Museum logo

Archive Record

  • Send Feedback
Catalog Number 2015.011.029
Object Name Film, Motion Picture
Title "Detroit Today and Tomorrow, Detroit Clearing House and the Civic Center" telecast WWJ Jan 12 1958
Scope & Content Color 16mm film containing an installment of the Detroit Tomorrow Committee's series "Detroit: Today and Tomorrow," focusing on Detroit's Civic Center and banking institutions. Although the Detroit Clearing House Association is not named in the film, it is listed on the label on the film's tin. and was presumably involved in the banking segment.

The film begins with a discussion of Detroit's history, focusing on the role of the riverfront. This is supplemented by shots of items from the collection of the Detroit Historical Museum including the bust of Cadillac, a model of Fort Pontchartrain, the Streets of Old Detroit exhibit, and several illustrations of the city. The film then transitions to a focus on the contemporary riverfront, and the development of the Civic Center.

The half of the film concerning the development of the Civic Center includes shots of construction for the center and for underground parking in Grand Circus Park, a map of the project, and concept art showing a park in the center of Cadillac Square and plans for Civic Center Park. The section also contains spotlights on the completed elements of the plan--the Veterans Memorial Building, City-County Building, and Henry and Edsel Ford Auditorium. There is a portion connecting the need for underground parking in the Civic Center with the new expressways leading to downtown. There are also shots of architectural models of the Convention Hall-Exhibits Building, which would become Cobo Hall and Arena. One model shows the hall in detail, and another shows it in the context of the rest of the Civic Center development plans as well as pre-existing parts of downtown. In addition to shots of downtown and the construction in the Civic Center, one of the Boblo Boats and one of the Chicago, Duluth, and Georgian Bay Transit Company boats are shown docked on the riverfront in one shot.

The second part of the film deals with banking in Detroit. The part of the production opens with shots of banks around downtown, including the exterior of the Penobscot Building with the City Bank signs in frame, the Detroit Bank and Trust Company, Manufacturer's National Bank at 151 Fort Street, the Bank of the Commonwealth Building (formerly/later the Dime Building), and the First National Building with National Bank of Detroit signage. The film then takes us inside of an unidentified bank where it shows up both the bankers and tellers in the lobby, as well a women working on machines behind the scenes.

The next stretch of the film relies on the device of following a couple who is opening their first checking account with a bank. The narrator talks about the benefits of checking. The couple are shown meeting a banker, visiting the vault, and seeing their safe deposit box. The film then shows how checks are processed, a process that includes microfilming, automatic punch card machines, telegraph machines, and automatic typewriters.

The film then focuses on the benefits of the banks to the city. First the narrator discusses the role of banks as employers. Home loans are then linked to home ownership in Detroit in a sequence that features shots of residential streets. Loans are also explained to be a boon to businesses; this part is supplemented by a shot of a commercial stretch including a Beck Shoes and an S.S. Kresge Company store. Public bonds and public works projects are also covered with shots of freeway construction, schools, and Grace Hospital. A brief discussion of Industrial financing is likewise accompanied by shots of factories.

After a brief segment about the convenience of neighborhood bank branch offices and their drive-up windows, the film begins a concluding segment about banking in Detroit. This portion includes shots of several large homes, a street with a Kroger, Sidders, and Winkelman's, footage of Eastland Center during its construction, a car dealership lot, and the beginning of the construction of the National Bank of Detroit Building with City Hall still standing on the background.
Date 1957
Extent of Description 00:26:55
Collection Communication/Radio/Television
Search Terms Downtown
Detroit Tomorrow Committee
Civic Center
Streets of Old Detroit
Grand Circus Park
Cadillac Square
Concept Art
Veterans Memorial Building
Ford Auditorium
Coleman A. Young Municipal Center
Cobo Hall
Eastland Center
Detroit Clearing House Association