Motown Landmarks Photo Tour

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Historians and Motown greats such as class and style instructor Maxine Powell, Vandellas singer Martha Reeves and Frances Nero, the first female signed to Motown's Soul label, reminisce about places that were a part of Motown's legacy. Some, sadly, have crumbled like Mayan ruins. Others blend into the neighborhood. Driving by, they look like any other house or building that's seen better days. But my, oh my, if these walls could talk, they would sing. Take a look at this collection of historical gems in Detroit.

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Brewster Wheeler Recreation Center

634 Brewster St.

Before Berry Gordy started his world-renowned record company, he practiced boxing here. Singing groups such as The Primettes also rehearsed their musical act in the rec center before they became The Supremes. The dilapidated building escaped the wrecking ball last year, but its fate remains uncertain.


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Hitsville U.S.A.

2648 W. Grand Blvd.

Motown's original office and studio. Musicians given a second invite to the Hitsville office were on their way to Motown stardom. The building now is a main fixture of the Motown Museum and houses, among other Motown-era artifacts, Michael Jackson's famous glimmering glove.

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Jobete Publishing Company

2648 W. Grand Blvd.

Named after Berry Gordy's three children-Hazel Joy, Berry and Terry-the operation became one of the nation's most powerful publishing houses because of its Motown recordings. Today, it's the Motown Museum's entrance.

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United Sound Studio

5840 Second Ave.

Marvin Gaye recorded "What's Going On" here when it was one of Detroit's major recording studios. Now, with the building boarded up, his question seems prophetic.

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Motown Finance

2656 W. Grand Blvd.

With so many musical hits and artists, one can only imagine the daily bustle of business here. For some recording artists, big money followed fame. For others, not as much. "He (Gordy) gave me fame. Not fortune," says Frances Nero of Southfield who, in 1965, was the first female artist signed to the Motown label with a one-year contract. She recorded the early Motown hits, "Keep on Loving Me" and "Fight Fire with Fire."

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International Talent Management Inc.

2670-02 W. Grand Blvd

It was not uncommon to see Gordy's older siblings here working with lyricists to perfect the Motown sound. "Berry (Gordy) always had time to critique every artist," recalls "Dancing in the Streets" lead singer Martha Reeves, formerly of The Vandellas. "It was a career, hobby and lifestyle. And it enhanced so many."

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Artist Development

2657 W. Grand Blvd.

Named by "Professor" Maxine Powell, Motown superstars were made-not born-at this place. The grace and poise expert coached Motown greats such as The Temptations, smoothing out the steps of their legendary choreography, and refined The Supremes' and Vandellas' timeless elegance.

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Gordy Manor

918 W. Boston Blvd.

Located in Detroit's historic Boston Edison neighborhood, this is one of few Motown relics that remains in its former splendor. The mansion symbolizes the Black American dream that came to fruition.

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Artist Home Gladys Knight

16860 LaSalle Ave.

This is one of many houses Gordy purchased to keep his Motown artists close by and comfortable, and where Gladys Knight once called home. "She was the only one who could go into the studio and sing the songs in one taping," Motown artist Frances Nero remembers.

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