Corktown and Environs, Detroit

I was driving around in the Hubbard Farms and Mexicantown neighborhoods, and I snapped these photos.

I also spotted the Michigan Central Terminal off in the distance; we’ll come back to it in a bit.

But then I finally found what I was looking for, which is the Corktown neighborhood, which claims to be the oldest surviving district in the city. It’s completely hemmed in by interstates and rail lines.

With Detroit thriving due to the lumber trade, it’s not surprising that this Irish American-dominated neighborhood is largely built of wood frame buildings.

As would be expected of a neighborhood that grew up largely in the decades before the Civil War, the housing stock in the Italianate style with simple corbels as ornamentation with gabled roofs.

Most of the houses along Bagley Street, which is where I photographed these homes, have been renovated.

There are a few brick houses, such as the cottage below; of course there are also some bay windows, as well.

The small workers’ cottages begin to show the influence of the Queen Anne Style, which you can see below.

More of that long in-fill appears, as well, like we saw in Brush Park.

I spotted one Greek Revival brick home, which we see in so many instances back in St. Louis. It sits right before the destruction wrought by an interstate right-of-way. I can only image what was lost.

Located southwest of Corktown is the second oldest continuously operating Catholic parish in the United States, St. Anne de Detroit, with roots going back to 1701.

The current church dates back to 1886, and marks the move from downtown Detroit, though it contains many furnishings from the so-called “stone church.”

It has minor basilica status, and unfortunately it was under reconstruction when I visited, so I did not attempt to go inside.

What a beautiful rectory! And there is not much Second Empire architecture really left in the city.

Nearby is the Ambassador Bridge, which connects Canada to the United States. It is notable for being a privately owned bridge, and now the two countries are building a new bridge to break the monopoly (sound familiar, St. Louisans?). The private owner was infamous for not maintaining the bridge and trying to squeeze as much money as possible from it, even going to jail at one point for contempt of court. He’s dead now, and unfortunately was not able to take his money with him.

I tried to get to the star-shaped Fort Wayne, but construction for the new bridge had too many streets blocked off.

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