The Guardian of the U.K. has a photo set up at its “Observer” section that is truly stunning. It consists of sixteen photos of Detroit by Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre that present an incredibel picture of a city laid waste. Three of them are especially striking, at least to me:
This is what remains of the Woodward Avenue Presbyterian Church, a English Gothic-style church built in 1911. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.
This is East Grand Boulevard Church. It was built in 1908. These are just two among many abandoned churches in Detroit.
This is the obviously closed East Side Public Library. I can understand closing a library. I can’t understand simply leaving the books there to rot.
In some ways, the most amazing thing about the photo set is that it illustrates just how unwilling Detroit has been to deal with its own decline. Some of the buildings in the photos have been abandoned for decades, yet they still stand, blights on the landscape, and reminders of better days that are now dead and gone. Detroit is by no means alone in this regard, but I will say that when I went there a couple of years ago, I was genuinely amazed at how many abandoned buildings there were even within sight of Comerica Park, which is less than ten years old and was no doubt supposed to help revitalize that part of the city.
Though written about 9/11 in New York, this could have been written about Detroit:
(Via Mark Shea.)