Look Up, Detroit! A Walking Tour of Grand Circus Park
by Doug Gelbert
There is no better way to see America than on foot. And there is no better way to appreciate what you are looking at than with a walking tour. Whether you are preparing for a road trip or just out to look at your own town in a new way, a downloadable walking tour is ready to explore when you are.
Each walking tour describes historical and architectural landmarks and provides pictures to help out when those pesky street addresses are missing. Every tour also includes a quick primer on identifying architectural styles seen on American streets.
When the District of Columbia was designated to be the nation's capital there was no city. Building started from scratch based on a street plan drawn up by Pierre Charles L'Enfant that sent broad avenues radiating through circles and plazas. When Detroit was named the capital of the Michigan territory in 1805 before the new government could get up and running the entire settlement burned to the ground so it too was starting from scratch. Justice Augustus B. Woodward based his street grid for Detroit on L'Enfant's plan for Washington. Woodward ran all his streets from the central hub of Grand Circus Park.
Standing in Grand Circus Park one can turn and see the breadth of Detroit history from a post-Civil War era church to skyscrapers crafted in the early days of the automobile to the modern sports stadiums. But we are here to walk and so our walking tour will head down Augustus Woodward's spokes and circle Grand Circus Park more or less following his radial street plan...
- Doug Gelbert, October 2011
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