Thursday, January 21, 2010

Revisiting Woodward 60 years later

Well, here it is. Woodward looks so much different now than it did in 1949 (see the photo previously posted) that it's hard to even tell if this new picture is taken from the same angle, but I think it's close. The Kern's Clock that was originally mounted to the corner of the building is now a free-standing sculpture, a preservation that Peter Karmanos initiated when the Compuware Building was constructed.

Kern's - which opened in 1883 in a smaller building on St. Antoine - became one of the three largest department stores in Detroit, eventually growing into a five-story building at Woodward and Gratiot. It closed in 1959, which I believe is about when the malls in the suburbs started popping up.

As you can see in this new photo, the lot next door (once the site of the famous Hudson's department store) is now vacant, although footings are in place should anyone decide at some point to build a new high-rise there. More on the Kern's Clock some other time. I've got some other pretty cool pictures of it, and our crack research team is busy tracking down bits of its history.