Watching Detroit come back, with hope for the rest of us

Eminem started it last year during the Superbowl with the award-winning Chrysler ad. It was a call to the strength and resiliency Detroit is capable of.

Eastwood continued the call but broadened it to all of America, using Detroit as the epitome of what it looks like to return to glory.

Detroit’s image is looking up, thanks to the new pioneers who have decided the city is worth saving. I see article after article about the energy buzzing through town. People are coming together to reclaim the history–all of it, even the hard stuff–and remake what’s there into something even better. Sure it has a long way to go, but from the sounds of it, there is an understanding that their work is for the long-term. There isn’t a silver bullet that will solve all problems overnight.

Still, they work and they open their hearts and hands to what needs done. They look to each other and dig deep into the rich wells of their bold, creative spirits and release what is there.

People Mover Station in Detroit. (Photo used with thanks to Maia C.)
The Thanksgiving Parade float for the International Jazz Festival, on display during the festival. (Photo used with thanks to Maia C.)
Fisher Theater in Detroit. (Photo used with thanks to cseeman.)

And now we can taste the fruits of their labors. We can learn from them. We can warm ourselves to the hope they have sparked and take it with us to the corners of our own worlds, bringing that kind of hope borne out of hard work and belief in what’s possible. They represent what’s possible because they’ve seen the worst of it. If Detroit can come back, maybe the rest of us can too.

American flag on a building in downtown Detroit. (Photo used with thanks to cseeman.)

That is the inspiration that is rippling out from Motor City and touching the hearts of people in Michigan as well as points beyond. Thanks to people like Dan Austin, who is an historian of Detroit and founder of, the story of this city is being told. His website shares all the news about what’s happening architecturally and historically through the eyes of people that live there. He was kind enough to share with me on Facebook the name of several organizations in the area which offer tours of all shapes and kinds. I will be in Michigan in June and you can bet I will be participating in at least one of them.

Detail on a Detroit building. (Photo used with thanks to cseeman.)
  • Inside Detroit has the inside scoop on what’s happening in the city. Their mission is to “to educate the public about Detroit’s history, culture, community, and livability in order to spur economic development.” They offer a variety of tours: walking, biking, Segway, and bus. They also have unique Bar Tours, which take you to different bars in the area on special occasions, such as St. Patty’s Day and Summer Kick Off.
  • The Detroit Historical Society has been around since 1921. Their mission is to “educate and inspire our community and visitors by preserving and portraying our region’s shared history through dynamic exhibits and experiences.” Their tours are specific to the Detroit Historical Museum and the Dossin Great Lakes Museum, but their exhibits, events, and resources provide a sturdy foundation for learning all you might want to know about the city before heading out to explore it on a city tour.
  • Preservation Wayne has been around since 1975 and is Detroit’s “oldest and largest architectural preservation organization.” They offer lots of different walking tours beginning in May and running through September.

These stories, these dreams, give me hope and inspire me to believe that we can make it and become an even better country, an even better world.

Belief in downtown Detroit. (With thanks to Maia C for the excellent photos of a city she clearly loves.)

I haven’t even arrived in Michigan, yet I am inspired by what I’m hearing and seeing about the “new” Detroit.

Where do you find inspiration?

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