Detroit Now & Then

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Submitted by Quizmaster Rebecca Bare
Clues in the Picture
Quiz #466 Results
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Answer to Quiz #466- February 22, 2015
1. What is the city and the approximate date? What is on this site now?
2. Identify the building to the far left with the dome.
3. What is on the other side of the highway sign?
Thanks to long-time Quizmaster Ed Vielmetti for submitting this photo.
1.  Detroit, 18 February 1965.
A building housing the IRS, along with its parking garage.
2.  Wayne County Commission Building, 600 Randolph St., Detroit, MI
3.  The question was ambiguous, so we are accepting several answers:
Referring to what was written on the back of the sign
(and not what was physically behind the sign or across the street from it):
US Hwy 12 is probably correct because the sign is that of a US Hwy.
Other answers:  M-1, Hwy 85, Hwy 10.
Comments from Our Readers
Did you notice that the Gurneys ran the restaurant for several generations? We have
Elias Brothers Big Boy - one just down the street.  There was another name
attached to one in Dearborn County, Indiana, I went to once.  Heard they were mob
long ago.  heh heh
Marilyn Hamill
Colleen, sometimes I really think that I get stuck in the details!! For your question
3) What is on the other side of the highway sign? For some reason I thought you
were looking for what highway was indicated on that highway sign. However, now
that I reread it, it could simply refer to the building behind it. If this is the case then
I would say The Guardian Building, with an actual address on Griswold (500), but
with one of its sides on Congress. However, I believe Bates Street is the dividing
line between East and West Congress so the back of that sign would be The
Guardian Building on West Congress. And I thought this quiz was going to be easy.
Cindy Costigan
N.B.  When Ed sent in the photo for the quiz, he also provided the questions.  
Alas!  There were no answers.  I interpreted the question to ask what was on the
highway sign, but I guess you are right, and it could refer to the building in the
background.  We will accept either answer.  Good point!  - Q. Gen.
Of interest the that the Elias Brothers owned Big Boy restaurants from 1952
forward - One such restaurant appears to be located in the building with the Arthur
Fleishman carpets sign in the left side of the photo.
Lieanne Bennett
This has been a great quiz! I really enjoy solving quizzes with the old photos of
towns and their historical sites. It was definitely a fun, happy quiz. I'm sure it
brought back memories for people who lived in Detroit at the time that the chop
house was in business.
Grace Hertz and Mary Turner
Those Fabulous Fletchers
'Beyond' threw me.    Beyond if you were looking west at the front of the sign or
beyond looking east in the direction of the picture.  I tend to read too much into
questions sometimes.  Going East is St Andrews Hall. Or do you mean the General
Motors Headquarters which are east and south?

For some unknown reason I knew the city was Detroit.   I have never been there
so I must have seen the Wayne County building in some article at sometime.
Looked for the carpet store first and then located Gurney's and Hotel Congress in
an old Detroit Directory.  Surprisingly it appears that the parking lot across the
street in the picture along with the two older buildings are still there today.
Edna Cardinal
I think that sometimes skipping the obvious is what leads you to the correct answer
to the mystery, while in several others it's NOT missing it.

But following false clues is always good: you get to learn a lot about something that
has absolutely nothing to do with what you're trying to find and you get to learn
faster ways to discard them.

On other subject, I really hope for Detroit to find its way back, it's a city that
deserves to keep creating great things.
Ida Sanchez Tello
On the other side of the highway sign was Cunningham's Drug Store in 1957.  
Today that site is occupied by One Detroit Center, the tallest office building in
Margaret Paxton
You can approximate the date from the vehicle parked (it looks like a 1964
Chevrolet Biscayne) and the fact that Schroeder Paint & Glass was bought out in
Owen Blevins
I am not sure what you mean by, "What is on the other side of the highway
sign," but I believe the sign itself is directing the traveler to Highway 25
which is west southwest of this location.
Jon Edens
Note the Elias Big Boy restaurant on the left side of the road.  The Elias Brothers
were the first and largest franchisee of Bob's Big Boy restaurants.
Gary Elder
I found a very interesting website while looking for the answers:
Rebecca Bare
I think front of the car belongs to a 1964 (possibly 1965) Chevrolet Impala, so the
earliest possible date would be about October, 1963, following the release of the
next year's car models. Hard to tell the season, although it looks like the top
of a leafed tree beyond the domed building, and there's no sign of winter.

Thanks: I like these city street puzzles.
Peter Norton
I'm guessing this was taken in late 1964 or early 1965. The car in the front
is a 1964 Chevy Impala and the "Cipriani for Councilman" would coincide with the
election of Poindexter in November of 1964.

My husband was born in Detroit! It is a sad and beautiful city (lots of "ruin porn")
with an amazing history.
Tynan Peterson
What is on this site now?   Detroit, MI.  The Chop House is Frank E. Gurney's
Chop House and Buffet which was located at 12 - 14 E. Congress Street, Detroit.
MI. Also seen in this photo is The Schroeder Paint and Glass Co., which was
founded in 1897 by John Schroeder. It was a retail store on East Congress and
Cadillac Street which sold paint, glass, oils, varnishes.  Currently, Detroit City Hall
is very close to this location with a Woodward Ave address, and the IRS building is
also very close.

Another good Quiz.  Thank you for all you do.  
Stephen P. Hall
I figured it was in Michigan or close by as the Elias Bros. Big Boy is in the back
ground.  Did a search on "Gurney's Chop House" and got the Wayne State
University Virtual image.

I think that is old city hall on the left with the tower.  - now
destroyed in 1961.  

Wayne County Commission Building -
600 Randolph Street

It may be one of the nation's finest surviving examples of Roman Baroque Revival
architecture ...  copper dome
Judy Pfaff

Congratulations to Our Winners!

Cindy Costigan                Ida Sanchez
Margaret L Paxton                Carol Farrant
Lieanne Bennett        Marilyn Hamill
Edna Cardinal                Ida Sanchez Tello
Margaret Paxton                Owens Blevins
Brett Robinson                Jon Edens
Gary Elder                Rebecca Bare
Roger Lipsett                Peter Norton
Ellen Welker                Ida Sanchez
Tynan Peterson                Stephen P. Hall
Judy Pfaff

Grace Hertz and Mary Turner
The Fabulous Fletchers!
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Car vintage 1960s
Wayne Co.
Elias Big Boy
Gurney's Chophouse Bar
Car vintage 1960s
Googling "Gurney's Chophouse" took me to the "A Directory of Names, Pennant
Numbers, and Addresses of All Members of the Ship Masters' Association of the Great
Lakes, published by the Ship Masters' Association of the Great Lakes.  See
Gurney's Chophouse address is given as 12-14 Congress St., Detroit, MI.
According to Google Maps, the location of Gurney's Chophouse is on Congress St
north of the intersection with Woodward Ave. Note that Congress St is a one-way
street, with the cars facing towards the photographer.  The US highway sign must
indicate Hwy 12, accessed through a left turn at Randolph St. Today, Congress is still a
one-way street, but with traffic flow in the other direction.
12-14 Congress St., Detroit, MI.
The photographer must be facing southewest down Congress Street just before the
intersection with Woodward. The building with the dome must be on the other side of
Congress St, about a block to the southwest. Using Google Earth or Google Street
view, you will find the building is the Wayne County Commission building.
Topographical view of 1943 Business District of Detroit
East of Woodward Avenue and South of Cadillac Square
(Circle indicates approximate location of Gurney's Chophouse).
Bob's Big Boy

1964 Ford Biscayne (top), Quiz photo car (bottom)
Big Boy Restaurants International, LLC. is a restaurant chain with its headquarters in
Warren, Michigan, in Metro Detroit. Big Boy also refers to Frisch's Big Boy Restaurants
headquartered in Cincinnati.

Big Boy was started as Bob's Pantry in 1936 by Bob Wian in Glendale, California, USA.
The restaurant became known as "Bob's, Home of the Big Boy Hamburger" then as
Bob's Big Boy. It became a local chain under that name and nationally under the Big Boy
name, franchised by Robert C. Wian Enterprises. Marriott Corporation bought Big Boy
in 1967. One of the larger franchise operators, Elias Brothers, purchased the chain from
Marriott in 1987, moved the headquarters of the company to Warren, Michigan, and
operated it until bankruptcy was declared in 2000. Following the bankruptcy, the chain
was sold to investor Robert Liggett, Jr., who took over as Chief Executive Officer
(CEO), renamed the company Big Boy Restaurants International (BBRI) and kept the
headquarters in Warren. The company is the operator or franchisor for 104 Big Boy
restaurants in the United States. BBRI also licenses 281 Big Boy restaurants operating in

Immediately after Liggett's purchase, Big Boy Restaurants International—then known
as Liggett Restaurant Enterprises—negotiated an agreement with the other large
franchise operator, Frisch's Restaurants. The Big Boy trademarks in Kentucky, Indiana,
and most of Ohio and Tennessee transferred to Frisch's ownership; all other Frisch's
territories transferred to Liggett. Thus Frisch's is no longer a franchisee, but Big Boy
Restaurants International and Frisch's are now co-registrants of the Big Boy name and
trademark. Frisch's operates or franchises 120 Big Boy restaurants in the United States.

How Ida Solved the Puzzle

How Ida Solved the Puzzle

Sometimes, in order to arrive to the most obvious clue, you have to
resolve everything else, only to land to what you should have done in
the first place.

This is what I did:

1)  Googled "congress hotel" and virtually travelled to Tucson.
Coincidentally, the historical building is near the St Augustine
Cathedral, but it did not appear anywhere in the srteet view, so It
could not possibly be there. I even tried googling "gurney's chop
house tucson" and nothing came up (headbanging right now).

Later went to Chicago, easily discarded. Lastly, went to South Beach
in Miami just for kicks...nada.

2. Googled "Schroeder Paint and Glass" and that took me to Detroit,
even more, it mentioned the corner of Cadillac and Congress!!!
having Congress and Schroeder in one single place, I immediately
traveled to
Detroit to such corner, and in the street view, I saw the landmark for

3, compared over and over, that was it!!! but I had no idea what the
building was and google maps didn't tell me. I was in Street View
Again, when I saw the building in the suggested pics below the
screen, as Wayne County Commission.

4. Googled Wayne County Comission Building. Saw as many pics as I
could, there was no doubt that was the tower seen in the pic.

5. Went east on Congress St and then turned around. It looked
nothing like the quiz pic.

6. Went west on Cadillac Sq, same deal. I could see the whole Wayne
County Building
and, as its name clearly indicates, there was a square on the left side.

7. Googled "Greenwhich Time Pub Detroit" and learnt all about the
famous and historic pub.....but it didn't contribute at all to my search.

8. Went back to the picture looking for some clues. I realized there
was a little alley all the way at the front.

9. Went to the map and tried to find an alley in the area. Bingo!
Congress street, west from the building.

10. Went to that corner on Street View, now I was placed exactly
where the quiz pic was taken. I only needed a date, and other than the
60s-70s car, nothing was getting me any closer (neither the building,
paint company, carpet company, hotel, construction of the parking
lot that occupies now that whole block...).

11. A couple of hours later, when I again had a little time for the quiz,
I googled again "gurney's chop house" but typed detroit instead of
tucson. Voila, several links with this picture appeared everywhere
(that's when I started banging my head for not having googled the bar
without a city name and be done with it).

12. went to the map and checked what road number was for
Woodward Avenue, and it was number 1.

I think I omitted other false trails and searches, but I wanted to show
how I fell under every single textbook trick this quiz has to offer only
to land at the easiest clue after solving the quiz.

Ida Sanchez

An Alternate Solution by Roger Lipsett
This image is the first hit if you search "Gurney's Chop House", at, but it takes more
work to figure out exactly where it is. There is this pretty interesting
map that lists
Gurney's Chop House, but apparently the street numbers on East
Congress were reversed at some point. Working back and forth
between that map and today, it seems that this picture was taken
looking SW on East Congress Street from just SW of the intersection
of East Congress and Randolph St. On the spot where Gurney's was
looks like it is currently a parking lot, though it's hard to get the
geography exactly right. The Greenwich Time Pub, a few doors
down, says "Established 1932", so unless they're lying (impossible!),
that pub is behind us in the original photo.

The car is 1960s vintage, which supports the claim that the shot is
from 1965. Apparently Mr. Cipriani lost his bid for the Detroit City
Council, because he is not listed as a former councilman. That was
no help at all.

The other side of the highway sign, which is a U.S. Highway sign,
probably signifies U.S. 12, which starts just to the left at the
intersection with Randolph St. (Turning right today gets you to

The building in background left is currently the Wayne County

Interesting photo. Even then, during the heyday of the auto industry
in Detroit, this was a pretty run-down area. Unbelievable what has
happened to that city through a combination of happenstance,
economics, and absolutely awful management.

Roger Lipsett