What was once the forth largest city in the U.S. and a leader in the automobile industry is becoming nothing more that a crippled wasteland plagued with violence and poverty. In the last decade, Detroit’s population has declined 25% to 714,000.
Packard Automobile Plant
Hailed as a revolution in architecture and construction, the Packard Automobile Plant was constructed starting in 1903. It’s massive, window-less, 3.5 million square feet industrial scar that runs nearly half a mile long through north-eastern Detroit. At its height in the 20’s and 30’s, the Packard plant was turning out some of the most luxurious cars in the world until it was sold to Studabaker in 1954. It closed two years later.
The Grande Ballroom
The Grande Ballroom is a two-story music venue built in 1921 on Grand River Street in Detroit. Much like the Vanity Ballroom, the Grande had a retail space on the first floor, with the ballroom being on the second floor. Music acts that played at the Grande in the late 60’s and early 70’s included Pink Floyd, John Coltrane, Cream, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Janis Joplin, The MC5, Sun Ra and The Stooges.
Mark Twain Library
The Mark Twain Branch of the Detroit Public Libraries closed in 1998 for renovations. It looks like they were halfway through packing up the library contents before they found asbestos and halted work. The library never reopened.
Woodward Avenue Presbyterian
Woodward Avenue Presbyterian is an English Gothic-style church, faced with rough rock and trimmed with a contrasting limestone, and measuring 184 feet long by 104 feet wide. The Woodward Avenue facade boasts a massive carved-stone entrance with a traceried stained glass window set above; two square towers flank the center entrance. Along the side, gabled transepts contain full-height traceried windows. A two-story educational wing, built at the same time as the main church building, abuts the rear.
The Yorkshire is apartment complex on the east side of Detroit consisting of two buildings. The first and smaller one was built in 1918, and bears the name Altmarwin. The second, larger building next door was built in 1927.
Robinwood Street is a good example of how quickly and totally blight can take over an area. With the exception of a few houses at the end of the street, all houses have either been torn down, burned down, or abandoned.
Sherrard Elementary is one of those weird architectural amalgamations of the very old and the very new. The original structure was built in 1923, and is fairly typical of the intermediate model of schooling. A puzzling difference though is an addition done in the 1980’s, which added a few classrooms and an auditorium to the front of the building. The two styles – red brick multi-story and the more modern, solid-color addition are kind of odd. Furthermore, the addition didn’t add much in the way of capacity to an already large school, and was built at a time when the neighborhood was already in decline. The school and the nearby Breitmeyer school were demolished in 2010.