Abandoned Detroit:
     Touring The D    

Once a busy city of nearly two million people, today vast acres of Detroit have been abandoned. Places where people lived, worked, shopped and worshiped are now just ghost buildings and empty fields.

photos by
Theresa Welsh

Take a Drive Through The D

If you come to Detroit, take a drive through its main thoroughfares and its neighborhoods. You will see many 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 and the remains of lives once lived in these spaces. Detroit is being abandoned, block by block, building by building.

See over 300 photos of abandoned houses at my Flickr page.


Abandoned Shopping Center

This former strip mall on the northeast side sits abandoned, its parking lot full of cracks and holes and strewn with debris and items left behind. Most of Detroit's commerical thoroughfares, which once had shops, are lined with empty buildings and empty fields. This suburban style strip mall is located in a nicer section close to the city limits.

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.


See photos of St Rita Catholic Church and school, one of many Catholic parishes to close in Detroit.

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 Commercial Buildings

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


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

Abandoned Boats?

We've noticed as we tour Detroit neighborhoods that lots of people have boats in their yard or in the abandoned lots. Here are two abandoned boats that turned up in a North Side neighborhood.


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Read my review of Hard Stuff: The Autobiography of Coleman Young, Detroit's legendary first black mayor.

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Detroit's Spectacular Ruin: The Packard Plant

Detroit's Most Spectacular Ruin!
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A Guide to Post-Industrial Detroit: Unconventional Tours of an Urban Landscape

Theresa's Guide to Exploring Detroit

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