Detroit is now a synonym for industrial decline and urban decay but in the mid-twentieth century this could not have been further from the truth. At the turn of that century Henry Ford, after a couple of relatively unsuccessful ventures, launched the Ford Motor Company and used assembly line improvements and new labour practices to produce cars on a mass scale. Detroit – or “Motor City” – was the beating heart of the automobile industry and became the headquarters of the “Big Three” manufacturers: Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler.
The boom years were followed by a tremendous bust . . .