Grand River Avenue: From Detroit to Lake Michigan

A Lecture!

Even if you've always lived in Michigan, you may not realize that Grand River Avenue is the Route 66 of Michigan. It starts at the Detroit Athletic Club and winds westward through Brighton, Lansing, Grand Rapids, and finally, Muskegon, taking on several other names along the way.

Co-authors Gaill Offen and Jon Milan present a fun and fascinating history of Grand River Avenue in Michigan through rare photos and lively anecdotes, with a special focus on places in Detroit, such as Hudson's, The Detroit Athletic Club, Olympia Stadium, the Grande Ballroom, the origin of the name "Lahser", the Riviera and Redford Theatres and more. Places with Jewish history and connections will be highlighted.

Over time, Grand River Avenue has served as a footpath, a stagecoach route, a plank road, and ultimately, a two-lane highway that gave America's earliest motorists their first tastes of long-distance automobile travel--one of Michigan's true "Blue Highways." So, come on a road trip with us!

Speaker Bios:

Gail Offen is an adjunct professor of advertising at Lawrence Technological University, and an award-winning creative director, writer and branding specialist. She's a frequent lecturer on Michigan-related subjects and co-author of several books: Grand River Avenue: From Detroit to Lake Michigan (Arcadia Publishing, 2014), Iconic Restaurants of Ann Arbor (Arcadia Publishing, 2016), and the newest release Michigan Haunts: Public Places and Eerie Spaces (Arcadia Publishing, 2019). She's always curious to see, eat, and write about what's around every corner.

Jon Milan is a Detroit-based freelance author, pianist and music historian. He fequently lectures on Michigan-related subjects and has written five books, three co-authored with Gail Offen, as well as Detroit: Ragtime and the Jazz Age (Arcadia Publishing, 2009), and Old Chicago Road (Arcadia Publishing, 2011). He has spent his professional career as a corporate communications manager and gives presentations on the history of ragtime and early jazz music, with a special focus on Detroit songwriters.

The event is chaired by Larry Gunsberg and the lecture will be followed by a dessert reception with Gail and Jon's book for sale for $20.



Register here


or call 248-432-5617.

Sunday, April 19, 2:00 PM

JHSM members: Free

Non-members: $10




6600 West Maple Rd

West Bloomfield, MI

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