Sunday, April 19, 2020

Cast Iron Charlie Sorensen's Home - Rouge Park - Detroit

Photo from

History of Charles E. Sorensen

Charles E. Sorensen, also known as Cast Iron Charlie, was a important employee of the Ford Motor Company during its first four decades.  Over his career with the Ford Motor Company, Sorensen was instrumental in several key milestones, including:

One of six Ford employees hand picked by Henry Ford to develop the Model T

Coordinated the building of the Ford Highland Park Assembly Plant

Developed along with several other Ford managers, the moving automotive assembly line

Provided his casting techniques knowledge during the development of the Ford Flathead V8

Led the design of the Ford Willow Run B-24 Bomber Plant

Location of the Sorensen Home

What is left of the Sorensen Home is located at the south end of Rouge Park, just north of Warren road and about 100 yards west of the intersection of Sawyer Avenue and Spinoza Drive.  The best way to enter the area is about 150 yards north of the cannon off of Spinoza Drive.  See the 'X' in the map below.  The 'Dot' is the location of the cannon.

map courtesy of Google Maps

History of the Sorensen Home

The Sorensen Home was built starting in 1914 and finished in 1917.  An addition and landscaping was added in 1918.  The land for this estate was bought by Henry Ford as he wanted Charlie as a neighbor.  Henry & Clara Ford's Fairlane estate was being built about the same time also on this branch of the Rouge River, but downstream by about 2.5 miles.  It is interesting to note that Henry Ford owned several thousand acres of land at the time (mostly what is now the central area of Deaborn, Allen Park, Lincoln Park and Melvindale).  However his land ownership ended just south of Warren Road.

In 1923, the Sorensens sold this property along with several adjacent land owners to the City of Detroit.   This area was then turned into the Rouge Park starting in 1925.  Rouge Park is 1.7 times the size of NYC's Central Park.  The Sorensen house was then used as a lodge where refreshments could be purchased.  During WWII, it was converted into a serviceman's center for the 728th Military Police Encampment.  I imagine the cannon was added in front of the home during this era.  The cannon is a Spanish cannon from the 18th century.  It was taken from Spain after the Spanish American War.  After the war, it was used as the Rouge Park Recreation Center.  In 1984, the house was torn down after a destructive fire.

Here are some photos that I recently took of what is still left of this estate.  

   The Promenade

Stone Wall - Rear Area of the Home

Stairways Leading to the Home from the River Bed

The Promenade Looking South

The Rouge River Looking North

Friends of Rouge Park
MotorCities National Heritage Area
Google Maps
The Dearborn Historical Museum
The Henry Ford Collections and Research

The Active Return of this Blog

After a four year hiatus, I have decided to revive this blog.  I had no intention to stop writing the blog, it just seemed like other interests took a higher priority.  It will still focus on places to see, eat, drink and visit around the City of Detroit and surrounding Detroit area.  I will also feature other places to visit in and around Michigan.  The State of Michigan has a lot to offer.  

In keeping with the title of this Blog, Bullitt in Detroit, I will still feature my 2001 Ford Mustang Bullitt as part of a blog entry's photo collection.  In addition, I've added a 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt to my personal fleet, so expect to see that car also.

I have started to increase my studies of the Detroit Automotive Industry history.  So expect to see entries on locations around Detroit that was part of the Detroit Auto Industry.  

Hope you enjoy my past and future posts and once the State of Michigan starts opening up, make plans to visit to these locations.

Also, I will start editing some of my prior entries as a few locations have, unfortunately, gone out of business.


April 19, 2020

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Third Man Records
441 West Canfield
Detroit, MI  48201

Third Man Records is a record store and vinyl record production facility (sometime in 2016) located in Midtown Detroit on West Canfield.  It is owned by Jack White of White Stripes, Raconteurs & The Dead Weather fame.  It is his second Third Man Record facility, the first was opened in Nashville in 2009.  

This facility sells vinyl records of artists produced by White's Third Man record label.  Artists include, besides all of Jack White's bands, Olivia Jean, Rory Scovel,  Seasick Steve, Pokey LaFarge among others.  

Besides LPs, Third Man also sells re-pressings of original Sun Studio and Tamala (Berry Gordy's record label prior to Motown) 45s.   

In addition to vinyl records (note that Third Man does not sell any other music format), there are a large variety of Third Man logo'd items like t-shirts, label pins, turntable pads, mugs, tumblers, etc.  

I was very impressed with Third Man's audio system.  Can't go wrong with McIntosh amps.

Third Man Records is a cool place just to hang out.  Besides '40's/'50's era listening booths (with turntables and headphones), there also is a small stage for bands to play.  Third Man also makes available a selection of electric guitars and amps if one wants to lay down some riffs.   

This block of Canfield is becoming an interesting place to visit.  Besides Third Man, there is the Traffic Jam, Motor City Brewery, Jolly Pumpkin, Willy's and Shinola.  

One thing to note, if you looking to buy some vinyl at Third Man and are not familiar with the artists, I would suggest that you visit the Third Man website and review the music that is available.  

Huron Room
2547 Bagley Ave.
Detroit, MI  48216

The Huron Room opened in the November of 2015 and is run by the same group that also runs Johnny's Noodle King and the Green Dot Stables.

The Huron Room is located at the intersection of Bagley and 18th Street, diagonally from the Mexican Village restaurant and down the street from the Honey Bee Market.  Although the lines between Mexicantown and Corktown are not very well defined, I believe the Huron Room is located in Mexicantown since it is west of Rosa Parks.

The Huron Room specialty is fresh water fish from the Great Lakes area although they do offer a few beef and poultry entrees.  The fish is prepared in three different ways, Fish & Chips, Fried Fish Sandwich or Grilled Fish Tacos.  The Huron Room also has an interesting variety of appetizers like U.P. Pierogis (beef filled), Fresh Water Hush Puppies (I sampled these and they were great) and Great Lakes Chowder.  Also on their menu are skewers (frog legs, chicken wings, mushrooms and venison) as well as salads.

When we visited, we ordered the Walleye Fish & Chips and really enjoyed them.  We washed this fine meal down with a couple of pints from the Huron's extensive variety of Michigan produced beer.  

The waitstaff was very friendly and the food was served promptly.  Overall we were very satisfied with our experience and will be visiting the Huron Room again in the near future.  I believe the owners of this establishment have another hit on their hands. 

Friday, January 1, 2016

Michigan Central Station
Detroit, MI

The Michigan Central Station is located just off of Michigan Avenue in the Corktown area of Detroit.  When traveling into Downtown Detroit from the West, especially via the Jefferies, it is one of the first structures one sees along with the Ambassador Bridge.

Michigan Central Station was built and placed into service in 1913 and remained in service until 1988.  This structure represents the Beaux-Arts architecture and was designed by the same company that also designed New York's Grand Central Station.  

From 1988 to date, it has been in a state of decay as it turned into an icon of the state of the City of Detroit.  In the heyday of the railroads, it was the first stop for an untold number of visitors and future Detroit residents.

Since 1988, it has been featured in Hollywood movies (Transformers), TV shows (Detroit 187), music videos (Beautiful by Eminem) and a site for urban explorers.  Back in the late '80's/early '90's, it was also a popular location for Detroit Techno Music parties.  

Nowadays it is a popular photo op location for both amateur and professional photographers.  Roosevelt Park, located in front of the station, is the focal point for several events & festivals during the year, including the Tour de Troit bike ride.

After several years of inactivity and being used as a political pawn by its billionaire owner, it is now undergoing a window replacement project.  What will happen to this structure in the future remains to be seen.  It does appear that it has received a stay of destruction and possibly due to the redevelopment of the local Corktown area, may finally see a usage plan.

The Michigan Central Station is not open for tours but if one is visiting one of the several social/entertainment establishments in Corktown, cruise by and visit a part of the City of Detroit history.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Murals in the Market
Eastern Market
Detroit, MI

Being a fan of downtown Detroit since I was a child in the early '60's, it is great to see the renaissance that is taking place in and around the Downtown area.  Granted, significant work and effort still needs to take place in the neighborhoods and schools of Detroit. However, in the short term, over the last few years, there has been a noticeable change in the Downtown landscape.

The Murals in the Market has been an art project started four years ago in the Eastern Market area.  In general, the murals have replaced street graffiti and has provided an artistic outlet for local and international artists.  

This September was the inaugural festival for Murals in the Market.  Dozens of artists participated in this event.  I talked with the artist working on the Busy Bee Hardware store mural and he indicated that there was a plan to have two events like this in 2016.  On a side note, he complimented me on the Guard color of my S550.  ;)  

If you visit the Eastern Market area, most of the murals are within a ten minute or less walking distance of each other.  Driving in and around the Eastern Market is also an option, but make sure you get out and walk the area.  

Besides the other attractions of the Eastern Market, these murals are becoming an important part of this area.  

Local Artist working on the Busy Bee Hardware Store.  

Detroit City Distillery
2462 Riopelle Street
Detroit, MI
(313) 338-3760

First time the Guard S550 is featured in this blog.

The City of Detroit and the surrounding area has had a dramatic increase in the amount of micro brew start ups over the last five years or so.  However, as during the Prohibition era, the Detroit area is starting to have a high concentration of distilleries.  So far, I've reviewed two other local distilleries (and more to come), the Detroit City Distillery is the third.

Detroit City is located on the east side of Eastern Market a couple of blocks from the main pavilions.  This area of Riopelle street is narrow and features several establishments with no or discreet signage.  Outside, it gives Detroit City the aura of a speakeasy.  

Inside the decor is urban modern and inviting.  When we were there, I sampled the Path of the Righteous II.  I thought it was very good.  Check out their menu online as, like most distilleries, it changes regularly.  

Detroit Distilleries manufactures their own Homegrown Rye, Bloodline Whiskey, Two Face Bourbon, Gilded Age Vodka & Railroad Gin.  All feature Michigan grown grains. Recently, I noticed that the local Beer & Wine store where I live sells their products, keep on the look out in your area.

There are a lot of cool places in the Eastern Market that are worth visiting.  The Detroit Distillery is high on that list.