Friday, January 12, 2018

Detroit's Milwaukee Junction

If see Detroit as simply the Motor City and nothing else--then the most Detroit-ish neighborhood of them all is Milwaukee Junction.

Ford's Model T was first built here at 461 Piquette Avenue in 1908. The Ford Piquette Plant is now a museum. I visited on a Tuesday--a day that the museum is closed. In 1910 the much larger Highland Park Ford Plant assumed Model T production.

This is a 1917 Model T. This photograph was taken in 2014 near Marathon Pundit world headquarters in Morton Grove, Illinois.

According to Google Maps, the borders of the L-shaped Milwaukee Junction neighborhood are the Edsel Ford Freeway (I-94) on the southeast, John R Street on the southwest, Grand Boulevard up to the Chrysler Freeway on the northwest. Then the L reaches up to Clay Street, and finally, the General Motors Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant on the northeast completes Milwaukee Junction.

The neighborhood gets is name because the Detroit, Grand Haven and Milwaukee Railway and the Chicago, Detroit and Canada Grand Trunk railroads joined here. The tracks are still there, albeit under the Grand Trunk Western Railroad name.

These apartments are located just a block from our next structure.

Above is the long-abandoned. Fisher Body 21 plant at 700 Piquette, which opened in 1919. Originally automobile manufacturers were engine and chassis people. The body of the car, where the driver and the passengers sit, was farmed out--and Fisher Body, which had its roots in the carriage business, received the lion's share of the business. In 1926 General Motors purchased Fisher Body, the division's "Body by Fisher" logos appeared on all GM vehicles, usually in the rocker panel, until the mid 1990s.

In my first visit to Detroit three years ago I was able to walk into the Albert Kahn-designed factory and climb the stairs to the top, which I did, while avoiding a likely mugger who was standing in another stairwell. Urban exploration is very hazardous, my friends. But the stairway I used in 2015 was partially blocked off and the windows in it were blacked out.

You can read by initial report here.

A room with a view/

The Fisher Body eyesore can easily be seen from both the Ford and Chrysler freeways.

According to Detroitirbex. Fisher Body 21 is considered contaminated even though over $1 million has been spent on cleanup.

Farther down Piquette on the other side of the Chrysler is the former American Blower factory. This photograph was snapped in 2015. That ugly building can be seen from both interstates too.

What's a Motor City urbanex post without a Detroit sidewalk shot?

Or one without a Detroit alley shot?

Under Mayor Mike Duggan demolitions have accelerated. Many Detroit buildings are too far gone to be saved, some, such as Fisher Body 21, fit into that category but are too costly to raze.

Oh, way on the left is the Fisher Building. After the Fisher brothers sold their company to GM they used the money from that deal to build the art deco landmark, which was also designed by Albert Kahn.

By all accounts Milwaukee Junction's future is bright. The redevelopment in adjoining New Center, where the Fisher Building is, positioning Milwaukee Junction as Detroit's next hot neighborhood. The development on Beaubien Street is ahead of the curve.

Soon Detroiters will be bombarded by "Hot MJ Loft Apartments" ads.

You heard it here first.

No comments: