Matthew Lickona links to The Ruins of Detroit, Marchand and Meffre's photographs of a dying city. (The book is coming out this year.) I can't stop looking at these images -- they're sobering and heart-rending and elegaic. The scale of these ruins is unbelievable, especially for a city which is still inhabited, if barely.
This abandoned station was alive, once. How many people passed through it each day? What was the life expectancy of this building, that it was constructed on so grand a scale? Can this building be salvaged? My heart aches to see such a gracious structure pass into irreparable decay, and yet the damage has already been done.
This is abandonment and decay on a Titanic scale -- mammoth theaters and ballrooms and factories untouched by human presence, quietly crumbling through years of man's destructive absence. Detroit must be a city slowly collapsing in on itself to have so many grand buildings just abandoned.
This is the eeriest photo of them all -- a library. The inkjet printer on the desk testifies to a more recent abandonment. There are still books on the shelves. It must have once been an exceptionally comfortable place to read -- look at the fire place and the craftsman windows. If this library could just be abandoned, the neighborhood itself must have died.
Here's a fine set of Detroit photos from J. Griffioen's Flickr collection.
Learning Notes Week of January 9
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