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Laredo Apartments Dexter-Linwood, Detroit.

Designed in the Art Deco/Moorish Revival style by Wiedmaier & Gay, built 1928-1929.

In 1953, Elmhurst Street in Detroit was at its apex. The city phone directory at the time was inches thick with phone numbers for residents on the block, mainly Jewish and working class. By 1958, however, the synagogue on Elmhurst closed its doors, and one by one the long-time residents sold their homes and moved out of their apartments.

According to a 2001 article in the Detroit News regarding Elmhurst Street, the reasons for the street’s white flight exodus are murky and many; fear of decreased property values and crime; prejudice; limited low-income housing in Detroit; freeways carving up the city; malls drawing residents away from the mom-and-pop neighborhood stores; and real estate agents tactics to name a few. Whatever the reasons, the ultimate result was the same. Today Elmhurst Street is lined with vacant lots and abandoned buildings. This Art Deco apartment building being one of many.

Laredo Apartments, Sep. 2022

Detroit Jazz Festival Sep. 2022

Detroit Jazz Festival

Tried to pick up the vibes at this year's Jazz Festival on Sunday before Labor Day. A few afternoon showers were part of the mix but overall a wonderful event and a must attend for Jazz music lovers. For over 40 years, the Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation has celebrated Detroit’s rich history of jazz music by providing year-round concerts and educational programming, and of course, organizing the world’s largest free Jazz festival, featuring world-class talent, over Labor Day weekend. The four-day festival usually features dozens of local and global artists on multiple stages (four in 2022), and jazz fans say nothing comes close to the sights and sounds that Detroit offers.

Western Branch YMCA, Detroit

The Hubbard Farms Historic District, located in Southwest Detroit, is bounded by West Vernor Highway, West Grand Boulevard, West Lafayette Boulevard, and Clark Street. The district is located on land that was originally a village and burial ground of the local Potawatomi tribe. The area was also referred to as Springwells because of its natural springs.

In the mid-1800s, the district saw an increase in housing development due to the great number of manufacturing jobs in the area. One of the companies in this area was Hiawatha Tobacco Works, whose owner, Daniel Scotten, was one of the more notable residents live in the district. In 1885, the district became part of the City of Detroit. Much of the architecture in Hubbard Farms Historic District has a Victorian aesthetic due to the era of construction between the 1880s and World War I. However, there also are homes with Romanesque, Beaux Arts, and Colonial Revival designs. Hubbard Farms Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Sites on January 29, 1993.

Between 1910 and 1920 Detroit's population doubled to well over a million. As new communities began to develop and grow, so did the need for some form of organized recreation for the city's young boys and men. The creation of what became known as the Young Men Christian Association (YMCA) grew out of concern by the city's church community as a desire to "promote religious, moral and social welfare of the young men of this city..." The YMCA saw as its objective the responsibility to improve the spiritual and intellectual conditions of the city's young.

By the early 1920's the population of the city's west side had grown to 178,000. The Western Branch of Detroit's YMCA opened in April, 1919 as the city's second community branch. Originally located in an office building at 532 Scotten Avenue, the Western "¥" became a focal point of the community. Soon the office on Scotten was no longer adequate. By the mid-1920's the YMCA Executive Board was soliciting donations for the construction of a new building, to be known as the Western Branch. This goal was accomplished through a generous gift from Mr. and Mrs. Edsel Ford of $750,000, providing for the complete cost of a new building.

On March 28, 1927 permit #26230 was issued to the architectural firm of Malcomson and Higginbotham for the construction of the YMCA Western Branch. The dedication was held on April 15, 1928. Malcomson and Higginbotham were a Detroit architectural firm known for their favored status with the Detroit Board of Education. The substantial four-story brown brick YMCA building has a Spanish Romanesque feel to its detailing.

The facade is basically arranged in three sections. Its two-story central projecting section is roofed with clay tiles; second story round- arched windows are paired; their shared impost block resembles a column capital and they share a brick column. A spandrel of masonrylozenge grille-work gracefully completes the lower portion of this window arrangement; masonry window surrounds are seen on the first story of the projecting section and the second story of the remainder of the front facade. Stone is utilized for the basement level, belt courses between the first and second story, window surrounds of second story of the outer sections, windows above the portals, and first story portals with tympanums above which are the words “YOUNG MENS CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION". "BOY'S ENTRANCE" and "MEN'S ENTRANCE” are over their respective doorways. Aluminum doors had replaced the original doors at some point.

The two outer sections of the front facade that project from the recessed mass of the building are also interestingly arranged, especially near the top. Masonry balconets project beneath the sets of three round-arched windows that are outlined in stone and have shields and colored tile in their tympanums at fifth-story level. Much of the same detail can be seen on the side elevations. A brick arcaded corbel table beneath the copper gutters of the central section completes the composition.

For several generations the western branch YMCA was a haven for people of all ages, where young people could learn how to swim, and seniors could take classes on a variety of subjects. It became especially important to the community as southwest Detroit began to slide into crime and poverty in the 1970’s. In the late 1980’s the western branch became the home of two very different programs – a daycare center for children, and a halfway house for non-violent criminals who had been released from prison.

The bizarre arrangement divided the building in half, with the two sides physically separated and under armed guard. The program lasted until 1999, when the inmates were moved to another building. With the loss of revenue from the halfway house, the building became too expensive to maintain, and was put up for sale in 2000 by the YMCA. Initially they planned on selling the building to Detroit Rescue Mission, a homeless shelter, who would then lease back the recreation part of the facility to the Y.

But community members objected to a shelter being located in their neighborhood and pushed the YMCA to accept another offer. Instead, the building sold in 2001 for $400,000 to a company owned by Dennis Kefallinos, a notorious slumlord who promptly reneged on promises to convert it into residences and a community center. The YMCA left a short time later, and within a year the building was open to trespass and occupied by vagrants.

Western Branch YMCA, Sep. 2022

Assumption Greek Orthodox Church Explore Aug. 20, 2022

Apostolic Way Church of God / Assumption Greek Orthodox Church

The Greek Orthodox population of Detroit has a long history in the city, starting in the early 1900’s and continuing to the 1920’s. After settling downtown in what became known as the Greektown neighborhood, the group moved east to the vicinity of Charlevoix and St. Jean, where they established a small Orthodox church and school in a former saloon.

Assumption Greek Orthodox Church was founded in 1930, moving several times as the congregation raised funds for a permanent structure. Construction on a new structure at Charlevoix and Fairview began in 1948, followed by a community center in 1957. Despite the continued growth of the Greek community on the east side, by the 1970’s it was on the move again, this time headed to the suburbs. A new church was built in St. Clair Shores in 1976, and the final service at Assumption was held on May 1st, 1977. Apostolic Way Church of God was founded around the same time as an offshoot of Clinton Street Greater Bethlehem Temple Church, buying the former Assumption campus in 1977.

The decline of the neighborhood, as well as damage caused by severe weather led to the abandonment of the main church structure. Starting in 2009 most of the copper was stripped from the dome, allowing water to penetrate deep into the building and causing substantial damage. A more comprehensive history of the church is available from the City of Detroit, which has designated the area as a historic district.

visit for more information

Woodward Dream Cruise

Did you know that the Woodward Dream Cruise actually started as a small fundraiser to raise money for a soccer field in Ferndale, Michigan?

In August 1995, Nelson House and a group of volunteers looked to relive and recreate the nostalgic heydays of the 50s and 60s, when youth, music and Motor City steel roamed Woodward Avenue, America’s first highway. That year, 250,000 people participated—nearly ten times the number expected. The rest, as they say, is history.

Today, the Woodward Dream Cruise is the world’s largest one-day automotive event, drawing 1.5 million people and 40,000 classic cars each year from around the globe—from as far away as New Zealand, Australia, Japan and the former Soviet Union. North American cruisers from California, Georgia, Canada and all points in between caravan to Metro Detroit to participate in what has become, for many, an annual rite of summer.

Ted’s, Totem Pole and The Varsity, Hollywood, Wigwam and Suzie Q’s, and, of course, Big Boy. These old-time drive-ins and restaurants that dotted Woodward Avenue were the places to see and be seen during an era remembered perhaps most famously by Hollywood in American Graffiti and Happy Days. These locations were the turnarounds, stopping points and social hangouts for the cruisers of the era.

Michigan’s first drive-in was located near Square Lake Road in Bloomfield Hills. Ted’s Drive Inn became a hangout and one of the avenue’s most popular destinations. It had begun in 1934 as a lunch wagon/trailer and was known for “the world’s largest hot dog,” priced at 35 cents.

The Totem Pole opened in Royal Oak in 1954 and featured a 16-foot totem pole hand carved by Ojibway Chief White Wolf of St. Ignace. The restaurant introduced the “Teletray,” a 2-way speaker through which customers could order the popular Big Chief Burger.

At these locales and others, roller-skating waitresses sporting white bobby socks and serving trays delivered hamburgers and milkshakes to duck-tailed greasers in leather and beauty queens sporting class rings and letter jackets. The real attractions, though, were the cars.Hot rods and muscle cars. Convertibles and hard tops. Oversized tires and custom-painted flames. These marvels of machinery were cool and hot; street machines that cruised Woodward emanating vintage rock and roll from the AM radio coupled with the rumble of a big block V8.

I purposely photographed the event only with one lens on both nights and only took close up photographs. Next year I might try and catch more of the overall vibes with larger scenes and more people involved.

 Check here for more information about the Woodward Dream Cruise history

Woodward Dream Cruise Aug 18+19, 2022

Frank H. Beard School Explore, Detroit Aug 14, 2022

Frank H. Beard School

The City of Detroit grew throughout the 18th and 19th centuries by annexing the villages and townships that surrounded. Most of what is known today as southwest Detroit was originally part of Springwells Township, which had its own school district. In 1886 the district built a four-room school named for US President James A. Garfield on the corner of Lafayette and Waterman. When the building became overcrowded it was replaced in 1896 with a modern two-story structure with 12 classrooms. Springwells School District was annexed to Detroit in 1906. Because Detroit already had a school named for Garfield, the building on Waterman was renamed for Frank H. Beard, who had served as a member of the school board for many years. Beard school was replaced with a new building in 2001 and converted into an early childhood center. The program closed in 2014, though the building continued to be used until 2016 when it was vacated.

The beautiful, historic building was destroyed by a fire during the early morning hours of July 27th.

Hudson Site, Detroit

Went to check out and photograph the former Hudson site construction on an early Saturday morning and got surprised by a monster mobile crane sitting in the middle of Woodward Avenue. This Liebherr Mobile Crane has a maximal lifting capacity of 900t and can carry its complete telescopic boom for driving on public roads. It's the largest one located in Michigan and the second largest in the country.

For those who don't know, the project consists of two buildings: a skyscraper with luxury residences and a luxury hotel, and an 11-story mid-rise with more than 550,000 square feet of office space, exhibition space and ground-floor retail.

After several iterations,i t is expected to be the second tallest building in the city, at 208.7 meters (685 ft) and to be completed in 2024.

As Detroit's decline in population, reputation and wealth continued, Hudson's downtown store closed Jan. 17, 1983 at this site, after more than 90 years of business.

Hudson's first building on the site opened in 1891 but was demolished in 1923 for a new structure. The new structure was the flagship store for the Hudson's chain. The building was demolished in a controlled demolition on October 24, 1998 (wish I was there :-) and at the time it was the tallest building ever imploded.

Former Hudson Site Detroit - Aug 5, 2022

 Watch the implosion of the former Hudson building here or the current status of the project here if you like.

Kohnshof Ferienwohnungen Eifel, Germany, July 2022

Kohnshof Ferienwohnungen Eifel, Germany

Ever thought about vacationing in the most western part of Germany?

The Eifel with its awe-inspiring nature is known for its incredible beauty, regardless of the season. Hike and bike along the rivers, through valleys, forests and the mountains of the Eifel and get in tune with nature, perhaps like never before. One important part of staying in a beautiful area though is your choice of accommodation.

Let me introduce this brand-new vacation home located in the village of Idenheim, Germany where modern luxury meets a combination of rural nature and domestic animal life. Its architecture features a contemporary, open space barn character with two luxury 3-bedroom apartments including two full baths and a separate, spacious wellness area where you can spoil yourself with sauna and whirlpool.

My sister-in-law Beate and her husband Thomas run this as a family business.

 Check here for more information about "The Kohnshof".

The Eifel region features so many beautiful places which are worth a visit. Some images added from different seasons.

 You can find more information about the Eifel region here and other places on the internet.

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