Commercial Archeology

The Land of the Cross-Tipped Churches & Trail of Tears

My parents grew up on farms east of Muncie, Indiana where and I was born at Ball Hospital. We moved to Benton Harbor, Michigan at age 8. When I moved to Detroit age at 20, I began my annual drive “Down to Indiana” on Wednesdays, the day before the annual family Thanksgiving Dinner – usually […]

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Photographic and Historical Record of Detroit’s Dissolving Outdoor Advertisements

Detroit outdoor advertising wall signs are nearly gone.

Most of the architectural canvas is gone too.

Uneeda Biscuit was incredibly successful on the East Coast with the original idea of wall advertising. Uneeda Biscuit was the first product of the National Biscuit Company (NBC, now Nabisco).


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Detroit-Area Food Distribution During Global Pandemic

Hunger is a huge problem. Individuals, businesses, churches and charities in Greater Detroit are doing their best to help stave off hunger. I began documenting Metro food distribution in October of 2020; as the months pass, the need is certainly accelerating. Detroit’s Afro American Mission on Clay Street sits quietly between two of the last […]

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Tiny Homes and Big Scripture on President Woodrow Wilson Avenue Detroit, Michigan

There is a lot going on in a small section of town that contains … almost nothing. President Woodrow Wilson Avenue in Detroit initially reflected the residential prosperity of Detroit, circa 1913. The building is the People’s Block. Nowadays, the President Woodrow Wilson (W.W.) corridor neighborhood is nearly vacant. It’s certainly wide enough to land […]

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No More Bullshit – Political Lawn Signs Run the Gamut in 2020, Oakland County, Michigan

I did not have to travel more than a couple of miles from my Royal Oak home, heading east, to find a huge diversity in political lawn advertising.  I suspect that the farther north I traveled the more diversity I’d find. Perhaps you know that the “My Governor is an IDIOT/Pure Moron” sign is based […]

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Detroit: Write On !

And thou shalt write […] upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates  –  Deuteronomy 11:20 As the Detroit urban landscape suffers abandonment and the population dwindles, the desire and motivation to deliver a hand-written public statement to inspire and alert are stymied by lack of people and walls. The longtime resource […]

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Detroit: SEE-FOOD Capital of America

Small restaurants that once served a dense residential population have nearly disappeared in Detroit.  To attract attention to their wares, these small businesses had to communicate quickly with people passing by in automobiles and on foot, and chose to do so with images of food painted on walls. Here, the simple message is unmistakable and […]

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Hair Today-Gone Tomorrow in Detroit

Hair care in Detroit is a huge cash business. Beauty salons, predominantly female owned, and male-owned barbershops, take on unwanted retail space in nearly-impossible locations along major streets. The goal is to establish an independent money flow in the city’s often-difficult financial environment, and involves spending long hours on your feet. Building a regular client […]

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At 74, Ann Scott is imposing at rehearsal.  She is the only remaining original member of the Heavenly Stars of Detroit, a women’s gospel group, founded in 1972. Ann’s family migrated from Tyler, Alabama in 1961 for a good paying Detroit job. She then raised four kids with husband Pastor Sam Scott, became a licensed […]

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