Where is South Detroit?

Submitted by meddler on August 6th, 2011 at 8:43 PM

Question for the folks out there:

Where is "South Detroit?"

I was born in Detroit and raised in the suburbs. I have never lived more than 30 miles from the Detroit border yet I have never wandered into this elusive part of Detroit. I can easily identify the east side, west side, and the southwest corner of the city. One would suppose from the way thousands of Detroit area fanatics belt out the lyrics from the classic rawk hit that the region is famous or populated or exists.

I hope someone can fill this gap for me. If not, well, I will forever endure the apprehensive shudder that courses through my soul each time the first note of the Journey song pierces the gameday sanctity of Michigan Stadium.



August 6th, 2011 at 11:44 PM ^

they meant born and raised in those downriver communities, however for purposes of songwriting, south detroit sounds a lot better and really isnt THAT much of a stretch geographically or culturally

San Diego Mick

August 7th, 2011 at 1:45 AM ^

Back when the song was released and it was in the top 40, kasey Kasem had a weekly rundown and would sometimes in between songs give us tidbits about the song.


Well I guess the story goes that one of the guys from Journey met some chick and she was from Southfield, since most of the country wouldn't know where that is and South Detroit sounds cooler, that is why they say that in the song.


I'm not making this up, I remember Kasem telling that story.


August 6th, 2011 at 8:52 PM ^

It exists in here, man.

(pointing to heart)

In all of us.

OK, really.  People call the Delray area and various other neighborhoods "southwest Detroit" because it's west of Woodward and therefore technically on the "west side," but look on a map: it's smack in the middle from east to west.  Like, where Fort and Livernois meet, that is literally midway between the eastern tip and the western edge.  Why that can't be the "south Detroit" of the song, I dunno.

Blue boy johnson

August 6th, 2011 at 9:14 PM ^

Yes, true, I just looked on a map and West Fort Street becomes South Fort Street as you get west of the Rouge River and  head into Southwest Detroit.  Where Fort and Livernois meet is pretty close to both Southwestern HS and Western HS, leaving no room for a South High School.

All in all I suppose sections of the city are named due to their proximity to the oldest part of the city which happens to be the present day downtown area. Everything south of downtown puts you in Canada, hence no South Detroit. People south of the border in Windsor certainly have a different accent than us Americans.

It's kinda weird, my nephews grew up in Windsor and have the Canadian way of saying certain words such as ''Dohlar" instead of the the correct way dollar.

How much is a looney worth? One Dohlar


August 6th, 2011 at 9:20 PM ^

I've always assumed that Journey knew nothing of Detroit and since the "Southside" is rough and ghetto in places like Chicago, they figured South Detroit must be the baddest-of-all-ass places to come from.

People try to claim it's Down River, but it's Windsor.


August 6th, 2011 at 9:08 PM ^

All I know for sure is that I'll be happy if I never hear that song or "Sweet Caroline" in the Big House again. For some reason, Thunderstruck never got old for me. No idea why ...


August 6th, 2011 at 9:12 PM ^

Search 'South Detroit' on Wikipedia and it returns 'Downriver.'  I believe Wolverine318 to be correct.

Alternatively, it could be the Detroit in Oregon.  Per Wikipedia (again), all the Journey dudes seem to be northern Californians / San Franciscans with no connection to the midwest (save one guy who was born in Chicago and moved west later).  Detroit, OR is closer to San Fran that Detroit, MI, so maybe that's what they meant.

Finally, there is a borough of Quezon City in the Philippines called Detroit.  Several of the members of Journey are of Philippino descent, so that, too, could be it.