the window at trees. The park seems to still be in good condition.