/> a mother's heart » Blog Archive » images of Detroit and memories of the past

I’m from Michigan and my heart will always belong to The Mitten.  My parents were born & bred in Detroit (although my dad reminded me this past week that he was raised in Harper Woods, which is NOT Detroit), and I have fond memories of going to my grandparents’ homes in “The D” when I was a little girl.

Most people know some of the issues with Detroit – corruption, poverty, the “white flight” that took place in the 60s and 70s when the races divided… but the root cause of these issues is still un-realized.  While political corruption and poverty can be blamed for some of the ills, there are far more problems plaguing the area than can be blamed on those two things.

A friend turned me on to a website called DetroitUrbex.com and I will admit to spending hours there – staring, gawking, and feeling quite sad.  The images at the site are riveting in a “can’t-look-away-from-that-car-wreck”-sort of way.  Detroit was my family’s ancestral home – where my grandparents migrated to find work, to raise their families, and to have a future.

I found myself wondering how buildings get in to such places of disrepair so quickly – until I realized:  looters and scavengers come in as quickly as a place is boarded-up and strip a building of anything with potential value.  Homes, streets, and cities might go feral quickly, but the damage in the photos has more to do with those who steal what they can and sell it for whatever value it has.  A direct result of poverty, but also of raising families without concrete respect and value for the things of others and for the community in which they live.  It’s a vicious circle that the poorest of the poor are in, and it feeds on itself as cities fall in to decay and hope leaves the borders of a community.

All images shown here are from DetroitUrbex – none are mine.  If you’re not from Michigan with a long memory of what used to be, these images will be little more than disgraceful – to think that a city or area would allow itself to become this disheveled.  For those of you who hail from The Mitten (or specifically southeast Michigan), you’ll likely find sadness, anger, and frustration at what our area has become.  It’s one of the most visible signs of Michigan’s hard times and one that makes me sad – because outsiders come to the area to memorialize what once was and what now is.  If you hover your mouse over the images, you can read the description of the photos.

As bad as these images are as the “public face of Detroit,” I’m so happy to be able to know people who are trying to change the image of the city.  They are energetic, idea-filled people who want to revitalize the area.  Positive thinking, new ideas, and a tenacity are their marks.  They own businesses, they renovate and improve areas where they can, and they invest in the lives of people in the hardest-hit areas, knowing that although urban blight is bad there, they CAN make a difference.  The fact that my Twitter stream is filled with people like this encourages my heart as much as these images depress me.  The state of Michigan is poised for a rebound – it’s a ground-floor opportunity for those who have the will and determination to see it through.  I’m hopeful for what Detroit and its environs can be, despite the obvious signs of decay that currently exist.

All images copyright DetroitUrbex.com

Related Posts with Thumbnails
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.