During my stay in nearby Clinton Township, MI my tour manager, Jack Stephens, and I took a trip to Detroit. Last year when we were in Detroit, Jack stuck up a friendship Bob who runs an incredible website called Detroit-ish.com. Bob is seasoned urban explorer and was kind enough to show us some the spots he has discovered in Detroit. He has spent many many hours over the last few years discovering, exploring and photographing the abandoned buildings, not only of Detroit, of cities all over the United States.
I say discovering, but in truth it is not very hard to discover abandoned or burnt out buildings in Detroit. You can rarely travel more than a block or two with out seeing a boarded up structure or the broken, empty windows of another empty concrete shell. Over the last few decades Detroit has experienced and fall from grace of epic proportions and the abandoned homes, schools, churches and hospitals we saw and explored stand as monuments to that decline. The whole experience was bitter sweet. Families used to live in those homes, children used to run the halls of those schools and congregations used to come together as a community in those churches.
Over the years Bob has photographed as many of these building as it is possible to have photographed. It is interesting to hear him talk about it. He has such a respect for the buildings. He grew up nearby, this is his city. Many of the houses he has seen contain the belongings that people have just left behind, almost like time stood still and we get to see a snap shot of the lives of the people who live there. Some of the schools he has seen, and he has seen many due to the extensive school closures that have befallen the city, were full of books, lessons still written on the chalk boards. We took great care to leave everything as we found it and did not enter anywhere that was not already open.
It was an incredible day but also kind of heart breaking. However, there is hope, Bob told us the city is changing. Money is coming back in. The abandoned skyscrapers downtown are now all but filled and occupied and there is investment from the city in infrastructure and housing but there is still a long way to go.
I am so grateful that our host took the time to show us his city. I hope you enjoy my photos.
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