Joseph Campau Avenue and the Shopping Districts of the City of Hamtramck

Hamtramck, Michigan

Grace, Dolores, Anna and Sophie   DATE: Easter 1950/1952.
This picture was taken in front of a place called "Sodas"
on Conant across from the Deluxe Bakery.


A list of famous business places  in Hamtramck can go on forever, as Joseph Campau is 2 miles long. Many of these are now out of business. City of Hamtramck is approximately 2 miles square.

Here is a short list of some of the most famous (not all on Joseph Campau, but in Hamtramck):

Liberty State Bank, Auto City Brewing Company, Lendzions, Niesners, Federals, White Tower Hamburger, Kowalski  Sausage Company, Kondrats, Polart Center, Sweetlands, Playdium Bowling,Ciemniak's Meat Market, D.W. Co-op,New Palace Bakery, Dudek's, Cunningham's, Olsonite Corporation,  Pure Foods, Frank Barbaro's Bowery and many more.......

Your ancestors could get anything they needed on Joseph Campau. Markets with fish still swimming in barrels, fresh pickles and more were available fresh every morning.  If they wanted more, they took the Baker Street Car to Downtown Detroit. After the Street Car company  closed down, they took the Chene Street Bus.

To relax, swim at the beach or even sleep overnight under the stars (before camping!) your ancestor's would head for:
Belle Isle

Movie Theatre's in Hamtramck (all closed):

  1. Martha Washington
  2. Farnum
  3. Campau
  4. White Star
  5. Lasky's
  6. Pastime
  7. Conant Theatres 

Some of these theater's gave out one dinner dish each week to keep your ancestor's  coming back to get their complete set.


1941--from Michigan, A guide to the Wolverine State, by the Writers Program:

Hamtramck had a population of 56,268 in 1941. It was Michigan's seventh largest city. Its 2.09 square miles of territory are totally within the confines of Detroit. The principle thoroughfare, Joseph Campau Avenue, narrow and charged with traffic, is lined with two-story shop and office buildings. This single shopping district, strung out the length of the city, had one of the heaviest volumes of trade in the metropolitan area, and, in number of sales, was second only to downtown Detroit.

Most of Hamtramck's business places, whether dispensing food, drugs, real estate, or funeral services, bid for attention in Polish as well as English. A chain drugstore advertised a huge apteka sign, and on the second floor windows were adwokat (attorney) and dentysta (dentist). There were many specialty shops, such as those selling feathers and quilts, and many "bazaars", their windows a melange of dream books, pictures of saints, razor strops, chewing tobacco, and first communion dresses. The windows of the white and gleaming sklad wedlin (delicatessen) were neatly packed with Polish foods that attract shoppers from all parts of the Detroit district.



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