Deteriorating Detroit

Baji J. Ram Rao
01:15 Tue. 04-Nov-2009


Wed. 4th November 2009, 01:15
USA's largest derelict industrial complex is the old Packard plant in Detroit.
This is a 35 lakh sq. ft., 1 km long building standing on over 35 acres of land.

The last car built here was a 1956 Packard !

1956 Packard Ad

The old Packard plant (opened:1903; closed:1958) stands at
1580 East Grand Boulevard in Hamtramck, Detroit.
Click on the map to see the place on wikimapia

Satellite map

This plant included Detroit's first use of RCC (reinforced cement concrete) for industrial construction.
When it opened in 1903, it was the world's most modern automobile manufacturing facility.
Its engineers practiced over eighty trades.

At one time the plant was home to eighty-seven different suppliers.

Today, all this huge rotting complex now houses, is one small metal-coating company of 10 employees
and the ghosts, of what was at one time, the world's largest automotive industry.

Motor City Metal Coating

This last little company has been a tenant of Packard since 1958. They do phosphate coating, zinc electroplating, organic finishing and painting.

--- * ---

Today, arsonists and scavengers are facilitating the crumble of the buildings.

Motor City Bridge

Motor City rusting

Motor City Floorless Bridge

Dismantling and making off with steel structural components and miles and miles of copper wiring.
Setting fire to the ruins that remain.

As the buildings are now structurally unsound, the fire department often leaves the fires overnight to burn themselves out.

Motor City building ablaze

These production lines survived the Depression and retooled to produce military equipment for WW2.
In the sprawling halls, 75% of the world's cars were once lovingly pieced together.

factory automation, job cuts;
increased competition, job cuts;
recession, job cuts;
high petrol prices, job cuts;
and crumb by crumb, Detroit systematically lost its name, "Motor City", and its soul.

It sombrely crumbles -- a fading memory of a once bustling complex of factories made of people, careers, dreams, chrome and white-wall tires. The smooth hum of V8 engines recedes into the sunset, in a gasoline-scented haze of translucent blue smoke.

A comparision of three city central stations

Thu. 5th November 2009, 08:58

Here is a picture of the main hall of
Grand Central Railway Station, New York ...

New York Grand Central Station

Union Station, Chicago ...

Union Station, Chicago

and Michigan Central Station, Detroit ...

Detroit Michigan Central Station

Let the piles of garbage and squalor and flaky plaster speak for themselves.

Interesting Detroit is also a National Crime Region like our own NCR.
Delhi - the undisputed leader in crime

The Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn area of Michigan has a crime rate of 1,220 per lakh.
Only the Gamecock City: Sumter, South Carolina has a higher rate of 1,458 per lakh. Source FBI

Waste not, Want not!

Thu. 5th November 2009, 23:48

There was an era -- when the city that was the pride of America looked inward at itself and beamed.
And now that legend is bygone, leaving a haunting beauty in the gargantuan scale of the hulking remains.

Motor City to South.jpg

Motor City panorama

Motor City to North

Decades of opulence and luxury gave way to hopelessness and decay.
The plant, so lovingly built, once so productive was just abandoned, forgotten for the last 50 years.


A Lifeless factory

A Lifeless factory 2

Some motherhood
When a population, disrespects and abandons Goddess Lakshmi (श्री महालक्ष्मी) and Goddess Sampatti (श्री सम्पत्ती) on such a colossal scale to be vandalized, broken, looted and spoiled, small wonder it is then, that the economy should abandon them back in return as the economic downturn has done!

Once a grand railway terminus
This 96 year old railway station -- all 18-storeys, basement and 5 lakh sq.ft. of it with doric columns, oak panelling, brass fittings and so much marble and fine stone, were abandoned as lack of car parking space caused traffic to dwindle. And Detroiters had shifted from tram travel to driving cars.

Michigan Central Station

The property has changed hands several times after the 1984 deal, once even selling for less than $80,000.
Talk about insult to the Goddesses, Lakshmi(लक्ष्मी) and Sampatti(सम्पत्ती).

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read

Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

~Percy Bysshe Shelley in Ozymandias
published in the Examiner, London, Sun. 11-Jan-1818.
The Examiner was a newspaper published from 1808-1886.