Monday, December 25, 2006

John Bagley - and Bagley, the Dog in the D

Merry Christmas, Detroit!

It was a very merry one for me. My husband and I expanded our family with a new puppy, Bagley.

Why Bagley?

If you're familiar with Detroit, you already know about Bagley street, located on the city's near west side.

What you may not know is the street was named in honor of John J. Bagley, a Detroit resident.

Who was John J. Bagley?

Born in Medina, New York in 1832, John J. Bagley moved to Detroit during his mid-teens. Bagley's family didn't have much money, so he began working as an apprentice for tobacconist-Isaac Miller at age 15. Seven years later, he bought out his mentor and renamed the business the Mayflower Tobacco Company. Mayflower took off under Bagley's leadership - and so did Bagley's wealth and power.

During his short life - Bagley died at 49 - the native New Yorker held several positions within the city of Detroit - including Alderman (1860-1861) and Police Commissioner (1865-1872) - and later served two back-to-back terms as Governor of Michigan.

Along with his involvement in local and state politics, Bagley also helped form the Detroit Metropolitan Police Commission, the Michigan Mutual Life Insurance Company, and the Republican Party.

Aside from the Detroit street named in his honor, John J. Bagley is remembered in Detroit by the Bagley Memorial Fountain, which was dedicated after the late-Detroiter's death and created per his will as a gift to the people of Detroit.

Designed by noted-architect H. H. Richardson, the fountain was modeled after the ciborium in St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice. It is Richardson's only known work in Detroit and was recently placed on the site of the future Cadillac Square Park, part of Campus Martius Park.

For more information on the people behind some of Detroit's most well-known streets, check out this article in the Detroit News.

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Friday, December 15, 2006

Detroit in '76 - and a few other years

If you're a Detroit history buff or a fan of Map Detroit (who isn't?) you're gonna l-o-v-e Detroit 1976.

The newest brainchild of Detroit-based Naviciti LLC - a media production, marketing and web development firm - is a free site offering a glimpse into the Central Business District's (CBD) past, including an interactive look at the CBD in 1976, plus aerial images of the area on other dates between 1949 and 2005.

Featuring a variety of tools - aerial photography, 2D and 3D renderings, and building photos - users will find a wealth of information on CBD buildings of the past and present. For example, along with pictures of specific buildings on the map, information like the date a structure was built and the architect(s) are also provided.

Users can also compare the CBD of '76 to the CBD of today on a number of fronts, including the number of buildings demolished between the two time periods, and which buildings in '76 were - and which of them now are - deemed historic on a city, state and/or national level.

“What this is, effectively, is a highly detailed electronic time capsule,” says Tony Smith, Naviciti's founder and CEO.

I couldn't have said it better myself.

Currently, the aerial photos of the CBD go back to 1949. But eventually - and this is really nifty - Naviciti plans to incorporate data as far back as the 1700s. How cool is that??

Experience Detroit 1976 for yourself here.

For more information on Naviciti's innovative, user-friendly mapping tools, please click here.

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

And ... Action!

Looking for your 15 minutes - or seconds - of fame?

Here's your chance: this Saturday, Redline Cinema is casting for Lightning, Iron and Mantis, a new feature film set to be shot in 2007 in Detroit, and Linkage, a short.

The casting call is free and will take place at Midtown's Beans & Bytes, a happenin' cybercafe near Wayne State, on December 9 from 2 - 4 pm. Speaking parts and extras are needed for both projects (click here for information on specific roles). Actors, you'll need to bring a resume and a headshot. Extras, just bring yourself.

And, hey, even if you don't land a part, there's still a chance you may end up on the screen - the little screen, that is; producers from the new reality TV show, "I too want to be a star", are scheduled to attend the casting call.

For more information, please visit Redline Cinema on the web.

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Friday, December 01, 2006

Detroit residential development tour at SHOP Detroit

Plan on heading to Shop Detroit 3 tomorrow? Consider joining City Living Detroit for two free residential bus tours highlighting four new Detroit housing developments.

The first bus tour, which leaves Campus Martius Park at noon, features two Midtown properties: the historic Park Shelton on Woodward Avenue and the brand new Ellington project at Mack and Woodward.

The second tour leaves Campus Martius Park at 2 pm and features the Grinnell Place Lofts and the Riverfront Towers. Grinnell is located in Corktown, while Riverfront Towers is on the West Riverfront near Joe Louis Arena.

Both of tomorrow's tours depart from Campus Martius Park at the corner of Cadillac Square and Woodward, though tour-goers need to register before boarding the bus. Registration for tomorrow's City Living Detroit home tours will be inside the Compuware Atrium next to the Shop Detroit 3 registration booth.

Capacity on each tour is limited to 25 people, so sign up early!

City Living Detroit is a non-profit, 501(c)(6) organization, dedicated to promoting Detroit as a vibrant place to live. For more information about City Living Detroit, please click here.

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