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Detroit Michigan: Hamburgers Six For a Dollar and Barbecue Chicken

For today’s post, we travel to Detroit, Michigan for a mid-1950s views of a Hamburger and Barbecue Chicken restaurant and a modern shopping plaza. This Art Moderne styled eatery is diner-sized and has a long oval-shaped window that was popular with this form of building the late thirties, forties and early fifties. Six hamburgers for a dollar may seem inexpensive, but with inflation added in, today it equals $9.17 or $1.53 a burger.

The second image below is an early-to-mid-1950s shopping plaza also located in Lansing; today the common name for this type of a shopping center is a strip mall. This form of individual stores lined up in a row sharing a common parking lot dates back to the twenties here in the US and with the wider use of the automobile, the expanding population, and new housing subdivisions built after the Second World War construction of these centers increased rapidly. The angled parking arrangement in this plaza gives us a good view of the of the early to mid-195os on the road at the road in Michigan at the time.

Tell us what you find of interest in these photographs courtesy of Seeking Michigan.

18 responses to “Detroit Michigan: Hamburgers Six For a Dollar and Barbecue Chicken

  1. In the lead photograph, 2nd car from the left, is a 1950 BUICK Super four-door.

    Also in the same picture, on the far right, is a 1956 BUICK either a Century or a Super convertible.

    • Funny how that Buick seems more aerodynamic than the ’55 Chevy beside it. Low slung front end with those monster teeth! As for the price of hamburgers, that figure you provided would still be a bargain today. $1.53 for a burger at six a pop would feed a young family. Wonder how good the burgers were. Of course, Mickey D’s cheapest burger at that time was about $0.15, so we went there on ‘special’ occasions only (in our ’56 Chevy).

  2. Parked in front of the hamburger stand I see what could be our family’s 1950 Buick which would, however, be about 90 miles away from where we lived. The trees in the background appear to be American Elms of which the center one looks like it has the Dutch Elm Disease which was sweeping Michigan in the 1950s.

  3. In the second view of the top photo, on the far right is a beautiful `56 Roadmaster cvt. The bottom photo amazes me, in the fat that the lot is jam-packed for being evening at a strip mall! Krogers is a huge chain that expanded everywhere during the 50s, and it appears half of Lansing is parked right in this lot!

  4. Please tell us, where these places were.
    We love historical Lansing.
    Unfortunately, Virg does not care about history.

    • The second photo was taken at the Frandor Mall on Frandor Avenue in Lansing. The Kroger Co. store was at 410 Frandor, and the F. W. Woolworth store was at 420 Frandor. The mall still exists and it still has a Kroger store, but the Kroger’s is in a different location and it is in a new building.

  5. I’ii take a shot at the top picture: 55 Chev HT; 50 Buick; 57 Pontiac; 55 Mercury; 55 Chev; 41 Ford (?); 55 Ford; 56 Buick .

    The roadside restaurants bring back many memories of teens, hot rods and Drive-in Restaurants. Those were good years following WW II.

  6. Two ’55 Chevys in photo #1. No wonder there are so many ’55-6-7 Chevs at shows today-they were every where back in the day.

  7. 2nd pic: 1953-1954 Plymouths are often critisized for their upright and oldfashioned styling, but to me, the two Belvedere hardtops seen here (1954 in front row and a 1953 model 3rd row, same direction) are the prettiest cars here. It’s a coincidence that two of this fairly rare model (for a mass-produced make, that is) are seen together, both in contrasting colors;

  8. Mmmm, hamburgers. ( and in Wisconsin, cheeseburgers, duh)We have a restaurant chain in Milwaukee called
    George Webb. Before the “fast food” joints popped up, George Webb was the place to go.( at 2 am, wink, wink) They had similar promotions, ( I think they still offer a 5 for $5) But the grand daddy of giveaways, was for years, they said, if the baseball team ( Braves, then Brewers) ever one 12 straight games, they would give away free hamburgers. Milwaukee never really had a super baseball team, so that offer went on, until finally, on April 19, 1987 ( almost 40 years after the offer started) the Brewers won 12 straight. George Webb made good on their promise, and in 3 days, 168,194 hamburgers were given away. Top THAT Micky D’s!!!

  9. I grew up in south Gary Indiana, Glen Park. We had The Village shopping center, very similar to the second photo. I have fond memories of car spotting in the parking lot as a kid. Monkey Wards, A & P, hobby shop, J. C. Penny’s. And best of all the traveling exhibits that took place in the huge parking area . Who remembers the traveling “Chevy Show”. A semi trailer full of cut-away engines and late model Chevy displays ? I think It came through around ’62 or ’63.

  10. Similar to Saran wrap, which was named for Sara and Ann who was the wife and daughter of the inventor’s boss at Dow Chemical, Frandor Mall may have been named for Franny and Doreen, perhaps the daughters of the malls developer.

  11. Some really uninspired suburban architecture. Blah. I bet that people of Lansing were happy to be able to park with no snow, sleet or rain that day. Can you imagine going there on a snowy day? Makes you appreciate covered modern parking structures or underground parking without having to trudge through the winter snow or summer heat. That is one ugly hamburge joint and an even uglier strip mall. Kroger market must have had a giant sale going on judging by the crowded parking lot. OMG. The array of various cars in front of the 6/$1.00 hamburger/chicken joint was nice to see. Not sure why the old Ford backed in. Maybe teens wanting to watch for cute girls going by as they munched a burger lunch. The lonely lady at the bus stop out front looks a bit anxious wondering where the bus is.

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