Detroit's Lost Poletown
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Detroit's Lost Poletown

The Little Neighborhood That Touched a Nation

Brianne Turczynski

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eBook - ePub

Detroit's Lost Poletown

The Little Neighborhood That Touched a Nation

Brianne Turczynski

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About This Book

Poletown was a once vibrant, ethnically diverse neighborhood in Detroit. In its prime, it had a store on every corner. Its theaters, restaurants and schools thrived, and its churches catered to a multiplicity of denominations. In 1981, General Motors announced plans for a new plant in Detroit and pointed to the 465 acres of Poletown. Using the law of eminent domain with a quick-take clause, the city planned to relocate 4, 200 residents within ten months and raze the neighborhood. With unprecedented defiance, the residents fought back in vain. In 2004, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that the eminent domain law applied to Poletown was unconstitutional--a ruling that came two decades too late.

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Year
2021
ISBN
9781439671979
NOTES
Introduction
1. Arthur M. Woodford and Frank B. Woodford, All Our Yesterdays: A Brief History of Detroit (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1969), 26.
2. Ibid., 38–39.
3. Ibid.
4. Gayle Thornbrough, Outpost on the Wabash 1787–1791 (Indiana: Indiana Historical Society Publications, 1957), vol. 19, pp. 19, 20.
5. Ibid., 19.
The Lost Neighborhood
6. “Industrial Detroit: 1860–1900, ” Detroit Historical Society, detroithistorical.org/learn/timeline-detroit/industrial-detroit-1860-1900.
7. Ibid.
8. Ibid.
9. Allan R. Treppa, St. Albertus, “Everyone Welcome!” Sunday Mass Bulletin, September 28, 1980, Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit.
10. Greg Kowalski, interview, March 6, 2020.
11. Jeanie Wylie, Poletown: Community Betrayed (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1989), 2.
12. Jim Jaczkowski, interview, November 25, 2019.
13. Leslie Tentler, Seasons of Grace (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1990), 25.
14. Camille Einoder, “Polish Nation Libel, ” email correspondence, August 5, 2002. Bentley Historical Library.
15. “Polish-Americans Picket, ” Detroit Free Press, November 17, 1970, Dom Binkowski Collection Box 3, Polish American File, Special Events, Bentley Historical Library.
16. Thomas S. Gladsky, “Halicki Travel Agency (About), ” Polish American Historical Association Newsletter 57. nos. 1, 2 (March 2000), polishamericanstudies.org/files/public/2000-1-Spring.pdf.
17. Tentler, Seasons of Grace, 30.
18. “Social and Ethnic History Report, ” Environmental Impact Statement: William Kessler Architects, 1980, Walter P. Reuther Historical Library, 12.
19. John Smigielski, interview, September 24, 2019.
20. Ibid.
21. Jim Jaczkowski, interview, November 25, 2019.
22. Ibid.
23. Ibid.
24. Patricia Siergiej-Swarthout, interview, October 8, 2019.
25. Jaczkowski, interview.
26. Smigielski, interview.
Neighborhood Landmarks
27. “Industrial Detroit: 1860–1900, ” Detroit Historical Society, detroithistorical. org/learn/timeline-detroit/industrial-detroit-1860-1900.
28. Ibid.
29. “10,000 Men Seek to Share Ford Millions, ” United Press, January 6, 1914, Henry Ford Historical Collection, www.thehenryford.org/collections-and-research/digital-collections/artifact/74195/#slide=gs-200785.
30. Richard L. Fortall, “United States Census Bureau, ” March 27, 1995, Michigan Population of Counties by Decennial Census, www.census.gov/population/www/censusdata/cencounts/files/mi190090.txt.
31. “Social and Ethnic History Report, ” Environmental Impact Statement: William Kessler Architects, Box 3, File 2–3, 12.
32. Douglas Ilka, “The Main: Historic Plant Lives On in Detroit Lore, ” Detroit News, August 11, 1985, Hamtramck Public Library.
33. Patricia Montemurri and Jocelyne Zablit, “Hamtramck Rallies after Tough Times, ” Detroit Free Press, March 24, 1987, Hamtramck Public Library.
34. Bruce Garwood, interview, March 20, 2020.
35. “The Early History of St. Joseph’s Hospital, ” League of Catholic Women: Bulletin, April 1925, Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit.
36. Ibid.
37. Ibid.
38. Ibid.
39. “Home for Nurses to Be Dedicated, ” September 19, 1931, courtesy of the Burton Historical Library.
40. Ibid.
41. “St. Joseph’s Hospital Leaves Poletown, ” The Citizen, July 8, 1981, Hamtramck Public Library.
42. Milton Marwil, “The True Story of the Cemetery in the General Motors Parking Lot!” Jewish Historical Society of Michigan 33 (Winter 1992), courtesy of the Beth Olem Cemetery.
43. Ibid.
44. Ibid.
45. Ibid.
46. Ibid.
47. Larry Geromin, interview, September 20, 2019.
48. “Hervey C. Parke School, ” Library of Congress, www.loc.gov/item/mi0160.
49. “Social and Ethnic History Report, ” Environmental Impact Statement: William Kessler Architects, Box 3, File 2–3, 12.
50. “Letter from Father Bortnowski to His Excellency, The Rt. Rev. Bishop M.J. Gallagher, ” Januar...

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