Art Lorenz


Art Lorenz


Art Lorenz was 13 years old in the summer of 1967. He remembers that he was unable to attend his football conditioning class. He also remembers a conversation a few weeks later with a Canadian friend who had only seen media reports of what happened.


Detroit Historical Society




Detroit Historical Society, Detroit, MI






Written Story


I have three very vivid memories of the summer of 1967.

The first was awaking that morning at our family home in northwest Detroit. I was scheduled for a football conditioning class at 7:00AM at the school gym. My mother told me that I could not go as there was something happening and I could not leave the house. I remember arguing with her that the school was only two blocks away and what could possibly happen. Of course I lost the argument. As the day unfolded the uncertaintities and worries mounted. Rumors were rampant but facts were few.

The second memory was my father returning from work that evening. I remember thinking that he looked very grey and ill. He and my mother downloaded their day longer than usual and dinner was late that night. Over dinner dad talked about standing on top of the Edison building, where he worked, and watching so much of his beloved city burning around him. He was very concerned about many of his coworkers that lived in the hardest hit neighborhoods. We also found out that dad needed a National Guard escort to get home that evening and had to be diverted off his normal route via Grand River Avenue.

The third memory to relate was our family vacation to Ontario, Canada in August. Traveling down Grand River early that morning I recall seeing for the first time the damage that had been done. It was overwhelming and I cried for awhile which was very embarrassing for a 13 year old.
The Canadian family that owned the cabins where we stayed had a son my age and we had become friends during previous visits. I still remember him asking me where near Detroit I lived. When I told him that I lived in the city itself he asked me what happened when our house burned. His perception from the media reports was that the entire city had been razed. It was hard for me to comprehend and even harder to convince him that our house, and several areas of the city, had not been damaged. To this day I am not sure if I convinced him.

Original Format


Submitter's Name

Art Lorenz

Submission Date





“Art Lorenz,” Detroit Historical Society Oral History Archive, accessed January 17, 2022,

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