I haven't been working on this as much as I should have, but today I've pretty much finished the southern base. I've done some more ornament, put in the stone block lines, and finalized (I *think* I got them right) the window depths. Some spandrels and a small amount of other stuff still has to be done but it would make more sense to do those things later.
Over Easter weekend I'll try to do the basic modeling for the alley area using the photos I took down there.
Joe Louis Arena:
Last weekend was the last game played by Detroit's hockey team, the Red Wings, at Joe Louis Arena. The Red Wings and all other events at Joe Louis Arena will be moved to a new arena currently near the end of construction. "The Joe", built in 1979 and likely to be demolished in a few years, was named after Detroiter Joe Louis, a boxer, and one of the first black national sports heroes in the US. In the 1930s before the US entered World War 2, Joe Louis fought and won against German Max Schmeling, who the Nazi government had made a subject of intense propaganda, showcasing him as proof of the superiority of the Aryan race over the black American. Later when the US entered World War 2, he supported the troops, and then joined the military himself, boosting his popularity. He was also a professional golfer where he also broke racial barriers.
Here's a well written blog post about Joe Louis Arena: https://radiallogic.wordpress.com/2012/03/06/lost-in-hockeytown-the-joe-louis-arena-story/ (it was written in 2012 and the later part of the article is outdated as it discusses things related to the new arena).
Here are some photos showing the neat tubes which connect the arena, a People Mover (elevated rail) station, the arena, and downtown. http://fadeddetroit.blogspot.com/2010/08/joe-louis-arena-garage-complex.html
The arena is tucked behind a convention center and a freeway, all built on land which was previously railyards along the riverfront. Interestingly, the pedestrian tube which crosses the freeway hasn't for decades because the convention center and freeway were expanded after it was built and the pedestrian crossing now terminates in the middle of freeway ramps. Before and after. The arena in google maps.
The new arena will not be named after a local historical sports figure, but rather, cheap pizzas. The Red Wings (and the Tigers, Detroit's baseball team) are owned by the same local business family that owns Little Caesars Pizza, a national pizza chain. Little Caesars Arena will mostly be an improvement to the Joe. A location and design that's more integrated with the urban fabric and more convenient to get to, more arena amenities, bigger seats, more bathrooms, etc. Its main innovation is that the arena edge is lined with buildings and that the concourse is an atrium which will be open for business even when there aren't events happening. Architecturally, instead of the honest straightforwardness of the Joe, the new arena will be decorated with an assemblage of kitschy facades with the philosophy of sports as a total entertainment package, like a theme park.
It's the end of an era for Detroit's sports and Detroit's civic urbanism. The last season at the Joe is also the Red Wing's first season missing the playoffs in 25 years. Hockey legend "Mr. Hockey" Gordie Howe finally passed away. Team owner Mike Ilitch, who had bought the "Dead Wings" in the 80s moved it to historical levels of sporting success passed away this year. This was also the last season for The Palace of Auburn Hills (Detroit has been lucky until now to have two arenas without corporate naming rights), a basketball arena built in 1989 in the far suburbs. It was the first modern basketball arena, innovative for its number of luxury suites. The basketball team, the Detroit Pistons, will be moving into Little Caesers Arena with the Red Wings next year, and all of Detroit's sports teams will be located in the city proper, downtown within a half mile of each other. There are also plans to establish a Major League Soccer team in Detroit.