Thursday, August 26, 2010

100 Abandoned Houses

I'm in Ann Arbor, Michigan, for a few days for work.  I lived here a few years ago, and it's always so fun to be back.  When I was living here, I was repeatedly struck by the number of abandoned houses in Detroit--blocks and blocks and blocks of them.  Equally evident was how many of these had once been lovely houses in what were obviously once-thriving neighborhoods.  It was really heartbreaking to see these houses that had once been home to birthday parties, Friday nights in front of the TV, and kids playing in the yard now just empty and boarded up--literally shells of their former selves.  The problem is highlighted all the more by the fact that many of the surrounding suburbs are so lovely and affluent. 

Maybe that's why Kevin Bauman's 100 Abandoned Houses project speaks so much to me.  This powerful collection of images highlights the sad state of Detroit's neighborhoods.  In a city where the population has declined from more than 2 million to only 800,000, there are a lot more than 100 abandoned houses, but wow, his 100 examples of Detroit's decay make the bleak point.

Here are a couple of my favorite of Kevin's pictures (even though I find the houses themselves so discouraging). 


  1. That does make me sad, too. :(

    Anytime I see houses like that, I think, "That house was built new and someone was so excited to live there. Now look at it."

  2. Heartbreaking. I have been following the decline there and it is just gut-wrenching.

  3. How sad=0( I had no idea how many homes are just abandoned. I lived in Chicago, but other than that....always been in California. Your rarely see abandoned homes and it's always a shock to see them looking so sad. It makes me want to sketch one. I love drawing things that it makes you sit there a while to take it all in.

    Thanks for sharing these photos!

  4. WOW I agree with everyone that is so sad

  5. So sad....I bet they were gorgeous in their day...and could be again. Great bones to work with.

    Janet xox

  6. This makes me sick to my stomach... now you guys know how us Realtors feel when we show foreclosed homes. The lesson to be learned in all this, though, (see top middle) is to be thankful for your blessings, because no one at any level is above the risk of having to start all over at some point. I cannot imagine losing my home, but we are all just a few bad months from it...

  7. Just Browsing your sight from Better After. I saw this post and knew a little more about those houses. A friend told me this summer while visiting that many of those homes have lead paint and are unable to sell because of laws. It cost to much money to remove the led paint. The home owner would have to put one of those crazy tents over the home etc.... Just not worth it in this economy. It sure would be nice to pick up one of those lovely old homes and move it to the country. By the way I love your pink bathroom! Good job on the bedroom redo! I love black and white too! Awesome job!