MultiColor Motown – Focus on Red

Detroit’s transportation arteries are bright red.

Streetscape architecture needs a gimmick to attract the fleeting attention of passing motorists.  In this instalment of Multicolor Motown I’ve gathered examples of the use of red in advertising and landscape.

What few examples of red neon signage still found in Detroit stand boldly against the elements. Kowalski “Kowality” Sausage still produces excellent products at this Hamtramck location,

but Mirage Lounge has stopped serving, as has China Clipper.

 Medusa Cement no longer stands on the Detroit Riverfront,

and the art deco Paul’s (World’s First Automatic) Car Wash, which opened in 1947, at Cass Avenue and First Street is gone now, too.

Exterior walls have always been a canvas for painted advertising. Pick It Up used bold colors and the figure of Sponge Bob to sell its services.

The name Always Pray Appliances suggested you might need a little extra security when paying for their used goods and services.

Done Deal Car Wash uses red to excite customers, and another car wash promotes HUMMERS in vibrant red.

A deeper red calls attention to Roof and Gutter services.

The words “Home Made Candy” in white against red on the side of the former Sydney Bogg Candies on Woodward Avenue ensured you would take note of their specialties. At Easter they used to have special chocolate molds of The Last Supper.

The hair business still benefits from the use of red paint. Al. Sinbad Hair Styles features Arabic lettering and a tattered American flag. Dick’s New Deal Barbershop has failed,

but Fulla – Fades still incorporates an imaginative design of electric clippers in its signage.

Food venues have always used vivid red to whet your appetite. Kita Pita combines it with yellow. Munchees Mania (“Munch your Crave”) once stood on Van Dyke Avenue and boasted a deep red foundation.

 Not far down the street and still open, Wing’s Chop Suey has had several repaints of the fortified building.

Farther on the eastside of Detroit, People’s Coin Laundry and Shawarma continues to offer a tantalizing confluence of services.

On the corner of Gratiot Avenue and East Grand Boulevard, The Utopia Grill is now just another boarded up building, but at one time the façade was decked out in patriotic color and featured Pure American Ground Round.

Fresh Fish (“you buy we fry”) continues on 8 Mile Road, signaling with a red electric palm tree that they want your business.

Storefront religion has always used red. REPENT tells you clearly what you need to do;

JAWS (Jesus Army Warrior Souls) FOR JESUS’s red awning announces a very strong intention; the Cutting Edge Ministry signals direct action;

and the True Vine Temple of Christ still saving souls on St. Aubin Street, turns up as the cover art for a wonderful book, How the Other Half Worships, by Camilo Jose Vergara.

Red also announces auto parts like $45 Btry, and helps Customized Dental Laboratory let you know it continues to provide services in a rather surreal building with windows as eyes on Mack Avenue.

Red paint on this residential property on the East side of Detroit brings excitement to an environment of abandonment,

and makes the crescent moon over the entrance of this forlorn building stand out.

Used furniture and clothing is still in demand at the gloriously painted Make Ends Meet Upscale Resale.

Great movie theatres, like the colorful but long-gone Esquire Theatre at the border between Grosse Pointe and Detroit, once dotted the landscape.

Downtown, a lone parking lot attendant’s hut makes a defiant statement in red amid empty buildings.

Red is indeed a primary color for Detroit, and these images have all been collected and archived for posterity. Detroit continues to be the Melting Pot of America.           You may view  and purchase more images at:

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