View From The Rear View Mirror
by Chris Edwards (photos courtesy of Detroit
|Vernors Ginger Ale
many expatriates still crave unattainable Detroit food
products, which are indelibly etched into their psyches.
how many events have been captured in newsprint in the last 125
years or so. Sadly many of these tales are buried in archives, inaccessible
to the public, unless you enjoy sifting through microfiche
a useful technology for archivists but not for mass communication.
With the advent of the internet, it would seem that the perfect
vehicle had been invented to distribute archival newspaper stories.
Lucky for you, oh reader, that The Walkerville Times has expended
much energy to bring you the life and times of the Border
Cities online at walkervilletimes.com.
The same cannot be said for our friends at The Windsor Star (formerly
The Border Cities Star before amalgamation in 1935) with its vast
collection of stories and photos from our past. Unfortunately, these
archives are not yet available online.
The Star could learn a thing or two by shifting their gaze across
the river to The Detroit News. The Rearview Mirror is an ambitious
internet project undertaken by a newspaper that obviously cherishes
its heritage and puts its money where its mouth is. The Rearview
Mirror, Yesterdays News From Our Archives, is
an undertaking that is dazzling in scope and breadth.
Who amongst our readers has not felt the influence of our larger
neighbour to the North? The Detroit River separates us, yet we have
much in common where else do two international cities share
so much: the birth of the auto, the struggles of organized labour,
Bob-Lo island, Hudsons downtown store, TV commercials (Youre
on the right track to Nine Mile and Mack), beautiful tall buildings
that loom like a mountainous landscape from anywhere in our fair
city, sports heroes, and more.
The first car winds its
way through the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel in 1930.
The Rearview Mirror is very easy to navigate, and anyone with modest
computer skills can easily find their way around and much
to appreciate. In fact, the biggest problem may be deciding how
to spend ones time there are more than 200 articles
and over 1,000 photos. This site will jog your memory and set the
way-back machine as far back as you care to remember.
Detroits beautiful tall buildings
loom like distant mountains throughout Windsor
Viewers will enjoy the 100+ photo galleries these are simple
to use, and feature a slide show metaphor. Much forethought went
into the gallerys design: they pop up in a new window, photos
load fast and the window closes when you are done the webisode.
Very nifty indeed. A great way to explore all the photo galleries
is to click on the Index of Galleries button when viewing a slide
show you could lose a whole day looking at all the images.
The home page highlights some of the more popular stories, and includes
seven main sections: Business and Industry, Government and Institutions,
Life and Michigan, Locations, Notable Events, People, and Sports.
As a tribute to Detroits 300th anniversary, the News also
printed several special features in the paper last year these
are now housed in the Rearview Mirror, including Detroit and Its
River, Detroit and Its Gangsters, and East Ferry: Avenue of Dreams.
For the impatient, there are links at the bottom of most pages that
lead you to an index of all the stories a massive table of
So lets set the way-back machine, Sherman, and enter Business
and Industry. A personal favourite stop is Snack Foods
and Pop, Detroit Style what a great place to start.
Vernors Ginger Ale on Woodward, Faygo Root Beer, Better Made
Potato Chips. I know many expatriates who still crave these unattainable
products, as they are indelibly etched into their psyches. In Detroiters
and Their Beer let us remember when the great beers
of yesteryear were quaffed, including those from the famed Strohs
Brewery, certainly not the best local brew but definitely the most
Railroad ferries long carried freight
across the Detroit River between the Detroit and Windsor.
Here the Huron of Sarnia is stuck fast in the ice facing Windsor
can ever forget Hudsons after visiting as a child at Christmas?
Take a journey back there in How J.L. Hudson Changed the Way
We Shopped. I wish I had a buck for every time Ive heard
someone mention the downtown Hudson store and its great Christmas
traditions. Heres some Hudsons trivia from the site:
By 1953 the 49-acre store had 12,000 employees and was making
100,000 sales per day. It used as much electricity as the city of
Ypsilanti. It had a legendary delivery force of 500 drivers and
300 trucks. It boasted five restaurants which made 14,000 meals
per day. The Hudsons Maurice salad delighted lunchers for
many years, its recipe a closely guarded secret until the store
bowed to thousands of requests and made it public. Now thats
what I call trivia!
Tired of winter? You may want to check out Life in Michigan,
where you can read about the worst snowstorms of our past. Fortunately,
we have never come close to eclipsing the one day snowfall record
set on April 6, 1886 of 24.5 inches!