New Center and Vicinity

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New Center consists of four primary buildings linked by skywalks: the former General Motors (Cadillac Place; WN76), Fisher ( WN77), New Center (Albert Kahn Building, 1931, Albert Kahn; 7430 2nd Avenue), and New Center One ( WN78). The baseline for the New Center development of the 1920s was W. Grand Boulevard, a broad street surrounding the city, envisioned in the 1870s as a “gravel road where gentlemen with fast horses could let out the reins,” though the street was not actually begun until 1891. Growth and movement toward the boulevard on the north were hastened by the coming of the electric railway in the 1890s, which made possible rapid transit out Woodward Avenue. By the 1920s the intersection of W. Grand Boulevard and Woodward Avenue was the geographic center of the city, easily reached from anywhere in the city by main avenues for automobiles and by transit lines within walking distance of residential neighborhoods. This new city center was removed from the congestion of downtown Detroit at the river's edge. Here General Motors built its world headquarters, and the Fisher brothers planned and built a new center of commerce for Detroit.

Writing Credits

Kathryn Bishop Eckert

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