Apr 14, 2014

The House

Time
Over one hundred years ago someone was probably smiling with happiness as they entered their new
Abandoned house demolition in Detroit
The beginning of the end
home. One hundred and eleven years later they were probably looking down from the heavens with sadness. This past Saturday in the lower east side Islandview Village neighborhood the city demolished that very house built in 1903. The large duplex was abandoned and apparently had no hope of being rehabbed, so it was put on a list of vacant houses to be demolished. And after the bricks were stripped from the sides for recycling, a crew of two with one large piece of of machinery tore the house down.

Something To See
As I recorded the video a few people from the neighborhood gathered to watch the proceedings. A car with a couple of young kids stopped, and the kids were watching it come down while sitting up though the sun roof. A guy on his bike watched most of it, and other small groups watched from the street corners. Cars slowed as they passed, but most just zipped on by. The kids eventually got out and shot some of their own video from their parents' cell phone. They seemed to enjoy it the most, especially as the old wood and materials made loud crashing noises. They even gave out a small cheer when the last bit came falling down.

Happy or Sad?
While I was recording a woman came by and said, "It's sad. It's just so sad." She then commented that people were living there at least ten years ago. However, I'm sure many others in the neighborhood were happy to see this house come down. It will be one less place for crime to occur. I always say nothing good comes from an open and abandoned house. At least that's been my experience living in Detroit. But there is some sadness. Sad that it couldn't have been rehabbed and been a place for a couple of families to live. I remember two teenagers living there with their family in the early 2000's. And there used to be a good looking German Shepard that would stand guard on the small back porch. After that I don't remember anyone residing there on a regular basis.

Progress
The city will be tearing down a lot more houses now that federal funds have been secured. According to the city's website, "Detroit will receive $52.2 million of the total sum of Hardest Hit Funds from the United States Department of Treasury for demolition of residential structures in Michigan." So in many neighborhoods in the near future there will be more happiness and sadness as Detroit rebuilds itself. 



Is demolition the answer to Detroit's abandoned house problem? What do you think? Leave a comment and let me know.

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