Ever Been to 8 Mile Road?

In Detroit, of course. Yeah, ever since Eminem came out with that record about 15 years ago, I have wondered how non-Detroiters react to the subject of 8 Mile Road in Detroit, and if they even know where and what it is.

First a little background. About 40 or 50 years ago, the US Supreme Court started relaxing some restrictions on adult businesses. (Which I have nothing against anything involving adults, mind you. I digress.) Anyways, conservative Oakland County wasn’t going to have it. It is just north of Detroit, across 8 Mile Rd., on the west side. And it is ultra-conservative. The nearest equivalent I could find, for you people from California, for example, is ultra-conservative Orange County.

Anyways, they couldn’t open in Oakland County. But hey, that didn’t mean people there didn’t want to still frequent such establishments. So they opened right at the border. Which as fate would have it, just happened to be 8 Mile Road.

Ironically, people don’t realize, that they only can open on the south side of 8 Mile road, in Detroit. The north side is Oakland and Macomb Counties. Yeah, I don’t know what the big deal is about Macomb County. It’s not as conservative as Oakland. And I did see an adult book store there once (I also recently heard on the news that it closed down).

Also, I should tell you all, I don’t see the big deal, or perhaps I should say difference, for adult businesses. Nudie bars aren’t allowed to show actual nudity. The women have to wear pasties on their breasts. You probably see just as much if not more at a Hooters restaurant. And most liquor stores in the metro area sell adult magazines anyways. Detroiters ironically are somewhat more conservative, at least in sexual matters, than the suburbs. You probably get more there, in the suburbs, than in Detroit anyways. All the liquor stores in Detroit have discontinued adult magazines, due to neighbor complaints. I’m just telling you.

So anyone out-of-town ever been to 8 Mile Road? I just had to ask. It was an interesting place to be in when Eminem was a kid. NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) was what we used to call the businesses and other places there. Now, FWIW, I’ve noticed they are cleaning it up a little. There is this Subway Sandwich shop there, for example, not too far from where I live. And it looks so beautiful and clean. Even some suburb places look worse.

Thank you in advance to all who reply:).


I’ve been there, but not to, uh, sample the goods and services.

For a long time I’ve been amazed by the racial segregation of Detroit, as shown on this map: each red dot represents 25 white people, each blue dot represents 25 black people. That long northern boundary, with all the red dots above it and all the blue dots below it? That’s 8 Mile Road.

Which part of Eight Mile? It’s a pretty long road, and it’s diverse, starting at the Grosse Pointe Woods border in Harper Woods, with the Wayne County portion extending to Napier in Northville Twp.

It’s rural, and seedy, and industrial, and retail, and residential, and dangerous, and safe, all depending on where you are.

And… Subway? Really? Where I used to live there’s a BK, Subway, House of Rueben, White Castle, and more.

Assuming you’re not asking a rhetorical question, it is on 8 Mile and Schaefer. I do have to tell you, I sometimes have no idea what is going on in some parts of Detroit. I do live there, and try to keep up on things like that. But I do most of my shopping and see most of my doctors in the suburbs for some reason.


I don’t know that the OP’s question is specifically about racial issues, such as White Flight, altho in Detroit I suppose a lot of these sort of issues are related somehow.

I was there in the mid-90s for work, during winter. I was struck by how significant 8 Mile Rd was in delineating Detroit proper from the northern suburbs. City of Detroit (south of 8 Mile) there were acres of burned-out neighborhoods, abandoned homes, fallow land, broken water mains flooding streets and locking parked cars in their ice. North of 8 Mile there were typical subdivisions you would find near any city, strip malls, maintained parks, and kids playing hockey on the local pond.

Communities that pay attention to such things as adult book stores also pay attention to other things they want and don’t want in their communities, like it or not. Communities that don’t care are probably more permissive/lax around other issues as well.

I’ve never been to Detroit, or Michigan for that matter but something about it intrigues and saddens me. One hears about its history and the glory days of the auto industry and then you see images of decay and abandoned buildings and it breaks my heart a little,even though I have no connection to it at all. I would love to visit and see both the “good” and “bad” parts.

The movie It Followswas written and directed by Detroit native David Robert Mitchell and was filmed locally.We get to see glimpses of the seedy (abandoned Packard plant)a suburban neighborheed and a bit of the lake. The main characters live in the burbs (a couple of them attend Oakland University)and at one point there’s a conversation where it’s mentioned that when they were younger their mother would never let them go south of 8 mile.

It looks like a fascinating place.

yes, I frequently take it as an alternate route to/from work now that all of the major freeways are fucked up.

I’ve been on a few different sections of 8 Mile Road.

I lived in Michigan for a year and made several trips into the Detroit area.

I used to have a customer on 10 Mile. (Locals never append the word “Road”) so yeah, I’ve been on 8 Mile. I’ve been around lots of pretty bad parts of Detroit, so 8 Mile didn’t stand out. I did not realize that was specifically the racial divide, but I knew it was around there somewhere.

Oakland county as a whole has never been ultra-conservative, and is currently more liberal than any Michigan county other than Wayne or the schools.

And as for the poll I drive on it probably 10 times a week.

I used to live between 6 and 7 Mile roads on Middlebelt back in the late 1960’s and early 70’s. I don’t remember much about 8 Mile road, tho I think there was a Taco Bell there back in the day. I could be mistaken.

except for L. Brooks Patterson, that is.

that section is the border between Livonia and Farmington Hills, and I think it’s signed as “Base Line Road” in that section.

I have driven on 8 Mile Road.

Closest I’ve come is changing planes in Detroit once.

If it was DTW then that’s not actually Detroit, but Romulus.

Not rhetorical at all; I was just trying to figure out where you were describing. All of the restaurants I described are further east, at Gratiot. I lived in Eastpointe (ne East Detroit) many years ago.

No, it becomes Baseline out in Northville, just for a small stretch before 8 Mile Rd. leaves the actual PLSS baseline. Then it becomes 8 Mile Rd. again once it curves off the baseline. It then curves back to the baseline and terminates near Whitmore Lake. Confusingly, the actual baseline is a little residential street in Northville called, of course, “Baseline Rd.”

My remaining acquaintances in southern Macomb County often tell me that “11 Mile/696 is the new Eight Mile,” referring to the racial divide.

that’s because all of the white people keep moving further north. 21 Mile Rd. in Macomb and Shelby is an utter disaster; they built all of these new subdivisions and corporate parks, but never widened 21 Mile from one lane each direction w/no turn lane. trying to get through there between Gratiot and Van Dyke is hell.

edit: and then these people relentlessly bitch about how much time it takes them to get to work.

The communities and the people might care but not have the economic or political power, resources, time, etc. to make what they care about happen

And things are changing due to urban sprawl. All I know is that they wouldn’t allow any adult entertainment in. I have always heard it was rather conservative. But of course reputations don’t always prove anything. (It has always been more conservative than Detroit/Wayne County. Maybe that’s what they meant.) And as mentioned, then there is L. Brooks Paterson. :slight_smile: