One of my vows this year was “no more two-parters.” If I have a lot of pictures, you’ll get them all. Why, otherwise you’d forget whatever misimpression I gave you the first time, and form a new misimpression without the cherry-picked evidence I’d shown last week.

Case in point: Hamtrack. Wikipedia:

Hamtramck is a city in Wayne County in the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 22,423. Hamtramck is surrounded by the city of Detroit except for a small portion of the western border that touches the similarly surrounded city of Highland Park.

Known in the 20th century as a vibrant center of Polish American life and culture, Hamtramck has continued to attract immigrants, especially Bangladeshis. In 2015 its city council became the first majority Muslim city council in the U.S.

I didn’t know that.

As if it was sealed in volcanic ash, then cleaned away:


No one dared change the name. It was engraved on the earth itself.

A perfect example of a building that can elevate and diminish the individual at the same time:


Elevates you by its majesty, your cultural connection to its style and history, and your participation in the rites of this temple. Diminishes it by remind you that you’re small.

Old big-city shopping areas that had demographic change usually have a lot of classic signage -

But in this case someone took off the big letters.

Still a nice piece of 50s commercial style.


The Grant Building. Somewhere there's a Grant who's descended from this builder, and I wonder if they know about this building.

Another old facade, waiting for the mid-century moderns to discover it and turn it into a store selling Tupperware. Oh wait! They already have!


This, you suspect, was someone’s vision. An architect who did no other buildings. Died young of consumption. Just a guess.


The ground floor has a punishing version of Buckaroo Revival: naked mine-shaft timbers.

Best guess: a sign or architectural feature was stripped off. But why do the area in two types of stone?

Mom doesn’t get her purse and hose here anymore.



If I had to bet money, I’d say “independent variety store that proclaimed its famous reputation for low prices.”


Nope! Found it. Don’t ask how. Federal Furniture store.

Except no, I’m right!

The entire chain went out of business in the late 1970s, and many of the old store buildings were mysteriously plagued by fires. Hamtramck’s building was spared and became a discount store

Standard old office block. Odd things happened to the top floor.







Review from the summer of 2018:

I liked this place when it was a greasy dive and before it closed and was taken over by hipsters. Here's my take on the new, now closed, Campau…

Smoking marijuana in the doorway. Not beside the doorway, not down the street from the doorway, they were in the doorway having some tokes.

Two visits found most of the stools, there's only about five seats in the whole place, occupied by what appeared to be the same dirty looking young people who were just hanging out.

Hamburger was okay, Nothing to write home about...did I mention that it closed?

It’s supposedly a taco joint now. What jarred me was the obvious sign of a White Tower, the White-Castle doppelgänger chain. The facade is amazing.

Things like that used to be everywhere.

Tarted up and still standing is better than razed:

A rare style for a bank. Needs a moat and a spiked iron gate.


Did they have walk-up tellers?

Off-the-shelf decorations, but they gave a building dignity:


It’s the Dr. Dysarz building. He was a local pol as well, frequently running for mayor, always unsuccessfully.

“Dude said he was a friend of Carnegie. Never knew what he meant.”

Today? It’s a mosque.