Documenting Detroit is a collection of photographs taken by College for Creative Studies students in the 1970s and 1980s. Under the ever-impressive guidance of Detroit photographer and photography instructor, Bill Rauhauser, who taught at CCS for over thirty years, students were able to turn the urban landscape into works of art. Fans of Detroit history, architecture, and sociology will undoubtedly find interesting images in the roughly 1,250 photographs of all areas of Detroit, from churches to construction sites, grocery stores to warehouses, hospitals to schools, and many others.
This collection offers us a unique insight to what Detroit looked like in the 1970s and 1980s, when Michigan Central Station was still shuttling passengers all over the country and J. L. Hudson’s Department Store on Woodward Avenue was still one of the largest in the world. These photographs allow us to see the construction of the Renaissance Center and Joe Louis Arena, and the abandonment of Poletown and the Warehouse District. View photographs of residential neighborhoods, with children playing in the street, which are now nothing more than empty lots. Find photographs of favorite Detroit restaurants as they were decades ago, such as Jacoby’s, Astoria Bakery, Pegasus Taverna, Circa 1890 Saloon, and Sweetwater Tavern. These photographs will arouse your curiosity as you are transported back to the time of bell bottoms and platform shoes.
– Natasha Rogers, DHS Digitization Fellow