The plant at 1331 Holden Street on Detroit’s west side was once owned by Henry LeLand, founder of Lincoln Motor Co, and later built car bodies for Ford, Chrysler, Packard and many others.
But on Oct. 6, 2012, it was the site for a “clandestine” birthday dinner for Jamie Kaye Walters, my close friend and producer of the two television shows I host or contribute to, American Black Journal and MiWeek.
Clandestine is all the rage right now in Detroit. The concept is simple: Stage a fancy dinner in a decidedly non-fancy space – an old factory or other rough-hewn place. It’s a way to suggest these buildings, which have become a morbid calling card for the city, have life still left in them, and potential to be productive once again.
In the gallery below, I’ve included the photos I took of the night, along with some of the plant during the early days of Lincoln – I’m pretty sure these are of this particular plant.
Special thanks to Matthew Naimi, who owns Detroit recycling program Recycle Here and who co-founded Green Safe, a manufacturer of earth-friendly products. The old Lincoln plant is where his businesses are now headquartered.
Kristin Lebo Naimi, Matt’s better half, cooked the fabulous meal.
And, of course, Vince Keenan, Jamie’s fiance and my high school classmate, was the organizer.
Good times for everyone.