Abandoned Detroit:   Touring The D


Abandoned Factory Building


Abandoned Hospital


Once a busy city of nearly two million people, Detroit has experienced abandonment on a large scale. Residents have been leaving the city since its peak population of the 1950s, when the auto industry based in Detroit was prosperous. And so was the city.

Depopulation accelerated after the 1967 riot, continuing through the decades and hitting bottom in the recession years of 2008 to 2012. Houses and commercial buildings were abandoned, left to the elements, with the city's revenues shrinking. In 2013, Detroit became the site of the largest municipal bankruptcy EVER. That seismic event seems to be propelling the city back up. With a new mayor and a new beginning as the city exits bankruptcy, the city is making a big push to demolish dangerous buildings and support the many efforts to bring the city back to life.

But there are still empty neighborhoods and decaying industrial buildings, empty storefront and abandoned schools and churches. It will take some time for the city to transform itself from a place full of ghost buildings to a great American city. Which it once was.


Abandoned Community Center
   

Abandoned Gas Station

photos by
Theresa Welsh

A Drive Through The City

Driving through Detroit's main thoroughfares and neighborhoods, you will see buildings that are standing open, windows broken out, siding or bricks stripped, and personal belongings spilling out onto porches, driveways, sidewalks and streets. Piles of old tires are dumped in the empty lots, along with broken furniture. Some streets have only a few occupied houses.

If you're interested in seeing Detroit's abandoned areas, get my guidebook:
A Guide to Post-Industrial Detroit: Unconventional Tours of an Urban Landscape.

  

See more photos and information on abandoned Detroit houses at my Abandoned House web page
See over 300 photos of abandoned houses at my Flickr page.

 

Abandoned Industrial Site

The Continental Motors site is a large expanse of ruins on Detroit's far East Side, located next to one of Detroit's two operating auto plants along Conner Street, just north of Jefferson Avenue. Continental Motors, founded in 1905, built engines for a number of car companies until they went out of business and the site was taken over by an aluminum company calling itself Continental Aluminum. The site has multiple buildings in a state of decay. There were once more buildings on the site, and there are long stretches of cracked concrete. The buildings, which are full of graffiti, are accessible to explorers. The ruins here make a real contrast with the modern auto plant, Chrysler's Jefferson Avenue Assembly Plant, visible from the top of the ruins.

    

Abandoned Factories

The automobile industry grew up in Detroit, beginning with a small building near downtown where Model Ts were built by hand and growing to encompass large factories and complexes of buildings that employed thousands of workers. Today, many of those places where workers toiled and great products were born are just empty walls and silent railroad tracks, ghosts of the former good times that once made Detroit a city of homeowners living the American Dream.

The Abandoned Packard Plant. See more photos of the Packard plant.


The Abandoned Fisher Body Plant. See more photos of Fisher Body.


Abandoned Churches

Detroit's churches, including some beautiful buildings, somtimes end up abandoned because their congregations have left. The city also has many little storefront churches. Commercial buildings that can no longer find tenants often become storefront churches, but these too can become abandoned.

    
 

Abandoned Schools

Wheb a city loses population, it has surplus schools. Some school buildings find new uses, but many end up abandoned. For more photos of abandoned schools, see my webpage on Detroit's Abandoned Schools.

 

Abandoned Commercial Buildings

All over the city, buildings that used to be occupied by a business are empty, deteriorating. Most will never be occupied again.

 
 
   

This building, with its lovely architectural elements, is at Fenkell and Livernois on the West Side


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Detroit's Spectacular Ruin: The Packard Plant

Detroit's Most Spectacular Ruin!
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