FEBRUARY 9, 1954
DETROIT, Monday—On Friday night in New York I attended the Americans for Democratic Action dinner and I thought it was one of their most successful. Senator Herbert A. Lehman made a memorable speech and ex-President Truman was at his best, which is very good indeed. The dinner was very largely attended and I liked the prevalent spirit which was certainly not one of fear.
On Saturday evening Miss Maureen Corr, my secretary, and I took a train for Detroit. It was a pleasure to find Mrs. Pearl Mesta, former Minister to Luxemburg, was on board also on her way to Detroit to speak on Monday night. She went to my meeting with me on Sunday evening which I think was a very kind gesture for she came a day ahead to be well rested before making her speech.
My niece and her husband and all four children, and my sister-in-law, Mrs. Dorothy Roosevelt, had lunch with me before I did a recording for a radio interview, one for a TV interview and finally held a press conference. The remarks made by Senator McCarthy in a speech on Saturday night were quoted to me and they will not make his Democratic colleagues in the Senate very happy.
The small fry was interested in all the machinery that had to come in for the recording and remarkably enough they stayed very quiet—only the youngest insisted on following her own pursuits so that her mother took her into another room to keep her out of harm's way.
In the morning I was called for and taken out to see a very interesting new experiment which is really an architectural exhibition, undertaken by the Victor Gruen Associates. This is one of three similar centers built around Detroit to serve the suburban areas. There was a careful survey made before choosing the spot for the location and now this first center is nearing completion.
It will be a combination of every type of shop which can be found in the center of town and at the same time there will be a park-like atmosphere, with trees and plants everywhere. Some 7,000 trees and 20,000 bushes have been planted already and some beautiful pieces of sculpture have been ordered for different courtyards where fountains will play and people will be tempted to stroll or sit on the benches that will be available.
I suggested that besides the community center auditorium downstairs and the rooms which can be rented for club activities by any group, there should also be a place for people to leave their children, such as a nursery school, even one for quite young babies would be most useful.
This combination of community service and shopping facilities is nothing new but putting the shopping center down in an area which has not yet been built up and surrounding it with parks is something new and should attract people for miles around.
I look forward to seeing it completed as I think it will be a very beautiful addition to the suburbs of Detroit as similar projects would be to many other areas in our country.