all who wander are not lost

Architect Wirt C. Rowland designed this structure which was built in 1940.

This is an historic branch of the Detroit Public Library, named for Mark Twain who had local roots here in Detroit. ( His daughter Clara Clemens was married to the conductor of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. )

Now the Mark Twain Branch lies abandoned, or more correctly, “decommissioned”. Very recently, it has begun the slow death march towards complete dilapidation. With the price spike in scrap metals, buildings like Mark Twain have a snowballs chance in hell of survival.

Scrappers have descended on this gorgeous building, and its about half way through the process of having its exterior stripped.

They even tried scrapping the “Mark Twain” name itself !

The copper lettering above the main entryway is long gone.

Heres a gaping hole in the main roof peak.

About half of all the copper flashing and trim is gone from the whole perimeter of the building.

So its just a matter of how many more days before this one is stripped clean. Not sure if the scrappers are getting inside, but thats a matter of time too. Then they will gut the electrical and plumbing.

And thats how a building dies in Detroit.

7 Responses to Scrapping Mark Twain

  • Just seeing this building standing empty tugs at my heart. Seeing it vandalized and pecked to pieces by human vultures is heartbreaking.

  • I forgot to add that I appreciate the work you are doing to make a record of this.

  • All I can say is your pictures are a constant documentary of how much good architecture in Detroit is going to waste. I’m sure you’ve shown things that are valued and refurbed as well but my guess is whose are fewer and farther between.

  • When are they going to put a big piece of plywood over the entire County of Wayne?

  • maggots!

  • That sucks. F*cking animals. Just cant have anything nice in this city anymore. Better off if we just nuke it.

  • This just makes me so sad. I grew up in Detroit and hate to see the pervasive lack of value for things and people.

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