Kathleen Banchero


Kathleen Banchero


Kathleen Banchero was a young teacher who had left her car at the Detroit Boat Club on Belle Isle while she attended a regatta in Canada with her sister and brother-in-law. When she returned, the police had blocked the bridge to Belle Isle and were hesitant to let her pass to get her car.


Detroit Historical Society




Detroit Historical Society, Detroit MI






Written Story


Belle Isle


My sister and her husband, Nann and Jim Tyler were members of the Detroit Boat Club. Jim was on the rowing team. They invited me to go to the Regatta in Canada with them. We planned to meet at the boat club site on Belle Isle. I drove my beloved navy blue Mustang to the boat club and parked in their parking lot. We drove to the regatta in Jim and Nann’s car. We had an enjoyable time in Canada. Sunday morning we were listening to the car radio, on our way home. There was a disturbance in Detroit. We crossed the bridge from Windsor to Detroit. There were police everywhere. I had to get my car which was parked on Belle Isle. I lived at Seven Mile and Telegraph and my sister lived in Grosse Pointe.

We arrived at the Belle Isle Bridge. It was totally barricaded. It felt like the entire Detroit Police force was there. I explained that my car was at the Detroit Boat Club. I had to present my drivers license and car registration to them. A phone call was made and my license plate number clearly stated. Then an officer appeared with lots of gold on his uniform. He had me get into the back of a police car. The driver and this officer drove me over the Belle Isle Bridge to where my car was parked at the boat club. My car was safe and sound. The officer took my car keys and opened my car door. I was then told that I could get out of the police car and into my car. The officer told me they would follow me off the island and across the bridge. He further told me to drive home and to fill up my gas tank by my house. I was now a thoroughly scared young women. I thanked him and was on my way home as quickly as possible.

There were police men, police cars, firemen, and fire trucks all of there the streets of Downtown Detroit. I saw profiles of men with rifles on the expressway overpasses.

After I arrived home, I saw on TV why I had the police escort to get to my car. The police were using a large building, one door down from the Detroit Boat Club as a site for detained rioters. I was a totally naïve young teacher in the midst of a considerable amount of potential violence. I probably threw the police for a secondary loop and gave them a laugh during a very tense and dangerous time.

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Submitter's Name

Kathleen Banchero

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“Kathleen Banchero,” Detroit Historical Society Oral History Archive, accessed January 18, 2022, http://detroit1967.detroithistorical.org/items/show/285.

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