Saturday, July 11, 2015

To be imploded this morning: Detroit's Park Avenue Hotel

Probably no where else did the 1920s roar than in Detroit. While automobiles were first manufactured there in the 1890s, it was thirty years later when car ownership became widespread. And a building boom ensued during the '20s--which included many high rise hotels, including the thirteen-story luxury Park Avenue Hotel, designed by renowned Michigan architect Louis Kamper.

This morning--at 8am local time--the Italian Renaissance structure will be imploded with 200 pounds of TNT. The building will be flattened in seconds. The tower on the left, the Hotel Eddystone--also designed by Kamper--will remain. It's vacant--but city officials are hoping for federal funds to restore it.

In the foreground is a pylon marking escaping steam. There are underground steam tunnels beneath many Detroit streets--sometimes the vapor leaks. The steam is used to power heating and cooling systems.

The Park Avenue limped along after the collapse of the Detroit economy that began in the 1960s and of course continues today. For many years the Salvation Army used the 252 room property as a homeless shelter.

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