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Ten restaurants from the Black Legion era

April 26, 2016

 

We all know Detroit has changed significantly since the mid-1930s. The Tigers' Navin Field and the Red Wings' Olympia are long gone. So, too, the University of Detroit football field where the Lions won their first championship.

 

But at least ten Detroit restaurants have survived from that era. You can still grab a burger or coney dog at a place where Schoolboy Rowe, Mickey Cochrane, or event Black Legion gunman Dayton Dean might have. Here are the ones we know were in business in 1935:

 

* Motz's Hamburgers remains along West Fort Street, not far from where the Black Legion met at Findlater Temple at Lafayette and Waterman on the city's southwest side.

 

* Dakota Inn Rathskeller has been on John R north of Six Mile Road since the early 1930s. Both Mickey Cochrane and Dayton Dean lived about a mile from there.


* Four coney places, at least, were all slathering chili on dogs back in the day: American and Lafayette downtown, Duly's on Vernor and Red Hots on Victor off Woodward (technically in Highland Park, but close enough).

 

* Roma Cafe, near Eastern Market, may be the oldest on this list, tracing back to the 1890s. Given the Black Legion's prejudices, its members likely never walked through the door. But plenty of sports stars have.

 

* Marcus Burgers has been serving its oblong patties on hot dog buns since the 1920s.

 

* Ivanhoe Cafe, better known as the Polish Yacht Club, has been serving up fish dinners since the days Ty Cobb prowled the outfield.

 

* Jacoby's German Biergarten predates even Cobb's Detroit tenure by a year. It sits blocks from where Heinrich Pickert, police commissioner and covert Black Legion member, ran his empire on Beaubien Street.

 

So, what restaurants did we miss? Who else was around in 1935?

 

 

 

 

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