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The first images to come out of a natural disaster never fail to leave me stunned. Well, this is what the aftermath of an economic disaster in our own country looks like. This is Detroit. Like they say in the Chrysler Eminem Super Bowl commercial, the Motor City has been to “hell and back.”

Detroit in Ruins - Lee Plaza Hotel

Ballroom, Lee Plaza Hotel

Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre’s photographs of this once magnificent city are haunting … devastating … and beautiful. They say in their book and website, “Ruins are the visible symbols and landmarks of our societies and their changes, small pieces of history in suspension.”

Detroit in Ruins - William Livingston House

William Livingstone House

Marchand and Meffre’s photos remind me of the genius of man, the glory of great of design and the fragility of even steel and stone. For those who built Detroit and those who live in Detroit, I want to see this city make a come back.

Detroit in Ruins - United Artists Theater

United Artists Theater

Detroit in Ruins - Bagley Clifford Office

National Bank of Detroit

Detroit in Ruins - Michigan Central Station

Michigan Central Station

Detroit in Ruins - Fisher Body Plant

Fisher Body 21 Plant

24 Responses

  1. Jamie says:

    Absolutely AMAZING! These pictures definitely speak volumes of history and if only we could hear the walls talk behind these beautiful pictures and learn their story! I hope to see it rebuild as well….as a REALTOR, I entered this business completely fascinated by the HISTORY element of real estate (as it is an extreme interest/passion of mine), not only the BUSINESS. It is so amazing to see such photographs as these and I truly hope and would love to see the restoration of these magnificent structures!

  2. Randi says:

    Astounding beauty in decay ! This haunted city we love to hate.
    Great job putting this together, Anna.

  3. [...] design will always be wanted and respected. But as with this once-gorgeous train station, that is not always the case. Photo: Sharon Hahn [...]

  4. [...] We tend to think that beautiful design will always be wanted and respected. But as with this once-gorgeous train station, that is not always the case. [...]

  5. david says:

    You people act as if you're astonished. Well, guess what? This is what happens when you shop at WalMart. All that Chinese crap you're buying doesn't give a single job to anyone. President Obama's "jobs plan" won't help– not when the Military gets all its uniforms from China. Imagine– I'm defending my country while wearing a uniform MADE IN CHINA. And we stand in amazement as we look at the ruins of Detroit. We did this. We destroyed this great city. And YOUR city could be next…

  6. Randi says:

    If you would like to learn how this came to be, try the book, GREEDY BASTARDS by
    author Dylan Ratigan. Because it is still going on and this book has a plan on to stop it.

  7. Sandra says:

    In reality, it was a government run by inept politicians that allowed this to happen to the city. While it is true that many jobs were shipped overseas (again the inept politicians in Washington D.C. touting globalization of the economy) which certainly did not help the situation, keeping the city from decay was the job of the city government. When one revenue stream dries up, it is the job of the government officials to find a new one — it isn't an easy job, but it is the job they wanted and were paid to do — and then didn't perform. And, remember this, as noble as it sounds, propping up the economy of another country is not a good idea for the USA. Detroit is a good case study. Shipping money, jobs, technology, and people overseas will only undermine the economy and standard of living of the USA. Obviously, it was greed on the part of the politicians and industry leaders that led to this decay. My question is how could they be so dumb as to think that shipping jobs out of this country could have any effect other than the one we are experiencing?

  8. joeshmoe says:

    drive through and you will not see one broom or rake moving the cityuldoit mentality killed this city yours is next

  9. Useful article, just what I was looking for.

  10. Anna@HGTV says:

    While my mother's family is from Kentucky, she grew up in Detroit. I remember her taking me there when I was a little girl. My aunt had mentioned the crumbling Victorian houses to me a few years ago. When I heard about this book, I new I had to share it with y'all. The Chrysler Eminem commercial is powerful, too.

  11. Anna@HGTV says:

    The automotive industry and Motown gave so much to our country. Hopefully music and cars will bring this city back again.

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