not all those who wander are lost

We took a drive by the Lee Plaza building and found that someone has jacked the front door wide open. People were inside when we got there, and people came in and out while we were in there too. Whoever the hell is going around town crowbaring everything open is an asshole. There are many ways to easily go in and out of Lee Plaza without blasting the front door open and kicking the glass in. Uncivilized savages.

This is the front lobby. The Lee Plaza was a swanky apartment/hotel building back in the golden age of such places – back when Grand Boulevard was – well, a Grand Boulevard. This building ended up in the hands of the City of Detroit – so in short time it was abandoned and stripped of major architectural elements on the exterior. These famous “Lee Plaza Lions” were found installed on a condo development in the Chicagoland area. The FBI brought them back to Detroit where they are under lock and key.

Lobby ceiling

Hallway entrance

The Peacock Hallway – this is the only reason I revisited Lee Plaza. Ive already documented the entire building top to bottom, but I couldnt resist one more shot at documenting the Parducci first floor interiors. I consider the interiors of this building to be one of Corrado Parduccis masterpieces. This hallway is just jaw dropping gorgeous – well, if you pardon the fact that it is all but destroyed. This is the view looking toward the lobby with the gaping wide open front door at the far end.

Peacock Hallway ceiling details – this is the ceiling near the end of the hall.

Most of the center rosette pieces have been gouged out – actually maybe all of them. They couldnt have come out intact, god knows what they did that for. Perhaps the gold leaf had some scrap value ? I havent a clue. To precise to be vandals, to bloody sloppy to be people harvesting detail work.

The process of creating plaster interior details involves building an armature and covering it with layers of plaster. In the case of Lee Plaza, the armature is made of steel rods bent and welded. Plaster is layed into the armature, with natural fibrous materials added for strength. The cast plaster details are then adhered to the plaster filled armatures. This is why the scavengers do so much damage – the details are made of fragile plaster, and the metal armature is encased just beneath the details. Without cutting the rebar from above and removing entire sections at once, it is impossible to remove any details intact.

Ceiling motif – obviously not the original fixture though. However – that fixture is still strange and old enough to be interesting.

Ballroom arches over bricked up windows and doors. I’ll spare everyone the cliche smashed baby grand piano photos etc.

Plaster details with gold leaf surrounding countless mirrors.

Another missing fixture ceiling detail

Crown molding details with gold leaf.

As we left we could hear other people in the building smashing around upstairs. The place is so trashed its all nut impossible to move about quietly. Invariably you step on thick crushed glass which makes a horrible racket.

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