Abandoned houses in Detroit

‘I decided to name the series 100 Abandoned Houses. 100 seemed like a lot, although the number of abandoned houses in Detroit is more like 12,000.

Encompassing an area of over 138 square miles, Detroit has enough room to hold the land mass of San Francisco, Boston, and Manhattan Island, yet the population has fallen from close to 2 million citizens, to most likely less than 800,000. With such a dramatic decline, the abandoned house problem is not likely to go away any time soon.’

- Kevin Bauman, 100 Abandoned Houses

Thank you to La Boite Verte

29 comments to Abandoned houses, Detroit

  • fiasco

    never a sunny day in detroit

  • Daniel

    Probably a few too many pics here. Consider the point ‘rammed home’.

  • Sorry is this not the Ward and Partners website? How much are these going for? ;) I’ll take the duck egg blue hut :)

  • Reminds me Pripyat… no sun, some snow, abandoned houses, creepy landscapes… what happened to Detroit?

  • Hardpunk

    Some absolutely beautiful houses there. I guess some of them are just not in the best neighborhoods. Wish I could pack one of them up and ship it here to Scotland.

  • hauntingly beautiful – wish I could adopt a few of these – or all of them. Blogging with a link back right now.

  • kris

    They’re gone. Good bye Detroit.

    Signed –

    Kris from Buffalo, NY

  • elena

    strangely beautiful and desperately sad at the same time. a myriad of thoughts and feelings through me. thank you for this art.

  • Jane

    Beautiful and incredibly sad – some of the houses look massive and must have been once beautiful – where are all the families that once lived there? Why is it like that? The inclusion of one hundred pictures really has an affect. I wonder how dramatic an exhibition of all 12,000 abandon homes in Detroit would feel. Great post – haunting.

  • Sir

    Thank you Great Society!

    Ironic that the Unions that helped build such neighborhoods also helped lead to their destruction.

    There’s a reason the Germans, Japanese, and Koreans build their autoplants in the U.S. in South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, etc. Michigan, Ohio, etc. priced themsleves out of the market – they killed the goose with high taxes and over-regulation and the Unions pushed for wages and benefits that were insupportable in competitive markets (demands that could be met back when the U.S. comprised 1/2 of the world’s manufacturing output after WW II).

    Behold the future.

  • Sueli

    Oh boy ! If I could buy some of those houses…
    As someone wrote, those pictures remind Prypiat after the Chernobyl disaster.

  • Gah! Want to go inside!

  • libertie

    unions and their socialist politicians. think detroit is an anomaly? the whole country is next.

  • Thank you for these thought-provoking pictures. Bleak.

  • worldwidewally

    You know how many Detroiters it takes to screw in a lightbulb?
    None, they’d rather sit in the dark & bitch until someone from the government does it for them.
    Try this for a start,mow the lawn,paint your house, don’t make excuses for your kid when he gets caugt stealing shit and if you see trash on the street pick it up, nobody will stop you even if it isn’t yours.

  • b

    Great, @ worldwidewally…You have no idea what is going on in Detroit.

    I used to live near there. My friends and I would just drive through…it’s surreal. The strangest is seeing these mansions that are abandoned. That’s the creepy part. It’s like people got up, mid-life, and left everything behind. In a way, they did. Detroit isn’t like this because people just stopped caring, like worldwidewally would suggest.

    No, the dollar sign left first. The big 3 failed, and people were laid off; the city government was (is?) filled with scoundrels and political incest and self-interest of the worst kind. Detroit is rough. It is getting better, though.

  • Gem

    These houses have been in the making for a couple of decades — this is not something that the current economy has created. Those were mansions back in the day, and then were slums, and then were abandoned. It’ so sad, how beautiful they were and how white flight and neglect have just emaciated whole neighborhoods that were once flourishing and beautiful.

  • worldwidewally

    Gems’ got it, this started when the big three “owned” 80% of the car market. It was open hostility in the 60′s & 70′s that drove whites to the burbs & keeps them there today.No one in their right mind would invest a dime in the “D” outside of the downtown area.Even then you need to be well connected to avoid city gov. demands for the privilege.Ask someone who’s tried to do biz there, I have. P.S.-They care enough to complain, just not enough to do anything IMO.Also, I was born in Hamtramck & lived there in my 20′s.I’ve watched this for 50 yrs.

  • Kaitlyn

    Wow. That’s all I can say.

    Obviously, some places are unrepairable–but a lot of them, all they need is some TLC. And an owner! lol.

    What is up with the circles painted on the doors and walls? Several have them. Is this some kind of gang sign? Or just someone got bored with the spray paint?


  • MoreInformed

    People saying Unions caused that? NOT! Those homes were going down hill LONG before the automakers had serious problems, and even then it was and is management, not the Unions that caused the big 3 to have problems. Remember, Unions and regulation have improved the standard of living for most workers in America. The 40 hour work week, overtime, medical coverage safer working conditions. That didn’t just happen, people FOUGHT for those things. It’s easy to listen to corporate media and join in Union bashing. Keep it up, and America WILL become a third world country.

  • jonas

    Now America is almost like Brazil, too much violence and unemployment.

  • Jim

    There are some beautiful houses there. So sad to see what’s become of them. What a shame.

  • jonas

    I think totally insane this opinion some people say that Brazil will take the place America has nowadays in the next 10 years…I don’t know, anyone knows Brazil? Is this really can be true?

  • Susan

    I used to live in Detroit and remember it from better days…but not much better…lol. I would like to see 100 abandanded businesses. I am sure there are just as many of those. I just don’t understnad why no one has gotten together with a new vision for Detroit? It couldnt cost that much to buy it all up!

  • Scott

    To the past owners, each of these homes has a history of many happy Christmas holidays, birthdays, graduations, child births, weddings, and sad time memories. Each represented employment for the builders, income generated on the mortage loans, and up-keep/up-grades over the years. Each was a tiny island of hope and dreams for it’s owners. They say an average home has a life expectancy of 60 years, or two 30 year mortgage cycles. If there is nobody to pay the rent, then the usefullness is gone.

  • Scott

    There is also a series on abandoned public buildings of Detroit that will break your heart. Treasures that people just walked away from. Libraries, Hospitals, Hotels, Schools, Theaters, etc. Speaks more about the economy than any numbers can relate. The human side of a lost way of life.

  • [...] see more of the Motor City’s abandoned structures, visit How to Be a Retronaut here and [...]

  • France

    Most of these houses are dream houses really – so sophisticate, they were home once filled with children and happiness. All this is very sad.

  • Andrew Porter

    Many homes and businesses were burned and abandoned during and after the 1967 riots. So they’ve been falling into disrepair for decades—you can see this in the size of the trees that have grown up in and around them. Many others have been torn down, as you can see from the vacant land in many of the photos.

    Many areas of the city are coming back; this is being chronicled on the curbed.com site for Detroit. Meanwhile, the many suburbs are doing quite well. They surround Detroit proper in a vast semi-circle.

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