THE COMMUNITY ARCHIVE
Photo Gallery - 1950s
With the end of World War II, the 1950s brought great prosperity to the United States and the Maltese who had made their homes in Detroit in the 1920s and 1930s took part in that growth of wealth. Families began to enjoy job stability, vacation homes "up north", and home ownership in the metro-Detroit area. This is also the decade of the young generation who became the first truly Maltese-Americans, sons and daughters of immigrants but themselves Americans born and bred. Speaking Maltese at home and English in public without a second thought. New immigrants helped to bring new life into the Maltese community as well. Thousands would come to Detroit after the war, escaping the economic downturn in Malta for jobs with friends and family in the still booming auto industry.
But for the Maltese community, the 1950s also represent a great time of change and scattering. St. Paul's Maltese Catholic Church on 4th Street and Plum closed and was demolished to make way for the Lodge Freeway, an urban renewal program which cut Corktown in half destroying the fabric of many ethnic communities. With the loss of St. Paul's and the segementing of the neighborhood, coupled with growing prosperity for many, the Maltese joined others in moving out of the city and into the suburbs. This movement from Corktown saw Maltese scatter to the Northwest side of Detroit and suburbs like Dearborn, Westland, and Redford.
To learn more about each photograph, click it to access it's archival data.