Abandoned Homes in Detroit

Exterior of tan brick abandoned apartment house in residential area of Detroit

Abandoned Apartment House – 1

The images are from a recent trip to Detroit. Since the photos in this post are of random apartment houses I don’t have anything in the way of historical information. So, I’ll do my best to describe the building’s sense of place instead.

The buildings were close to one another in a neighborhood not too far outside of downtown Detroit. The houses are within an active community, although there were vacant lots and abandoned / burned out buildings scattered throughout the neighborhood. In addition to run of the mill vandalism, both buildings had at some point been the victims of arsonists. In fact, burned out abandoned homes is a common site in many of Detroit’s less affluent neighborhoods. Upper and middle class neighborhoods seem to have weathered Detroit’s loss of industry much better. The buildings also had extensive water damage and detritus scattered throughout.

Abandoned wood frame, gingerbread apartment

House – 2

I like different types of abandoned buildings for different reasons. Although, the exterior of these buildings were probably architecturally significant at one time, their facades are now in a sad state. I wasn’t in these buildings for their architectural merit though. The payoff of exploring them was in human ephemera. Few things make for a personal connection to a place quite like the artifacts their inhabitants left behind. Their presence raises a lot of questions. What happened to the owners? What were their lives like? Why did they take some things and leave what I am seeing behind? Although, most of the rooms were trashed, there were a few that made the exploration worth the risks. The artifacts in those rooms are included in the photos. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed taking them.

All of the photos are mine; however, I owe a lot of credit to my guide Liz for leading me to these buildings, as well as a few others. If you are going to explore Detroit, I highly recommend getting someone with local knowledge to mitigate the risk of arrest or harassment and to show you some good spots. I found Liz through Peeling Walls and her services were well worth the reasonable fee I paid.

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