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dtown

Downtown Midland

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Does anyone know what downtown Midland is like? Pics would be great.

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When I was a kid in the 60s-70s:

Post-war Midland had outgrown its typical Michigan county seat Main Street.

There was a three level JC Penney, a small Sears, Woolworth, Kresge's (with lunch counters) and various local shops. Stores were open late on Thursdays because Dow hourly employees got paid then. Every summer they closed the street for "Sidewalk Days". Most serious shopping was done in Saginaw or Bay City, or at small centers with WT Grant's and Yankees/Zody's/TWay

The City Dump had recently been relocated from the Tittabawassee Riverbank at the foot of Ashman Street!

As an adult in the 00s:

I stayed in a hotel where Penney's once stood. The riverbank and junction with the Chippewa River is a nice park with the three legged tridge 'The Tridge" astride the forks.

I could not buy razor blades on Main St., but I counted five places where I could buy a latte!

Downtown is not much for historical preservationists, but the W. Main Historic District to the west of the CBD is worth a visit. Fans of Mid twentieth century architecture will find Alden Dow buildings interesting, but I prefer the native stone Midland County Courthouse.

Someone who lives closer should pop up some day and take some pics ...

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Downtown Midland is still somewhat a joke, but getting better. As stated, it lacks the historical architecture. It was there at one time, I'm guessing they just leveled it all and restarted from scratch. There is a sizable hotel there too, which looks nice from the river. There's also the tridge. But yeah, the downtown lacks an established character...basically it feels kind of fake.

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ive heard about a minor league baseball stadium being put up in DT Midland, anyone know more about that?

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I saw a picture of it under construction in the Saginaw News today. It was mostly about minor league baseball teams, specifically the Toledo Mudhens and Lansing Lugnuts, but had a small blurb about the new stadium. The article should be on MLive maybe.

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Could some one glean the information from those articles? Also, where is this in relation to downtown? I've never heard anything about Midland. I've always imagined it the more modern, non-descript and suburban/sprawled on the tri-cities.

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It's not really necessarily any more sprawled than the other cities, but it doesn't really have any density either. It's just traditional neighborhood upon traditional neighborhood. In a way, this is a good thing because most of the neighborhoods are pretty strong.

Downtown is interesting. It doesn't feel like the center of a city at all. There's really not a "main street" even though Main Street would be the focal corridor if any. I have family in Midland and when we would visit, we'd always go to St. Bridget's Church in downtown.

You definately get the sense that Midland is a family-oriented community and the arts, culture, parks and recreation all have significant importance on the people there.

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sounds kinda different than any city ive ever been to, the downtown doestnt feel like a city center? can you elaborate please?

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Well, other than the city and county buildings located there, in kind of an office park style, there doesn't seem to be much of the traditional downtown strip like most other towns will have. Other than park linkage trails usage, the downtown area isn't very lively after working hours. I think there is a pretty large senior building on the west side of DT and that's about the only housing you'll find other than the typical single family units scattered throughout.

Midland is more of a commercial strips with traditional neighborhoods kind of town. Most of the commerce and city functions take place there as opposed to a centralized downtown core.

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The commercial districts, like Michi said are sort of located along thoroughfares, but have somewhat of a post World War II suburbia feel. The downtown is right on the fringe of the city. There's a lot of people who don't know where downtown Midland is, or just can never find it.

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oh, thanks for the explanation. I assume that its that way because it developed a lot after WWII, when Dow began to grow?

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Is the layout the city the way it is because of when it "boomed?" How old is it? I seem to get the feeling that the town was almost created for Dow. What was the cities size and claim to fame before Dow?

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Midland was a lumbering town, and a county seat. The original town was oriented to the NW to SE orientation of the Tittabawassee River. Dow was a small chemical company that moved its offices from Cleveland to Midland in 1899 or so to be near the brine wells it extracted chemicals from. It remained small until after world war 2.

After 1950, its orientation changed to match the township grid making for oddities like S. Ashman and E. Ashman. Midland doubled in size twice between 1950 and 1970. Because Dow brings in people from all over the world, it is much more cosmopolitan than most outstate Michigan cities. Most people are from some place else.

Midland has always been like a suburb without a city, except for the chemical plant, it would feel at home in Oakland County.

Downtown has always been irrelevent in my lifetime. The city built away from it to be upwind from the smokestacks of Dow Chemical. Poor Freeland ...

Midland was a lumbering town, and a county seat. The original town was oriented to the NW to SE orientation of the Tittabawassee River. Dow was a small chemical company that moved its offices from Cleveland to Midland in 1899 or so to be near the brine wells it extracted chemicals from. It remained small until after world war 2.

After 1950, its orientation changed to match the township grid making for oddities like S. Ashman and E. Ashman. Midland doubled in size twice between 1950 and 1970. Because Dow brings in people from all over the world, it is much more cosmopolitan than most outstate Michigan cities. Most people are from some place else.

Midland has always been like a suburb without a city, except for the chemical plant, it would feel at home in Oakland County.

Downtown has always been irrelevent in my lifetime. The city built away from it to be upwind from the smokestacks of Dow Chemical. Poor Freeland ...

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Thanks, Dunveth. That's very interesting. Hopefully, someone will get some pictures of the city center, eventually.

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Researching county courthouses in Michigan for awhile, I remember this one being the most unique in the entire state.

MI111.jpg

Dun, now that we've talked about the historical and physically layout of the city, I'm interested in hearing about the cultural layout. I've always been interested in how the Tri-Cities act, as that's a very interesting set-up for a group of cities. I was wondering if there are any "cool" neighborhoods in Midland, or if Midland, though a city, acts more as a bedroom city compared to the more established Bay City and Saginaw? I've always been under the impression that Bay City is more of the festival cities for the Tri-Cities, Saginaw has the most historical sites and the most "big city" of the three, and that Midland is the most "livable" of the three. Could you describe how you think the three interact with eachother, and how Midland fits into the picture? I kind of live in a city with a unique situation in that Lansing is significantly older and more established than its neighbor of East Lansing, but EL has taken on many of the cultural and entertainment amenities of the region because of MSU, which is why there is no symphony hall or civic/municipal auditorium (anymore) in downtown Lansing.

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thats a cool couthouse, kind of a bavarian look?

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Midland is traditionally Bay City and Saginaw's side-kicker and rightfully so, as it is not on the "main street" of I-75. I don't see Midland fitting in with Oakland County. It's a bit more progressive than that. Midland's layout if very traditional in every sense. It is LIKE a suburb but developed with neighborhoods so it offers a very pleasant environment in which to live.

It's always been in the shadow of Saginaw and Bay City, yet it's larger than Bay and offers just as much as Saginaw in terms of culture and recreation and education...so really, you could argue that Midland is the best Tri City. It's a proactive town unlike many of the old, industrial reactive cities that think they are down and out. But recently, Bay City has really mocked Midland, only Bay has put a lot of its focus on its downtown waterfront and is reaching for high status as a waterfront tourist community for Lake Huron.

For a city of its size, Midland functions outside of its small-town boundaries. The Midland Center for the Arts, Dow Gardens, Midland Symphony Orchestra, The Dow Museum of Science and Art, The Midland Performing Arts Society, Pierre Marquette Rail Trail, the Tridge...all play a part in Midland's uniqueness and success.

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Actually, I'd have to agree that it would feel at home in Oakland County. Sure there are few traditonally layed out blocks with some mid 20th century homes (although many of those blocks are parking lots and open space). But the rest of the city is just sprawl.

What I found most interesting though is the institutions Midland has to offer. A science museum that easily rivals Detroit's, lots of very large parks, and civic buildings that make it seem bigger than what it really is. What so sad is that its downtown is easily glanced over.

I found this zoning map of Midland at work. I had to resize it a lot so it's not very detailed.

midlandzoning.jpg

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It does look very sprawled, and the downtown layout sort of looks like an after thought. Strange.

Anyway, what is the circle district?

Speaking of zoning maps, maybe we could post some (of those that are available) in the general Michigan forum. I have one of Lansing.

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cool map.

and Lmich, post that, id like to see it.

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