Have a Coca-Cola at Capitol Square in DETROIT

The only thing I knew when I bought this vintage snapshot is that it was taken somewhere in Detroit. Having never been to Detroit, I had no idea where this might actually be.

Click on image to see it larger.

Thank goodness for the statue in the square. I did a little googling and found that this is called Capitol Square. The statue is of Stevens T. Mason, referred to as “Michigan’s boy governor.” His remains are beneath the monument. Nice enough place to be buried, wouldn’t you say? Not so fast.

By 1955, though the statue was still there, the park had been turned into the DSR Capitol Park bus station. Let’s just say trees were apparently in the way. People going here and there, around the square, walked by the remains of their first governor, worried they’d make their connection.

Today it seems the park has been taken back in time to being once again a park…sort of, as can be seen by a photo posted at Shorpy within the comments section.

What’s even more interesting about the post at Shorpy is that the historical photo shows the park from the opposite direction as the one I own. In fact, I think it’s pretty safe to say my photo was taken in the tall building across from the far end of the park. That’s pretty cool to actually be able to see the area a full 360 degrees.

(SOURCE: Shorpy)

The photo at Shorpy dates back to 1912. You can see cars on the road which help to date it. In my shot there aren’t any vehicles to be seen, which in itself seems strange. I’m hoping someday someone will step forward to provide an approximate date. The Coca-Cola sign might be the key.

Do take a look at the large shot at Shorpy. The clarity is quite amazing.

UPDATE: I have found a postcard dated 1914 that shows the 4% Detroit United Bank sign, so I'm guessing my photo dates to around the same time.


  1. Replies
    1. Sometimes the net just makes it too easy, but then that's the wonder of it.

  2. I love these urban photos where the purpose seems more like a primitive version of Google maps. Comparing the tree height/shape in the park might narrow the years.

    1. Your'e right! It does feel like Google maps.

  3. I remember catching the bus in that bus station during the late 1960s when I worked at Hudson's Dept. Store during the Christmas season. I did go to Shorpy and and see that now it's being made into a park again. I guess there just wasn't enough bus traffic downtown since most of the stores that were there, aren't.

  4. You keep this up and you'll end up knowing all there is to know about the pic and the place. Good job!! Indeed it is interesting to get a 36o degree view.

  5. So cool!!

    So, did the buses run on time? :)