Detroit April 27, 2022
10 Then And Now Photos In Detroit That Show Just How Much It Has Changed
Life in Detroit has always been multifaceted and utterly unique. After all, the Motor City is overflowing with one-of-a-kind businesses, historical significance, and loads of fascinating places – and this has been the case for generations. If you’re fascinated by Detroit’s earlier days, we’ve got the perfect collection of photos for you to check out today. While we certainly don’t recommend living in the past, there’s something to be said for looking back now and then to see how much things have changed (or how much they haven’t). You can do just that while perusing these incredible then and now photos of Detroit.
1. Belle Isle Zoo
No matter how long you’ve called Detroit home, you undoubtedly recognize Belle Isle as one of the city’s true gems. There’s so much to see on this magnificent island park, from brilliant skyline views to a historic lighthouse to a long-standing aquarium that the whole family will enjoy. But did you know that there was once a beloved zoo on Belle Isle? Opened all the way back in 1895, the once-bustling Detroit Children’s Zoo (also known as the Belle Isle Zoo and, later, Safariland) operated until the early 2000s. Today, the zoo is a destination for urban explorers, as it sits in disrepair and serves as a reminder of happier times.
2. Campus Martius Park
Campus Martius Park is a popular meeting spot for Detroiters of all ages. From lunch breaks at work to family gatherings, there’s always something happening here – not to mention plenty of exciting holiday events throughout the year. The park was founded in 1850, so there’s a real sense of history to be discovered. The first photo depicts Campus Martius as it appeared between 1910 and 1920 (an exact date is unknown). The second photo shows a modern-day Campus Martius. While some surrounding buildings have changed and streetcars and horse-drawn buggies are no longer the norm, you might recognize the Michigan Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument in both photos.
3. Michigan Central Station
It’s no secret that Michigan Central Station is something of an icon here in the Motor City, likely more well-known in its abandonment than during its years of operation. This former train station first opened its doors in 1913 and served as a central point for travelers making their way to and from Detroit. Sadly, the building shuttered in the late 1980s and eventually fell into disrepair. While some have considered the abandoned station an eyesore over the years, others have sought to retain the historical significance it brings to the city – and the building is currently undergoing extensive renovations by Ford. We’re eager to see what the next phase holds for this incredible structure.
4. Woodward Avenue
If you’ve spent even a single day in Detroit, you know that Woodward Avenue is at the heart of the city. This “main drag” is home to countless restaurants, attractions, parks, and other establishments throughout downtown Detroit and beyond. The first photo in our duo shows Woodward as it appeared on a snowy day in the early 1900s (likely sometime between 1900 and 1910). In the distance, you’ll notice the tall spire of the once-commanding Woodward Avenue Baptist Church, which was dedicated in 1887 and burned to the ground a full century later. The modern photo shows a changed but recognizable view of the same Woodward section, which runs alongside Little Caesars Arena.
5. Grand Circus Park
Detroit’s many parks are at the heart of its charm, as evidenced above by photos of Campus Martius Park. Grand Circus is another one of the city’s most unique and long-standing parks, founded back in the 1860s and operating as part of the broader Grand Circus Park Historic District. The first photo, snapped around 1910, shows pedestrians out and about in the park – along with a great view of Central United Methodist Church. The updated photo depicts an altered but recognizable parkside space, with the church still standing. Today, this spot is just feet from the entrance to Comerica Park.
So, there you have it: an incredible glimpse into the Motor City’s past (and present). Do you have any other then-and-now photos of Detroit to share? We’re always eager to hear from our readers, so drop us a line in the Facebook comments or tell us about another bit of local history by completing our
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Can’t get enough history? You’ll enjoy checking out these fascinating
photos from Detroit in the 1920s. Address: Detroit, MI, USA