Whirlwind Tour de-Troit

Some friends of ours who are artists are considering a move to Detroit and made an impromptu trip up to see the city for the first time. Andrew and I went to school and lived downtown for a few years, but we haven’t spent much time downtown since we moved back here from Delaware 9 months ago. A little overwhelmed with the idea of giving a complete tour of the city on my own,  I called upon a friend who luckily had some time to help me take our visitor on a whirlwind tour of different artist communities in the city. I didn’t get as many photos to share as I would have liked, but we were moving fast.

This Hamtramck installation was done by some visiting artists. (The wood cutout over the window, not the burning.)

We drove passed the Power House Project, which has received quite a bit of press lately.

The Power House Project serves two primary goals:
[1] To develop a model home.
The house, as an architectural experiment, will work as a prototype example or model home for what is possible in the current atmosphere of cheap housing in the city. What does it take to create a truly affordable, secure, sustainable house for under $99,000?
[2] The house is a social art project. (info:phproject)

I had never known about this little block of Farnsworth Street before so was really excited to visit here. There is a vibrant community of people working to restore homes, make art and keep up a wonderful community garden.

I wish I would have put my fingers into the photo to give perspective on this tiny phone.

We quickly drove down Heidleberg Street.

The Heidelberg Project, bearing the name of the street on which it exists, was started in 1986 by Tyree Guyton.

…Guyton began by cleaning up vacant lots on Heidelberg and Elba Streets.  From the refuse they collected, Guyton began to transform the street into a massive art environment. (Heidleberg Project)

and through Brush Park

Homes were built in Brush Park beginning in the 1850s and peaking in the 1870s and 1880s; one of the last homes built was constructed in 1906 by architect Albert Kahn for his personal use. Kahn lived in this home until his death in 1942, after which it was obtained by the Detroit Urban League, which still uses it today.

During the 19th century, around 300 homes were built in Brush Park, including 70 Victorian mansions. However, the neighborhood began to decline in the late 19th and early 20th century, when the advent of streetcars and then automobiles allowed prosperous citizens to live further from downtown. Early residents moved out, notably to up-and-coming neighborhoods such as Indian Village and Boston-Edison, and the neighborhood became less fashionable. During the Great Depression, many of the old mansions were subdivided into apartments, and as demand for housing fell after World War II, the homes were abandoned and fell into disrepair. (wikipedia)

I had completely forgotten about Hamtramck Disney Land, but was so glad when we noticed it poking out of the alley behind Klinger Street.

A retired gentleman named Dmytro Szylak — who came to Hamtramck from the Ukraine right after WWII — created Hamtramck Disneyland. It took him from 1997 or so until 1999 to put it all up. Several of the displays are wired-up and move when he flicks a switch. He also has lights and music wired-up. It’s in the back of an unassuming house on Klinger St. right in the alley. It looks like a carnival for gnomes. [Lenaya Lynch, 04/26/2006] (Roadside America)

We made a stop at CCS and also drove through Russel Industrial, Boston Edison, New Center, North End, Eastern Market, Woodbridge, Corktown, Hubbard Farms, Mexicantown and East English Village. There are a handful of places we didn’t make it too in our short trip…next time!

It was great to tour Detroit and learn more about this city that I love so much. I’m thrilled to think such innovative thinkers and workers may be joining the dynamic community we have here.

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One response to “Whirlwind Tour de-Troit

  1. i wish i would have known, i could have taken you to dabls and theatre bizarre too!! xo

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