We’re Rolling- MDoT Buys Historic Detroit Recording Studio
Michigan Department of Transportation has made a sound investment in preserving Michigan's past by purchasing United Sound Systems historic studio.
Before Motown built Hitsville U.S.A. at 2648 W. Grand Blvd in Detroit, Barry Gordy recorded his first artist at United Sound Systems. Besides Marv Johnson, Charlie Parker, Aretha Franklin, Jackie Wilson and Dizzy Gillespie recorded there; John Lee Hooker cut "Boogie Chillin" at United Sound Systems.
Today, the historic recording studio is threatened by plans to modernize I-94. Sixty-seven bridges will be replaced, including one at 2nd street near the studio. Rather than demolish a historic landmark, MDoT has purchased the studio and the adjacent parking lot for $1.7 million. Plans are to physically move the entire building to a nearby location. It may seem excessive, but the cost is projected to be cheaper than shifting the freeway around the existing real estate.
The building is eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places as Detroit’s first major independent recording studio. Learn more about United Sound Systems in the video below.