7701 McGraw, Detroit, Michigan 48210
Founded and Operated by Stanley J. Stankiewicz, Jr.
Along with His Wife, Marietta (“Marie”) Stankiewicz
Stanley J. Stankiewicz, Jr. (June 7, 1930 – June 3, 1996), who was better known as “Stan” and alternatively known as the “Mayor of McGraw,” was a well-known builder and businessman in our west side Polonia from the 1950s until the early 1990s. He was known throughout the community as a great humanitarian. He was the founder and operator, along with his wife, West Side Detroit Polish American Historical Society member Marietta (“Marie”), of Stan’s Whip-N-Whirl ice cream stand, as well as numerous other businesses.
Stan was a lifelong resident of Detroit’s west side. He was a graduate of Chadsey High School and a U.S. Army veteran. He also served as a reservist with the Detroit Police for 20 years.
Stan became very well-known in the community as a builder and owner of several businesses along the McGraw Street strip. He built all the businesses that he owned. Along with his wife Marie, he also operated the businesses.
Stan obtained a builder’s license and formed Stankiewicz & Sons Construction on Detroit’s west side, which he operated from the 1950s until his death in 1996 at the age of 65. He also owned and operated Olympia Radiator Service & Auto Parts on McGraw, just a few blocks east of Central. A large man, Stan was very sociable, and he cared about his customers. Society Director Lawrence A. Choraszewski recalls going to the radiator shop when he was 14 or 15 years old, in approximately 1975 or 1976.
“I used to work on cars. My dad had a ’63 Ford pickup truck. My mom or dad had to be with me when I drove. I remember going to Olympia Radiator to get the radiator fixed on the truck,” Larry shared.
“Stan was a big guy, but he was very friendly. He worked on the radiator himself. He fixed it while I waited. He gave people advice on how to work on their cars and what caused the problem.”
In the 1970s, Stan built the Golden Rooster restaurant on McGraw near Lonyo.
The businesses that Stan built had unique and similar-looking façades, according to Larry. His building expertise allowed him to design a particular, uniform-looking brick façade, which he installed on all his McGraw Street structures.
Larry said that passersby could easily tell from the buildings’ brick facings that Stan owned them. “It was apparent that he wanted to beautify the McGraw stretch,” Larry stated.
According to Larry, Stan and Marie owned a lot of property on McGraw. “From Cecil to almost Lonyo, going west toward Wyoming, they had a lot of property.”
At the same time that Stan built the Golden Rooster restaurant, he also built a dairy stand. He named it Stan’s Whip-N-Whirl. It was this dairy business that Stan & Marie were probably best known for. Located at 7701 McGraw on the corner of Central in the heart of our Polish community, the establishment flourished for decades.
The dairy business operated as an ice cream stand and was an extremely popular local establishment. Stan’s Whip-N-Whirl was a fun gathering place for neighborhood families. Because St. Andrew High School was located just a few blocks away on McGraw and Cecil, and Chadsey High School was not far away—at 5335 Martin—Stan’s Whip-N-Whirl was a popular place for students. There was no indoor seating at Stan’s. It had a canopy on its façade and outdoor seating at picnic tables. It was known for its soft-serve swirled ice cream cones. They came in chocolate, vanilla, and chocolate-vanilla combined.
Larry had many fond memories to share of Stan’s Whip-N-Whirl.
“When I was in the seventh grade, we would walk along McGraw,” Larry said. “I remember a health center where our mother took us to get shots. Our mother also had a friend who lived on McGraw near Florida or Trenton.”
“There was a Dairy Queen near Our Lady Queen of Angels Parish. But we didn’t have to cross Michigan Avenue to get to Central and McGraw, which was where Stan’s Whip-N-Whirl was.”
“They would write your order on a little piece of paper. A small cone would cost about $1.19.”
“Marie worked behind the counter, and she put her heart into it.”
“I was 12 or 13 years old.”
“When I was 14 years old, I jogged from McGraw to Wyoming, to my dad’s work,” recalled Larry. “I’d pass Stan’s, and it was packed. There were long lines.”
“When we’d go to Dearborn, we took McGraw. We’d always go past it, and it was beautiful—the lights. They kept it spotless. To see an ice cream business . . . .”
“Periodically, we’d get an ice cream cone. It was expensive for five of us. It was well worth standing in line.”
Stanley J. Stankiewicz, Jr., gave back to the community in numerous ways. Throughout his career, he coached several youth hockey teams, and his Whip-N-Whirl dairy business sponsored numerous McGraw Street youth hockey teams throughout the decades. His altruistic nature inspired him to provide free meals to seniors at his restaurant, and even during lean times, he still gave what he was able to give.
Stan was a proud Polish American who, along with his wife Marie, enjoyed beautifying his west side Detroit community. He not only built beautiful structures and businesses, but also places where people enjoyed congregating and where he received pleasure through serving them. He created places that left a positive, enduring imprint on west side Detroit Polish Americans.
Stan’s Whip-N-Whirl is a prime example of Polish pride, lasting memories, and dedication to community.
Lawrence A. Choraszewski recalls, “They always washed the sidewalk from sugar falling down. It was kept so clean.”
- Choraszewski, Lawrence A., informal telephone conversation. (West Bloomfield, MI: February 12, 2022)
- Helms, Matt. “Businesses earned west Detroiter nickname ‘Mayor of McGraw.’” In Detroit Free Press. (Clipping) (Detroit: Friday, June 7, 1996) WSDPAHS archives, courtesy of Marie Stankiewicz.
- Hjelmroth, Lars. “Polish hockey highlighted: Polish Hockey Connects to Sports & Entertainment Law Symposium.” (Westland, MI: February 24, 2013) https://konicki.com/blog2/tag/hockey/.