Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Detroit, MI - 16th July (David Broderick Tower; South-West General Hospital; Burnt-out House)

Saturday, 16th July 2011
David Broderick Tower
Early morning I walked Downtown to grab some breakfast and plan my itinerary for the day. I had planned to start my day by visiting the David Broderick tower - a building I'd been given clearance to enter by the owners so long as there were builders there who were currently undertaking restoration work. However, when I turned up, forgetting it was a Saturday, no one was at home, and after calling the owner-company I was told no one would be in occupation of the building until Monday - the day I left Detroit. Slightly disheartened by the presence of builders precluding entry to the Station and their absence preventing access to the David Broderick tower I was restricted to photographing the exterior.

The Parallelogram-shaped David Broderick Tower

South-West General Hospital
After the Broderick-defeat I made my way out of town to the South-West General Hospital, located just West of Michigan Grand Central.

South-West General Hospital: a welcoming entrance

South-West General: Mirror-fronted facade and Main entrance

Built in 1974 at a cost of around $21m, the south-West General was closed in 1991. It was re-opened as a Community Hospital soon afterwards, but was closed again in 2007. I'd been told that it was possible to get inside and that much of the hospital remained untouched since it was abandoned. However, as with much of my searching in Detroit, it turned out the entire ground floor was securely shut up, and there was no way of getting in other than by some spiderman-esque scaling of sheer walls. However, I did manage to get into the old Ambulance Bays around the back by some daring acts of acrobatics.

Paramedics' Office: the original office chair remained, upturned, on the floor; clipboards of notes and boxes of syringe tubing lay untouched on shelves

Stripped Bare: Ambulance Bay 

A part-flooded loading dock could be accessed from a side slip-way.

Loading-dock come dumping-ground #1


Chemical Store Door

The abandonment of the South-West General Hospital underlines one of the endemic problems facing Detroit: funding. Since the mass exodus of all but a few of the wealthy, and white population, core public services, such as health-care and public transport remain in a precarious funding situation.

The South-West General was originally founded as an African-American proprietary hospital to provide healthcare predominantly for those who did not have adequate access, or means of access, to it. The fiscal pressures that resulted from the departure of the high tax-paying elites saw a dramatic reduction of public services for the poor and those most in need of them. The abandoned shell of the South-West General stands as a monument to the (in places dire) state of public service provision in Detroit.

Burnt-Out House
After lunch and on my way back to my hostel I chanced across a little abandoned, burnt-out house that had recently become the canvas, or rather subject, of an unknown artist.


Stairway to Nowhere

The lounge oozed, errr, charm and character?    

A rather fun little find to my first day building-hunting in Detroit. After some supper Downtown and drinks in a lively jazz bar, Cliff Bells, I cabbed it back to the Hostel and turned in for the night.

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