Whenever we hit up a new town we always search out churches. Pillars of communities, touching so many souls across multiple generations, their residual energy is palpable and exhillirating.
This summer has seen a number of miles chocked up in the AR mobile. From Mobile to Monroe, through St. Louis and Detroit. We visited grand cathedrals and road side chapels. In the Carolinian mountains, along the battered Gulf coasts, on the muddy banks of the Mississippi, everywhere we traveled we found monuments from mankind to their master. Massive architectural icons lining Woodward Ave, Clapboard steeple topped sharecropper churches alongside forgotten county roads in Alabama, modest inner-city structures re-purposed before abandonment and succumbs to decay in all metropolitan areas.
|A quiet spot in front of St. Mary's in Detroit, MI|
We're tourists, so we should travel. Roaming the ruins of Detroit we found community in isolation as multiple paths converged one summer Saturday.
The craftsmanship, the thoughtfulness and expression in the design of these buildings is renowned. Their state of neglect and disrepair nearly as so.
The Sherpa is not getting any younger, I'll never see Langston Hughes read in Harlem nor the Grateful Dead play the EastTown, my hope for tickets to a reunion tour by The Ramones has waned. Every day the news brings word another of these great buildings has had demolition permits issued.
The state of the motor city is not lost on us, the depression there is a harbinger of the troubles to plague us all if we allow capitalism and cronyism to run rampant. As America has shown wont to do.
The majority of folks left in Detroit are too poor of resources to move, and sentenced to the fate of the city. Small pockets of vibrant, metropolitan life populate an apocalyptic landscape of razed and overgrown lots, derelict ruins of yesteryear's industry, the sad, gaudy lights and colors of Payday Loan brokers like beacons in seas of broken and falling homes.
The place is an explorers paradise though, visions of the history and lives that passed through the city, when crowned the nation as a shinier jewel, dance everywhere one goes in the motor city. Derelict and weathered buildings and lands narrate historic times higher on the hog that is the American economy.
Landmarks, icons, monuments to man's love of his creator. These churches sit silently now, deterioration hurried by water and scrappers and vandals.
Amazing and ornate details.
Instruments and stained glass creations await desecration.
All standing in defiance of abandonment and weather, glorious ruins from substantive times and materials welcome the explorer.
We'll look deeper at Detroit and the histories of these and other abandoned spaces around the city. Until next time, stay off the radar!