Archive for the Articles Category

Happy 313th Birthday, Detroit!

Posted in Articles, Treasures of Detroit on July 10, 2014 by treasuresofdetroit

Happy 313th Birthday, Detroit!

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A Tale of Two Cities

Posted in Articles on October 15, 2013 by treasuresofdetroit

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Two cities stand at opposing sides of the Detroit River. From a distance, each shine almost like a beacon of light and represent to the other a sense of hope and yearning for a better future and a better life. Standing at the edge of the riverbank, it would be hard for one not to pay notice to the foreign world that appears on the other side. A foreign world that lies so close, yet so far away. So close that some have even attempted to swim across the river to the opposing side, only to be captured by border security agents, who serve as a reminder of how far apart the two cities really are. To imagine that long ago people were able to freely cross the river seems surreal. Yet, one still can’t help but wonder how two cities within walking distance can remain so isolated and cut off from one another. But what lies only a few miles from the riverbank seems unreachable to so many people. Two cities, belonging to two separate nations, each possessing their own unique culture and way of life, each with their own law and government. If only, when the water freezes each winter, we could simply walk across the river.

The History of 3704 14th Street

Posted in Articles, Treasures of Detroit on August 14, 2013 by treasuresofdetroit

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3704 14th Street was built sometime during 1895. The Bloetscher family, who owned the Bloetscher Brothers Butcher Shop at 3606 15th Street, bought the house sometime in 1915. They raised their three children in the house – Carl, Friedrich III and Andrew. But sometime in 1926 they moved out of the property.

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No Bills in Woodbridge!

Posted in Articles on December 27, 2012 by treasuresofdetroit

No Bills in Woodbridge!

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In Woodbridge, a small community within Detroit, residents share many unique customs along with a few inside jokes.

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One of these trends happens to be hanging signs reading “No Bills” on porches near mailboxes and doorways.

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An effort made simply to provoke a response. Though most would probably desire not to receive bills, they probably continue to pour in, despite the posted signs.

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But still, nearly every home in Woodbridge seems determined to make a statement during harsh economic times that collection notices and bills are unwanted and not welcome here.

We Love You, Detroit

Posted in Articles on September 28, 2012 by treasuresofdetroit

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Detroiters love their city. To them, it is a place filled with beauty. They don’t see it for the “ugliness” that everyone else seems to notice.

A warning to all visitors: don’t let the blighted E-zone scare you away, there’s much to love about this desolate and abandoned place. Detroit is no worse than any other city in America; it’s just much more abandoned and as a result it is slowly being reclaimed by nature. During most hours of the day, there are very few people outside. It’s quiet and peaceful and there’s no one around to bother you if you wish to take a long walk through the urban prairie and admire decaying pieces of the city’s history.

Some city blocks only have one or two homes left standing on them and residents can enjoy having the entire block to themselves – much different from cities like Chicago where even the most shuttered neighborhoods are crowded with people. Motown’s got that urban country feel to it and if you spend enough time there you’ll learn to love it.

Many people have taken ownership of neighboring abandoned properties and have taken it upon themselves to maintain them. People take great pride in painting abandoned houses and cutting the grass in vacant lots. Some have even been turned into community gardens or parks. Everyone seems to want to pitch in to make their neighborhood a better place to live.

Detroiters have gotten past the “blame game”. They don’t care who made the mess and they don’t leave it there for someone else to clean up. They’ve come to realize that the only way to make things better is for them to do something about the problems in their neighborhoods. People gladly volunteer their time to clean up abandoned properties. They don’t expect anyone to give them kudos for it and they aren’t getting paid to do the work, they just do it because they know it needs to be done (and they don’t want to have to look at it every time they go outside).

People walk around their neighborhoods in their spare time looking for locations in need of their efforts. I personally witnessed a man doing the landscaping of every abandoned property in a 3 block radius in the neighborhood of Islandview. He cut his own grass as well as the grass in every yard in the area just because he had the spare time and was determined to make his street “easier on the eye”.

When a home is boarded up in a historic neighborhood, people who live next door take it upon themselves to paint the boards the same color as the house or in a color that compliments the color of the rest of the structure. Others help wash off graffiti, paint murals or plant trees.

Detroiters are very optimistic about the future of their city. They believe that by doing these things they will be able to improve the conditions present in their neighborhoods. They have faith that they will be able to inspire change and promote a better quality of living.

Tales of Temple Street

Posted in Articles on September 7, 2012 by treasuresofdetroit

The tale of Temple Street is a rather colorful one, though filled with many moments of darkness.

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Temple Street is home of some of Detroit’s most beloved abandoned properties, along with the infamous Temple Hotel. The Four abandoned structures and the residential hotel stand solidly in a row, keeping one another good company throughout the rough times.

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The Temple Hotel, 72 Temple Street, rents rooms out by the hour, day, week or month depending on the visitor’s preference. The Hotel is believed to be a staple in Detroit’s “Red Light District”, though the owner  has denied these claims. Despite these allegations, the owner of the “Temple Hotel” put the building on the market for 3 Million Dollars, which has attracted many odd, yet interesting perspective buyers.

But it wasn’t the scandal or shady side of Detroit that gave the Temple Hotel it’s popularity. 72 Temple Street may have not been a “destination on the map” at all if Houdini hadn’t stayed there during the ’30s. If Houdini hadn’t stayed there, the hotel might never have became a popular place for artists and musicians to crash. It may never have become an icon of Motown’s glory days.

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100 Temple Street sits directly across the street from the Temple Hotel. It served as an apartment building up until it was abandoned. During its early years it served as an upscale residence for Detroit’s wealthier population but slowly deteriorated in its last 40 years of occupation.

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To make matters more interesting, the Temple Hotel borders three abandoned properties to the east, each with a tale of their own, which today stand in grave despair:

56 Temple Street: A small but modest home, destroyed  by fire at least 30 years ago and unoccupied since.

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52 Temple Street: An old Victorian servants house, believed to be haunted by the spirits of an old man and a young girl.

46 Temple Street: an abandoned apartment building, once home to a serial killer who slaughtered several people and left the bodies to decay inside.

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46 Temple Street began as an elegant private residence before being converted into apartments during the mid-1900s. It fell to disrepair during its later years and was home to many undesirables – most notably, a serial killer, who slaughtered several people and left the bodies to be discovered in the property years later. In 2010, 46 Temple was destroyed by fire.

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It is believed that the persons involved in an altercation who were inside the property (who were later arrested) were responsible for starting the fire. Since the incident, the property remains blighted. It is unknown what the future holds for 46 Temple Street, whether it be renovation or razing.

While not much is known about 56 Temple Street, its neighboring property, 52 Temple Street has a long story of its own. 52 Temple was built as a servants corridors for a house that once stood directly behind it on Charlotte Street. Both structures were built during the 1890s.

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During the mid-1900s, 52 Temple was converted to apartments. It began in its early days as a rental for upper class residents and slowly fell down the stratification ladder over the years.

Much regarding the original owners of the property or the servants who once resided at 52 Temple remains unknown today, but there have been many reports of ghosts lingering on the premises. Both the spirits of an old man and a young girl have been seen from the tiny windows of the 3rd floor of this ivy-covered Victorian home.

According to the war veterans who live across the street, the ghosts can be seen during the late hours of the night. I spoke to a few particular individuals who had actually entered the property, some who had experienced this phenomena and others who had not. All admitted that the property was “creepy” and didn’t wish to spend much time there.

None of the recent owners of 52 Temple did much with the property. It is believed that the history of the properties on the block, as well as the “spooky” phenomena that seems to occur has deterred the owners from attempting any renovations.

52 Temple Street has been the center of many growing conspiracy theories, including a perceived plot involving the City of Detroit, to buy up properties with the intent to raze them for the construction of a new hockey stadium in coming years. Both 52 and 56 Temple Street were acquired by a mysterious management company, Victorian Rentals LLC, only a few years ago. Apparently, both the buyer and sellers of the properties signed a confidentiality agreement, which has been the source of much of the controversy regarding the sale of Temple Street properties. The management company has not made any renovations to the properties, nor disclosed its intentions, so many believe the theories to be relevant to the future of the two Temple Street properties.

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