The intersection of Gratiot Avenue and Russell Street in Detroit’s Eastern Market is a rather unremarkable place, sans for some cool tags and fairly well maintained older buildings. Like most other places in Detroit, it seems to have the same ailment, a lot of open space, but not a lot of people. However, this stretch of Gratiot Avenue is a musically historical site, showcasing one of the most significant musical movements in Detroit outside of Motown. This was once Techno Boulevard.
What was Techno Boulevard? Here is a little history on the matter. In the Late 80s, Detroit Techno was emerging as a genre and was just starting to get more widespread recognition. As their significance began to grow, Metroplex, Transmat and KMS Records all set up shop along this stretch of Gratiot. With this close proximity of so many early Detroit Techno DJs and producers, many collaborations and remixes followed for a period of time lasting into the early 1990s. Over the years, many after-hours parties have taken place in the surrounding Eastern Market warehouses
Today, this block of Gratiot, is home to some wholesale food markets, a locksmith, a store called Cheap Charlie’s, and a lot of vacant buildings. The offices of Transmat still stand in a nondescript building, the last remnant of Detroit’s techno history on the street. Still, for a true head, standing on Gratiot on a beautiful summer afternoon, knowing the history of the area and some of the great music that was produced here, and looking around at the multitude of warehouses where late nights and early mornings of rave parties took place, this place has a history as interesting, rich, and significant as any other in Detroit.