A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from March 25, 2005
Motor City or Motown (Detroit nicknames)
Ford's first "Model T" was introduced in 1908. Within ten years, the city had earned the nickname "Motor City." I contributed the 1919 citation to the Oxford English Dictionary after looking for "Motor City" in city directories.

"Motown" is the trademarked name of a record company.


Wikipedia: Detroit
Detroit (/dɨˈtrɔɪt/) is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Michigan, the fourth-largest city in the Midwest and the largest city on the United States–Canada border. It is the seat of Wayne County, the most populous county in the state. Detroit's metropolitan area, known as Metro Detroit, is home to 5.3 million people, making it the fourteenth-most populous metropolitan area in the United States and the second-largest in the Midwestern United States (behind Chicago). It is a major port on the Detroit River, a strait that connects the Great Lakes system to the Saint Lawrence Seaway. The City of Detroit anchors the second-largest economic region in the Midwest, behind Chicago, and the thirteenth-largest in the United States.

(Oxford English Dictionary)
Motor City, n.
colloq. (orig. U.S.).
The city of Detroit, Michigan. Cf. MOTOWN n.
[1919 R. L. Polk & Co.'s Detroit City Directory 153 (advt.) Come to the largest rebuilt truck market in the state... Motor City Sales Co.] 1943 Amer. Polit. Sci. Rev. 37 306 Other Michigan cities also have 'growing pains' as their populations sprawl beyond their formal boundaries. The Motor City continues to suffer from this ailment, but the disease has taken a new form.

(Oxford English Dictionary)
Motown, a. and n.
[< Motown, the proprietary name for records produced by the Motown Record Corporation of Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A., founded in 1959 by Berry Gordy Jr., shortened < Motor Town, nickname for Detroit, a city noted for its vehicle-manufacturing industry. Cf. MOTOR CITY n.]
A. adj. Designating, relating to, or in the style of music that blends soul and pop styles, originally made popular in the 1960s by black musicians and singers recording for the Motown Record Corporation.
[1960 Billboard 26 Dec. 21/2 The group previously recorded for the Chess and Motown labels, chalking up success after success.]
1965 Billboard 7 Aug. 10/3 'Stop in the Name of Love'was delivered in typical Motown style.
1969 A. SHAW Rock Revolution 200 A wedding of rhythm-and-blues..and pop, of gospel rhythms and modern ballad harmony, Motown or Detroit sound is exemplified by The Supremes, The Temptations, The Four Tops and Martha and the Vandellas.
B. n.
1. Motown music. Cf. TAMLA MOTOWN n.
1966 N.Y. Times 27 Nov. VI. 168/2 Motown has come to stand for a particular kind of R &.
2. The city of Detroit itself.
[1971 Playboy May 176 Detroit city - that's Motown city.] 1975 Publishers Weekly 3 Mar. 69/1 Motown is now Murder City and anything that is bad in any American metropolis is often described as worse in Detroit.

6 November 1910, Washington (DC) Post, pg. A2:
DETROIT HOME OF AUTO
(...)
In 1910 this motor city built 100,000 automobiles, and in 1911 there promises to be no let up.

31 August 1913, Los Angeles (CA) Times, pg. VII3:
ROAD CONGRESS
NEXT IN ORDER.
Scene of Gathering, Detroit,
the Motor City.

18 May 1919, Los Angeles (CA) Times, pg. VII3:
ALL DETROIT IS EXCITED.
Motor City is Wondering Why the Big
Cut in Tire Prices.

(Trademark)
Word Mark MOTOWN
Goods and Services IC 009. US 036. G & S: PHONOGRAPH RECORDS. FIRST USE: 19600430. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19600430
Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING
Serial Number 72208479
Filing Date December 18, 1964
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Registration Number 0800977
Registration Date December 28, 1965
Owner (REGISTRANT) MOTOWN RECORD CORPORATION CORPORATION MICHIGAN 2648 W. GRAND BLVD. DETROIT MICHIGAN
Assignment Recorded ASSIGNMENT RECORDED
Type of Mark TRADEMARK
Register PRINCIPAL
Affidavit Text SECT 15.
Renewal 1ST RENEWAL 19851228
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE

(Trademark)
Word Mark MOTOR CITY
Goods and Services (EXPIRED) IC 021. US 029. G & S: FLOOR BRUSHES, WINDOW BRUSHES, COUNTER BRUSHES, FACTORY BRUSHES, SASH-TOOL BRUSHES, VARNISH BRUSHES GLUE BRUSHES, AND PAINTBRUSHES. FIRST USE: 19260222. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19260222
Mark Drawing Code (3) DESIGN PLUS WORDS, LETTERS, AND/OR NUMBERS
Design Search Code 031701 150703
Serial Number 71228720
Filing Date March 16, 1926
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Registration Number 0215841
Registration Date July 27, 1926
Owner (REGISTRANT) MICHIGAN BRUSH MANUFACTURING CO., INC. CORPORATION MICHIGAN NO. 3701-3707 MICHIGAN AVENUE DETROIT MICHIGAN
Type of Mark TRADEMARK
Register PRINCIPAL
Renewal 2ND RENEWAL 19660727
Live/Dead Indicator DEAD
Posted by Barry Popik
Nicknames of Other PlacesCity of Straits, Motor City or Motown (Detroit nicknames) • Friday, March 25, 2005 • Permalink