Monday, September 2, 2013

Detroit - The Motor City -- Page Two

A little history-The City of Detroit was founded in 1701 and serves as a major port on the Detroit River, connecting the Great Lakes to the Saint Lawrence Seaway. It is home to almost 700,000 people. Because of it's unique location on the Detroit River, it served as a major port for traders and a transportation hub. In the early 1800s, it was referred to as the "Paris of the West". During the early 1900s with the invention of the automobile, Detroit emerged as the leader with the automotive industry, attracting GM, Ford and Chrysler. The City enjoyed growth and prosperity for most of the 19th Century. However, the gasoline crisis of 1973 and 1979 impacted Detroit immensely, as smaller foreign vehicles became favored over American made autos. As the jobs began to disappear, so did the population of the inner city. With the closing of businesses and declining population so too,  the tax base necessary to keep the City running declines. The 1950 Census showed 1,849,568 so the City has lost over 50% of it's population, a startling fact. The population collapse has resulted in large numbers of abandoned homes and commercial buildings, and areas of the city hit hard by urban decay. On July 18, 2013, Detroit became the largest U.S. city to file for bankruptcy protection.

This was my grandparents house. The last time I visited this house was in 1970. It was in an upscale Detroit neighborhood and my grandparents kept it immaculate as did everyone in the neighborhood. Sadly, I went back into the home through the broken window in the front. The interior had been totally thrashed, and I mean totally. The interior had been stripped clean, holes in the walls, one wall had been set on fire and filled with dirt and debris clothing etc.

Here's a picture of one of their residential neighborhood streets. Of the 24 homes on this street, only five were occupied. It was difficult to see the homes through the weeds and trash. What you did see was homes with broken windows, boarded doors and lots of graffiti.

Unkempt streets and abandoned homes. These trash cans were still there when we went by again a week later. It was pretty sad to see the condition of these once gracious areas.

Enough of the depressing area now. There were still many areas of Detroit that were fantastic.

Nestled amongst all the rundown homes and neighborhoods sits this quaint home that still shows pride of ownership. This was Debi's childhood home. 

Growing up with grandparents that own a lake house allows one to experience awesome summers.  This home brought back many special memories to Debi. It was exactly as she remembered it...

Earlier, I mentioned one of our goals this trip was to let the grandkids swim in all four Great Lakes that border on the State of Michigan. The kids had enjoyed Lake Michigan, swam in Lake Superior and Lake Huron and now were enjoying the coolness of Lake Erie.

Even Debi got in on he action. There were many colorful rocks here and the water was crystal clear. Jasmine was having a fit because I wouldn't let her in the water. (I eventually gave in, because I'm such a softie :))

This little guy was keeping a close eye on what I was doing. He had just taken an acorn into this hole when I shot this picture.

Besides White Castle Burgers and Coney Island Dogs, Detroit is the home of Sanders Candy and Fudge. We had to stop at Morley's Chocolate Factory in Clinton Township. If you've never tasted Sander's Hot Fudge on a sundae, you're missing out on one of life's decadent pleasures.

Someone forgot to do a proof read when this street sign was made. I wonder how long it's been up with no one noticing?
 One of the positives after a storm is the awesome sunsets that follow. We weren't disappointed.

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