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Ronald Ahrens

Industrial loom

Room for a Lady

During the Cranbrook Educational Community’s initial development nearly a century ago, founder George Booth suggested to Loja Saarinen that she should create textiles to complement her husband Eliel’s architectural designs.Eliel became president of Cranbrook...

DBusiness Billionaire Playbook

Name another city in the world that has a multibillionaire — in this case, Dan Gilbert, founder and chairman of Rocket Cos. — who has acquired some 100 major properties in the central business...
Soap Box Derby racers cross finish line.

Pull of Gravity

With support from Chevrolet, the All-American Soap Box Derby became an enduring national pastime

Let’s Make a Dill

Through the mists of time, pickles have been a tangy condiment served with meals as well as a bracing snack between them.During 40 years in the wilderness, the Israelites survived on manna and wistfully...

Retail is Detail

Belle Tire Distributors Inc. Headquarters: Allen Park Founded: 1922 CEO: Jack Lawless President and Owner: Donald Barnes III Stores: 130+ Employees: 2,300 Revenue: $700M (projected 2023)Sermonizing by Belle Tire Corp. was unusual. Its typical newspaper ad referred to value days or...
Flight of Fancy - A single-seat aircraft, the Ford Flivver was intended to be the “Model T of the Air,” but the plane never caught on. Today, Model No. 1, built in 1926, is on display at the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation in Dearborn. // Courtesy of The Henry Ford

Flivver Talk

Harry Brooks was rushing to an engagement in Berkley, so the young test pilot showed his derring-do (and showed up on time) by landing the prototype Ford Flivver airplane on Woodward Avenue near the...
Dynamic Range - Founded in 1931, Detrola Corp. found early success producing low-cost radios during the Depression. They soon developed private brand radios for department stores and merchants, and added cameras in 1939. // Courtesy of Mike Eckman

Photo Finish

Even as a novice photographer in the 1930s, Saul Leiter enjoyed the smooth precision and bold design of the Detrola camera his mother had given him. He went on to shoot photos for Life...
Whiz Kid - Avis Car Rental, founded by Bay City native Warren Avis, got its start in 1946 at Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti Township. In 1972, the company debuted Wizard, the first computer-based reservation system to be used in the United States car rental business. Many customers today still have a unique “Wizard number.” // Courtesy of Fairfax Media Archives

Hire Power

As a World War II bomber pilot, Warren Avis could see the future of commercial aviation. But although it was faster than rail travel, he found the time savings were squandered in long waits...
Before Its Time - Chateau Chantal opened in 1993 on the Old Mission Peninsula north of Traverse City. The region's microclimate near the 45th parallel is ideal for growing white grapes. // Courtesy of Chateau Chantal

Red, White, and Rosé

The sound system was acting up, but Nathaniel Rose had a strategy for waiting until Soul Patch, the Traverse City roots-rock band, opened Northport’s 2022 Music in the Park series. In observance of his...

Mad Men

Lee Iacocca stood before mourners at Kirk in the Hills in Bloomfield Township on Aug. 21, 1993, and recognized plenty of familiar faces. Composing himself against tears, he invoked the memory of a man...