Digging Detroit Episodes – Season 1


Episode 1: Tommy’s

In our first episode, Tommy's, check out the excavation of a speakeasy--in a working bar that has been on the same site for well over a hundred years.  Meet Tom Burelle of Tommy's Detroit Bar & Grill who, along with a Wayne State archaelogists, shares the remarkable history of the little brick building between Joe Louis Arena and Detroit's oldest church.


Episode 2: Rediscovering Detroit–One Bar at a Time

Rediscovering Detroit, our second episode, hops on board the Detroit Bus Company's tour of four great watering-holes--each with their own stories including Abick's Bar, owned by the same family since 1906 and The Two Way Inn, founded by a Civil War colonel.

Episode 3!

Episode 3: The E. Azalia Hackley Collection

The magic of Detroit's music is certainly no secret--but perhaps an amazing vault of historical musical wealth at the Detroit Public Library is a little less known.  Curator Romie Minor shares the E. Azalia Hackley Collection, dedicated to the African American influences to the nation's musical culture.


Episode 4: Two Historic Detroit Theatres

Both the Redford Theatre and the Detroit Film Theatre (inside the Detroit Institute of Arts) are grand old venues from the 1920s.  But through clever social media and promotional campaigns, they've seen remarkable upticks at the box-office in Episode 4.


Episode 5: The Nain Rouge

When Cadillac first settled Detroit in 1701 he was troubled by a dream of a "nain rouge" or red dwarf who cursed the settlement and continues to plague the city.  To spite the negative vibe of this legend, a small group of Detroiters decided to rally the neighborhoods every March, celebrating the city's resilience.  Meet Vince and Francis along with Ralph, an amazing artisan who shares his shops with paraders for the annual Marche du Nain Rouge..


Episode 6: The Navin Field Grounds Crew

It took the city 10 years to complete the razing of Tiger Stadium.  Five years later, the same field to host Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Ted Williams and Al Kaline was another abandoned lot full of trash and tall weeds until Tom Derry and his friends began taking care of the field.  Five years later, their efforts have produced a ball field that welcomes any pickup game.  We meet Jason Roche, whose documentary on the Navin Field Grounds Crew's struggle with the law, won the 2014 Freep Film Festival audience award.


Episode 7: The Ernie Harwell Sports Collection

We return to the vaults of the Detroit Public Library to visit the mini-Cooperstown begun in 1966 by Hall of Fame broadcaster, Ernie Harwell.  Curator Mark Bowden tours us through the Ernie Harwell Collection's exhibit room and stacks to such treasures as 1878 cigarette cards, Ernie's microphone, and even Ty Cobb's original offer-sheet to play for the Tigers.


Episode 8: Cinema Detroit

Tim and Paula Guthat met in college as film reviewers and noticed that some of the best independent films rarely stopped in Detroit.  So they opened their own art house, Cinema Detroit, inside a century-old Detroit public school.  Pete and Tom meet the couple and take a look at the great old building and great new ideas Tim and Paula have planned.


Episode 9: Henry the Hatter – History & Haberdashery

In Henry the Hatter - History & Haberdashery, Hats and history go hand-in-hand as Paul Wasserman, owner of Detroit's 122 year-old haberdashery, shares the ups and downs of hat popularity as well as the trending of headwear from straw hats, caps, bowlers and fedoras to President Eisenhower's decision to choose a Homburg for his second inauguration instead of a top hat to reflect the troubling economy.


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Episode 10: The Assassination of Jerry Buckley – Detroit’s Voice of the People

On the 85th anniversary of the assassination of famous Detroit radio voice Jerry Buckley, Digging Detroit is proud to release its 10th episode, The Assassination of Jerry Buckley, Detroit's Voice of the People.  Author of The Purples (Amazon) and Professor Tom Klug of Margrove College's Detroit Studies Program  join host Pete Kalinski as they look at the unusual story of a voice from nowhere who took over the new world of radio, led the recall of Detroit's mayor of just six months then was brutally gunned down in a the lobby of the Woodward Avenue LaSalle Hotel the evening of the recall--and how few are alive today who know his name.


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Episode 11: Four Generations, One Detroit Home – The Sisoy Family

Meet Peter Sisoy and his family.  In the 1920s his Russian immigrant father moved his young family from the crowds of Hamtramck to the wide-open country near the intersection of Southfield Rd. and Warren Ave.  Pete and his wife of 68 years, Lorene, are joined by their two daughters and two granddaughters as they share memories of the house, Warrendale neighborhood and Detroit including the early days of howling wolves, burning crops, orchards and swimming holes through WWII and streetcars to the Grande Ballroom and sporting white gloves at Hudsons in Four Generations, One Detroit Home - The Sisoy Family.

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Episode 12: WGPR TV’s 40th Anniversary – Dr. Banks’ Vision to Transform Detroit’s Media, Message and Messengers

On September 29, 1975 the nation's first African-American owned radio station began its legendary broadcasting history.  Pete joins executive director of the WGPR Historical Society Karen Hudson Samuels and veteran Detroit anchor Amyre Makupson (who anchored that first night's newscast).  Together, with 7 other guest interviews, you'll get a clearer understanding of the amazing history that happened just down the road from Belle Isle on Jefferson Avenue--and maybe you can help them crowd-source for the new museum!   WGPR TV's 40th Anniversary - Dr. Banks' Vision to Transform Detroit's Media, Message and Messengers


Episode 13: Treasures from the Burton Historical Collection at the DPL

Join curators Mark Bowden and Romie Minor as they share six of their favorite treasures from the Detroit Public Library's Burton Historical Collection, celebrating its 100th year.  It started with Clarence Burton, a Detroit attorney whose passion for history sent him into attics, cellars and even chicken coops to save the heritage of his town.  Mark and Romie's treasures include: the wampum belt that was the deed of sale for Belle Isle, Grace Bedell's letter to candidate Abraham Lincoln recommending he grow whiskers and a rare backstage photo of Elvis Presley backstage at his only concert at Olympia stadium.  Click here for more.



Episode 14: Rails to Tales – Detroit’s Inner Circle Greenway

Why did they cut the Dequindre Cut? What came first, Ford's Highland Park plant or the railroad over Woodward? Are there really old railroad rails under those bumps on the road?  Great questions! Join Digging Detroit and special guest host Gatini Tinsley as they spend an afternoon with Todd Scott, the leader of the non-profit rails-to-trails effort, the Detroit Greenways Coalition as he takes us on the historic sites of the future 23-mile bike loop around the city that will not only spur exercise but also commuter options and increased value in commercial and private property!   Click here for more.




Episode 15: An Original Rosie — Marjorie Walters

In October 2015 the Guinness Record for the most Rosie the Riveters in one place was shattered in the heart of the arsenal of democracy.  Over two thousand women paid tribute to the women of WWII by wearing red bandanas–and many original Rosies were there as well.  Join our special guest host and author of the new book Detroit in World War IIGregory Sumner, as he visits one of those original Rosies, Marjorie Walters of nearby Ypsilanti who from Wisconsin to find work in Detroit’s stove plants until the war began and she began her three years assembling bomber wings at Ford’s massive Willow Run plant.  Click here for more.



Episode 16: Slavery in Detroit

Detroit has historically been seen as the last station on the Underground Railroad yet many of its residents including merchants, priests and illustrious citizens such as Brush and Macomb were slaveowners.  Digging Detroit meets Prof. Tiya Miles of the University of Michigan and her team of  students uncover a history of the colonial city that few remember or care to admit.  Click here for more.



Episode 17: Birthplace of the Model T – The Ford Piquette Avenue Plant

In 1904, Henry Ford purchased three acres beside a railroad line off Woodward and moved his new car company from Mack to Piquette Avenue. Join Digging Detroit with special guest Tom Genova and come explore the historic Ford Piquette Avenue Plant, rescued from demolition and transformed into an amazing collection of priceless cars and fascinating stories about six revolutionary years for Detroit and America.  Click here for more.



Episode 18: Dearborn’s Arab American National Museum

Some Arab Americans in metro Detroit trace their family back five generations, to the 1880s--while some have only just arrived.  To honor metro-Detroit's extensive role in offering haven and opportunity to one of the most influential waves of immigrants to the United States, Dearborn was selected as the site for the ten-year old Arab American National Museum.  Host Pete Kalinski visits with Dr. Matthew Stiffler who shares the background of the museum and takes us on a tour through Hollywood, NASA, pro sports--and the heart of the culture, the kitchen!  Dr. Stiffler helps bust a few myths--most notably that there are Arab Christians, Jews and Muslims, and that the museum is a home for all nationalities who have pursued the American dream.  (See more!)