Last-minute gift shopping? Here are 5 Detroit-themed gift ideas

Still looking for last-minute gifts? Here are five ideas that are certain to please any Detroit lover. And they are homegrown and ready to ship or be picked up.

1. Framed scrolls of historic Detroit bus routes: Artist Patti Kay, a yard sale enthusiast, found original canvas scrolls that were displayed on city buses to designate routes in the 1940s and ’50s. She made exquisite copies of the originals and is selling sections of them them in frames. Unframed versions also are available.

The long black-and-white scrolls feature names of popular streets and destinations in Detroit and available on her site,


 2. Nonfiction book: “Forgotten Landmarks of Detroit”: Author, journalist and historian Dan Austin published his second book about Detroit’s historic buildings in November. “Forgotten Landmarks of Detroit” explores the fascinating histories of long-demolished buildings, from the neo-Gothic Graystone Ballroom to the elegant Old City Hall. We reviewed Austin’s book in November.

Austin, who founded, is a polished writer with an earnest understanding of Detroit’s past. His book is available on his site, in local book stores and on

3. 2013 Calendar – Detroit in black-and-white: Local photographer Jon DeBoer depicts Detroit’s landscape with poignant black-and-white images that highlight beauty among the grit. The calendar features Detroit’s riverfront, Michigan Central Station, the People Mover, the Packard, a factory and other areas of Detroit.

DeBoer has an eclectic collection of photos on his site. His sincerity and perfectionism turn out beautiful, unique images.


4. Belle Isle to 8 Mile: An Insider’s Guide to Detroit: This newly published book is the first comprehensive Detroit guidebook in at least 30 years, wrote author and journalist Bill McGraw. How comprehensive? It contains information and essays on neighborhoods, bars, barbershops, restaurants, antique stores, parks, theaters, factories,historic homes, abandoned buildings, cinemas and more.

Three sibling, Andy, Emily and Rob Linn, collaborated on the 448-page book. The books are on sale at City Bird and Nest on West Canfield near Wayne State University.

5. Sole Sisters – A local boutique: When it comes to high-end shopping, Detroit usually doesn’t come to mind. But Sole Sisters near Wayne State University is a great destination for fashionable clothes, shoes, jewelry and bags for women. The staff is friendly, and the fashions are fresh.

This cute store, at 87 E. Canfield, is reasonably priced and intimate, with a helpful staff.


Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.

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