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Allan

Detroit's Brush Park: Urban Decay and Rebirth

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Built in the 19th century right outside of downtown, the Brush Park neighborhood was home to some of the the wealthiest and most prominent Detroiters. The neighborhood was home to such people as J.L. Hudson, founder of Hudson's department stores, and David Whitney, Jr., a lumber barron. However, by 1895, the city's elite had largely moved out of the neighborhood to more modern houses in Boston Edison and Indian Village. By 1910 many of the large homes had been converted to boarding houses. The neighborhood started declining very rapidly in the post World War II era of freeways and suburban houses with big yards. At one point the city owned 40% of the property in the 24 block area. There was even talk of leveling the entire neighborhoos and starting over! However, in the 1980s people started to buy and restore some of the remaining houses. Today what remains of the historic architecture is being restored, and the empty lots are getting built out with new condos.

A Victorian house on Eliot Street

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The Livingston House awaits renovation.

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Looking east down Eliot Street

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A restored home

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206 Eliot Street is still under restoration

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Patterson Terrace lies vacant, awaiting renovation or demolition

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Urban prairie with downtown in the background

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Two Victorians on Erskine Street

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This detail above the door to an old apartment building remains despite the decay.

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A restored home

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This house is returning to nature

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Looking south down Brush Street to the Renaissance Center

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The Brush Park Cafe

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The Moore House awaits its redevelopment

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A newly renovated apartment building

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Some abandoned homes on Alfred Street

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This Italianate house has an uncertain future

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Newly restored rowhouses on John R

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Continue on to Part 2

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Great pics. I love the architecture of the Brush Park area. Its too bad there's not much there. Hopefully the new infill projects built there will have just as much character as the old projects lost over the years.

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While so much has been lost, a lot of the historical architecture remains. I think that most of it will get saved. I've seen them save quite a few homes that I thought were too far gone to be saved. I hope the new buildings they build are quality projects. I don't want to see new homes with vinyl siding next to restored Victorians.

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The Livingston House awaits renovation.

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I didn't see this house last time I was in Brush Park. I thought that considering the failing structural integrity it may have been demolished, but it turns out that I just completely missed it.

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Although the house has a quirky lean and there is some sagging, all it needs are some curtains and you could move right in! :)

No actually, it looks like the house has sagged even further from last year. I think the only thing holding that tower together are the steel bars between the windows. I think the only way to save this building now will be to take the entire front of the house apart brick by brick and rebuild it on more stable footings.

There were definitely already efforts to stablize the house such as the new foundation in front and the extra structural support on the front wall and chimney.

Just as an additional observation, I see that the windows have been borded since last year.

206 Eliot Street is still under restoration

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...and still under restoration!

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The portico is completely painted but the scaffolding is still there (looks like the same exact location from a year ago.)

This detail above the door to an old apartment building remains despite the decay.

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Just an entire building shot. It looks to be a single family house with a three story apartment building it its backyard. Besides the decay around the front door and a bay window between the house and apartment, this house is in great condition. The vinyl siding and trim details are disieving and make the house look like it is freshly painted.

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This neighborhood is the perfect example of the definition of Detroit: still losing, in many regards, but making some signficant stabs and gestures in the right the direction.

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I'm so glad Brush and Beaubien...or is it St. Antoine? are being converted back to 2-way streets. It makes tons of "cents"...heh heh

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Yeah, one-way streets can kill residential neighborhoods. They were probably originally turned to one-way after the neighborhood was almost dead. I bet the city didn't ever envision Brush Park coming back, or at least this fast, where the streets would have to be switched back to accomodate so many residents so quickly. I wish we would do the same here in Lansing. There was a push to turn many of the streets back to two-way, but that was dropped a few years back due to lack of interest and vision by our leaders.

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Brush and Beaubien have been one ways for decades. Before the freeways were constructed, streets like Brush & Second were major outbound streets. They were one ways and carried even greater volumes of traffic than Woodward during the evening rush hour.

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I do wonder for how long, though. I remember hearing that Brush Park actually began it's decline rather early, like the 30's, and I wonder if that's when they were turned to one-way, or even when one-way streets were "invented" in modern traffic control systems.

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I'm sure "one-way" streets have existed for a long time, especially in Europe where some of the streets were so narrow you could barely get one carriage down them, let alone two in either direction.

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I didn't mean to detour this thread with talk about the one way streets. I suppose another noteworthy comment would be what I always think of when I pass by the Ransom Gillis House. "If this thing can be renovated, ANYTHING can be renovated"!! :)

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I'm sure "one-way" streets have existed for a long time, especially in Europe where some of the streets were so narrow you could barely get one carriage down them, let alone two in either direction.

I'm talking about modern traffic technology which came online with the invention of the car. One-way streets have existed for thousands of years, I'm simply talking about them in the context of a modern, automobile traffic system.

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One way streets in general were "invented" in the late 1920s, I believe.

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