December 14, 2019

20 useless facts about Detroit that you probably didn't know

Here are some completely useless tidbits everyone should have handy to tell at the next cocktail party.

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A woman poisoned an apartment building with arsenic-laced biscuits
In 1905, an employee of Alhambra Apartments served poisoned biscuits to the building’s residents because she was upset at having been demoted from cook to floor-scrubber. Two people died.
Photo via GoogleMaps

A woman poisoned an apartment building with arsenic-laced biscuits

In 1905, an employee of Alhambra Apartments served poisoned biscuits to the building’s residents because she was upset at having been demoted from cook to floor-scrubber. Two people died.

Photo via GoogleMaps
A journalist drove down every street in Detroit
In 2007, Free Press journalist Bill McGraw drove down all 2,700 miles of Detroit’s streets. Over the course of five months, he traveled down 2,100 streets across the city and observed the extremes of the city. McGraw’s reflections and interviews were published in a five-part series.
Photo via GoogleMaps

A journalist drove down every street in Detroit

In 2007, Free Press journalist Bill McGraw drove down all 2,700 miles of Detroit’s streets. Over the course of five months, he traveled down 2,100 streets across the city and observed the extremes of the city. McGraw’s reflections and interviews were published in a five-part series.

Photo via GoogleMaps
A woman was convicted of conning an 88-year-old man out of $231,000
Over the course of 11 years, a Detroit woman swindled $231,000 from an 88-year-old man and spent it all at Detroit casinos. Carrie McCoy, a 66-year-old Baptist church employee, met the man through a lonely hearts club. He lives in Green Bay, Wisc., and they never met in person. After accusing the man of inappropriate behavior, McCoy blackmailed him.
Photo via MGM Grand Detroit / Facebook

A woman was convicted of conning an 88-year-old man out of $231,000

Over the course of 11 years, a Detroit woman swindled $231,000 from an 88-year-old man and spent it all at Detroit casinos. Carrie McCoy, a 66-year-old Baptist church employee, met the man through a lonely hearts club. He lives in Green Bay, Wisc., and they never met in person. After accusing the man of inappropriate behavior, McCoy blackmailed him.

Photo via MGM Grand Detroit / Facebook
A baby was put on terrorist watch list and detained at Detroit Metropolitan Airport
In 2015, the parents of a seven-month-old baby were shocked to find their child’s boarding pass was stamped ‘SSSS.’ This designation means the person has been identified for extra screening from the Terrorist Screening Center, a division of the FBI. The child, now four years old, was one of 18 plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the Terrorist Screening Center and a class-action lawsuit seeking damages. A judge ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in early September 2019.
Photo via Detroit Metro Airport (DTW) / Facebook

A baby was put on terrorist watch list and detained at Detroit Metropolitan Airport

In 2015, the parents of a seven-month-old baby were shocked to find their child’s boarding pass was stamped ‘SSSS.’ This designation means the person has been identified for extra screening from the Terrorist Screening Center, a division of the FBI. The child, now four years old, was one of 18 plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the Terrorist Screening Center and a class-action lawsuit seeking damages. A judge ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in early September 2019.

Photo via Detroit Metro Airport (DTW) / Facebook
Elmo was given a key to the city
During a visit to Children’s Hospital of Michigan in 2010, Elmo was given the key to the city by then-Mayor Dave Bing. Detroit is the only city to have awarded Elmo a key to the city.
Photo via Shutterstock

Elmo was given a key to the city

During a visit to Children’s Hospital of Michigan in 2010, Elmo was given the key to the city by then-Mayor Dave Bing. Detroit is the only city to have awarded Elmo a key to the city.

Photo via Shutterstock
Harry Houdini died in Detroit
Before a show in Montreal, Houdini was punched in the stomach numerous times by a visitor who had asked if Houdini could withstand any punch. Houdini performed at Detroit’s Garrick Theater despite crippling pain. Just days later on Halloween, Houdini died at Grace Hospital of appendicitis. 
Photo via The Library of Congress, McManus-Young Collection / Wikimedia Commons

Harry Houdini died in Detroit

Before a show in Montreal, Houdini was punched in the stomach numerous times by a visitor who had asked if Houdini could withstand any punch. Houdini performed at Detroit’s Garrick Theater despite crippling pain. Just days later on Halloween, Houdini died at Grace Hospital of appendicitis.

  Photo via The Library of Congress, McManus-Young Collection / Wikimedia Commons
Jimmy Hoffa went missing from a Bloomfield Hills restaurant
In 1975, the union organizer went missing from outside a Bloomfield Hills restaurant. While Hoffa was declared legally dead in 1982, the mystery of his disappearance has yet to be solved.
Photo via 
John Bottega / Wikimedia Commons

Jimmy Hoffa went missing from a Bloomfield Hills restaurant

In 1975, the union organizer went missing from outside a Bloomfield Hills restaurant. While Hoffa was declared legally dead in 1982, the mystery of his disappearance has yet to be solved.

Photo via John Bottega / Wikimedia Commons
You can pay to be kidnapped
Since 2002, Extreme Kidnapping has specialized in fake kidnapping. For $1000, you can experience the “express kidnap,” a four-hour, customizable kidnapping adventure. A 10-hour kidnapping will run you $1600. They also offer kidnapping prevention courses, corporate team building workshops, and interrogation survival classes.
Photo via ExtremeKidnapping / Facebook

You can pay to be kidnapped

Since 2002, Extreme Kidnapping has specialized in fake kidnapping. For $1000, you can experience the “express kidnap,” a four-hour, customizable kidnapping adventure. A 10-hour kidnapping will run you $1600. They also offer kidnapping prevention courses, corporate team building workshops, and interrogation survival classes.

Photo via ExtremeKidnapping / Facebook
Metallica played a surprise concert on Belle Isle
While Belle Isle is usually a haven of quiet solitude away from the bustle of the city, it was once the site of a heavy metal concert. In 2013, Metallica played a surprise show on Belle Isle during the Orion Music + More Festival.
Photo via Metallica / Facebook

Metallica played a surprise concert on Belle Isle

While Belle Isle is usually a haven of quiet solitude away from the bustle of the city, it was once the site of a heavy metal concert. In 2013, Metallica played a surprise show on Belle Isle during the Orion Music + More Festival.

Photo via Metallica / Facebook
A deadly airplane crash happened here
In 1987, the second-deadliest airplane crash in the United States occurred shortly after the plane took off from Detroit Metropolitan Airport. Of the 157 passengers and crew, the only survivor was a 4-year-old girl. Nick Vanos, a basketball player for the Phoenix Suns, was among those killed.
Photo via National Transformation Safety Board / Wikimedia Commons

A deadly airplane crash happened here

In 1987, the second-deadliest airplane crash in the United States occurred shortly after the plane took off from Detroit Metropolitan Airport. Of the 157 passengers and crew, the only survivor was a 4-year-old girl. Nick Vanos, a basketball player for the Phoenix Suns, was among those killed.

Photo via National Transformation Safety Board / Wikimedia Commons