Bailey, the proprietress and owner of Detroit History Tours is as funny as she is knowledgeable about Detroit’s history. She was also our Haunted Detroit Tour guide and a skilled storyteller who knows her craft well. The Haunted Detroit Tour is just one of many tours organized by the Detroit History Tours.
Haunted Detroit Tour
(I know, this picture is pretty scary! We are safe.)
In early October we were lucky enough to snag tickets for Bailey’s Haunted Detroit Tour. I promised her I wouldn’t give away the tour route, but I had to share a few highlights from the tour. Not the haunted stories, you’ll need to sign-up for a tour. Read on for the highlights of Bailey’s history lesson.
Michigan’s First Governor
Did you know at the age of 23, Steven T. Mason was the youngest governor elected? He was also buried 3 times and if you believe everything you hear, was also known for his “hot sperm.” Good grief, no I didn’t know that and I had to consult with my 20 something son to translate that last point. In other words, he was a hotty who had an STD.
The Boy Governor’s exploits included:
- Moving the University of Michigan to Ann Arbor.
- Leading Michigan’s fight for statehood.
- Trading Toledo for the U.P.
- Attempting to irreparably change the gene pool in Michigan.
- Helping to write Michigan’s first constitution, which banned slavery.
- Fired by President Andrew Jackson because of the debacle with Toledo.
Keep in mind, this all happed before he turned 24. This guy was a character.
As the bus rolled to stop in front of the house at 518 Jefferson, Bailey started her story about her thwarted attempts to gain entry. We were in stitches when the bus pulled away from the curb. It involved a stake out with her BFFs, stalking an unsuspecting chauffeur who they tried to weasel information from and lots of pizza.
A few crib notes about Yondotega:
- Detroit’s most exclusive club founded 1891.
- Men’s only club, no women allowed.
- Members meet on Wednesday for dinner.
- When members are asked about the club they are instructed to “duff their hat and the leave the room.”
- The guest chefs are always from out of the country.
Michigan War Veteran Memorial
I had no idea the Michigan War Veteran Memorial existed. It does and it turned 78 in September. Sadly, it needs many repairs. A portion of the Haunted Detroit Tour ticket sales is donated to help with its restoration. Bailey shared a few of the spooky stories she’s collected about the memorial. While you should definitely visit this fine memorial, don’t linger too long.
The tour started and ended in Detroit’s Eastern Market. You won’t see the gallows used to hang the last person executed in Michigan in 1830. (Thank God!) But Bailey’s story of the last hanging was so rich and detailed, I could see Stephen Simmons with a noose around his neck. Swinging, while he slowly suffocated. There is plenty of debate about his hanging and its impact on Michigan being the first state to abolish the death penalty.
The Haunted Detroit tour was a blast. We highly recommend Detroit History tours.
Other Detroit Adventures
We love an adventure, especially if it involves exploring one of Michigan’s hidden gems. If you’ve got a suggestion, please leave a comment! If it involves Michigan History, all the better. Here a few Detroit escapades we recommend:
- Detroit Beer Festival
- 2017 Detroit Book Festival
- Detroit Riverwalk Adventure
- A Date at the Detroit Public Library
We have more photos of the tour in our gallery. Please enjoy them, but if you share, we’d like a photo credit.
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