Harry Bennett's Pagoda House


Finally! With the assistance of my friend Scott, I went out to see Harry Bennett's Pagoda House on the Detroit River. Though the exterior of the home needs lots of work.. it was still magnificent to see in person.

Left side portal windows

This is the door where you would enter from the driveway/street. Scott told me that the circular symbol on this door was often used in other Bennett homes. Wonder what the meaning is behind that symbol...

Pagoda House was originally built for Henry Ford and his family. Clara Ford didn't like the strong current in the Detroit River and was afraid her children might drown. Clara and Henry sold the property to Harry Bennett.

Right Side Portal Windows Pagoda House camera is facing south

Harry Bennett's Grandson told me that his father and uncle worked on the construction of the Pagoda. He remembers flying and boating over to the Pagoda. Read more HERE

stable across the street

This out building across the street is rumored to have a tunnel from the Pagoda over to this structure. The Pagoda is a fenced in property which is rare for Grosse Isle. Because of the infamy of it's previous owner.. it make this home a target for break ins and other undesirable types of activity.

Read more about:
NEW* Video Tour of Bennett's Castle!
Harry Bennett's Castle HERE
Castle 1984 Photos
The Rise and Fall of Harry Bennett HERE
Harry Bennett's Cabin HERE
Harry Bennett-"Closer to Ford than his only son"


Pianist Jeff Swope
Apr 12, 1955-Feb 29,2012

Sadly I lost another friend this month. Today I heard from John Crawford that our dear friend Jeff Swope had passed away. Poor John... he bore the brunt of Jeff's care along with Jeff's dear friends Jim and Evelyn.

Jeff Swope July 1979

Jeff died from complications due to surgery from a brain tumor last October. Jeff was hospitalized for 4 months. Jeff really hated being stuck in the hospital. He is free from that prison at last...

Jeff and I both are from Ypsilanti, Michigan. I knew who he was in school and saw him play keyboards in many bands but we were not close friends until 2008. When I began blogging as Retro: Kimmer Jeff was one of my biggest contributors. He taught me so much about rock n roll and music in general.

Jeff was a big softy as well... He taught me to take a more gentle road... We talked on the phone every night for years. Though Jeff thought he would hate it... I turned him on to Facebook and he loved it. Jeff loved radical politics and loved to argue his beliefs with anyone game to do battle with him! Jeff was always upset if he learned that his views upset anyone else. He was always apologetic... He was a brilliant human being.

I loved Jeff dearly and I know he is finally free...


Age 56, passed away on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 after a short but courageous battle with cancer. Jeff was known affectionately as, "The Breeze," by many friends. An extremely talented musician, Jeff performed with many local musicians spanning four decades. Jeff spent the majority of his life in Washtenaw County, with some time spent in Alpena, Michigan where he graduated high school in 1972 and met many lifelong friends.

He was preceded in death by grandparents, John and Mary Miller whom he dearly loved, and his parents, William Swope and Faythe Miller Webster; cousins and friend, Tom Case. He is survived by his sisters: Liz Swope, Julia Swope and Jamie (John Blunt) Webster; niece, Zora; cousins: Patti Case, Ellen Case, Sandra Clark and many friends and fellow musicians.

His casual and kind nature, surprise visits, gifts of handmade tapes and CDs, comical musings, or just the pleasure of listening to Jeff playing you a tune will all be sorely missed. A brilliant yet humble man whose tongue-in-cheek self-effacing description, "A wizard, a true star!" could not have been more true. A more unique individual we may never meet.

We will miss you Jeff. A Graveside Service will be held Wednesday, March 7, 2012 at 3:00 p.m. at Highland Cemetery, Ypsilanti, Michigan with Pastor Donald Viers officiating. Please sign his guestbook at www.JanowiakFuneralHome.com

For Jeff....I miss you terribly my friend and advisor.. XK


The Wedding Cake House

Vernor's Home on Grosse Isle

Grosse Isle Toll Bridge

Yesterday I toured Grosse Isle, Michigan with my Facebook friend Scott. Scott is a native of Grosse Isle and knows so much about the local color and history.

Grosse Ile Township is a township of Wayne County in Michigan. The township is situated on several islands in the Detroit River, but the largest island is also referred to as simply Grosse Ile. The name comes from French Grosse Île, meaning "Big Island". The population was 10,371 at the 2010 census.

Bridge too small for fire trucks

According to the United States Census Bureau, the township has a total area of 18.3 square miles (47 km2), of which 9.6 square miles (25 km2) is land and 8.7 square miles (23 km2), or 47.4%, is water.

Beautiful home

Grosse Ile is the largest island on the Detroit River. The township of Grosse Ile is actually composed of twelve islands, although the community is most often identified with the main island (which residents simply refer to as "The Island"). Grosse Ile's main island is technically composed of two islands.

The tip of the main island's northern section is named Hennepen Point in honor of the 17th century French explorer Father Louis Hennepin. It is uninhabited and separated from the remainder of the northern section by an unnamed canal that cannot be navigated in a power boat.

The southern section of the main island is separated from the northern section by the Thoroughfare Canal, which runs on a diagonal course from east to west connecting the main channel of the Detroit River with the Trenton Channel of the river.

The southern section of the main island is connected by bridges to Elba Island, Upper Hickory Island (also known as Meso), Hickory Island, and Swan Island, which are all inhabited. When the owners wanted to build a new home on this property the politicians insisted the owner leave the original home... So they did! See below....

Two bridges connect the main island to the mainland of Michigan. The bridge on the north end of the island is called the Grosse Ile Toll Bridge (off-white color).

 Harry Bennett's Pagoda House

The bridge on the south end of the island is officially named the Wayne County Bridge (light green in color), but is commonly called the "Free Bridge" by locals.
I took the toll bridge across.

Grosse Ile historians consider the beginning of ownership and governance of the community by residents of European heritage to have begun on July 6, 1776, when the Potawatomi Indians deeded the island to prominent Detroit merchants, brothers William and Alexander Macomb.

Although the Potawatomi Indians, like most Native Americans, did not believe in the European legal concept of land ownership, they did consider the island to be part of their ancestral lands. The Potawatomi Indians called the island Kitcheminishen.

Train Depot/Grosse Isle Museum

Historians assume that the Macomb brothers believed that by purchasing this deed through the transfer of items of value, they had in fact obtained full ownership rights.

In any case, the Macomb brothers are considered to be the founders, and first legal owners, of Grosse Ile, because the Potawatomis, and later the United States government, respected the Macombs' perceived rights to take possession of the island.

Today, recognition of the Macomb brothers' historical importance is found in numerous places in the community. The central business district of Grosse Ile is located along Macomb Street which was named in their honor.

A monument commemorating the day that the tribal chiefs and elders signed the deed to the Macomb brothers is located near the shoreline of the Detroit River at the foot of Gray's Drive. The original deed, which was written on parchment, is currently stored in the Burton Historical Collection within the Detroit Public Library.

There are at least two homes still standing on the island that were built during the 19th century by a descendant or relative of the Macomb brothers. The Rucker-Stanton House on West River Road was built in 1848 by the great-grandson of William Macomb. The Wendell House on East River Road was built in the late 1860s by the John Wendell whom married the granddaughter of William Macomb.


Davy Jones
30 December 1945 – 29 February 2012

Davy Jones, the lead singer of The Monkees, sadly, died this morning after suffering a heart attack in Indiantown, Fla., his representative confirmed to ABC News. He was 66.

Davy was a huge pop star in the late 60's. I owned a couple of their LP's. The Monkees had a fun tvb show that we watched on Saturdays. I remember a lot of my school pals had their bedrooms wallpapered with Davy's photos. They were insane for him....

The Martin County, Fla. medical examiner’s office will be conducting an investigation into Jones’ death but said in statement that “there do not appear to be any suspicious circumstances” surrounding it.

Jones is survived by his wife, Jessica, and four daughters from previous marriages.

The British born Jones joined The Monkees in 1966 and contributed to a stable of rock hits, including “Daydream Believer” and “I’m a Believer.” The band was formed as part of a TV series about a rock band also called “The Monkees.” The show got canceled in 1968; the group, which included Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork, and Michael Nesmith, broke up two years later. FULL STORY



Just heard the sad news... Michael Davis legendary Bass player of the MC5 passed away. Michael was the nicest man... I made a blog for him and also created his fan page on Facebook..

Punk Rocker Sonny Vincent wrote me to contact Mike to play bass on his new CD. Mike was going to fly over to Brussels to record... It was the last time I chatted with Mike via email....He was excited about the session...

Mike was so nice and also had a very dry sense of humor.. Most of which I can't share on my blog! Dennis Thompson told me Mike was the "Paul McCartney" of the MC5. In other words he was the best looking guy in the band.

Angela Mike's wife loved him dearly and our thoughts and prayers are with Angie and the kids....

Michael Davis, the bassist of influential late 1960s rock band MC5, has died of liver failure, his wife said Saturday. He was 68.

Davis died at Enloe Medical Center in Chico, California, on Friday afternoon after a month-long hospitalization for liver disease, said Angela Davis.

Born on June 5, 1943, the bassist gained attention in the revolutionary Detroit band MC5 and later played in a version of the group called DKT-MC5 with former MC5 members Wayne Kramer on guitar and Dennis Thompson on drums.

The original MC5 rose to prominence from 1964 to 1972, making waves with incendiary anti-establishment lyrics and a blistering early-punk sound, starting with their first album "Kick Out the Jams," released in 1969.

A sought-after bassist and also producer, Davis was planning to be in Belgium this week recording with punk rock musician Sonny Vincent, said Davis' wife.

Davis had a scare in 2006 when he injured his back in a motorcycle accident on a Southern California freeway. He later co-founded the non-profit Music Is Revolution Foundation, dedicated to supporting music education programs in public schools.

In the last few years, Davis also returned to a love of painting, fostered when he first studied fine arts at Wayne State University in Michigan. He dropped out of the program in 1964 to play music, but started studying art again recently in Oregon and California, with the intention of finishing his bachelor's degree in fine arts.

Davis is survived by his wife, their three sons, and a daughter from a previous marriage.

We miss you Mike...



Steve Mackay

Hi Kim- Want to send you the 'studio' update. Fantastic news, Steve Mackay of the Stooges has arrived here in the studio in Brussels to wail crunch and rip these songs to pieces! We already have him on 3 songs and today we will do some more. Hope all is well in Detroit and Steve sends his best!

Sonny Vincent- Testors
Rat Scabies- The Damned
Glen Matlock- Sex Pistols
Steve Mackay- Stooges

Best from Sonny!

Sonny on Facebook

Thanks Sonny!! xK




Elvis Costello
To all my loves friends and readers.... Happy Valentie's Day and I hope you enjoy my favorite version of "My Funny Valentine....



Whitney Elizabeth Houston (August 9, 1963—February 11, 2012)

Whitney Houston, whose soaring voice lifted her to the top of the pop music world but whose personal decline was fueled by years of drug use, died on Saturday afternoon in a Beverly Hills hotel room. She was 48. The cause of her death was under investigation Saturday night, the eve of the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. Houston died at the same hotel where her mentor, record mogul Clive Davis, was holding an annual pre-event party featuring scores of music industry celebrities. ...

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Sad news today over the wire...Whitney Houston, who reigned as pop music's queen until her majestic voice and regal image were ravaged by drug use, has died. She was 48. How she died hasn't been released yet.. We will update the story as news comes in... Poor Whitney... RIP

Publicist Kristen Foster said Saturday that the singer had died, but the cause and the location of her death were unclear.

Whitney Elizabeth Houston was an American singer, actress, producer and a former model. Often referred to as the "Queen of Pop" or simply "the Voice". Houston is the most awarded female act of all time, according to Guinness World Records, and her list of awards include 2 Emmy Awards, 6 Grammy Awards, 30 Billboard Music Awards, 22 American Music Awards, among a total of 415 career awards as of 2010. Houston is also one of the world's best-selling music artists, having sold over 170 million albums and singles worldwide.

Inspired by several prominent soul singers in her family, including mother Cissy Houston and cousins Dionne Warwick and the late Dee Dee Warwick, as well as her godmother, Aretha Franklin, Houston began singing with New Jersey church's junior gospel choir at age 11.

After she began performing alongside her mother in night clubs in the New York City area, she was discovered by Arista Records label head Clive Davis. As of 2011, Houston has released seven studio albums and three movie soundtrack albums, all of which have diamond, multi-platinum, platinum, or gold certification.


“We have lost a magnificent voice, and I am certainly grief-stricken. This is another tremendous blow to the record industry. Whitney’s alliance with the genius, Clive Davis, who often produced her records and picked most of her hit songs with his golden ears, made for a double dynamite combination.


Feb. 11, 2012

“Whitney Houston was an unbelievable talent and one of the greatest voices of all time. Her passing is a tremendous shock and a terrible shame. She had a rough life and was under so much pressure as an artist, because she meant so much to the music community. She was one of the most admired singers ever, who was loved by everybody. We’re praying for her family.”

Media contact:
Randy Alexander




The full moon calendar 2012

Tuesday * 7th February 2012 * 10:53:48 pm
Central European Time (CET)
Moon sign: Leo 18°31'

In other time zones:
SYDNEY = Wednesday * 8th February 2012 * 08:53:48 am (AEDT)
TOKYO = Wednesday * 8th February 2012 * 06:53:48 am (JST)
DELHI = Wednesday * 8th February 2012 * 03:23:48 am (IST)
MOSCOW = Wednesday * 8th February 2012 * 01:53:48 am (MSD)
BERLIN = Tuesday * 7th February 2012 * 10:53:48 pm (CET)
LONDON = Tuesday * 7th February 2012 * 09:53:48 pm (GMT)
NEW YORK = Tuesday * 7th February 2012 * 04:53:48 pm (EST)
MEXICO CITY = Tuesday * 7th Feb 2012 * 03:53:48 pm (CST)
LOS ANGELES = Tuesday * 7th Feb 2012 * 01:53:48 pm (PST)
HONOLULU = Tuesday * 7th February 2012 * 11:53:48 am (HAST)



Photo from Detroit Underground

Loved this commercial so much it choked me up watching it... Clint really means what he is saying or so it would appear.... As a big Detroit fan... I thought I'd share this Clint Eastwood Chrysler Commercial with my readers outside the US.....



The lovely Carlton owner of Easy Action Records has sent me so many cool CD's and is now gifting Kimmer with 4 Primal Scream/DKTMC5 CD/DVD sets. This is a must have for the vast amount of MC5 fans out there. DKT played the final gig this past July in France. Write to me at retrokimmer@gmail.com and let me know your reasons for loving the MC5. The top three emails will win a set for their own! I will have 3 sets to give away... Thanks Carlton xxooK

Here is the info from Easy Action's Website:

• The complete performances by two of the world’s best and most renowned rock n roll bands captured on film using a 5 camera shoot and ‘surround sound’ performing in front of one audience. Shows like this rarely happen in rock n roll history but we caught this one and this is the documentative evidence of one the most explosive rock n roll gigs to be seen in decades!

• Over two and a half hours of none stop premiere rock n roll

• The legendary MC5 Davis Kramer Thompson played their final show in July 2011 this being the only show they have done since this concert. Primal Scream have their profile higher now than it has been for ten years with the re issue and world tour of their seminal album “Screamadelica”!

• The set list is pulsating with classic rock tracks such as ‘ Ramblin’ Rose’, ‘ Kick out the Jams’, ‘Looking at You’ , ‘Movin on up’ , ‘Accelerator’ , ‘Rocks’ ‘Sister Anne’, ‘Shoot Speed Kill Light ‘ and the encore sees BOTH bands on stage together for half an hour with guest and former MC5 manager John Sinclair. Handling lead vocals for the MC5 on this night was William Duvall ( Alice in Chains)

• The Special package includes a 2xCD set of the complete show, plus a substantial booklet featuring photos from the concert and extensive liner notes by Primal Scream confidante Kris Needs including interviews with Bobby Gillespie and Mike Davis. This will also be housed in a de luxe package of 3 gatefold card sleeves with the booklet inside a specially designed box

• The cover artwork is a painting by MC5 bassist Mike Davis based on a sketch that was done whilst on the road in the sixties then redone exclusively for this release.

• Advertising will be taken out in all major rock magazines Mojo, Uncut, Vive Le Rock, Record Collector, where reviews are also expected.


Jorge and Kimmer Tango

My friends ALL know that I am a Dancing with the Stars freak... Hooked from the very first episode. By complete accident I was searching for a building to host Retro Kimmer's Drum Off coming March 25, 2012.

Jorge and Griselda

Searched Ann Arbor for a hall to rent and I found the perfect place! Not far from my home in Ann Arbor is the Pittsfield Grange building. Shot some photos of it at bottom of this post.

The building manager Richard suggested I pop over to scout the venue Monday. Then he told me about the 2 Tango groups who lease the building regularly. TANGO dancing in Ann Arbor!!! Not one group but 2!!! I am there!!!

After waiting all week.. Tonight I went out with a friend to meet with Jorge and Griselda the owners of Tango Argentino of Michigan.

Jorge is the Ambassador of Tango... He lives for Tango. From the moment we were introduced Jorge began teaching us the history of Argentine Tango and also the steps. The steps Jorge was showing us are demonstrated very clearly in the video above.




A blogger friend sent me a dvd some years back about fashion photography in London during the 1960s. While watching this the other night I heard the Hollies singing "I Can't Let Go." I hadn't heard that song in forever. Tracked it down on you tube... been playing it every day since...RK

The Hollies are an English pop and rock group, formed in Manchester in the early 1960s, though most of the band members are from throughout East Lancashire.

Known for their incredible vocal harmonies, they became one of the leading British groups of the 1960s and 1970s. They enjoyed considerable popularity in many countries, although they did not achieve major US chart success until 1966.

Along with The Rolling Stones and The Searchers, they are one of the few British pop groups of the early 1960s that have never officially broken up and that continue to record and perform. The Hollies were inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010.

The original line-up included Allan Clarke as lead vocalist, my favorite cute guy in the band....

He and his childhood friend, Graham Nash, began singing together in Manchester while still at school. In April 1963, they added Tony Hicks (lead guitar) (who replaced Vic Steele), along with the later additions of Bobby Elliott and Bernie Calvert (who would replace Eric Haydock on bass in 1966).

The Hollies formed in December 1962, founded by Clarke and Nash. Clarke was their lead vocalist, but also played occasional guitar and harmonica. In the UK they enjoyed 30 chart singles, plus two further chart entries with re-releases, 17 of which made the Top 10, with two – "I'm Alive" (1965) and "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" (1988 re-issue) – reaching No. 1, the latter on re-release; it had originally been a top three hit in 1969.

In the US charts they achieved 23 chart singles, six of which hit the Top 10. Many of the group’s songs were co-written by Clarke, usually with Hicks and Nash, until the latter's departure at the end of 1968. They used the pseudonym "L. Ransford" initially for their song-writing credits, then 'Clarke-Hicks-Nash' from mid 1966 onwards.

in 1966 Clarke helped along with several Hollies bandmates in The Everly Brothers recording of their album 'Two Yanks In England' which featured Everlys covers of mostly Hollies songs co-written by Clarke.

Clarke-Hicks-Nash between them composed The Hollies albums; 'For Certain Because...' (1966), 'Evolution', and 'Butterfly' (both 1967), while their UK hit singles compilation; 'Hollies' Greatest' topped the UK album charts in August 1968.

Graham Nash as guitarist and vocalist, Vic Steele (born Victor Winston Farrell, 8 May 1945, Manchester) on guitar, with Eric Haydock on bass guitar and Don Rathbone on drums (born Donald Rathbone, October 1942, Wilmslow, Cheshire). Steele left in April 1963, shortly before they signed to Parlophone as label-mates of The Beatles. Tony Hicks, who replaced Steele, and Bobby Elliott, who replaced Don Rathbone, joined the band in quick succession in 1963; both had played in a Nelson-based band, The Dolphins. Bernie Calvert, who replaced Haydock in 1966, was also a member of The Dolphins.


Don Cornelius

Sad news today... Don Cornelius of "Soul Train" has died of an apparent suicide. Don was 75. Don Cornelius was one of the biggest pioneers in American music. with his show "Soul Train" Don brought Motown Soul Pop R&B Funk and Hip Hop music to the masses.

Before Soul Train we had a few local dance tv shows and of course American Bandstand. But they were pretty dull compared to Soul Train... Check the dancers in this episode featuring one of my very favorite bands WAR.

Personally what I loved most about Soul Train were the dancers! Those kids had all the moves... We tried to copy them as best as we could....

Don's voice was such a deep baritone and had instant recognition when you heard him on the air. Mr. Cornelius made such a huge contribution to many many young lives and I hope he is honored for all his efforts. Hopefully he is in a better place now...RIP

From the LA Times:

A family member of Don Cornelius arrived at his Mulholland Drive home in Encino on Wednesday morning and found the "Soul Train" creator with a gunshot wound to the head, authorities said.

He was rushed to Cedars Sinai Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, according to law enforcement sources.

His death is being investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department and L.A. County coroner's office. The sources said detectives think it was a self-inflicted gunshot wound but stressed they are still investigating. FULL STORY HERE

Look how cool this show was! American Bandstand never looked this bright!

Press Release


“Don Cornelius was a VISIONARY AND PIONEER who will always be remembered for his gift to the world: 'Soul Train.' Without Don's contributions, Rhythm and Blues music would not have had a TV platform to expose artists that has meant so much to the rich history of Rhythm and Blues music. We are beyond grateful to Don for everything that he has done to cement our music and our culture into the hearts and minds of people all over the world.

“Our condolences go out to Don’s family and friends all over the world"

Media contact:
Randy Alexander
Randex Communications
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