Crane Street

Date – July 2, 2010

Street – Crane Street, just south of Gratiot Avenue

Continuing on with my exploration on that Saturday, I headed a few blocks southeast toward Gratiot Avenue and came to this fairly nice neighborhood with two gutted homes across the street from one another.  I parked my bike to start documenting and one of the neighbors came out and struck up a conversation with me.

Apparently both of these homes were hit by arson.  The first being 5818 Crane about nine months before I took these photos.  The home across the street was hit a couple months later.  According to the woman I spoke with, there are no leads for either crime, but the word on the street is the folks at 5809 Crane were talking to the police and may have had some information on the first fire.  To silence them, their home was then set alight.

Rewards have been posted for both.  As of now, there are still no leads to the perpetrators.

A positive note as both of these homes have been earmarked by the City for teardown under the Mayor’s plan to clean up the city.  He has 10,000 targeted, with the first 1000 to be cleared by the end of this year.  The tag of “W Kut” as seen on 5809-11 is the mark of the City, not a graffiti artist.  I have come upon a few structures with this mark, so hopefully the Mayor will keep to his word.

There is a lot of work to do.


Van Dyke Avenue Area

Date – July 2, 2010

Streets – Duncan Avenue at the corner of Maxwell Avenue, Florida Street, Seneca Street

Since I had a holiday weekend, I hopped on the motorcycle and headed out.  I had been driving by this area daily on the way to work – all of this is visible from the highway.

The first stop was what appeared to be an apartment complex on Duncan Avenue.  Based on some aerial photos I have seen of this location, I believe this complex has been burned a few different times.  Right now, it is just a collapsed mess of charred remains.


Crossing the highway I came to a two block area around Seminole and Seneca streets.  There, houses right along the frontage road to the highway have been left to the elements.  Nature attempting to absorb the remains.



Date(s) – May 26, 2010

Streets – Chene Street from I94 to Forest Ave

This was my first outing.  It was this area that really inspired me to work on this project.  Poletown is just southeast of Hamtramck on the “other side” of I94.  The whole stretch of Chene street here is basically one abandoned or burned out building after another.

It looks pretty much like a war zone.

What I find to be most curious is just across I94 is the General Motors Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant.  You cross the over-pass over the highway and it is like you have instantly transported into another world.  Clean streets, well maintained landscapes, and of course, a security fence.

Back in 1981, the City of Detroit began clearing the area for the plant using Eminent Domain and in 1985, GM opened the new plant.  I can’t tell if what I photographed has been in it’s current condition since that time, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

To me, this is a perfect example of how a city can bow down to large corporations and abandon it’s citizens.  General Motors claims to be such a big part of the Detroit Community, but if you ask me, they just came in here and squashed this neighborhood.  If they really wanted to be good citizens, they could put some money into cleaning things up a bit.  I would bet that if GM found $250,000 to put back into this community, it would go a long way.  It would probably be very easy to come up with a core of volunteers to do the work – the money would probably just be needed to haul the debris away.

But that would be too easy…