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How Detroit grew around Hamtramck and Highland Park


If you have studied a political map of Detroit, you've probably wondered how the city ended up with two separate cities inside of it. Thankfully, WDET has explained how the cities of Hamtramck and Highland park came to be surrounded by the city of Detroit.

According to WDET:
 
As Detroit’s population grew, so did its landmass thanks to annexation. Surrounding townships didn’t have a local government and only existed for election and property tax purposes. So cities could easily swallow up them up. By 1891, Detroit had annexed its way to the modern day southern borders of Hamtramck and Highland Park. 

An encroaching Detroit spurred the areas to take action. And to strengthen local government, Highland Park incorporated as a village in 1889 and Hamtramck two years later.

 
When the state of Michigan passed the Home Rule Cities Act in 1908, Hamtramck and Highland Park were able to incorporate themselves as cities, thus protecting the economic interests that had grown within their borders.
 
By the time the Home Rule Cities Act was introduced, Henry Ford had already purchased land in Highland Park to build his Model T complex. The Dodge Brothers were two years away from opening the Dodge Main in Hamtramck. And as 1915 rolls around, Detroit started moving north again, annexing more and more of Greenfield and Hamtramck townships. Within a year, Detroit had completely surrounded the villages. 
 
At around the same time, the two villages exploded in population, thanks to the auto industry. This growth was enticing to Detroit. There had been formal attempts by Detroit to annex Highland Park and Hamtramck after 1908 but they failed to even make it to a vote. Why? Lupher says the answer is simple. Corporate power.
 
Read more about the origins of Hamtramck and Highland Park at WDET.org.

Got what it takes to make a whizbang website for Hamtramck?

The city of Hamtramck, Michigan's densest city, is requesting quotes for the redevelopment of its website.

According to an Request for Quotes, "The City of Hamtramck seeks qualified vendors to provide professional Internet web site design, development and implementation services for the redesign of the Cities [sic] current Website located at http://www.hamtramckcity.com. The city is seeking a redesigned modern work product with an enhanced graphic identity, value added features to provide capabilities and functions not currently available and capabilities to encompass emerging technologies such as GIS and streaming video for future enhancement.

Quotes must be submitted to:

City of Hamtramck
Clerk’s Office
3401 Evaline
Hamtramck, Michigan 48212

Quotes are due by September 23, 2014 at 10:00 a.m.

Local governments in metro Detroit don't have a great track record of building great websites -- anyone who's spent time on Detroit or Hamtramck's sites can attest to that. This is an opportunity to help a local government enter the 21st century.

Michigan Urban Farming Initiative intern to live in city's first shipping container house

A lucky intern at the nonprofit Michigan Urban Farming Initiative will become the first person to inhabit a house made from a shipping container, reports the Detroit News.

The container is currently being converted into occupiable housing in the parking lot of General Motor’s Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant. Once completed, it will be moved to Michigan Urban Farming Initiative's headquarters on Brush Street in New Center.

The nonprofit purchased the container for $3,000, but estimates that it will cost between $20,000 and $25,000 to convert it into a home. According the News, "Local GM workers will volunteer to convert the container into a home and 85 percent of the materials will be scrap from local GM plants."

Read more in the Detroit News.

Good Tyme Writers' Buffet returns to Hamtramck's Public Pool

How many times do you lie in a day, in a month, in a year? Is a lie the opposite of truth or simply the absence of truth? It’s safe to say that literature is a vast collection of lies, and writers are absolutely the very best liars. 

Bullshit or not, on April 19 at Public Pool in Hamtramck (3309 Caniff), six writers will potluck, neighborhood-style, and read short works on the subject of LIES. 

Martin Anand will DJ

Come potluck with us. Talk, Drink, Eat, Listen. 

Readers include:

Maia Asshaq
Hillary Cherry
Lolita Hernandez
Steve Hughes
Mark Maynard
Chris Tysh

Learn more here.

Hell yeah, Hamtramck!

Blowing up this week on Facebook, this gem of a list features many of our favorite Hamtown spots, including the underrated Krakus Polish restaraunt (people, just go; it's actiually in Detroit, just north of the Hamtramck city limits), Recycled Treasures, B&H Bar & Grill (one of two Bosnian-owned food businesses on Caniff), Planet Ant Theatre, Srodek's Quality Sausage (ask for the blood sausage, called kieska in Polish), Lo & Behold and Public Pool. Oh, hell, here are the other gems in the story: Hamtramck Disneyland, St. Florian Church, New Palace Bakery and the Detroit Zen Center. That makes 10. All great.

Read all about it here.

Move to Hamtramck real estate site launches

We think all Detroit neighborhoods should have a "Move to" inititiative and it looks like some enterprising folks in Hamtramck have the exact same idea. Why not create an online forum where people can find houses, apartments, buildings and businesses for sale or rent? Why not, indeed.

Hamtown has urban assets aplenty, incuding food, art, music, walkable neighborhoods, ethnic diversity and affordability -- with bike lane connectivity to Eastern Market, Midtown and the Riverfront coming soon. 

Check it out on Facebook and Twitter.

Martin Anand's 'Big Happy Lie Did Not Come True'' opens at Public Pool

Since moving to Detroit from Dusseldorf in the 1990s, Martin Anand has been a contributor to the electronic music community as a producer, promoter, independent label owner, artist and DJ. Anand has also contributed to Detroit's art, literary and food scenes as an abstract expressionist painter, writer, critical theorist, marathon conversationalist, vegan sandwich maker and juicer. 

The unconventional, multi-layered show, called The Big Happy Lie Did Not Come True and opening March 8 at Hamtramck's Public Pool, features a three person music collaboration during the reception featuring Anand and special guests. Also part of the show are visual and literary works by Anand and Detroit painter Don Staes, a classically trained abstract expressionist inspired by Mexican muralists. Staes is known to return again and again to unfinished paintings, adding layers years after beginning the pieces. 

Anand moved to Detroit from Germany in large part for the city's techno music scene. His musical interests coincided with what some regarded as a "third wave" of Detroit electronic music production in the late 1990s, when artists like Adult., Ectomorph, Dopplereffekt, Perspects, Goudron and other electro specialists were peaking. He founded the label Kenaob in 2004 and released music by Andy Toth, Colin Zyskowski and Charles Preset. Later, he was also associated with Toth (ex-Detroit Grand Pubahs) and Zyskowski on the Woodbridge-based People Mover Productions label.

Anand then opened and operated Atom's Java & Juice Bar in Grosse Pointe Park, where his art, poetry and critical writing filled the walls while DJs from Detroit Techno Militia, Paris '68 and solo artists like Andy Garcia, Greg Mudge and George Rahme filled the room with strange, often discordant music.

Join us at Public Pool for this unique exhibition of visual works, confrontational words and abrasive sounds -- all making up what Anand calls "social sculpture." During the run of the show, the artist will be spending Saturdays at the gallery talking, listening, debating and arguing with anyone who drops in. 

The The Big Happy Lie Did Not Come True runs from March 8 through April 19. Saturday gallery hours are 1-6 p.m.

Public Pool is at 3309 Caniff, in Hamtramck.

Global Detroit audio: Thoughts on Gov. Snyder's immigration initiative

Steve Tobocman, director of Global Detroit, makes a strong case that not only could the city use highly-skilled, college educated immigrants -- which Gov. Snyder outlined in his recent State of the State address -- but that the city needs more working class foreign-born newcomers as a way to revitalize the local economy.

Check out this audio report on Michigan Radio. Mighty important stuff, indeed. Listen here.

New America Media: Immigrants key to Detroit revival

This report in New America Media, especpially the following three paragraphs, caught our eye last week. Who can doubt that welcoming immigrant communities to Detroit is an excellent idea? 

An excerpt:

While Detroit’s population has gone down by about 26 percent, the Latino population, particularly in the southeast side of the city, known as "Mexicantown," continues to rise, along with Latino-owned businesses.

Over the last two decades, according to census data, Detroit’s Latino population nearly doubled to 50,000 in 2010. Latinos in the city are also fairly young, with a median age of 24. 

According to an Associated Press report, more than $200 million in the past 15 years has been invested in Mexicantown, a few miles from downtown Detroit. This investment has attracted more restaurants, retail stores, and new residential buildings, including an $11 million condominium development.

Read more here.

Very Zen: Raw food rules at Hamtown's Buddhist center

When thinking of food options in Hamtramck the list is most impressive: ethnic choices (South Asian, Middle Eastern, Polish, Balkan) abound, not to mention new kitchens at Rock City Eatery and Revolver rolling out creative takes on American classic dishes.

But don't forget the café at the Detroit Zen Center (tucked away in a residential neighborhood at the corner of Casmere and Mitchell streets, one block east of Jos, Campau), says Melody Baetens of the Detroit News.

An excerpt: 

The café is rustic, clean and warm, and can seat a few dozen. Diners can choose to sit at low tables on a raised, heated platform, or in traditional tables and chairs.

Food is cooked in an open kitchen, the same used to make the center’s line of Living Zen Organics food, which includes kale chips, fresh kale salad, raw granola, raw brownies and flax crackers. (Living Zen Organic products can be found at Eastern Market, Western Market in Ferndale, Honey Bee market in Detroit, Plum Markets and healthy food stores across Metro Detroit.)

Read on here.

Public Pool show challenges ideas of art

In a new show exploring the age-old question of what makes art, yes, art, Public Pool presents ART AS ANTI-ART IS ART from Jan. 11 through Feb. 22. This group show features six Detroit artists, each of whom take a non-traditional approach using every day materials to express their ideas. Does art become artless if the core material is duck tape, or scraps of carpet, or pigeon feathers, or everyday trash? 

The show features everything from duct-taped paintings to a bass-guitar boat to a catch-scratch sculpture. 

In a special presentation on opening night (Jan. 11) Public Pool welcomes a Q & A session with international art critic Arthur Dotwieller, on loan from the Vandermiron Trust Estate Collection in Liechtenstein. Dotwieller will offer his thoughts on the works in the show and art in general, and, for the first time in his career, take questions from the audience.

Featured artists include: Matt Ziolkowski, Claire D'Aoust, Dylan Spaysky, Bridget Michael, Kathy Leisen, Geoff Burkhart, and Dan Miller (performance).

Public Pool is at 3009 Caniff in Hamtramck.

Two Hamtown buildings could be bargain for right bidder

Two buildings on Jos. Campau in Hamtramck could be just the prime ticket for the right developer, if you read between the lines in this article on an upcoming closed bid in the Hamtramck Review. An excerpt:

The first to go up for bid is a partially developed loft space on Jos. Campau and Goodson, a former veterans post.
          
The city acquired the property for $40,000 after a developer failed to finish the project. The city, however, ran out of time and perhaps money to complete the project. The city will be seeking sealed bids for the property.
          
It could be quite a steal for the lucky bidder. The upper floor has already been converted into two lofts, while the downstairs is open for any configuration or purpose, including turning it into a retail space.
         
The next city-owned building to be put up for bid is the largest in the Jos. Campau business district, at the corner of Belmont. The four-story building came into the city’s possession due to a foreclosure.

A would-be developer had a state grant to tap into to help with rehab costs, but he could not secure a bank loan to finance the project.

The potential for this building is unlimited, and for the right developer a goldmine. Read the rest of the story here.

Sounds good to us. To submit a sealed bid, mail it to:

City of Hamtramck, Office of the City Clerk, 3401 Evaline, Hamtramck, MI 48212

Minimum bid is $145,500 and every bidder must submit a certified check in an amount equaling 10 percent of their bid. Make check out to Treasurer, City of Hamtramck. Bids are due Dec. 18, 3 p.m. That's this Wednesday. 

To see photos of the Goodson building, inside and out, go here.

Public Pool to host fundraiser for Hamtown Farms

Last week, we reported on Hamtown Farms' efforts to raise money to keep its green investment moving forward on Lumpkin St. just south of Holbrook in Hamtramck.
 
Michael Davis, who launched the community-based project in 2012, is attempting to raise $10,000 to purchase the lots where his productive garden grows. The lots are presently owned by the city of Hamtramck. Neighboring Kowalski Sausage has said it is also interested in purchasing the property.
 
This week, the Farms' allies in Hamtramck are stepping up to help support the project. 
 
On Wednesday (that's tomorrow, Nov. 13), Rock City Eatery servers will be asking patrons if they'd like to give $3 to the farm. If they say yes, $3 will be added to their bill. The truly fab Rock City is at 11411 Jos. Campau, one block north of Caniff.
 
On Friday, Nov. 15 a benefit dinner is being held at the Hamtramck Moose Lodge #1670. The lodge is at 9421 Conant (that's a block and a half north of Holbrook). Dinner starts at 6 p.m. $10 donation.

And on Saturday, Nov. 16, Public Pool (3309 Caniff, Hamtramck) hosts a presentation by Davis, who will talk about the Hamtown Farms project and its current campaign to raise funds. Also on the bill are Hamtramck Mayor Karen Majewski and Model D Green City diarist Matthew Piper, who wrote this piece last year that included Hamtown Farms.
 
The event begins with a reception at 6:30 p.m. An art show called Cut Paste Borrow Burn, featuring work by Hamtramck collage artists Anne Harrington Hughes and Christina Galasso, is currently up. Viewing of the exhibit is encouraged. Expect good beer, good wine and good snacks. Invited guests begin their talk at around 7 p.m. Donations will be accepted throughout the evening.

Hamtown Farms raising funds to save green investment

Last summer, we ran this great piece that included Hamtown Farms as part of our Green City Diaries series. We have followed the efforts of urban farmer Michael Davis before and after the piece. And now we report a potential hiccup in the progress of this noble project. Under emergency finacial management, Hamtramck was about to sell the city-owned land to neighboring Kowalski Sausage, which has designs on converting it into a "a parking lot or a buffer." (Now hold on, Kowalski, we love your kielbasa and assorted lunch meats, not to mention you guys have the best neon sign in the entire region, but a parking lot vs. a productive urban farm that has already planted myriad seeds of cultural growth in the community is simply no contest.)

An excerpt from Eclecta: 

The good news is that Hamtown Farms has received what Michael Davis is calling "mind blowing support." They have created a fundraising page at the crowd-funding website Indiegogo. It is their hope that they will raise enough money to be able to outbid any other groups in the auction, including Kowalski Sausage, and then own the property outright.

One more thing: this is a major opportunity lost by Kowalski Sausage. They could be the good guys here, the good corporate citizen that made an investment in their community to make it a better place to live. Instead, they have chosen not to do this and, in fact, to do the exact opposite. They told Emergency Manager Square that they didn’t have any specific plans for the land, they "just wanted to have it." They told Fox News Detroit it would be turned into a "parking lot or a buffer." What could have been a tremendous contribution to the community is ending up being a public relations disaster for Kowalski Sausage. If they see turning this remarkable farm space into a parking lot as somehow a good thing will benefit them, they are decidedly wrong. It's hard to imagine why they think this is a good approach. Read more here.

Fundraising continues until Nov. 19 here.

Planet Ant celebrates 20 years of creativity

Planet Ant Theatre celebrates its 20th anniversary with an evening of performances featuring current and former Planet Ant artists Friday, Oct. 11 at Detroit's Gem Theatre.

This event will celebrate the theatre's rich history of music, theatre and improv comedy. Hosted by Planet Ant Artistic Director Shawn Handlon, performances will include musical numbers taken from some of Planet Ant's best original productions, improv from the renowned Planet Ant Home Team and The 313, plus live band performances by 19.5 Collective, The Twilight Babies, and Pewter Club with Scott Sanford.

Tickets for Planet Ant's 20th Anniversary event are $30 balcony and $50 main floor and are available now here. Doors open at 7 p.m. with performances beginning at 8 p.m. A cash bar will be available, and a $10 discount is available for anyone who has been involved with a Planet Ant show or production. The Gem Theatre is at 333 Madison Ave, downtown Detroit.
 

180 Hamtramck Articles | Page: | Show All
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