9:00 - 0 mile / 0 - 9:00
General Motors Global Headquarters and Renaissance Center
The Renaissance Center was Michigan's largest private construction project when built in the 1970s. Spearheaded by auto magnate Henry Ford II, the $340-million complex consists of a
73-story hotel surrounded by four 39-story towers. Over 20,000 artifacts from the early 19th century were unearthed at the time of construction and are now retained by the Detroit Historical
General Motors Global Headquarters is the corporate offices of one of the three major American automobile companies. Tour the building to learn General Motors history. The building also houses a display of past, present, and future GM products.
10:00 - 0.1 mile / - 10:00
This historic city park, whose name means "field of Mars" or "military ground," is currently the site of a major mixed use development project. As part of Judge Augustus Woodward's 1806 city plan, the park, originally used as a drill ground for militia as early as 1788, would remain an open space for large public assemblies. By the mid-1800s the area around the park became an active, bustling section of the city and has remained this way for over 100 years.
Nowadays, Campus Martius houses offices, retail, entertainment and parking spaces in five buildings on five blocks. Among those businesses involved in the project is the computer software company, Compuware, which is building a $550 million headquarters at Woodward and Monroe Avenues. The redeveloped park includes themed gardens, an events plaza, sculptures, benches, and fountains.
11:00 - 0.1 mile / - 11:00
Detroit Opera House
The Detroit Opera House, originally opened in 1922 as the
Capital Theatre, is one of several great movie and vaudeville
theater palaces designed by Detroit-based architect C. Howard
Crane. The venue deteriorated over the years until it was closed in
1985 with little hope of reopening. Needing a home, the critically
acclaimed Michigan Opera Theatre purchased the building and
adjacent property. The owners began the process of restoration,
including over 70 percent of the building's plaster. In 1996, the
$24 million project ended with an inaugural concert featuring
11:15 - 0 mile / 0 - 11:15
Detroit Science Center / Omnimax Theater
The facilities, exhibits, and programs of the Science Center provide hands-on exhibits and demonstration experiences. Visitors and Detroit area families alike can discover and appreciate the science, technology, and engineering displayed at the center.
14:15 - 0 mile / 0 - 14:15
The elegant Fox Theatre, built in 1928, is the largest surviving
"motion picture palace" and has been a venue of American
entertainment history, holding the distinction of being the
Nation's largest continuously operating theatre. After a year of
major restoration in 1987, it reopened in its original splendor.
The “Fox” hosts numerous theatrical and musical
productions throughout the year.
Designed by C. Howard Crane and built in 1928, the Detroit Fox
Theater is the culmination of flamboyant movie palace architectural
design. Crane, who had designed over 250 theaters by 1928,
considered the Fox his best effort. In its size, ornate decoration
and mechanical systems it was the premier example of what a movie
palace could be.
14:30 - 0.3 mile / - 14:31
Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History is the
world's largest museum of its kind, dedicated to documenting,
preserving and educating the public on the life and culture of
African Americans. It's comprehensive main exhibition, "Of the
People: The African American Experience," covers over 600 years of
African and African American History. Two additional galleries host
changing exhibitions and guests can also enjoy programs in the
theater, lunch at the cafe, and shopping in the museum store.
16:01 - 0 mile / 0 - 16:01
Detroit Historical Museum
The Detroit Historical Museum presents exhibits and programs tracing 300 years of Detroit and southeastern Michigan history. Services include guided tours, community
programs, curriculum resources, and workshops for teachers. The Detroit Historical Museum offers a wide range of exhibits and educational programs. At the Museum, visitors walk through time in The Streets of Old Detroit with shops from the 1840s, 1870s and 1900s. They can glimpse the city's role in the Underground Railroad in the Doorway to Freedom exhibit. Children and adults alike delight in The Glancy Trains toy train exhibit, where they can blow whistles, lower crossing gates, and get an engineer's eye view from a TV camera mounted in one of the engines. At the Motor City exhibit, visitors experience Woodward Ave’s automotive heritage with a replica of the first car driven on the streets of
Detroit, a listing of all 100 plus car manufactures, which were originally along the byway, and a part of the
assembly line - the body drop - from the former Cadillac Clark Plant. The Museum also hosts a number of traveling and temporary exhibits.
The Museum's educational programs reach thousands of school children annually. One of the most creative programs is Detroit Storyliving, serving more than 15,000 students each year with an interactive educational experience, using role playing, music, and team-based activities to explore local history.
17:31 - 0.2 mile / - 17:31
Historic Ford Piquette Avenue Plant
The birthplace of the Model T, the Historic Ford Piquette Plant was also the
first building built and owned by the Ford Motor Company. While at
Piquette, Ford Motor Company established American dominance by
setting the world's record in car production. Models B,C, F, K, N,R
and S as well as 18,000 Model Ts were produced at the plant. In
1910, Ford shifted auto production to Highland Park. The Model T,
produced from 1908 to 1927, is regarded as the most significant car
of the 20th Century and was the car that put Americans on
The great American landmark was purchased by a non-profit, the
Model T Automotive Heritage Complex (T-PLEX,) in April 2000 with
donations provided by members of the Henry Ford Heritage
Association. The Heritage Complex has turned the site into a
continually growing museum and the only early automobile factory that is open to the public in the world. Interpretive displays scattered throughout the two factory floors describe the secret room, Henry Ford's office, a stationary assembly display, and more.
21:31 - 0 mile / 0 - 10:31
Historic General Motors Building
Since its completion in 1923, the 15-story former General Motors
Headquarters Building, designed by Albert Kahn, symbolized General
Motor's dominant position in the automobile industry. The building
consists of eight wings projecting from a central spine and a
five-story hipped-roof annex connected to the rear façade.
It is the oldest extant General Motors headquarters building in
Detroit, and its construction and completion coincides with the
beginning of the Alfred P. Sloan Jr. era, which saw the company
surpass its competitors in total sales.
As the nation's largest manufacturer of motor vehicles and,
according to institutional scholar Paul F. Douglas, "the largest
manufacturing corporation in the world," General Motors has
profoundly influenced not only the American automobile industry but
corporate organization and personal lifestyles as well.
Today the building serves as the public offices for the State of Michigan.
12:31 - 0 mile / 0 - 12:31
Historic Ford Motor Company - Highland Park Plant
The Historic Ford Motor Company Highland Park Plant is significant for
being, among other things, where Henry Ford first began the mass
production of automobiles (specifically, the "Model T") on a moving
assembly line in 1913. The plant was also the site where Ford
instituted the "five dollar day," a generous wage for the time.
Detroit architect Albert Kahn designed the complex, which
included offices, factories, a power plant and a foundry. In 1927,
Ford shifted auto production to the River Rouge Plant in Dearborn,
limiting Highland Park to truck and tractor manufacturing. The
Highland Park Plant is a National Historic Landmark.
The Highland Park Plant was built between 1909 and 1920 on the
lot bounded by Woodward, Manchester and Oakland Avenues, and three
railroad tracks. An office building, a garage and several machine
shops once stood on this portion of the site.
12:46 - 2.4 mile / 4 minute - 12:51
Detroit Zoological Institute
The Detroit Zoo is among Michigan's top attractions and one of the most visited zoos in the Nation. Opened in 1928, it was the first zoo in the United States to make extensive use of barless exhibits and the only zoo in the US with exhibits designed and built by world renowned expert Heinrich Hagenbeck. Situated on 125 acres, the zoo is a natural habitat for more than 1,500 animals and more than 700 varieties of trees, flowering plants, and shrubs.
Of the 275 different animal species, 54 are officially listed as endangered or threatened and two are extinct in the wild. Zoo features include a butterfly and hummingbird garden, the National Amphibian Conservation Center and the world's largest polar bear exhibit. The "Arctic Ring of Life" is a state-of-the-art $14.0 million exhibit that explores the relationship between arctic people and wildlife. The most unique feature is the 70-foot-long, clear tunnel that takes visitors underneath diving and swimming polar bears and seals.
16:51 - 2.4 mile / 4 minute - 16:56
Cranbrook Academy of Art and Art Museum
Cranbrook Academy of Art is the only institution in America devoted solely to graduate education in the fine arts, design and architecture. About 145 students are enrolled annually from across the U.S. and around the world. The Academy promotes a studio-based learning environment in which students are encouraged to pursue individual projects with direction and guidance from 10 artists-inresidence. The North Central Association of Colleges and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design accredit the Academy.
Cranbrook Art Museum, built in 1942, presents fine contemporary art exhibitions featuring the work of local, national and international artists. Student work is exhibited and students are employed at the Museum in various capacities. The Museum is also the home of The Cranbrook Collection which comprises significant works by Cranbrook alumni as well as artists-in-residence and includes Saarinen House, the fully restored home and studio of Eliel and Loja Saarinen. The plaza at the Museum entrance features the Carl Milles sculpture, the Orpheus Fountain, which has become synonymous with Cranbrook.
18:26 - 7.1 mile / 14 minute - 18:40
Cranbrook House and Gardens
Cranbrook is a cultural, educational and religious complex composed of six autonomous institutions with numerous outbuildings and gardens located on a 300-acre campus. The complex includes Cranbrook House, Meeting House, Christ Church, Cranbrook School for Boys, Cranbrook Academy of Art, Kingswood School for Girls, and the Cranbrook Institute Science. Most buildings reflect English collegiate inspiration with stunning Gothic and Tudor elements, some elegant Modernistic structures, and Arts and Crafts interiors. Exquisite landscape architecture complements the structures and unites the campus into a showcase of early twentieth century architectural styles. The design of the complex represents the artistic philosophy of George Gough and Ellen Scripps Booth, who belonged to prominent Detroit News editorial families combining artistic collaboration, hand craftsmanship, and functionalism. World renowned architect Albert Kahn of Detroit designed the Late Gothic Revival residence for the Scripps Booth family.
Stretched out over the grounds, Cranbrook Gardens, covers over 40 acres and features wonderful exhibits of plants and flowers. Several smaller gardens such as the Oriental Garden can be seen as the viewer strolls through the area. Participants can tour the grounds alone or can pre-arrange a guided tour. The gardens are open May 1st – October 31st.
20:40 - 4.4 mile / 8 minute - 9:49
Woodward Avenue (M-1) - Automotive Heritage Trail - end