all who wander are not lost

Well the death fences are up, and they are pumping the basement. The time has come for the beautiful Lafayette Building to fade into Detroit’s sad history of neglect and demolition.

From Wikipedia:

The Lafayette Building is an unused high-rise office building located at 144 West Lafayette Boulevard in downtown Detroit, Michigan. It was built in 1923 and occupies a triangular lot, bordered by Michigan Avenue, West Lafayette Boulevard, and Shelby Street. The building stands at 14 floors in height, with one basement floor, and 13 above-ground floors.The office building was designed in the neo-classical architecture style by C. Howard Crane who built many of Detroit’s theaters. It is built with mainly brick, limestone, and terra cotta.

The building contains 178 feet (54 m) of frontage along Michigan Avenue, 168 feet (51 m) of frontage along Shelby Street, 135 feet (41 m) of frontage along Lafayette Boulevard, and is 85 feet (26 m) in length along its east facade which stands mid-block. After years of mismanagement, and a declining tenant base, the building was finally shuttered in 1997. Two restaurants, Lafayette Coney Island and American Coney Island, both which claim to be the first coney island restaurant in the United States, are located at the foot of the building on West Lafayette Boulevard and Michigan Avenue.

Here is a black and white shot of the Michigan Avenue elevation – doesn’t this look like the Flatiron Building ? ?

But as you see from this angle, Lafayette has a ” V ” shape with a deep light court.

Here is a part of the lower street level facade that has some of the original surface revealed. Looks like the dark stone material was added as a “modernization” many years back.

Here are a few of the nicer “roof trees”.

Some of these trees have seen many seasons, but they may not have time this year to turn their leaves for autumn.

Survival Crackas ? heh

Okay, everybody repeat after me: “Demolition Means Progress…..Demolition Means Progress……”


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12 Responses to Lafayette Building R.I.P.

  • Yeah – I took a photo of the Darwin thingy before, its in here somewhere.

  • Hmmmm..I don’t want to change subject, but there is a bit of “painting history” going on here, so….
    When son and I were exploring the city, via car, we found some graff on jefferson at the northernmost
    gate to Fort Wayne. It says: ‘DETROIT. the only city that allows DARWINISM to take it’s true course’
    It’s applied with a stencil/mask.
    Who did this, it’s real genius!

  • Yeah – I was meaning to come back on and add that actually, the SCs dont usually go painting their names in windows. That was back when you guys were scrappin with the UA crew. Hilarious.

  • actually the story behind the “Survival Crackas” windows is that they were done not by the Crackaas themselves, but by the “Dead House Painters,” sort of in joke mockery and sort of as a tip of the hat…if i interpret it correctly, lol! there was a sort of feud between the 2 groups for a while…long story…

    but the full context is not shown here; there was another window that they painted next to those that had a picture of “Cream of Asbestos Soup” on it, and the “With Survival Crackas” windows were a continuation of that joke. Abandoned blg humor, lol…

  • Oh yeah – Nailhed is a good friend, and contributes often to the comment section here.

  • I see you gave props to Nailhed & The Boys with the SC window shot!

  • I would guess they pump the basement so they can go down there and cut the I beams when the time comes.

    They dont implode anymore downtown, they will take it apart with cutting torches floor by floor.

  • Excuse my ignorance but why would they be pumping the basement?

    I think the old, newly revealed facade is nicer, although i suppose not 80s-90s corporate contemporary.

  • Survival crackers? It seems like they are respectful
    guys, but what do I know, all i see is their WWW site. http://nrph.net/survivalcrackas/crackas.htm
    Can explosives be used in this tight confinement? The final blame for loss of this structure, and the others, is ‘ole fashioned greed and our desires to improve our lives…we move out to the suburbs/country to raise our kids…and foreign manufacturers get rich selling the epitome of mass-production- cars. Myself, I would like to see the nissan get snuffed!

  • What about American Coney? Is it far enough away to be unaffected?

  • I think they are claiming that it will be “green space”. The new owners of high priced real estate products at the Book Cadillac Westin had a problem with staring at the blown out Lafayette. They wanted it gone, so away it goes. Can not blame the folks living in those units though. I wouldnt want to live next to a falling apart old building with a bunch of jackasses exploring it, spray painting it, photographing it, and crawling around on the roof.

    And the Book Caddy also built that new parking garage, so I think having a surface lot is not in their interests. Now they will get a green space for their toy breed dogs to poop in. Hahaha !

    Time will tell, as usual.

  • Sad….

    Parking lot?

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