Wayne County Community College
Detroit is certainly the mecca for abandoned buildings. Living in the City of Detroit can be very fun if urban exploring is your hobby, like it is mine. It can be like having a giant playground at your disposal. Detroit has abandoned everything. Any type of building or business that you can think of, Detroit has it and it’s abandoned. Obviously abandoned schools are all over the city, but this is certainly not just an ordinary abandoned school. It is actually an abandoned college campus. It is a series of different buildings all connected together. It was truly amazing, but the craziest thing about this abandoned college campus, it is actually the second abandoned college campus in Detroit! That’s right, Detroit actually has two abandoned college campuses. Anyway, this location was one that I had to keep secret until they tore it down. I know a lot of people wanted to get into the Wayne County Community College, so I’m going to make many explorer’s jealous with this post haha lol ;) It will always be one of my favorite locations that I have explored. Well I know that it really didn’t make sense to tear this building down. Sometimes I just don’t get the theory behind what or why people do what they do. This building was only about 50 years old when they decided to tear it down. I was able to get into the former Wayne County Community College before they had torn it down so I was able to see that the structure was very sound and certainly intact. There were some problems, such as flooding (as you can see from this picture) and scrapped out piping, but overall the building was in great shape. I guess I shouldn’t always jump to conclusions about what people do, but this building was the last building I thought was going to be demolished. Just a few years ago, this location served many college students on the westside of Detroit. This was the former Northwest Campus of the Wayne County Community College, before it moved to it’s current location at West Outer Drive. I knew that the old college was abandoned and I had probably driven by more then 1,000 times over the years, at least it seems like that many! Anyway, Wayne County Community College had private security that guarded the property 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For a couple years, it seemed as if getting into the abandoned college campus would be a dream, but that dream became a reality one day. I was very lucky to be able to explore and document this fine building. I will post a few posts on this location because it was not only HUGE, but it was very enjoyable. This picture looks down at the main entrance and lobby of the former Northwest Campus of the Wayne County Community College. You can see the Northwest banners hanging on the wall above the flooded student commons. The other lower area that is dry was the information desk and security area of the college.
Well I just couldn’t do anything but another post on the great Masonic Temple. Although I had other posts in mind, I just feel that I at least owe another post or two to my favorite building of all time. That reason, and the fact that not many people have seen many of these rooms in the Masonic Temple, led me to post another amazing picture of the bankrupt beast! Bankrupt? I’m still not quite sure that I believe all that hype yet, but seeing this beauty close would bring tears to my eyes. This picture shows off just how much detail and hard work was put into building it. The coolest thing about the structure is that the majority of it has been largely untouched since it was built in 1920. Stay posted for more!
The Masonic Temple deserves another post simply based on the fact that it is the largest Masonic Temple in the world! It also deserves another post because most people will never get to see the inside of this extravagant gothic cathedral. Even if you are able to go to an event at the Masonic Temple, you will only see one very small piece of the puzzle. Another problem is that on most days you can’t get around this colossal structure because many of the doors are locked and the power is off. Recent news reports claim that the Masonic Temple is filing bankruptcy, so if this is true, you can imagine that they probably shut off complete sections of the Masonic Temple simply to save money. It has been amazing to “sneak” around such a monumental building and capture these shots, such as this one here of the Fountain Ballroom. I have been very lucky to explore such an immense place. I hope to continue my explorations because it will take multiple trips to see all of this abundant space….maybe even years for that fact lol!!!!!
Well the Masonic Temple isn’t exactly abandoned, but more just largely unused. It’s actually pretty sad that most of the Masonic Temple basically sits empty. Although it has recently gained attention for hosting more events, the Masonic Temple still has approximately 1,000 rooms. There’s a swimming pool, bowling alley, pool hall, a drill room, gymnasium, two ballrooms, and three auditoriums. Built by George Mason in 1922, Detroit’s Masonic Temple is the largest Masonic Temple in the world. The almost Gotham City style look to the building is known as neo-gothic architecture. It is my favorite building, not in just Detroit, but in the whole world. I have been quite lucky lately to be able to explore much of the Masonic Temple. I can’t quite tell everyone how I have been able to explore it because I’m still going to try and go back for more. I will hopefully be able to share my method someday soon. This picture was taken from the upper balcony in the Crystal Ballroom. Enjoy!
School of the Guardian Angels/Brewer Elementary School
I know for a fact that this school was equipped with high-tech motion sensor cameras at the time it closed in 2009. I am quite curious to know how scrappers were able to get around the cameras. I have personally done a lot of research into the security systems at DPS because, unfortunately, I have had a lot of experience with the security systems. They are pretty bad ass and I am certainly shocked that a public school system that is millions of dollars in deficit has the money to afford these state of the art motion-sensor cameras. Hey, I’m not knocking Detroit Public Schools and I completely understand why they have the expensive systems. The initial and literal ”boarding” of the schools was pretty much a joke. The VPS system definitely didn’t work as scrappers are often like pests. They will get in any way they can, even through little cracks. After a couple years of failing VPS, DPS found that really wasn’t the answer either. VPS would come up “missing” from schools all the time, so DPS had to so something else. The method makes perfect sense to me. A DPS police officer once told me that they arrest at least one scrapper everyday! I believe that to be true and if you don’t, go step into Cooley High School and see how far you get! Anyway, enough with the ranting. I will probably never know how scrappers avoided the cameras, but they MUST have been all removed at some point. Good for me because after my first exploration, it was clear that I had nothing to worry about and I could take my time at Brewer Elementary School/School of the Guardian Angels.
School of the Guardian Angels/Brewer Elementary School
Detroit Public Schools has decided to tear down another historic, beautiful school, turned to blown-out, eye sore. Brewer Elementary School, formerly School of the Guardian Angels was recently demolished. The school was located on the Eastside of Detroit off Hayes near Whittier. The neighborhood is a pretty rough area and I am sure that’s why the school became scrapped so quickly. The school closed in 2009 and by 2012, it was wide open in numerous locations. Scrappers had actually removed the metal sheeting, called VPS, that is to keep scrappers out and scrapped that! Only in Detroit, as this has been the same case with other schools. School of the Guardian Angels started as a catholic school that turned into a church. It was a pretty plain school, other than the former church that was turned into a gymnasium. I was able to get into the school for the first time in early 2011. That was when this picture was taken (notice the dust).
I just saw that Tumblr has just helped to publish their 70th blog-to-book. I am soooooo jealous and I wish I could have a opportunity to do this. I know that I could sell the book. My ideas are constantly changing and my book would be great. I just need the opportunity and I can’t take it from there.
Joy Middle School
After taking a month off from posting on tumblr, I am back and ready to rock and roll. I will try to keep weekly updates on my tumblr page as I used to do. Continuing in true to form posting, I will post from locations and buildings that have been demolished. I don’t believe in “naming” locations that are accessible because that’s just asking for trouble and the fastest way to ruin a beautiful building. Since my last post was from my early days of exploring, I decided to keep on that track. As I mentioned previously, my first school location was Jane Cooper Elementary on the eastside of Detroit. My second location was here, at Joy Middle School, also on the eastside of Detroit. By the time I had gotten to Joy Middle School to document it, the school was in shambles. Despite the horrible condition, I still managed to capture some pretty good images. I would say incredible, but unfortunately I didn’t have a SLR camera at the time. I only had a point and shoot piece o crap lol. It was pretty hard to believe that all this mess was once a school. I remember that I could hardly walk around because of all the trash, furnishings, and broken equipment that was scattered all throughout the school. You can clearly see this in the picture above. It shows a former classroom in the state that most of the classrooms were in during my visit to Joy Middle School. Joy Middle School was also demolished in 2010.
Universal Haggars Spiritual Church
Although this church was in terrible shape and needed to be torn down, it’s always sad whenever the City of Detroit tears down a building. It is especially sad when the building was a landmark, a historic site, or was just a plain old nice place at one time. Like I said before, Universal Haggars Spiritual Church was falling apart rapidly, especially after a fire ripped through one side of the building last year. Despite the awful condition of the church, it still had amazing intricate details hidden throughout it’s century-old architecture. Even though I wasn’t around for it’s glory days, I’ll bet that Universal Haggars Spiritual Church was gorgeous at it’s peak. On my only visit that I was able to explore Universal Haggars Spiritual Church (every other time I was chased out), I was able to capture some of this amazing architectural detail. The church had beautiful gold trim all along it’s doorways, hand-painted images on the ceiling, and other fabulous features. One of those fabulous features is shown in this picture. The feature shown here is absolutely cool in design and you can clearly see how much hard work and effort used to go into building such a church.
Universal Haggars Spiritual Church
Well this is another post in dedication to yet another fallen Detroit landmark. The only difference is that this location needed to be demolished. By the time The City of Detroit began tearing down Universal Haggar Spiritual Church last week, it had seen far better days in it’s time. The church had sat abandoned and empty for many years, often drawing in local prostitutes, vagrants, and drug addicts. Located right off of notorious Chene Street (Eminem made Chene St. famous in 8 Mile as he specifically chose Chene Street to show Detroit’s gritty street scene) the church once served as a place of worship. Later it would go on to serve as a “house of ill repute” rather then a house of the lord. Upon my first visit to Universal Haggar Spiritual Church aka UHSC, a number of years ago, it was quite apparent that any explorers/photographers were not welcome. I was pretty much kicked out of the church by a local prostitute that I believed to be a man, but he looked like a woman. Not wanting any trouble and always following my “golden rules” I decided the best thing to do was to leave. Back then I was just a rookie in the exploring game, so I was actually afraid to go back until a couple of years later. By the time I returned, the church was in even worse shape then before. This time I was able to take some pictures, but had to again leave abruptly after finding a quite disturbing scene. I can’t describe it now, but it was just plain nasty! Anyway, that was some of my experiences at the Universal Haggar Spiritual Church. This picture shows the main area of the church.