Wednesday, 8 August 2012

DETROIT: Engine Works Complex

How the area once was  in 1912 Source



I originally was just going to post this as an insight into some of the former buildings that made up of Detroit's past. But after watching these videos with Johnny Knoxville about Detroit it got me thinking if I really want to go down the line of posting more of Detroit's Ruin Porn. Yes Detroit has rough parts, yes there's parts I wouldn't want to walk alone in and yes, there are a lot of ruined buildings. But that isn't everything Detroit has to offer, I want my blog to come to show Detroit in another light, to be as it appears there is a general lack of Detroit being mentioned in blogsphere at least not positively.

But old buildings do have their place and not in the ruin porn sense. To me old buildings have a beauty that is often overlooked. They architecturally have a presence and a structure people should take stop and note. All buildings have a history, one that should be recognised and remembered, and as luck would have it I managed to find a fair bit of information about this building that marks Detroit's maritime history.

Once stood six interconnected buildings along Atwater St. - the complex of the merged Dry Dock Engine Works and the Detroit Dry Dock Company [together also known as the Globe Trading Company] in 1899. Prior to this date both companies had worked together manufacturing engines for boats worked on in the dry dock that sailed upon the Great Lakes. By 1900 they were Detroit's fourth largest company, employing 1337 including at one point the then unknown Henry Ford. By 1929 however the company ceased trading and the building had multiple reincarnations as a place for at separate points, cabinet and stove manufacturing [1930s] to reconditioning and appliance construction by the Detroit Edison company during the 1960s.

The oldest remaining building [the building to the left in the photographs] is the 1892 machine shop - a structure registered upon the National Register of Historic Buildings for it's steel frame construction - a novelty for it's era. By 2002, like many of it's neighbouring structures the complex was abandoned. It was promised new life with the hope of renovating the buildings into apartment complexes however this occurred with the world recession and as for it's future today, I'm not sure. A glance from the outside made it appear that the building hadn't been touched for a long while with it's row upon row of broken or boarded up windows. 

Regardless of it's decaying features I love the half washed out old painted signs which can still be just made out, the weathered affect to the brick work and the clash of the brick colour between the machine shop and the loft buildings to it's right. The 1892 iron numbering can just be made out against the brickwork upon the drainage pipes, and it's uniformed row upon row of large grand windows. It certainly would have been a grand building in it's time and hopefully it can be restored with the same love and strength it was built with. 

18 comments:

  1. Great photos!
    We have a local pub called Dry Dock in Leeds. It is a boat on land that has been converted inside, and there's a beer garden on the deck! =)
    xx

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    1. That sounds up my street for sure!

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  2. Thanks for taking us on a virtual tour with you!! xoxo

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  3. My friend's band is in those videos - The Satin Peaches (who aren't a band anymore, but that's beyond the point! lol) I completely agree with your viewpoints regarding these buildings. I think they are beautiful. It's nice to see another Michigan blogger out there! There aren't too many of us!

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    1. Oo i'll have to keep a closer eye out for that! Great to find another Michigan blogger - we seem to be very sparse!

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  4. Thank you for sharing this! I love exploring old buildings and learning more about them. It is a cool way to look back in time.

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    1. And to see how they can still be important today if they are given the chance which not too many buildings in Detroit sadly have.

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  5. Amazing photos!! So sad these building don't stay around! Thanks for sharing! xo Heather

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    1. They are such an important link to our past - all though buildings.

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  6. Beautiful! I love old buildings. I think I'd really like Detroit, because from what I've seen online Detroit has some fabulous architecture.

    x Jasmine

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    1. It certainly does, has some great old skyscrapers - thinking of writing up a post about it and well downtown in particular. Sadly the city problems means such beauty gets over looked.

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  7. This is such an interesting post, I love reading and learning about history :)

    Grace x

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  8. This reminds me of the heritage building in Liverpool :)
    Would be great for a photo shoot there :)
    Launa in Ponderland

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    1. I've heard great things about the heritage building in Liverpool - never got chance to see that city before I left for the US though.

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  9. I'm on the other side of the state, but have spent a fair amount of time in Detroit. I understand why some Detroiters hate what they call "ruin porn," but these old, abandoned buildings and homes are a part of the history of Detroit (and many other cities). To ignore them is to ignore Detroit's great past, and to ignore what happened to cause these places to now be in ruins. And I agree with others that these old, abandoned buidings have a beauty of their own, though it is very bittersweet. Your photos are beautiful. I hope these buildings can be preserved and reused somehow.

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