all who wander are not lost

The now classic Detroit skyline.

You will all be happy to know that Charlie’s “Roof Trees” are still hanging in there !

From the Detroit News:

Nature takes root as Detroit landmark rots
Charlie LeDuff / The Detroit News

A poplar tree stands atop the historic Lafayette Building in the heart of Detroit. Her crown reaches 20 feet above the terra cotta cornice, her roots puncturing deep into the roof. Her leaves are yellowing and crisp. They sing a forlorn little tune.

The tree is in the last days of her life.

Demolition of the landmark building — sitting on a pie-sliced plot bound by Michigan Avenue, Shelby Street and Lafayette Boulevard — began in September and is expected to be completed by March.

Here is a nice “before and after”

click on the above photo for a large size image – you can really see all the little junk hanging off of that carcass.

“Feeling that Detroit Vibe”

That ain’t a “vibe”, that’s just the rumble of demolition equipment.

And again, everybody repeat after me: “demolition means progress”.

9 Responses to Destroying the Lafayette

  • A corner piece of the cornice was saved. So was the sign for the building directory. Both were at least 200 pounds. No sense in letting the demo company throw these items away. C. Howard Crane is rolling in his grave.

  • actually i managed to snag a few choice pieces of cornice ornamentation.

    looks like i made it just in time too–they took out the stairway a week later. the chunks i found were frozen in snow on the roof. there were a couple of the fleur-de-lis pieces, etc that had been removed for apparent preservation by someone, but each WHOLE one weighs about 300lbs, and i aint shittin. the big corner pieces prolly weigh about 600.

    i wanted to also rescue the Cream of Asbestos Soup window, but we needed tools to dismantle it, and by the time we got around to coming back, there were no stairs anymore…

  • Where the heck does all the rubble from these demo’d buildings go? On a side note, I must commend dfunk for an utterly transfixing website – I lived in the Ann Arbor area in the mid-late 90s and got into Motown now and then but the stunning devastation that you have chronicled here is just fascinating. Keep up the great work!

  • Good morning, Beirut…

  • Mark Twain, Firehouse off the Davison, Chadsey, Finney, Cass Tech, Sherrard, Lafayette…

    Plenty of progress in the upcoming months! :/

  • Haiti has been a humanitarian crisis for the last 200 years!

  • Yeah, I saw no viable building chunks when I was there, else I would have definitely snagged one.

    Haiti was an humanitarian crisis a week ago, they really didnt need a whole earthquake on top of it.

  • I’d love to get my hands on some of that fluer de lis ornamentation from the cornice…i saw someone else’s pix that showed big chunks of it laying in the rubble. Fucking shame. On another note, I see Port au Prince Haiti is starting to look like Detroit……

  • Absolutely disgusting.

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