not all those who wander are lost

Well this truck has a company logo on it that does “restoration”, so I know they could not have had anything to do with destroying the tile work in the fountain basin. Maybe they are going to restore the basin complete with the original tilework design in place ? Because it looks like a really fucking crappy skateboard park right now…

Nope. Here is the quote from the director at Pewabic Pottery:

“A lot of Pewabic has fallen under the wrecking ball,” Ireland said. “However, the Pottery would have been very interested in obtaining at least some of these sections for our archives. And just having these discarded into Dumpsters seems like a mean end for a valuable public monument.”

Read more: Historic Pewabic tiles destroyed in Belle Isle fountain restoration | | Detroit Free Press

Detroit eats its own.

Crap like this makes me want to turn my back on everything Detroit and never think about it again.

Mary Chase Perry Stratton is out there somewhere today turning uneasily in her grave, as another part of the Arts and Crafts movements history is thrown in a landfill like it was a bunch of garbage.

18 Responses to Destroying the Pewabic Tiles.

  • I guess because “who would have thought” ?

  • So horrible! Why didn’t we hear more about this BEFORE it was slated to happen? Just so so sad and more needless destruction of history!

  • This is heartbreaking.

  • So you are saying the fat lady has yet begun to sing?

  • well, thats a little grim for a title. RG is still standing after all, it isnt over just yet.

  • Randy,

    Maybe I should change the title of my book from:
    63 Alfred Street: Where Capitalism Failed
    63 Alfred Street: Where Detroit Eats its Own.


  • Hey dfunk, when are going to cover the story on the DIA painting over the Rivera murals!?!

    It seems that the museum docents were getting frustrated by all of endless questions that patrons kept asking them about the murals over the years. Unbelievable!!!

    …Did I get you?

    Detroit’s new motto: “Detroit – Where Nothing is Sacred”.

  • Wow Randy, I guess your statement that, “Detroit eats its own” sums it all up. Truly amazing but not surprising as you well know. I CCd you on a note I wrote this weekend to Rochelle Riley of the Free Press looking at the confusion the people of Detroit seem to have between the meanings of tradition and history. I give it to you again below in case it did not get through to your email.

    Dear Rochelle Riley,

    Interesting article ( but unfortunately your analysis of Detroit’s problems and approaches to move towards solving them falls woefully short. Any hope for meaningful solutions to the endemic problems in the area requires a detailed analysis of the history of the city and the surrounding area, and that historical analysis must reach back over 100 years. Alas, the people of the Detroit Metro Area have never seemed to have instilled much value in history as prophetically noted by Henry Ford in 1916 when he said:

    “History is more or less bunk. It’s tradition. We don’t want tradition. We want to live in the present, and the only history that is worth a tinker’s damn is the history that we make today.”

    Of course Ford’s error here was equating History to Tradition when in fact they are two totally different things. History is a science, not unlike biology or chemistry, in which mankind uses to predict the future and thus improve their overall lot. Traditions are a set of actions that are used to bond certain groups of people together. Traditions are in no way used to predict or help plan our future they are simply tools used to make us feel better and in some cases make us feel better than others around us. That in itself has many times led to tragic results. I think, in my humble opinion, that Ford in his above much maligned quote, was speaking strictly of tradition of which he viewed as holding mankind back. His inclusion of the word history was a simple mis-use of the term while under the pressure of a reporter’s pen and paper in his face.

    Unfortunately, it seems that the Detroit Metro area over the last 100 or so years through the actions of its populous has taken Ford’s quote verbatim. The people of the area have followed Ford’s advice as it pertains to tradition in order to move past ways of doing things that may have held them back needlessly from material progress. Along with this though they have wrongly treated their rich and sometimes tragic history with the same distain they have tradition. The area’s abandonment of history, along with tradition, has taken from them one of the most important scientific tools they have to bring themselves back from the brink (if that can even be done now).

    If you truly want to help the people of your area I would implore them to educate themselves on the human actions and reactions (history) over the last 100 years in the area as in there they will find all the origins to their problems and thus all the viable solutions. Without first an honest realization of how you got to where you are today no amount of community meetings, federal subsidies, or prayer will stem the tide of decline the area is now facing. If you are successful then you will serve as a model for the rest of the country that is also suffering, albeit not as drastically, from the same confusion between History and Tradition.

    John Kossik

  • They jackhammered out the Pewbic tiles and “threw it away”. The copper was scrapped during the Kilpatrick administration.

  • So what happened here? They chipped out the tiles and the re-concreated the bottom of the fountain, instead of just patching the holes or working around the tile. What stuff was in the dumpster, copper pipes and tiles?

  • just an utter sin

  • Well, let me put it this way, the scrap value of what they put in a dumpster and drove away with would have gone very far to pay the actual Pewabic Pottery to recreate the basin tiles. They contractor had no right to remove and keep those tiles, they do not belong to the demolition company, and have VERY high scrap value. There is no way that company disposed of that stuff.

    RJ – I assume the turtles are mothballed for the fountain repairs, but who knows, maybe it was “too expensive” to move them, and they were ‘too far gone” so the demo crew scrapped them ? Who knows…..

  • Was there no money in the restoration to repair/replace the tiles or would that have been prohibitively expensive?

  • Where’d the turtles go?

  • When I see and read stuff like this I can’t help but think that this was done intentionally. I mean, once or twice might be expected, but all over the city all the time? Someone somewhere doesn’t want any trace of old Detroit.

  • When I told the guys in the photo that they had just destroyed an important Pewabic installation, they looked at each other and started laughing. They thought it was really fucking cute.

    I dont want to hear crap about “there was no other way”…Yeah, there was no way for these people to do it because they dont have the skill – they shouldnt have hired demolition people to restore a piece of art.

    Let us just pray that who ever made this decision to gut the Pewabic tile and purposefully destroy the remains never gets called upon to fix a leak in the plaster of the Sistine Chapel…..because it would be too expensive to save all those silly paintings y’know….

  • Wow that fountain really looks like crap now. Nice lead-up by posting the tiles yesterday. And, yes, this totally pisses me off.

  • F’n vandals! They are no better than the taggers or scrappers!

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