Fighting Island

Three things to do with your time this weekend. (Indoors, by yourself, & for free.)

1. Maybe I’m late to this party. Pretty egregious considering how often I prowl the digital records of the Library of Congress. But if you’re a lover of architectural renderings or black and white photos of your neighborhood from the ’30s, the Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record/Historic American Landscapes Survey (please read all of those words) is a nice place to lose a few hours or the rest of your life. Type “Detroit” in the search bar, I dare you.

(Stairway of the Customs House, Griswold and Jefferson, Detroit.)

2. Someone I want to meet  Ben Blackwell put together a Google Map of Detroit record labels.

All of them. Throughout history.

Pair this with some browsing on Soulful Detroit and you have yourself a long, wonderful day of rarely-watched YouTube clips of rare records.

(“Under the Moon,” Rufus Wonder & The Additions on Lando Records)

3. Do you know about Fighting Island?

Fighting Island (so named for its historic role as a strategic Indian encampment for the siege of British vessels) is Canada’s largest Detroit River island. Once a chemical waste treatment site and still owned by BASF, Fighting Island is now a wildlife refuge and ecological education park.

In 2009, the Free Press ran an article about it that is apparently no longer available online. But you can still see a trove of photos, and they comprise a charming visual tour. (With baby birds!) Since you can’t actually visit the island without an invitation from BASF.

I’ve felt like I am a Fighting Island this week. Hopefully this chilly weather will blow a little gust of fortitude in with it.

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