The Bruschitzkis of Linzee Street: Building Detroit Brick by Brick

This summer, Detroiter, Bonnie Schow shared her family story with Family Pictures USA. Read below to learn more about her incredible family.

Ida and Julius Bruschitzki and son William, circa 1882.

“My great-great-grandfather, Julius Bruschitzki came to Detroit in 1881. He had friends who had come to Detroit and he faced consistent economic and political unrest in the Prussian area of Germany, where he used to live.

After he got to Detroit, Julius sent money so that his fiancée Ida could join him along with her twin sister Louise.  Julius and Ida were married a week after she arrived.  Julius worked at a brickyard near Warren Ave. and Martin on the west side of the city.  As he worked and made money, Julius sent for his parents then his siblings.   He and Ida and their growing family lived until 1900 near Warren and Wyoming.

In 1900, they moved to a large house on Linzee Street near Livernois and Wyoming.  Two of Julius’ sisters also moved to the Linzee Street block.  As Ida’s and Julius’ children grew up, married, and started their own families, they moved next door or across the street.  From 1900 to 1940, members of the Bruschitzki family lived in or near the Bruschitzki home on  Linzee Street.”

The Bruschitzki Family.

Bill and Geraldine Comai (my mom) on the porch on Linzee Street.

“At the peak, there were 25 family members living on the block. When my grandparents got married, their reception was in a Linzee Street house and their first two children, my uncle and my mother, were born in one of the Linzee Street houses.  It’s an amazing testimony to me of a family taking care of one another over many years.

Julius and Ida spoke German, and so did their neighbors, so they got along well in Detroit. Besides his work at the brickyard, Julius also bought a small grocery store thinking his daughter Amelia needed a way to make a living. Sadly, in 1917 at 62 years old, Julius got a splinter while repairing the wooden sidewalk in front of the store and died of tetanus three days later.  I’m sure that this was one of many times that this large community of family supported each other emotionally and financially.”

Ida in her fancy hat with two of her grandchildren.


“Ida lived until 1936.  She was a very conservative lady.  She dressed in the style of the 1890s until the day she died.  She always liked to wear a fresh, long, white apron as she did in Germany, even when she was dressed up. Her daughters disliked this and thought it was un-American!

For church, she would wear an elaborate black or dark blue hat draped in a fancy design of silk or satin. Ida was about 4’10” and her hat rested like a crown on the top of her head, held fast with long needles.  She always took her small hand-sized hymnal to church.  She took a bath before Holy Communion and fasted until after receiving Communion.  On New Year’s she always baked “Neu-Jahr-chen”, meaning “little New Year’s”.  It was something like pie dough, and she made stick figures for each member of the family, the ladder to heaven, a heart, the key to heaven, and other symbols. The children of the family were always fascinated to watch her make them and explain their meanings.”

Mildred and Marge (standing) Gladys and Trudy (sitting)

“Even after Ida’s death, her family lived on Linzee Street.  After my mother’s family moved away, they would visit her grandmother, Ida’s and Julius’ daughter Minnie.  My mother always considered herself lucky if she could stay the night and sleep with Grandma.

The oil burner outside Grandma’s bedroom door kept them warm and a comforting clock ticked all night on the bedside table. Sometimes my mother would walk with Grandma down to the live poultry market on McGraw Street. When they got home, off came the chicken’s head and around the yard it ran!  From headless to chicken dinner, Minnie made it happen. The smell of chocolate cake and chicken in the oven, the clock ticking, the coal truck filling the bin in the big old garage, Mrs. Visco dressed all in black walking down the alley with a clothes basket on her head, the sheeny man coming down the street paying pennies for foil gum wrappers.”



Wilhelmina (Minnie) Ida’s and Julius’ daughter with the grandchildren Bill and Geraldine.

Gladys and my grandmother Mildred. They were cousins.

Minnie and husband Adolph with some of their children and a bunch of cousins – Mildred has the horrible blond bowl cut and is sitting in front of her father (r).

Linzee Street house of the Burschitzkis, circa 1900.

“The Linzee Street neighborhood in the 1940s was full of rich sights and sounds.  In the 1960s, an expressway went through that side of Linzee Street.  All of those houses are now gone.”

The brickyard. This photo is circa 1930, after Julius worked there.

“The Bruschitzki family was not famous. They didn’t do anything to make the front page news. They made the bricks that built the city. They and their whole family were the fabric of this city in the early 20th century. At least four of their 4x great-grandchildren are still living in the city that would not be the same without them.” – Bonnie Schow

Present day Detroit descendants (and some in-laws). Geraldine holding a great-granddaughter on left. I’m (center) sitting on the rock holding one of my granddaughters.

To get the Bruschitzkis family story to national broadcast, support our indiegogo campaign!

You can also share your story on social media with hashtags #MyDetroit and #1world1family to be part of the Detroit Family Album.

We are pleased to be working on our Detroit Digital Diaspora in partnership with Detroit Historical Museum as part of it’s D67 commemoration project and working with Detroit Public TV and our community partners: Detroit Historical Society, the Horace L. Sheffield, Jr. Center – Detroit Association of Black Organizations, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Arab American National Museum, and Church of the Messiah.

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7 Responses to The Bruschitzkis of Linzee Street: Building Detroit Brick by Brick

  1. Elizabeth Schmidt (Toepel) July 15, 2017 at 11:24 pm #

    This is wonderful information and the photos are priceless.

  2. BECKY BUSHA February 11, 2020 at 10:36 pm #

    These pics are great! Thank you so much for putting this online! I 99.9% sure that Julius was my Great Great Grandfather as my grandfather was Elmer Buckholz, who was the son of Wilhelmina “Minnie” Bruschitski and Aldolph Buchholz. Never knew any history about the family so this is quite interesting! Thanks again!

    • Robert OKoney December 18, 2021 at 1:39 pm #

      My grandfather was Roy/Walter son of William and my great great grand father was also Julius

  3. Emunah Jacobs Yosopov March 3, 2021 at 9:46 pm #

    Thank you so much for this information. My name is Emunah Jacobs Yosopov. I am the great great granddaughter of Ida Michalski. I found it interesting how she originated from Poland and has a Jewish origin. However, when she moved to the United States it seems as though she converted to be Lutheran. Maybe due to her parent’s persecution? Not sure. I’m simply find this interesting because I was exposed to some Judaism growing up and never checked into my ancestry until now. This has been a great help.

  4. Tori Herndon May 22, 2022 at 2:41 am #

    My name is Tori Herndon. My great grandfather was John Brujitsli ( his spelling) my Grandfather was Leonard Brujitski bug changed his band to Briidges. His mother was Anna. My mother remembers going to the house on Lindsay as a little girl. I wound love to connect with you !

  5. Sandra Davidson April 28, 2023 at 2:04 pm #

    My mother was Susan, who’s father was Roy/Walter son of William and my great great grandparents were also Julius and Ida. I am also a present day descendant.

  6. Edna Jackson October 24, 2023 at 12:01 pm #

    I’m the Grand daughter of Edna she is the daughter of Clara an Rudolph..I am also a present day descendant.

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