not all those who wander are lost

One of the United States 11 most endangered Historic structures was brutally mauled yesterday by demolition crews in Downtown Detroit. As of this writing, everybody denies responsibility for going against court orders to attack the hotel buildings. The Ilitch Holdings company wants the historic structure flattened so the property can be a dirt surface lot for parking. The City of Detroit wants the “eyesore” removed for an upcoming football game next year.

The Madison-Lenox Hotel was constructed during the early part of the 20th century on the prominent corner of Madison Avenue and Randolph Street within one block of two unique urban green-spaces, Harmonie Park and Grand Circus Park. The three-building complex including the 8-story Madison, built in 1900; an adjacent two-story restaurant; and the Lenox, built in 1903 is significant in its design and construction. After years of decline, the surrounding Harmonie-Park Historic District is now experiencing considerable revitalization.

Statement from National Trust President Richard Moe :

Washington, DC (May 18, 2005)
It’s outrageous that the Madison-Lennox is being demolished. Detroit is losing still another wonderful building which, had it been converted to a new use such as a hotel or condominiums, could have played a key role in revitalizing the downtown. Instead, chances are that it will be a parking lot for decades. It’s a huge tragedy, and another sad moment for downtown Detroit.

The above center building is what was removed entirely. (photo from 2003) This was originally a two story adjoined restaurant for the hotels. After removing this building, the earth mover crawled up between the two hotels, and gorged the side walls from the roof down the the ground. Then it apparently went around to the front of the Madison building and gored the facade several times – taking out the main door and two first and second floor windows.

Center building demolished.

“Club 246 Madison” (from 2003)

The Madison took a worse hit than Lenox, with this giant hole tore through the west side. This section of the wall had supported the fire escape structure for the Madison.

The hasty defacing of the northern Madison facade.

Inside front door

A court hearing later today decides if yesterdays acts were illegal, but its all going to be formalities at this point. Certainly if the fate of Madison Lenox was in question before this attack, the resulting damage – illegal or not – surely marks the end of this battle.

Say your goodbyes to Madison Lenox..

“For those about to die
~We salute you”

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