The Cass Corridor is to Detroit what Hell’s Kitchen is to New York City. One and a half miles long and five blocks wide, the Corridor is located in Detroit’s central city. It gets its name from Cass Avenue, one of its main streets, and because it’s wedged between the John Lodge Expressway on the west, Woodward Avenue on the east, Grand Circus Park on the south and West Grand Boulevard—including the old General Motors’ building—on the north.
Once Detroit’s center of culture and fine arts at the turn of the century, the Cass Corridor became synomymous with inner city blight and crime in the 1960s. It was here that we—my wife-to-be, Maggie, and myself—chose to live, and to restore a nineteenth century row house, after returning to my home town of Detroit.
We lived there for five years and they were five of the most memorable years of my life. These short stories actually started as a novel. however I was reticent to write the fictitious transitions needed to accomplish that and I was actually more comfortable in the role of story-teller.
These stories are about our experiences while living there and, more importantly, about the people who inhabited the Corridor. In 1977, when we moved there, most Detroiters didn’t believe that people… good people, really lived there. Much of the Corridor’s reputation was earned, however, we soon discovered it was a very close-knit community, not unlike any small town made up of people… good people who through no fault of their own attempted to live their lives in the eye of a storm.