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motown | by gsgeorge
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New Center district

Detroit, Michigan


Quite a bit of automobile history in this single shot. In the foreground lies the Ford Piquette factory, birthplace of the Model T in 1908. In the background looms the Roaring 20's New Center business district, which includes the former GM headquarters buiding, the largest office building in the world. The photograph was taken from atop the Fisher 21 Body Plant, home of the Fisher Brothers' factory and namesake to the tall Art Deco tower seen in the far background, the Fisher Building. Designed by Albert Kahn (who also designed all of Henry Ford's factories and a number of Detroit landmarks), the skyscraper is considered by many to be the finest in the city.


The New Center neighborhood itself lies nearly three miles north of Detroit's riverfront Central Business District and its office space was built up mostly in the 1920s, though neighborhoods have existed here decades prior to the 20s. Many consider this area of the city it to be the first modern exurb, an urban planning definition for a commuter town, because it was primarily residential surrounded by empty space and connected to Detroit by streetcar before the rapid development of Detroit consumed and transformed the community.


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Taken on February 27, 2007