Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Pronouncing "Gratiot"

Hi Eileen,

Just thought I would forward this peek at an email I sent out to a website,, that has written some history of Detroit which apparently has been picked up and repeated numerous times all over the internet. I call your attention to the first point where this site and numerous others repeatedly state that Gratiot is pronounced "Gray-sha." Oooo! THAT irritated me! Perhaps the French may have parlez-vous-ed it that way, but I never knew anyone from Detroit that said it like that when I was growing up...and I spent a lot of time in and around this street.

They also make a big deal out of Orchestra Hall without seeming to realize that it was only Paradise Theater for a few years of its life and began as — and then returned to — Orchestra Hall.

Anyway, in light of the recent discussions in the Detroit Memories Discussion Group about pronunciations of words (for example Detroit vs. Dee-troit), I thought you might at least find this one interesting. I was shocked at how many times this "Gray-sha" business has been repeated now all over the internet!

Lee Dixon


  1. Anonymous4:40 AM

    In French it's pronounced Gera-twa, like Detroit is pronounced Det-twa.


  2. Mario Fontana10:16 AM

    I have to tell you that when I was about 9 or 10 years old I was writing a school paper and for some reason I had to write Gratiot. My mom was looking over my paper and started to laugh. I had the street spelled "Grashit"
    I'll never forget that.

    Mario Fontana
    Anthem AZ

  3. Anonymous5:31 AM

    And who can forget the song "Three Jolly Fishermen" (Fisher fisher men men men, Fisher fisher men men men) who went to Amsterdam (Amster Amster dam dam dam . . .) and then went to Gratoit (Gra Gra shit shit shit . . .). Boy, we thought we were getting away with saying bad words and regularly asked to sing that song on field trips.