Friday, November 17, 2017

Detroit: Brightmoor or Blightmoor? (Part Two)

Yesterday I presented part one of Detroit: Brightmoor or Blightmoor.

Here is part two.

The home I grew up in Palos Heights, Illinois had a yew hedge in front of it.

This looks like a sweet little home--let's walk in.

Scrappers have moved in and moved on.

Walking into an abandoned home is hazardous. Sometimes the flooring is rotted--and its collapse can cause an injury, and if this house had a basement, the fall can be fatal. But I entered anyway. And sometimes indigents live inside who may not be happy about an uninvited urban explorer barging in. Two years ago I walked into a seeming vacant house when I encountered a prostitute with a client.

On the other hand, feel free to live through me.

"And I bought a little cottage in a neighborhood serene," is a lyric from a song popularized by Gram Parsons, Streets of Baltimore. As I mentioned in Part One, Brightmoor was originally settled largely by Appalachian whites. In Streets of Baltimore, written by Tompall Glaser and Harlan Howard, a wife begs her husband to sell their farm and move north for city excitement. Had more words rhymed with Detroit, the tune could have easily been written about the Motor City.

Call me a ruin porn propagator, if you will. But your beloved Blogger Laureate of Illinois is an artist. But last year another American artist, Ryan Mendoza, shipped the facade of an abandoned home at Eight Mile Road to Europe for some bizarre exhibit. But the artist left behind an uglier mess because the shell of the old house remained. Perhaps the joke is on Detroit--many artists believe ugly is beautiful and what is attractive should be shunned. The great Tom Wolfe wrote a book on that subject, The Painted Word.

As the saying goes, "Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints."

There are few pedestrians and few cars in Brightmoor. Yes, this is the Motor City.

Near the western edge of Brightmoor there are some rolling hills, most likely moraines. On the bottom right is a driveway leading nowhere. Understandably quietude dominates, save for the occasional roar from a distant train--just as in the country--or a blaring siren, which of course is more an urban sound.

The murals read "God's work our hand" and "Peace."

That's rubble from a burned-down house. And note the emptiness in the background.

Whoah, is this a mistake? No, it's a Brightmoor two story beauty. Next to it is a typical dismal home. I asked the woman sitting on the porch if that home was recently built. She replied, "I don't know when it went up."
Then she asked me, "Do you have a smoke?"

That's right. You see three forsaken Detroit homes in a row.

Knock, knock, who's there?

There is nobody home but Siberian elms. Weed trees such as that species and another Asian invader, mulberries, are quite common in Detroit's ruins.

It's as if someone just plopped that old home there.

These Siberian elms have are blessed with glorious autumn foliage.The trees are probably ten years old--which is a good estimate of the amount of time this frame house has been abandoned.

Related post: Detroit: Brightmoor or Blightmoor? (Part One)


m said...

Hi, you were near my house with one of your pictures. That new house was built by a nonprofit to stabilize the neighborhood.... supposedly sold to owners at a subsidized price.
Many are now rentals. Saw that same buck the other evening.

John Ruberry said...

Same buck? Alone. He's probably been driven away by bigger bucks, which is sad as November is breeding season.

A subsidized home? Interesting.

Thanks for dropping in!

m said...

I think it's the same one but there are a couple around. Neighbor got a video of two fighting. Whole bunch of does around also.
This organization has built many all over the neighborhood.

John Ruberry said...

JP Morgan Chase? This article from the New York Times brought me to Brightmoor.

m said...

No not JP it's a private group. i know of another doing the same is the state fair area.
Northwest development or something like it. they own something like 500 lots in this area(number approx).
Brightmoor started dying in the 70's and 80's as the auto industry shrank and jobs left. Then the crack epidemic and related crime forced many to leave. Slumlords moved in with that class of tenant. the financial meltdown was the last straw. i have an abandoned house right next door. demo ready. loveland technologies website allows u to access land records. site isnt bad.

Unknown said...

I wonder if johnny is me?....if so it's Jonathan