Discuss Detroit DISCUSS DETROIT! Westphalia Previous Next
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Jerrytimes
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Username: Jerrytimes

Post Number: 183
Registered: 04-2007
Posted on Monday, March 30, 2009 - 2:46 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

So my father decided to go to where his '2nd home' was when he was a kid (in the 50's and 60's) It was my great grandfathers old neighborhood on Westphalia off of Gratiot Ave. The pictures blew my mind. I'd been to the neighbor hood before to see the old house, and about 8 years ago we drove by and saw that it had burned, but even eight years ago, the neighborhood looked bad, but it's shockingly worse. Sometimes I can't believe what areas of this city look like. The first pic is where the house used to be.
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Optima
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Username: Optima

Post Number: 68
Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Monday, March 30, 2009 - 2:52 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Wow. I was raised on Joann, 2 blocks south of 8 Mile, west of Schoenherr. I stopped going by the old neighborhood many years ago for reasons similar to what you've posted...
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Sumas
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Username: Sumas

Post Number: 855
Registered: 01-2008
Posted on Monday, March 30, 2009 - 4:57 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I am still in Detroit and happy with my neighborhood. Only once did I do a drive by of a home we owed for ten years over by Denby High School. The new garage we built was gone, the expensive privacy fencing was gone, the trim on the brick home was painted pink. You can't go home for charming old memories, just hold them close in your minds eye.
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Bobl
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Username: Bobl

Post Number: 721
Registered: 07-2008
Posted on Monday, March 30, 2009 - 7:03 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

My uncle, aunt, and cousins lived on Westphalia in the 1950s through 1970s, near St Raymond's Church. At my aunt's funeral mass about ten years ago there were many changes. The most memorable to me were the bail bond and attorney ads in the church paper, which had replaced the old ads for plumbers, electricians, and home improvement firms.
Noticed the same thing later at another relative's funeral mass at Lady Of Good Council Church.
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Kathleen
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Username: Kathleen

Post Number: 2251
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Monday, March 30, 2009 - 8:18 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Jerrytimes: Many similar thoughts posted in this The House I Grew Up In Is Gone thread http://atdetroit.net/forum/mes sages/5/174402.html?1237961291
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Fury13
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Username: Fury13

Post Number: 2145
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - 11:33 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Sad. That part of the eastside has to be one of the worst areas of Detroit these days. My grandparents lived not far from there, on Eastwood off Gratiot.
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Eriedearie
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Username: Eriedearie

Post Number: 3961
Registered: 08-2007
Posted on Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - 5:09 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Shocking pictures. That neighborhood used to be really nice. One of my friends lived on Westphalia not far off Lappin as I recall. Her home was beautiful inside and out.
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Newport1128
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Username: Newport1128

Post Number: 278
Registered: 05-2007
Posted on Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - 6:55 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Jerrytimes, you've experienced what many posters on this and similar threads have felt: a sense of loss for the Detroit of our memories, the Detroit that is no more. Some people blames "us" (or our parents or grandparents) for "abandoning" the city. In some ways, I can see their point, but I have to ask in return: What about the people who came after "us" ? Why couldn't they have maintained the homes and the businesses? Several generations of families built and maintained those neighborhoods from 1900 to the late 1960's or early 1970's. Then the homes, the stores, the neighborhoods began falling apart.
I can visit the small town where my parents grew up and, although the names on the stores have changed, many of the old places are still there, and there have been a lot of changes and even improvements over the last sixty years. Why can't we say the same about Detroit? Can anyone honestly look at the neighborhoods today and say they are more desirable places to live in 2009 than they were in 1949 or 1959?
Very true, you can't go home again.
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Bearinabox
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Username: Bearinabox

Post Number: 1367
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - 7:02 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

What about the people who came after "us" ? Why couldn't they have maintained the homes and the businesses?

There weren't as many of them, for one thing. When a city goes from 1.8 million to 900,000 in 50 years, it's gonna come out the other side the worse for wear. Especially if many of the people left are extremely poor.

The point people make isn't exactly that it's your fault the neighborhood declined, but that you gave up control when you moved away. Had you not done that, you and your peers could dictate how that area looks today, instead of leaving it up to others to take care of an area that you profess to care more about than they do.
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Royce
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Username: Royce

Post Number: 1698
Registered: 07-2004
Posted on Wednesday, April 01, 2009 - 1:20 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I have repeated this in previous threads about the decline of neighborhoods in Detroit. A large part of the destruction of homes in Detroit neighborhoods stems from old-time home owners renting instead of selling their properties when they moved.

The renters do not take care of the property because it isn't theirs. The property owner in many cases doesn't keep the house maintained. As a result, the home becomes dilapidated, the owner decides not to repair it, and the city is forced to tear it down because it becomes an eye-sore. In the late 80s until today many vacant houses have been stripped, further making repairs prohibitive.

In another thread I suggested that the city create an ordinance that says that in certain areas of the city homes must be sold and not rented out. This would create a condition where those who just rent couldn't occupy a house and run it into to the ground and leave the landlord hanging.

Also, it would force those thinking about becoming slumlords to sell their property out right before "slumming" could happen. The owner might not be able to sell his home at the price he wants, but at least, in theory, the new owners(not renters) will take a vested interest in the house and take good care of it.

(Message edited by royce on April 01, 2009)
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Fury13
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Username: Fury13

Post Number: 2155
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Wednesday, April 01, 2009 - 9:26 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

"A large part of the destruction of homes in Detroit neighborhoods stems from old-time home owners renting instead of selling their properties when they moved."

I would say that in some cases, that's true, but not for "a large part." No, the problem was that the old-time homeowners sold to people who simply weren't as interested in upkeep (or couldn't afford it). There is a socioeconomic correlation: middle-class neighborhoods became working-class or poor... and working-class neighborhoods became slums. Neighborhoods changed -- and I don't mean strictly racially. I know a white family who lived in a (then) nice middle-class, integrated neighborhood in Detroit in the '60s and early '70s and were warned by their middle-class, African-American neighbors to "move out to Southfield like we are planning to do" because a lower-class, "bad element" was slowly taking over the area. This happened across the board in Detroit. Busing didn't help -- families had no reason anymore to choose to live in a particular neighborhood, since their kids would be shipped across town anyway. Families could no longer send their kids to their neighborhood schools -- which was (and still is) one of the main reasons for living in a certain area.

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