What jarred me immediately as I walked around Detroit was how quiet the city was.  Rows of street meters stood lonely with no cars parked aside them; the wide streets, built for the hometown auto industry, were empty; sidewalks were bereft of pedestrians unless you were near Comerica Field for a Tiger’s game.

Detroit has had its struggles but its glorious shoulders still stand tall.  And beautiful shoulders they are; while many of its downtown skyscrapers are shuttered, their art deco influences shine.  Others boast Beaux-Arts facades, and the neoclassical wonders like the Detroit Athletic Club exude power and might when Detroit’s industry built America.  Some, like the Fox Theater, are booked with events and house companies’ headquarters.

Many of Detroit’s downtown buildings are undergoing renovation or have been purchased with such an intent.  For all of its problems, Detroit is a living museum of American architecture.  Now if only the public and private sectors to cooperate and get the city . . . living the way it did when my grandparents and their extended families lived there.  But for now, just get past the boarded up windows and enjoy downtown Detroit’s fantastic architecture.  And take a break at Campus Martius Park and think about how the city was and what it could become.

A good collection of Detroit architecture that was lost is on Forgotten Detroit.

details of the Fox Theater, Detroit

details of the Fox Theater, Detroit

Woodward Avenue, Downtown Detroit

Woodward Avenue, Downtown Detroit

Cadillac Square, Detroit

Cadillac Square, Detroit

Hammond Building, near Cadillac Square

Hammond Building, near Cadillac Square

Fox Theater, Downtown Detroit

Fox Theater, Downtown Detroit

Detroit Athletic Club, taken from Comerica Field

Detroit Athletic Club, taken from Comerica Field

1001 Woodward Avenue

1001 Woodward Avenue

another Woodward Avenue shot

another Woodward Avenue shot

Facade of the Madison Theatre, demolished ca. 2000

Facade of the Madison Theatre, demolished ca. 2000

About The Author

Leon Kaye

Leon Kaye is the founder and editor of GreenGoPost.com. Based in California, he is a business writer and consultant. His work is has also appeared on Triple Pundit , The Guardian's Sustainable Business site and has appeared on Inhabitat and Earth911. His focus is making the business case for sustainability and corporate social responsibility. He's pictured here in Qatar, one of the Middle East countries in which he takes a keen interest because of its transformation into a post-oil economy. Other areas of interest include sustainable development in The Balkans, Brazil and Korea. He was a new media journalism fellow at the International Reporting Project, for which he covered child survival in India during February 2013. Contact him at leon@greengopost.com. You can also reach out via Twitter (@LeonKaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost). As of October 2013, he now lives and works in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.