Posting vignettes based on great postcards found in my mail box and elsewhere.

Monday, November 29, 2010

My Hometown, Wayne, Michigan, circa 1940's

This is a photo postcard view of Wayne, Michigan, my childhood hometown. The view looks northwest along Michigan Avenue, U.S. 12. The scene is not so different than the main streets in many small towns of the era between Detroit, Michigan and Chicago, Illinois, before the advent of the interstate highway system and urban renewal.
This glossy photo postcard was sent to me by a high school buddy, Rick B. who still lives in the area. I think the time on the clock at the top of the building is close to the time of day this picture was taken. The shadows are right for 10:46 AM. The photo was most likely taken in the 40's, owing to the cars on the street.
During my boyhood, Wayne was a small town with a thriving downtown. You could park on any street and walk to several stores to shop and take care of business. Today, these buildings still exist. They escaped the bulldozers that razed most of the buildings in Wayne's Michigan Avenue corridor in the 70's -- sacrificed for the sake of urban renewal. The actual renewal took decades to achieve and for many years left the core of Wayne a ghost town. The tightly packed storefronts were eventually replaced with isolated structures surrounded by parking lots. The city is still replacing buildings that were once there.
Fortunately other areas of Wayne were not mowed down and to this day retain some of the look and feel they had during the World War II era. What I liked about these buildings were the second stories that often housed an apartment that a store owner lived in or rented out. This feature ensured that people occupied the downtown area at all hours of the day and night instead of a place deserted at the close of the business day.


  1. You hit the nail on the head. There were people downtown and businesses right up at the street without these huge parking lots. Seems we are slow to learn to appreciate when we have a good thing.

  2. What other postcard do you have from Wayne Michigan? I am on the Historical Commission and am always interested in photo's of Wayne. I have lived in Wayne since 1947 and have watched (sadly) the city change greatly over the years.... Ed M

    1. I am also looking for some more historical information on Wayne and the area, especially in the early to mid 1940's. I also grew up in the area, from the mid 1970's through the late 80's. I'm working on a book that takes place in the area.

  3. Nice postcard. I spent my teenage years in Wayne, From the mid 70's until the mid 80's. Going to the State (Wayne) theater. I rode my bike up and down this street hundreds of times.

    I am also writing a book in which the main character resides in Wayne. There is not a lot of focus on the city (in the book) but I'm also looking for some more photo reference, especially around the early to mid 1940's. Anything that you could share on that era would be greatly appreciated.

    thanks, Roger

  4. Ed,
    I have a few postcards of Wayne/Westland area. I will post as I organize them. If you'd like a listing email me and I'll send.
    If I come across anything I think you might use I'll email you if you email me. Good luck on the book. I'd like to hear more.