4/19/09 7:00 a.m. Mission Recon: A solo journey to map out and discover what feels good and what areas the groups we bring should avoid.
Today I decided to search the narrow strip between Greenfield and Southfield road. Heading South through Lathrup Village I stayed on the West side of Southfield road. It amazes me that you do not have to be in Detroit to see and expereince 1920’s Architecture. The trail slid by numerous English Tudor homes built in the 1920’s. I stoped in front of Ty Cobbs Prohibition Party house that he had build back in the 20’s outside of the city limits, the adoring Sheriff left him and his parties alone. The house is situated behind what was once the location of the Golden Mushroom resturant, which had been sold and distroyed to make room for another drug store to help feed the sickness of a drivethru society.
Crossing over 10 mile I slid down into an area that has a historic Elementry School again built in the 1920’s and fashioned in the Tudor style, masonic markings and details can be seen in the facia. Heading south from there I stumbled upon numerous 1950’s Japanesse influnced Calfornia Ranch styls homes. As far as I know a collection of this Architectrual style exist nowhere else in the metro Detorit Region. Hitting Mt. Veron I turned west and headed over the Lodge Fwy. and continued on a bike trail only into another subdivison and headed over to Lee Baker Street, turning left I was ushered down along an arching street and was dumped out on 9 mile crossing over I followed the city posted bike route signs and as I moved closer to 8 mile I entered into a old area of Southfield again dotted with historic homes built inbetween the 1910’s-20’s. The area had parks with Forsythia in bloom and was quirky-cool. Exiting out on a sidewalk of a closed street I hopped the curb at the easement on 8-mile and decided to set my bike up agains a monstrous Steel structure supporting powerlines overhead and droped and gave the easement 25 push up’s proper form, (meaning 4 senconds down, 4 seconds up, complete body toching the grass on the down stroke). I am pretty sure the drivers on 8 mile had neve seen that.
Jumping across 8 mile I slid through a nieghborhood to what seem to be a road halfway between 7 & 8 mile, noticing that it had the ability to travel over the Southfield Freeway I decisde to turn left. Letting my feelings and eyes guide me, I meandered down and across 7 mile, down and across 6 mile and as I got closer to 5 mile the roads became quite interesting . I stmbled upon a street named Blitlmore. Since I have been to the Builtmore estae in Ashville North Carolina I decide I should exlore further. WOW 1910 Craftsmen style homes abound. I discovered a Stone house with a beautiful Pergolia covered front porch. What I saw next still amazes me as I sit here and write. What was anchoring the Northwest corner of the home was a Canadian Hemlock planted in the 1910’s. I guessed his age to be somewhere north of 110 years old. Towering up, it had droped its normal lower branching habit sheding the illusion and habit of a nice christmas tree, it had become an over-story evergreen tree, just like I have seen up north, native and wild! It is the biggest Canadian Hemlock that I have ever seen in and around Metro Detroit. Most people who have planted this tree have no idea as to what it becomes as it matures. Passing around the corner I looked up into the sky and saw a towering Sycamore branches 3 blocks away. When I turned the corner and went down the street I was amazed by this towering Giant. I guess him to be somewhere north of 150 years old. The base of the tree was 6.50′ across as the branching habit was 100′ x 100′ wide. I rode up on the side walk and touch the tree thanking him for making it. I told him to keep up the good work. Passing under the tree it felt like was sprinkeling magic all around as the whole block on both sides felt better for it.
Heading South I crossed over Grandriver and discovered the Grandmont Historical Nieghborhood. I have never read about it in any of the History books, but what I can say, is that in all my travels in and through Detroits Historic Nieghborhoods I never been through one that felt as nice!!! No paper no debris beatiful styles of Architecture, incredible trees, amazing. This one for sure will be on a upcommig tour. Snaking back and forth I eventually came out near the Greenfield and Schoolcraft intersection as I was looking for away to get over 96. Approching the brige my feelings gouided me across to the northbpound side of greenfield, jumping on the sidewalk I headed by the do not enter signs towards Fulerton Street. When I turned out the street was empty and something very strange happened next, it was like a window of time was opened up and what I saw was hundreds of 1920-1930 flat bed trucks loaded heavey with industrial materials. Perhaps on the way to the old Massey Ferguson Plant? Looking up at the sky I saw next was another Masonic temple floating way up high. Coming out on Plymouth road I was shocked and amazed to discover the the Chrysler Jeep and Truck Enginering division had thier entire design team practicing thier craft in a Masonic Temple. Built in 1927 a star chart hanges over the entry symbolically revealing the cyclic natures and the 7 planets having influence down here on earth. Sucurity gaurds were on me in less than 45 seconds telling me that I could not take picturs from the public sidewalk where my bycilcle lay? I shared my opinion about public side walks and easement but as a suv pulled up to block my way I decisde it was time to leave. I wonder what they were hiding or what they were afraid of? I headed a little farther South and then east over to Meyers road. I turned left and headed north slapping the peddles all the way home.
J. Meyers bike explorer