"Some Signs of Life in Motor City" Top 5 Page for this destination Detroit by yooperprof

Detroit Travel Guide: 671 reviews and 1,483 photos

Before and After

For several years, I've used this house as my "cover shot" for the city of Detroit, because to me it represented the comfortable past of the city and its decaying, squalid present. I took the picture in 1996 while on a visit to the city; it stands just a few blocks from the Detroit Institute of Arts, one of the great Art Museums in the USA.

But times change. Sometimes things do get better. Detroit still struggles, certainly, but the last few years have seen positive developments in the heart of the cities urban core. The new baseball stadium. A computer firm moving its corporate headquarters downtown. Opening up a new bookstore on the campus of Wayne State. A few new restaurants and nightclubs. The Super Bowl this year. And the redevelopment of the neighborhood around the Art Institute, restoring much of the dignity and pride that it once held.

Before and After - After

I've got to thank fellow VT member dtownkitty for noticing this house on my Detroit page, and then putting it on the her Detroit front page. She says that the condos in the house are going for $400,000 each! (I hope she doesn't mind that I've borrowed her picture for the dramatic contrast it makes.)

Of course, gentrification in big city america is a complicated issue, and one doesn't want to see any city become simply a playground for the rich. But at a very basic level, it's good to see investment in Detroit's urban core - I hope there's a lot more of it in the future.

(With the dispersal of the poor from New Orleans, Detroit is now the city in America with the largest concentration of urban poverty.)

The beautiful bronze people have landed and taken over Cranbrook!

Cranbrook is a beautiful place in the desert of Detroit's suburban sprawl. It's a large estate dedicated to humanistic education and art, and since the 1920s it has served as a beacon of enlightenment throughout the Middle West, and indeed, around the world. For more info, check out my new Cranbrook Travelogue.

Pros and Cons
  • In a nutshell:America needs to take care of its cities
  • Last visit to Detroit: Oct 2005
  • Intro Updated Mar 13, 2006
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Reviews (27)

Comments (9)

  • bilgeez's Profile Photo
    Oct 3, 2009 at 11:36 AM

    Cranbrook is one place I wish I'd had visited more than once, when I was 8. Perhaps if I go back some day and it's still there.

  • Jun 16, 2006 at 10:42 PM

    Worked there 3 years. The building gives off different vibes depending on the weather. At dusk it's a vibrant wash of colors reflecting off the glass. When the weather is gray and rainy it looks like an ominous and evil castle. Nice pics though.

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Jan 18, 2006 at 8:57 AM

    That old house has been saved and renovated, evidently. See 3rd pic on dtownkitty's Detroit page. Glad to hear there are still (or again) some pedestrians in Detroit. I remember Diego Riviera from the opera Frida by Robert Xavier Rodriguez.

  • roamer61's Profile Photo
    Sep 2, 2005 at 5:59 AM

    Informative, thanks.

  • Apr 29, 2005 at 1:54 PM

    LOL~~~~!!~@!#

  • jamiesno's Profile Photo
    Dec 19, 2004 at 7:26 AM

    Hi Chet I enjoyed your Detroit pages and all the comments others have left here. Is it really that bad? With all the potential hopefully it turns for the better! At least your tips seem to deliver the real goods!

  • pedersdottir's Profile Photo
    Nov 20, 2004 at 9:26 PM

    And just as you plan to say something uplifting about D-town, the Pistons had to instigate a riot. C'est trop Detroit! Glad you finally saw Cranbrook though. :-) K.

  • traveldave's Profile Photo
    Sep 5, 2004 at 6:36 AM

    I visited Detroit for the first time a couple of years ago. I knew it was bad, but couldn't believe how much of the downtown area was in decay. It looks like it was once a beautiful city with great architecture. Too bad.

  • Arialthefont's Profile Photo
    May 31, 2004 at 3:30 PM

    Greetings Yooper, I have small ties with the Hancock area, my Mom grew up there and My husband has family in the area,, please post some photos of the wonderful canopy in the fall toward Copper Mt. I have posted some suburbia of Detroit

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