Detroit Then and Now
Comparison photos taken of Detroit in its heyday and Detroit now reveal the city’s tragic decline
Detroiturbex is a project dedicated to documenting the past, present and future of the City of Detroit in Michigan, USA. While initially a booming city between 1910-1940 due in large part to the automobile industry, the following decades saw large-scale migration of industries into the suburbs or nearby states. With the movement of these industries, jobs and populations began to disappear, leaving behind a decaying city. As stated on the project’s website, “While many of American’s industrial cities have experienced loss of jobs and population, few have lost as much as Detroit did between the 1950’s and today.”
‘Now and Then’ documents schools, churches and theatres in Detroit and compares what they were then with what they are now. Some of the photos offer a glimpse at how much Detroit has lost. Old majestic theatres that used to house The Who and Alice Cooper are now left abandoned with rotting walls and broken floorboards. Others offer a glimpse of hope at how the City is attempting to recover. Cleveland School for example, was left abandoned and vacant for several years and has recently been reopened as a charter school.
One of the most interesting locations featured is Cass Technical High School, which has been left vacant in recent years. An anonymous photographer obtained archival photos of the school while sifting through its ruins. He/She then superimposed photos of the school in its heyday onto photos taken of the school today. The stark contrast between the vibrancy of what it was then and what it is now reveals the uphill task the city has with regards to regaining its former glory. Still, there is hope that step by step, they will get there one day.
For more information about this project and others concerning the documentation of the City of Detroit, visit Detroiturbex.