The Comet Bar was a classic dive joint, quintessential Detroit, simple and unpretentious, known for its generous pours of whiskey.
And it was beloved by its regulars.
Last Wednesday was supposed to be its last day. That's because the Cass Corridor watering hole at 128 Henry Street is slated for demolition to make way for the new Red Wings arena. Progress can be joyful. In this case, it's simply painful. The owner, native Detroiter Wayne Alexander, wanted to keep the bar alive. He didn't want to end a good thing.
He owned the bar since 2008, but rented the building. Detroit Cab sold the building for the development.
"I"m being displaced," said Alexander. "And I got a darn good business here and I kind of wish I could stay around. But I know I have to leave."
Patrons came by for one last drink last Wednesday, but were turned away by a sign informing them that the bar was already closed (photo by Redditor 'ornryactor' ). Alexander said people were getting too emotional the night before. Some defaced the bar and some fought. He worried things were getting too negative. So he simply closed on Wednesday.
But behind the locked door that night, Alexander sat with several of his closest customers and employees. He shared his thoughts on his displacement, and talked about the terrible Tuesday night that led him to cancel the Comet's last day in business.
The video above was produced by Loveland Technologies as part of a new oral history project to add a more personal layer of context to stories about land use and development.
This oral history project will create a platform by which the city's rapidly changing but rich cultural history can be preserved and shared through an easily accessible public database. Everyone’s heard the blight story, but behind that empty storefront, vacant lot, or what might, today, look like a run down neighborhood, is a history. "The Story Census" will capture the oral histories of store owners, shop keeps, home owners, residents and stakeholders of every type, talking about their time in a particular place in the city. The videos will then be attached to the corresponding parcel record on whydontweownthis.com and motorcitymapping.org , viewable for anyone to see.
If you have a land related story that should be told, please email Loveland Technologies' Community Engagement Manager, Lauren Hood, at email@example.com
Disclosure: the author of this article works for PishPosh.Tv, the company that filmed and edited this video.