Michigan has long been famous for Motown and motor cars. Anyone interested in tracing the history of the American automobile industry or that uniquely American music sound, Motown, has to plan a trip to Michigan.
In 1959, a young Berry Gordy Jr. hung a sign on the door and opened what would become one of the most successful recording studios in America. Gordy had originally given his business the name Tamla, but decided that the company should reflect its origins. Being located in Detroit, which has long been known as Motor City, the company was named the Motown Record Corporation. The first Motown recording studio was in the basement of a small urban Detroit house that had been purchased with an $800.00 loan. Soon hit after hit after, star after star came streaming out of that basement. The list of Motown stars included such musical legends as Smoky Robinson, Stevie Wonder and the Supremes. The original Motown Studio, also known as “Hitsville USA” is now a museum dedicated to the history of Motown.
The first motor vehicle may not have been made in Michigan, but it became the heartbeat of the American motor industry. Automobile enthusiasts will find no shortage of museums, festivals and historic markers to visit in Michigan; enough to fill several vacations. The Henrey Ford Museum, the Chrysler Heritage Museum and the R. E. Olds Transportation Museum are all part of the Michigan Automotive Heritage Driving Tour. Other stops along the way include the Automotive Hall of Fame and the Alfred P. Slone Museum. It was Slone that created the Buick vehicle line.
Several automotive events are held annually in Michigan, making it easy for auto-buffs to schedule their vacation at the same time. The North America International Auto Show is held each January in Detroit, Michigan. This is where the auto-manufactures unveil their “concept” cars as well as the new line of vehicles that will be sold to the public. The Woodward Dream Cruise is a one day event held each August. What began as a fund raising event to raise money for a local soccer field by showcasing classic cars, has grown into one of the largest classic car festivals in the American Midwest. The Michigan Vintage Volkswagen Club also holds an annual festival in Depot Town, Michigan.
Don’t be fooled into thinking cars and music is all that Michigan has to offer. There are also many art museums, state parks, historic sites and festival throughout the state. They include the Michigan Beer Festival, the Elvisfest and the Tulip Time Festival.