Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Lost Detroit I

There are many wonderful places in and around Detroit, Belle Isle, the DIA, the Renaissance Center, Greenfield Village, Cranbrook, the Metroparks, The Zoo, The Symphony, the Opera, etc. There is also poverty and hopelessness. Last time I showed the less pretty side of Detroit, several people objected, but I am going to show a few unhappy sights anyway in the service of truth and fairness.

Yesterday I went for a walk. What you see here are all within easy walking distance of my house. They are all one one street, and three of them are next door to each other. People get foreclosed, the house goes up for sale,and before it sells, someone torches it. My favorite old laundromat just got torched recently. I was very sad. While these are all on one street, there are many others as well. So much of Detroit burnt during the race riots that there are huge open spaces in the city. Note how the vinyl siding melted in the heat.


These houses represent sad situations, people with very little money losing what little they had to begin with. In some cases, landlords are also losing money and neighborhoods are deteriorating because they sit like this for years and squatters move in. There but for fortune go you or I. Click images to view larger.

14 comments:

Strangetastes said...

For better or worse, this is a lot of what I remember from my only visit to Detroit last fall. I thought that the huge industrial ruins were grand, magnificent and tragic, most of all the Michigan Central Railway Building. These pictures are on a personal scale and they deserve to be seen. There are plenty of areas in St. Louis that look like this but, for the most part, they are isolated, not next to middle-class housing. I can't go for a walk from my home or office and take photos like this.

ImperfectNerd said...

Thousands of homeless people... thousands of empty, squalid homes... and not just in Detroit... we need to make more noise about this issue, Mary. I think that in the old days we would have. We would have been in the streets. We WERE in the streets! Isn't this as vital an issue of human rights as any every has been? People having lost their right to hope? Who is their champion today? We hear vague campaign promises. We don't see any leader who has the guts to stand up and demand that HUD take action. It should be, WE should be, on the front lines fighting this enormous problem.

R&R in The Netherlands said...

This is truly the worst part about Detroit. With no effort being made to tear them down, they are left as sour reminders of the problems that plague the inner city.

Thanks for showing both sides. I didn't have a chance to comment but was very happy to see your pics of the DIA and especially the Rivera murals. Can't wait to visit next time we're back!

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Thank you for your comments, Stangetastes, imperfect nerd and R&R!

There is a really LOT of this in Detroit, and it touches a lot of lives of people, human beings, right here in our country.

Some people in politics ignore the problem, and why shouldn't they? Are we making a fuss? Are we writing letters, are we picketing? Or are we too lost worrying about warn and terrorism to be concerned about the suffering of people in our own towns?

Erin said...

These pictures are sad, yes. But they are also interesting and important. Life is often sad and messy, and art should reflect life.

Dick said...

There is not much left, it makes me a little sad.

Rambling Round said...

Most cities and towns have such areas. Seems some are affected much more. Sometimes, I wonder whatever happened to building code enforcement and condemned property laws. It's a sad situation, because these places need tearing down, but people also need decent places to live.

Anonymous said...

I love your photographs and find the information very interesting. This is good art and surprised at you formly having complaints about posting similar images.

BerryBird said...

I am glad to see these pictures. I remember the brouhaha when you last posted Lost Detroit--it made no sense to me. We have some of this in my Hometown, too, as you know. I drive by several burned out homes on my short drive to work each morning.

Annie said...

It's interesting to me that you and I both are today showing homes that have fallen into disrepair. They do capture my attention and interest, as they must yours also.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Thank you all for your very supportive comments. Maybe I should have linked back to the "mean" ones I got earlier, since obviously none of you left them. LOL!

I do find abandoned properties interesting. The are evocative in a sense, and worrisome. And sometimes "attractive" in an unattractive way if you know what I mean.

Yup, there have been some of these everywhere I've lived, I don't mean to imply they are peculiar to Detroit. However, I have never lived in a city where so much of the city was destroyed by fire and never rebuilt.

Jenny said...

What's so interesting about these photos is, they look remarkably like shots of New Orleans. The hurricane that hit Detroit took dozens of years, instead of five days, and it was made of racism, bad government policies (like not funding public transportation), bad business policies (like redlining,) and despair. Where's the influx of money and volunteers? Where are the national news stories? And now, will Kwame have any political traction left to get anything done? Keep showing this side of my beloved hometown!

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Thankks so much, Jenny, I really appreciate your sensitive response!

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

I will return to this soon.