This week has me heading East to Detroit, Michigan. The morning was bitterly cold, with temperatures in the single digits. The kind of morning where each breath inward burns your lungs. Luckily the weather turned more favorably as I headed East. Detroit is one of my favorite cities to visit. Nowhere else personifies the grit and grind spirit that is oh so American.
Initially I really struggled with whether I would publish any pictures of any abandoned buildings or any buildings in disrepair. Ultimately I decided to post a few of my favorites, not to highlight the disrepair but to highlight the state of flux the city is currently in. The skeletons of old buildings are now becoming massive canvasses while new businesses and entrepreneurs take hold inside, ready to usher in a new era in Detroit’s history.
Michigan Central Station:
I couldn’t visit the Motor City without seeing just a few of the iconic parts. The Fist is far more impressive in person than I expected and really is a perfect representation of this city’s fighting spirit and how Joe Louis personified that spirit in the forties.
This was my first time seeing the Spirit of Detroit in person, and I must say I was blown away by how much this statue really does personify this city. In one hand the statue holds a golden orb meant to represent the faith of Detroiters, in the other hand he holds the people of his city. The massive bronze monolith personifies the heart, tenacity, passion and faith in this city by each citizen of Detroit and their commitment to move forward in a new direction.
On Belle Island, Lieutenant Colonel Alpheus Starkey Williams and his favorite warhorse Plug Ugly stand at the crossroads of the island. Williams was a veteran of both the Mexican American War and the American Civil War, a judge, lawyer, journalist and eventual US Congressman. His gaze surveys the whole island, in a stunning monument to one of Detroit’s most most accomplished men of the 19th century.
Memorial for the Michigan volunteers during the Spanish American War
Though it brutally cold and windy, I couldn’t help but to take another trip down to the Detroit River to shoot. The shattered ice littering the shoreline was oddly beautiful. It was as if a giant pane of glass had been destroyed and the shards were pushed to the shoreline by the river’s irreverent current. While I was there, a US Coast Guard ship was smashing its way through the remaining ice sheets in the center of the river. A loud scraping could be heard as the ice chunks brushed against a buoy in the center of the river.
Across the narrow river lies Windsor, Canada, which one hundred and fifty years ago, this point was the second to last stop for those on the Underground Railroad on their journey towards freedom. A sculpture of a family pointing excitedly across the river to their final destination provides a commanding sense of hope and inspiration.
Detroit Creative Corridor