Sunday, August 08, 2010

Rainy Day Detroit

Road trip - Detroit Motorcity. Down the road from Toronto, just follow Highway 401 to it's end at Windsor and cross the Ambassador Bridge or take the Detroit Windsor Tunnel. What will you find at the end of the rainbow? A clean city with little graffiti, an elevated people mover, plenty of boarded up buildings, parking lots and fenced in gravel graveyards of former buildings, waiting for new boom times, restoration and growth. Old, historic buildings are seperated from the City by razor wire and large plywood boards - they save buildings of distinction hoping that they can be preserved later, like saving something for a rainy day. Large letters along the Michigan Central Station building, pictured below, spell "Save the Depot". I don't think there are many windows that remain in one piece in the large, haunted structure.

I have heard stories and seen pictures on the web about the abandoned and derelict buildings in Detroit. The crunch started in the late 1960's. Detroit still has beauty - down but not out, they continue to survive and grow with new development along the waterfront. But as someone seeing the city for the first time it is hard to get over the shock of the blighted landscape. The City has destroyed many buildings but so many remain, slowly disintegrating. It is sad to see neighbourhoods that were once full of beautiful homes now empty, save for one house struggling to remain a home.

I was struck by the similarity of Detroit with Toronto. Both are old cities with a lot of history, both are large metropolitan areas having desirable waterfront locations with islands and both are subject to the impact of the economy. Hopefully this scale of de-construction will never find a home in Toronto. Here is a happy wedding party taking pictures at the FOX theatre.

See more pictures of Detroit after the jump.

Here are more pictures of the Central Train Station and one of Detroit's Flatiron Buildings.

I loved this abandoned building - it was the Loyal Order of Moose - I thought it was from the Flintstones but he was with the Loyal Order of the Water Buffalo.

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