Worst City Worst State – Day 119

Worst City Worst State

Day 119 – July 28, 2003 – Monday

Detroit, Michigan today.

We saw the World’s Largest Tire. We had lunch at Lafayette’s Coney Island, a well-known hot dog diner in downtown Detroit. We went to the Motown Museum — in the original home where Motown got its start — but it is closed on Monday. We drove around some ugly areas before reaching Dearborn and the fabulous Henry Ford Museum. Laura was kind enough to provide free admission for us. Thanks, Laura!

The Henry Ford Museum was founded in 1929. Henry Ford brought together dozens of buildings and millions of artifacts — one of the largest collections of its kind. He created a bold and ambitious way for people of all ages to discover and explore the richness of the American experience. The focus of the museum seems to be showing how the innovation of the past shaped the present. Henry Ford apparently had a bigger budget than Harold Warp. I guess there is more money to be made with cars than with baggies.

The Henry Ford Museum was fantastic — very, very informative and entertaining. We saw a display tracing 100 years of the automobile. One fabulous car after another. Cars were so much cooler “in the old days.” There was a display of Presidential limousines, and we saw the limo that President Kennedy was riding in when he was assassinated in Dallas. We also saw limos used by Presidents Reagan, Ford, Eisenhower, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Teddy Roosevelt. There were cars of all types and all makes.

In addition to the 100 years of the auto, another exhibit was “American Made.” Another highlight was the bus that Rosa Parks was riding in when she refused to give up her seat on December 1, 1956. We loved seeing the original 1952 Oscar Meyer Wienermobile. There were some interesting artifacts scattered about — General Custer’s hat, Edison’s dentures, the lantern that caused the Great Chicago Fire, and much more.

It has been almost 40 years since I went to the Smithsonian. It would be interesting to see if it is as good today as the Henry Ford Museum.

Greenfield Village is adjacent to the Henry Ford Museum. We had heard little about it, and we were blown away. Henry Ford’s vision was to create a vast outdoor museum filled with buildings of historical significance. It covers 90 acres, and it’s like a small town that spans 300 years of history — streets, buildings, storefronts, workshops, farms, and more. We were surrounded with the sights, sounds, and sensations of America’s past. The staff is costumed, and transportation is provided throughout Greenfield Village in Model T’s or horse-drawn carriages. Just amazing.

Unfortunately, this is about all Detroit seems to have to offer. The roads are terrible here. The drivers are bad. It’s a very difficult city to navigate. It’s the first dirty town we’ve been in. Crime is bad. There’s little to do here. It even smells bad here. Boz and I had to nominate Detroit as Worst Big City and Michigan as Worst State. But, the Henry Ford Museum and the Greenfield Village do make Detroit worth seeing. You need a full day, and they close at 5 pm for some reason, so get there earlier than we did.

Bob Hope was certainly a very special American. He died yesterday. How sad it was to lose an entertainer who was the ultimate patriot.

Why can’t Detroit clean up its city?

The Daily Journal of Round America:

Each day, we collect our thoughts on a web page just like this. We drop in some of the photos from the day. Our goal with the Daily Journal is to write about the towns we visit, the sights we see, the people we meet, and the pie we eat. We write about where we are, where we’ve been, and where we are going, but we also make observations about what we’ve seen and done as well as about life in general.

You can follow our travels from the Daily Journal section of this web site. Other pages of interest include the running report of “vital statistics” on the Trip Scorecard, our nominations for the Best & Worst of the trip, as well as a rating of the pie we eat. If you’d like to see information for a specific state or town, click here, and then click on the state of interest and the full itinerary is shown.


More Information on the Sights Visited Today:
World’s Largest Tire — Lafayette’s Coney island — Motown Museum — Henry Ford Museum — Greenfield Village