Discuss Detroit Archives - January 2008 Preservation: Detroit versus ????? Previous Next
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Exmotowner
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Username: Exmotowner

Post Number: 448
Registered: 06-2005
Posted on Sunday, January 06, 2008 - 9:56 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hey guys. I've been in Nashville for quite some time. Enough for me to have done some nosing around anyhow. When I compare the two cities, Nashville has actually preserved very little. All of the Movie Palaces are gone. We still have some of the nice old churches but a lot of the beautiful old homes that once lined some of Nashville's streets are gone. There was a big fire in Nashville's history (I forget the year) that took most of them out. There are a few scattered old historic homes around but nothing like Detroit has left. I know a lot of Detroit's density is gone also but what there is left to save is amazing too.

I was just thinking, if Detroit can at least save what is left, that would be amazing in itself.

What about other cities? How do they compare to the preservation efforts in Detroit?
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Texorama
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Username: Texorama

Post Number: 129
Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Sunday, January 06, 2008 - 10:14 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hey, Exmotowner, I lived in Nashville for awhile. The fire of 1916 is basically the reason the east side of the river is so empty--the old bedroom communities would have been there. A few still are, but the city as a whole lacks historic neighborhoods. The city's growth has been amazing--in 1960 it had something like 160,000 people. That meant a lot of out with the old, in with the new, and don't forget that in the late nineteenth century there was very little wealth in the Southern cities, although Nashville did better than most.

Detroit has a lot of potential in this respect, no doubt. For a city that did it right, visit Columbus and check out German Village. Toledo also has a remarkably preserved neighborhood of Victorian houses in the Old West End.

The Redford Theater has a big map on the wall showing the locations of all the old movie houses in Detroit. I wonder how many of them still exist--it's sometimes surprisingly hard to spot them once the marquee comes down.
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Gsgeorge
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Username: Gsgeorge

Post Number: 546
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Sunday, January 06, 2008 - 11:22 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

One of the results of Detroit's post-industrial collapse was that many of the area's older, historic structures were left vacant or abandoned. Oddly enough, this actually helped preserve some architecture that would have been easily lost (replaced by newer buildings) in any other major city. This is one of the reasons our downtown has one of the best collections of 1920s-era skyscrapers in the world, instead of the towering 1960s-1980s glass-and-steel monstrosities seen in LA and NYC.
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56packman
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Username: 56packman

Post Number: 1974
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Sunday, January 06, 2008 - 1:20 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Buffalo--it's the new Detroit!
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Mackinaw
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Username: Mackinaw

Post Number: 4292
Registered: 02-2005
Posted on Sunday, January 06, 2008 - 4:31 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I visited Buffalo recently and was intrigued. Why do you say that packman?

One thing is for certain in all of this: few if any cities have seen as much decimation of historic neighborhoods as Detroit. Nobody beats us in terms of urban prairie.

In terms of downtown density, Detroit has a higher than average amount of surface parking that resulted from destruction, and compared to other MAJOR downtowns, we've had perhaps the most destruction (without redevelopment). The good news is that most of what is now downtown was built from 1900-1930 and is beautiful and dignified...most of our gems remain, too. Many cities may have gotten rid of the Fox, the Book Cadillac, or the National Theatre, among other things. The bad news is that our entire downtown was full of beautiful buildings from that vintage, and if the destruction had never happened, we'd still look like Manhattan on a Paris-like layout, and we'd be an amazing destination. Alas...there is always the post-modern future. Hello Cadillac Centre.
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Corktownmark
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Username: Corktownmark

Post Number: 362
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Sunday, January 06, 2008 - 4:40 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Mackinaw - do you have a source on Detroit vs other cities on surface parking? -- thanks
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Gistok
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Username: Gistok

Post Number: 6071
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Sunday, January 06, 2008 - 5:24 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Mackinaw, in terms of 19th century residential, downtown has been decimated. But in terms of 20th century businesses, the major gaps downtown are Hudson's, Statler, Tuller. Many of the other gaps... such as between the Fox & State, across the street from the Fox, and other gaps around downtown were more likely early 20th century 2-4 story buildings coming down.

The greatest loss of old 19th century office buildings were the Hammond and Majestic Buildings.

And although not all of the 1920's movie palaces survive downtown, every one of their office block portions remain intact (Oriental/RKO, Madison, Adams, UA, Michigan).
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56packman
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Username: 56packman

Post Number: 1975
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Sunday, January 06, 2008 - 6:15 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Buffalo because their stock of pre-WWII buildings is mostly intact, very little urban removal or glass boxes. A very nice town if you can hack the weather.

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