The Lost Detroit (and Michigan)

In its heyday, it was probably the largest of the suburban malls. But it also had a reputation for being the most dangerous, due to all the crime (shoplifting, violent crime, etc.) that took place there from the 80s onward, especially being on "The Border." That drove off a lot of traffic to the mall, especially with newer malls further in the 'burbs that didn't have all the crime Northland had at the time.

The Hudson's there, however, was the largest, and they had a holiday display in the basement that none of the other locations had. (Hudson's later became Marshall-Fields, then Macy's. Everyone I know liked Hudson's the best.)

That Target was the first part of Northland to be demolished. I think the plan is to save the Hudson's building as a shopping/entertainment complex, and the rest of the property used for residential and retail operations. Looking at a recent Street View image, plans are to call it Hudson's City Market. (The red brick building is the Hudson's, and the red banner on the fence shows its new name.)

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It was shifting demographics of neighborhoods that killed many of our biggest malls in Ohio, including Rolling Acres- the mall that became the poster-mall for apocalyptic abandoned rust belt malls, after a photo of its once-beautiful commons-area and glass elevator went viral, with it all covered in snow, open to the elements, looking like something out of The Walking Dead.

Sure, retail was changing but a few other malls in the area survived (Summit Mall is looking better than ever). Rolling Acres was in a neighborhood that succumbed to thieving and violence in the early 90s and just got worse from there. The mall cut the security staff in a bone-headed move to save costs, there was an incident of a panicked stampede coming out of a movie where somebody thought they'd heard a gunshot, and then another well-publicized assault around the same time, and soon people just stopped going.
 
It was shifting demographics of neighborhoods that killed many of our biggest malls in Ohio

Sure, retail was changing but a few other malls in the area survived (Summit Mall is looking better than ever).

It's been a puzzling mix here. On the east side, we already had Lakeside Mall, then some Einstein decided that just a few miles down Hall Rd. that they would open an outdoor mall, Partridge Creek (built on an old golf course property). All I see that it did was split the stores between two locations, and both malls suffered. Partridge Creek lost its main anchor tenants years ago, and other retailers slowly pulled out--it always came across to me as a half-baked mall. Lakeside is done, aside from Macy's and JC Penney remaining after they demolish the rest of the mall and change it allegedly into retail and residential.

Seeing Westland in its current shape was sad. I don't think we visited after Macy's left but prior to that, vacancy was very low and the mall was thriving.

Nowadays, Twelve Oaks (largest remaining mall in the metro area) is thriving, and the upscale Somerset Mall also seems to be doing quite well. Macomb Mall has retooled itself and has filled in with better anchor stores.

But of the other malls, the only mall in the "directional" malls is Southland, that is still hanging on, as it's the only mall that far into the Downriver area. Westland looks like it's on its last legs, and both Eastland and Northland are gone now.

I don't know how Fairlane held up. And we haven't visited Oakland Mall in year but it still seems to be doing OK as it has one of the remaining Macy's stores.
 
@Ernie What was the name of the mall over by the first AK Fest hotel? I wonder if it still exists.

Northland. It's long gone and the area is being redeveloped. Costco just built a Business Center there. I recognized the are when I went over there. We bought our wedding rings at a jeweler there 33 years ago!

Is this Hotel (Southfield Plaza Hotel Tower) the site of the first AK Fest?

 
Is this Hotel (Southfield Plaza Hotel Tower) the site of the first AK Fest?


Yup, that’s the one.
Sad to see what it’s become. Even when the AK Fests were there, it wasn’t at its best. But, you can see that it was once a lovely, luxurious hotel. Very sad.
I will never forget the AK fests, and all the rounds of elevator roulette. Great fun.
 
Yup, that’s the one.
Sad to see what it’s become. Even when the AK Fests were there, it wasn’t at its best. But, you can see that it was once a lovely, luxurious hotel. Very sad.
I will never forget the AK fests, and all the rounds of elevator roulette. Great fun.

I went to this event, knowing nothing about AK, thinking it was a modern audio show. After wandering around for an hour or so I was asked to leave. I was told it was a private event and I had not paid. It was kind of a strange experience as I liked some of the systems but did not feel welcomed. As I remember I got to the floor the Fest started on via a stairway, as the elevators were kaput. That might have been why I missed the sign-in/payment table.
 
I went to this event, knowing nothing about AK, thinking it was a modern audio show. After wandering around for an hour or so I was asked to leave. I was told it was a private event and I had not paid. It was kind of a strange experience as I liked some of the systems but did not feel welcomed. As I remember I got to the floor the Fest started on via a stairway, as the elevators were kaput. That might have been why I missed the sign-in/payment table.
Yeah, the registration was not on the main floor. So I can see how you could have gone wrong with that. I wonder who through you out. Likely because you were missing a badge? As a mauderator, I got a fancy badge with my avatar on it. High class!
 
Is this Hotel (Southfield Plaza Hotel Tower) the site of the first AK Fest?

Yup, that’s the one.
Sad to see what it’s become. Even when the AK Fests were there, it wasn’t at its best. But, you can see that it was once a lovely, luxurious hotel. Very sad.
I attended an audio show back in 1977 or so (I remember Mobile Fidelity had released their very first three reissue titles, and it was a big deal at the show). But I don't remember the hotel looking like this.

I seem to remember the hotel (which was also by Northland Mall) had red bricks on part of the front of it, similar to the bricks Hudson's used in their building. It was most certainly on Northland Drive.

The second audio show I attended was at Cobo Hall, which was spread among all the smaller meeting rooms, not in the main part of the hall (where the Auto Show was held).
 
I don't know if I posted this elsewhere, but I spotted something familiar to those of us who were youngsters in this area. This was from a Rust Belt rally back in 2022, which ended in Buffalo, NY. I don't know why, but I glanced over the side of the bridge I was driving over, and this immediately caught my eye. What were the chances?

(Sorry the picture is dog-doo, but I had to zoom in from a long distance and crop the photo.)

Recognize?

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If that isn't enough...here's an even worse zoomed-in photo from the reverse side, through a couple of fences (I could not get closer).

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This was the silo the boat was parked next to. (You can see it way at the bottom of the stairs on the left side.)

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And another unused silo off the same lot.

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@Rudy My father was a Great Lakes sailor, he retired as Captain of the William Clay Ford II, which is still sailing, but now named the Lee A Tregurtha.


He used to say the Boblo ships were the most dangerous on the lakes. The 12-foot draught and cargo that could freely move about the upper decks freaked him out. That said, I do not believe there was ever an incident with either ship.
 
He used to say the Boblo ships were the most dangerous on the lakes. The 12-foot draught and cargo that could freely move about the upper decks freaked him out. That said, I do not believe there was ever an incident with either ship.
I don't recall an incident either. All I remember is that not too long ago, the restoration of the St. Clair was set back due to a fire on board, which destroyed a lot of the wood. And aside from that, despite my last trip on one of the vessels being many decades ago, there was always something a little foreboding about riding on them. I'd been in other boats plenty of times (our extended family had a few, and we were regularly out on Lake St. Clair), but something about those Bob-Lo boats made me uneasy. I get the feeling your dad had that same feeling that I did (although I couldn't put it into words).

The last trip I remember was for a Barbershopper outing. The Lakeshore Chorus (which my grandfather and, at one time, both uncles belonged to) would hire it for the evening and while I don't remember much, there was a live band on board, and Barbershoppers doing Barbershopper things (which, as legend tells it, involved copious amounts of spirits).
 
I lived in Allen Park in the 1950s and went on the Bob-Lo boat a couple of times. Fort Wayne was cool; that's where I first became interested in Italian trace fortifications.
 
I lived in Allen Park in the 1950s and went on the Bob-Lo boat a couple of times. Fort Wayne was cool; that's where I first became interested in Italian trace fortifications.
Allen Park. Could you see the big tire from your house? One of my work buddies grew up in Allen Park and is a proud Allen Park High graduate.
 
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