The year was 1975, and Wayne State University's David Mackenzie House was facing imminent destruction to make way for a new sewer line. Two university students rallied their peers to halt the demolition, simultaneously planting the seed that bloomed, like a flower bulb planted in radioactive dirt, into Preservation Detroit. Over the past three decades, the architectural preservation organization has become a leading advocate for the protection and rehabilitation of Detroit's historic abodes, skyscrapers, and culturally rich sites. Preservation Detroit's staff, composed primarily of volunteers, continues to nurture their community's passion for historical treasures through lectures, seasonal newsletters, and tours.
From May to September, tour guides usher pedestrians through the bustling streets of Detroit, weaving narrative tapestries about the century-old cultural center and, on the Auto Heritage tour, Henry Ford's flagship factory, birthplace of the Model T and the concept that assembly lines are useful for more than just completing the Sunday crossword. During a special yearly boat tour, guides unravel the Detroit River's seedy past as a conduit for Prohibition-era bootlegging while passengers dig into dinner.