By WDET 101.9 FM

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You've got Detroit questions, we've got answers. CuriosiD is a podcast from WDET, Detroit's NPR Station. Our reporters answer your questions about the region, like "Who invented the Boston Cooler?" or "Are there really salt mines underneath Detroit?" Something puzzling you about Detroit? Ask about it at and we might answer your question in a future episode!

Episode Date
Who was Bagley?
On Detroit's westside there's an area known as the Bagley neighborhood. There's also Bagley Elementary and Bagley Street. But who was Bagley? In this epsisode of CuriosiD, WDET's Sascha Raiyn delves into the history behind the Bagley neighborhood and its namesake. | Have a question about Detroit? Submit it at | Live or work in the Bagley neighborhood, the University District, Martin Park or Fitzgerald? WDET would like to hear from you for a special project we're working on. Please fill out this survey before June 1, 2023:
May 11, 2023
What is on Boblo Island today? And what happened to the Boblo boats?
For nearly 100 years there was an amusement park on an island in the Detroit River that you could only get to by boat. Two large steamships, the Columbia and the Ste. Claire, ferried people to Boblo Island. The amusement park closed down in 1993 and now one WDET listener wants to know what's on Boblo Island today... and what happened to the boats? To answer these questions, WDET's Laura Herberg travels to Boblo Island and she also tours one of the steamships with the listener. | Link to Boblo Boats documentary: Link to Laura's interview with Boblo Boats director Aaron Schillinger: | Have your own question about Detroit? Submit it at | Support programming like CuriosiD by giving a tax-deductible donation to WDET at
Apr 13, 2023
Why are there so many Coney Islands in Detroit?
Today, Coney Island restaurants are all over Detroit. These establishments sell Detroit's own specialty hot dog, the Coney Dog. A listener wanted to know why there are so many Coney Islands spread across the city. WDET's Quinn Klinefelter sniffs out the answer. As part of his reporting, he talks to Joe Grimm and Katherine Yung, authors of the book "Coney Detroit." Have your own question about Detroit? Submit it at Support programming like CuriosiD by giving a tax-deductible donation to WDET at
Mar 09, 2023
Could Detroit's buried streams see the light of day?
Streams are buried underneath Detroit. A few other cities that had covered streams have dug them up and restored them to a more natural state. One listener asks CuriosiD if 'daylighting,' as it's called, has happened anywhere in Detroit. WDET's Pat Batcheller uncovers the answer. Plus, we talk to Gary Belan of the national nonprofit American Rivers about some successful daylighting projects. | Here's a link to a story from the Detroit Free Press Flashback series that question asker Bill McGraw edits: | Have your own question about Detroit? Submit it at | Support programming like CuriosiD by giving a tax-deductible donation to WDET at
Feb 09, 2023
What’s up with all these pheasants?
Pheasants are often spotted darting around the city of Detroit. In this episode of CuriosiD, a listener asks "why?" Reporter Shelby Jouppi takes her out to find one of these large, colorful birds in the urban wild. Then, WDET's Laura Herberg heads into the woods with Nyeema C. Harris, an associate professor in the School of the Environment at Yale University. The pair search for one of the cameras Harris' team has hidden in Detroit parks to capture urban wildlife. || Have your own question about Detroit? Submit it at || Support programming like CuriosiD by giving a tax-deductible donation to WDET at
Jan 12, 2023
Why does steam come out of Detroit’s streets?
Have you ever noticed that it looks like steam is coming out of the sewers in Detroit? Well, it's not actually coming out of sewers, but steam plumes do come out of manhole covers in the streets of Detroit. In this episode of CuriosiD, WDET's Laura Herberg heads 60 feet underground to get to the bottom of where the white vapor is coming from.
Dec 08, 2022
Who made Detroit-style pizza first?
Detroit-style pizza has become a bit of a national phenomenon over the last decade. The distinctive square pies have appeared on menus from San Francisco to Washington, D.C. Even Pizza Hut has its own version of the pan pizza. But the style hasn’t always been so popular. In this episode of CuriosiD, WDET’s Claudia Brancart looks into what Detroit-style pizza is and where it came from. | We want to hear from you! For a future episode we're working on, tell us your memories of Boblo Island. Leave a voicemail on the CuriosiD Question Line: (313) 403-5747. Have your own question about Detroit? Submit it at | This is the link to the Detroit pizza map from DETROITography that Laura mentions in the episode:
Nov 10, 2022
Are Detroit election officials prepared for another 'stop the count' protest?
Back in November 2020, after the polls closed, chaos ensued at a convention center in Detroit where poll workers were counting absentee ballots. Republican challengers stormed the center, banging on the windows, demanding that workers "stop the count." In this episode of CuriosiD, WDET's Russ McNamara recounts what happened and answers listeners questions about what's being done to ensure something like that doesn't happen during the upcoming election. We want to hear from you for a future episode we're working on! Tell us who makes the best Detroit-style pizza and why it's so good there. Tweet us at @CuriosiDWDET or leave a voicemail on the CuriosiD Question Line: (313) 403-5747. Have your own question about Detroit? Submit it at
Oct 13, 2022
Where does the name Hamtramck come from?
Inside Detroit there is a little city named Hamtramck. And no -- that's not a typo -- there really is no vowel between the 'm' and the 'ck.' Where did this unique-sounding name come from? WDET's Nargis Rahman looks into the origin of the word Hamtramck.
Sep 08, 2022
What happened to the swimmobiles in Detroit?
In the late 1960s, the City of Detroit got its first swimmobile. This pool on wheels was carted around to the neighborhoods for kids to swim in on hot summer days. WDET listener Angela Hart is one of many Detroiters who remembers swimmobiles from her childhood. She asked WDET to find out what happened to them. WDET's Laura Herberg looks into it for this episode of CuriosiD. Have your own question about Detroit? Submit it at Now though August 31, 2022 we are specifically seeking questions about Michigan's 2022 General Election. Submit you election questions here: Stay in the loop! Twitter: @CuriosiDWDET @WDET @HerbergRadio Instagram: Facebook: Website:
Aug 11, 2022
Are the woods in Palmer Park a virgin forest?
A listener wonders if the tall trees found in Detroit's Palmer Park are part of a virgin forest, untouched by man. Planet Detroit's Nina Ignaczak looks into it and finds that the answer is actually pretty complicated. Then WDET's Laura Herberg ventures into an old growth forest in East Lansing with Michigan State University Forestry Department Chair Richard Kobe. Wondering something about Detroit? Submit your question at Have a reaction to this CuriosiD story? Leave us a voicemail by calling (313) 403-5747 or record a voice memo on your smart phone and email it to We may include your thoughts in a future episode!
Jul 14, 2022
Corn Real Good
In this episode we answer the question, "What's up with those CORN REAL GOOD signs around Detroit?" Maybe you've seen them? The red, yellow and blue hand-painted signs. Reporter Eli Newman tracks down the man behind them, Orrin Fields. It turns out Fields is selling elote-style corn dusted with Flaming Hot Cheetos from what would otherwise be a vacant lot in Detroit. Wondering something about Detroit? Submit your question at Have a reaction to this CuriosiD story? Leave us a voicemail by calling (313) 403-5747 or record a voice memo on your smart phone and email it to We may include your thoughts in a future episode!
Jun 09, 2022
CuriosiD: Did you know the Dust Bowl made it to Detroit?
One WDET listener asks if the Dust Bowl ever made its way to Detroit. Spoiler alert: It did!
Feb 19, 2020
CuriosiD: What’s the Origin of the Boston Cooler?
In this week’s episode of CuriosiD, where WDET answers your questions about Detroit and the region, Dan Golodner from Huntington Woods asks: “I moved from Washington, D.C. to Detroit in the mid-’90. And I’ve always loved the root beer float and people said, ‘You have to try the Boston Cooler.’ So, I tried it and was like, ‘What’s the deal here? Why’s it called a Boston Cooler and not a ginger ale cooler or something like that? I’m just curious.” Dan Golodner, Huntington Woods The Short Answer: The term “Boston Cooler” has a complicated history dating back at least as early as 1889. The way the drink was made and what it consisted of went through a few different iterations before it settled on the Vernors and vanilla ice-cream combination that we know today. At some point in the 1920s, Boston Cooler could refer to any sort of soda-pop and ice cream combination. For instance, Hires, a root beer company, promoted their own version of the Boston Cooler.
Oct 07, 2019
CuriosiD: We Answered All Your Questions About the Mile Road System
Over the years, listeners have been curious about Metro Detroit’s mile roads. Some have asked if they’re really one mile apart. Others wonder why some are not called “mile” roads. Angela Hoffman lives on Three Mile Drive and wants to know how her street got its name.
Aug 12, 2019
Holocaust Bones Find Resting Place in Massive Michigan Cemetery
A cemetery and final resting place for some of the most significant remains in Jewish history is the subject of the latest episode of WDET’s series CuriosiD.
Jul 18, 2019
Listeners Ask, Why Does DTW Have Those Giant Fans?
At Detroit Metro Airport – on the way to the McNamara [Mack-Nuh-MARE-uh] Terminal there’s a tunnel with large fans. Many travelers have wondered why the fans were there. Two WDET listeners contacted us to find out more. As part of the station’s CuriosiD series… WDET’s Laura Herberg looked into it with them.
Jun 26, 2019
CuriosiD: Why Isn't Google's Street View of Detroit Up-to-date?
I’m looking to transition to Detroit to start a new business and it’s difficult to determine the quality and density of the neighborhoods on Google Maps Street View because they haven’t been updated since 2013 and sometimes even longer. I’d like to know why that is. Why haven’t the maps been updated?
Jul 20, 2018
Why Does Michigan Avenue Have Brick Pavers?
WDET listener Dan Lombardo asks, why there are brick pavers at Michigan and Trumbull and if they are original or if they are something they redo every now and then.
Jul 03, 2018
Could Electric Cars Increase Pollution
As part of WDET's series CuriosID, a listener wonders if driving an electric car could actually create more pollution, since it would force power plants to generate more electricity to charge it, thereby generating more smog.
Feb 26, 2018
Rumor of a British Bomber Crash In a Detroit Neighborhood Haunts a Listener
A British plane had a catastrophic electrical failure over Canada while flying to a training mission in Nebraska on Oct.. 24, 1958.
Oct 24, 2017
Why Is Detroit Sometimes Called "The Paris of the Midwest?"
Detroit's French connection is more than 300 years old, but is the comparison a modern invention?
Sep 13, 2017
What is the History of Detroit’s Times Square?
“There used to be a Times Square in Detroit. I know there’s still a People Mover stop, and I know there’s a street, but there used to be an actual square. And I think it was named after the old newspaper, the Detroit Times, but where was the newspaper headquartered? And also, how big of a paper was the Times?”
Aug 22, 2017
How Did Detroit Become a Center for Arabs in the United States?
WDET listener Priya Ganji has a diverse group of friends of Arab heritage, and she’s noticed their family, religious and cultural traditions are sometimes different from her own and other Americans’. So the 14-year-old asked “How did the Arab community grow to be what it is today in Detroit?”
Aug 08, 2017
That Waterway in Detroit, Is it a Strait or a River?
Listener Bailey Townsend asks “Why is the Detroit River called ‘Detroit River’ when it’s actually a Strait?”
Jul 25, 2017
What’s Happened at the State Fairgrounds?
“I show American Saddlebred Horses and we used to have a couple big shows up here at the state fairgrounds which are no longer available. And it was very sad to see that the Michigan legislature decided not to pay for the maintenance of the coliseum and the grounds.
Jul 13, 2017
Lewis Cass, Michigan Governor, Architect of Indian Removal
A listener asks, "Are the many different Cass locations in Michigan named after Lewis Cass? Do people know how horrible he was?"
Jun 27, 2017
Was there busing in Detroit in the early 1960’s?
Listener Cheryl Pernell was intereted in examples of busing in Detroit Public Schools around 1963. Pernell was bused to Dossin Elementary for the 1st through 7th grades, instead of going to Ruthruff in her neighborhood.
Jun 20, 2017
Who Was John R?
“Why is it just ‘John R?’ Most people use the last name of a person, not the first name, and an initial, so, I always thought that was kind of strange. And also, who was John R., and why was the street named after him?”
May 30, 2017
Are There Salt Mines Under Detroit?
Yes, but other than miners, few people have ever seen the inside of them.
May 15, 2017
Who Were the Natives in Detroit?
“Who were the Native Americans* that lived in the Detroit region, and how did they interact with the Europeans who settled it?”
May 01, 2017
What’s That Smell?
What’s up with the Detroit incinerator? Where is it, what’s going on there, and why does it smell so much on certain days and not others?
Apr 10, 2017
Why are there 5 Grosse Pointes?
"Why are there five separate cities that are seemingly small size with the same basic name in the Grosse Pointes? I was trying to figure out if there was there some type of dispute over land or if they were controlled by families or something of that nature?”
Dec 06, 2016
What Happens to the Stuff I Recycle?
What happens to the stuff I recycle with the City of Detroit (curbside recycling)? Where and how is it sorted? Is it sold, and what happens to the money?
Oct 03, 2016
Why Doesn’t Detroit Have A Subway Or Elevated Rail?
A listener asked why there is no subway or elevated transportation in Detroit, and whether it was determined before or after the rise of the auto industry.
Aug 22, 2016
Who Chooses Detroit’s “Tax-Free” Renaissance Zones?
Who are the deciding parties when it comes to choosing Renaissance Zones (in Detroit), and what criteria do they use to choose them? What is the history of Renaissance Zones?
Aug 11, 2016
What’s the Origin of the Boston Cooler?
“I moved from Washington, D.C. to Detroit in the mid-’90. And I’ve always loved the root beer float and people said, ‘You have to try the Boston Cooler.’ So, I tried it and was like, ‘What’s the deal here? Why’s it called a Boston Cooler and not a ginger ale cooler or something like that? I’m just curious.”
Jul 25, 2016
Did Detroit Ever Have A ‘Gayborhood’?
A listener wonders if Detroit ever had a gay neighborhood.
Jul 11, 2016
Why Does a Private Company Own a Major U.S. Border Crossing?
How did the International Ambassador Bridge become privately held? It just seems that, like, two sovereign countries should be in charge of an international crossing, a really large international crossing?
Jun 20, 2016
What’s Up With All These Pheasants?
How have pheasants survived and thrived in the urban setting of Detroit, and have they always been here?
Jun 06, 2016
What’s the Story Behind the NBC Building in Midtown Detroit?
“I pass a tall old business building that appears to be empty now but it has a very decorative lintel over the entrance that has the capital letters N-B-C and I was wondering what that was and if it was the National Broadcasting Corporation or something else.” Terry Segal
May 23, 2016
What Are Water Towers Used for Today?
"I used to be from Lincoln Park and our hometown had a water tower. Why did we have it? Why did some cities have these huge water towers, and what did they use them for? " Carl Prunkard
May 09, 2016
Why Do Police “Shoot to Kill”?
“Why is it that sometimes police officers use lethal force and other times they don’t? How do they determine when?” asked listener David Ewick of Southfield.
Apr 21, 2016
Why isn’t there a Taco Bell downtown?
What franchisees look at when deciding on a fast food location. And what it means when they pick your part of town.
Jan 04, 2016
Why Are There Swastikas in Parts of Indian Village?
“Why are sidewalks in Indian Village stamped with Swastikas? The stamps are uniform and official, like a company laying the concrete made them. Do they predate the Nazi party in Germany? Are they associated with a company affiliated with the Nazi party? The sidewalks are clearly old, but I’m not sure they are date stamped to provide a clue.”
Dec 17, 2015
Where the Bodies are Buried … Beneath the Streets
Your favorite place in Detroit just may have bones buried under it from the early days.
Oct 30, 2015
How A 1900s Black Detroit Community Was Razed For A Freeway
An entire Detroit neighborhood vanished to make way for the future. Here’s Black Bottom’s story.
Oct 19, 2015
Where Did the Michigan Left Come From?
CuriosiD explores the history of the pesky, head-scratchingly prevalent traffic design known as a Michigan Left
Oct 05, 2015
Why is Detroit Auto Insurance SO Expensive?
This week’s CuriosiD tackles the question any Detroiter is asking - why is my auto insurance so expensive?
Sep 21, 2015
When Detroit was Armed with Nuclear Missiles
Listener Steven Gold remembers seeing a Nike missile base in Detroit as a kid. “Am I crazy?”
Aug 24, 2015
What was the 1932 Ford Hunger March?
This week’s installment of CuriosiD looks at 1930s Detroit poverty and the events surrounding the “Ford Massacre"
Aug 10, 2015
Do You Pronounce the Road Lahser or Lasher?
WDET investigates the confusion behind just how we should be saying and spelling Lahser Road.
Jul 27, 2015
Former Tenant of this Man’s Apartment Reformed the Auto Industry
Listener Josh Wilt’s asks, “What was the history of Norton Company located in Woodbridge?”
Jul 10, 2015
Who is Louis Stone in Detroit’s history?
WDET answers Joseph Kakos’ question, “Who was Louis Stone in Detroit’s history?”
Mar 15, 2015
The History of Detroit’s Water Works Park
Anna Sysling answers listener Barbara’s question about the Detroit water park’s history.
Nov 06, 2014
Why do Hamtramck and Highland Park exist inside the city of Detroit?
Lydia Whitehead asked WDET’s CuriosiD why Hamtramck and Highland Park exist inside the borders of Detroit.
Sep 19, 2014