salt mines and sharpshooters

A man (who I wont name since I wasnt able to ask him about reprinting his note) sent me the following letter in reference to the story I linked to yesterday about the salt mines beneath Detroit.

(A friend of mine) has access to the Detroit News library. I have been through their photo library and it is mind-boggling. It contains every original photograph (old glass plates included) that was used for publication since the beginning of the News in the 1800’s. I believe that Wayne State University has since taken and restored the glass negatives and is now archiving them. I remember digging through thousands of photos and finding the picture of Fords thugs (led by Harry Bennet, more in a minute) beating the shit out of striking union workers. It was a glass negative. The story behind its chance of survival and the Pulitzer Prize it won is phenomenal. I was holding the actual fucking glass negative!

Harry Bennet was Ford’s lead thug. He owned a mansion on the Huron River off Geddes and Huron River Drive (in Ann Arbor). When Liz was a real estate agent she was showing the house. She said there were all kinds of hidden passageways that he used to keep lions in. Yes, lions. He had escape routes from the house to a boathouse on the river.

Regarding the salt mines, there has been talk about keeping low-level radioactive waste and toxic waste in the empty salt mines for years now. They used to give tours of the mines. Not any more.

Ask XXX about the Purple Gang too. My grandfather was accused a few times of being a sharpshooter for the gang.

If anyone can tell me why hed keep lions in the secret passageways, let me know. I mean I understand the appeal of secret passageways, especially ones that lead to hidden motorboats (a dream of mine since I saw it in a Sherlock Holmes film as a kid), and I understand why it would be cool to have dangerous animals patrolling the grounds of your mansion, but I dont really understand the combination.

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