Discuss Detroit Archives - January 2008 Check out my blog: "Sub-Urban Decay" Previous Next
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Ericdetfan
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Username: Ericdetfan

Post Number: 262
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Monday, March 03, 2008 - 9:25 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

http://suburbandecaydet.blogsp ot.com/

I've only done 2 posts so far, but def plan on a post at least weekly.
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Mackinaw
Member
Username: Mackinaw

Post Number: 4472
Registered: 02-2005
Posted on Monday, March 03, 2008 - 9:28 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I like it...it's a promising topic to cover over time.
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Iheartthed
Member
Username: Iheartthed

Post Number: 2784
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Monday, March 03, 2008 - 9:35 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Livonia Mall has the same interior design now as it did when I was six years old.
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Mpow
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Username: Mpow

Post Number: 287
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Monday, March 03, 2008 - 9:37 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

great website..happy suburb adventures.
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Danindc
Member
Username: Danindc

Post Number: 3951
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Monday, March 03, 2008 - 9:39 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Was the Kresge's space always a Kresge's? I ask, because I recall a toy store chain of my youth--Children's Palace--that had the same exact "castle" architecture. Of course, I'm not sure if this chain ever existed in the Detroit area.

A little help?
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Publicmsu
Member
Username: Publicmsu

Post Number: 712
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Monday, March 03, 2008 - 9:48 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Children's palace did exist in the metro Detroit area as I grew up during the 80s. The one that I remember was in Pontiac (I believe). I wouldn't be surprised at all, because now that you mention this name, the facade looks very familiar.
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Ericdetfan
Member
Username: Ericdetfan

Post Number: 263
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Monday, March 03, 2008 - 9:50 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I was wondering the same thing, but I really have no idea. Most of the information I got was from other various blogs and Deadmalls.com. I suppose it could have been, but I doubt anyone would know that owns the mall today. Maybe we could ask a Livonian in their 40's or 50's.

Yes, there were chidrens palace in the Detroit area. There was one across from Fairlane Town Center up until the mid 90's. Now its an office building. I used to go there with my dad all the time to get computer games for our Commodore 64. Good times. If you look hard enough, you can still see parts of the "castle" on the top of the building.
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Elsuperbob
Member
Username: Elsuperbob

Post Number: 118
Registered: 03-2007
Posted on Monday, March 03, 2008 - 9:50 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Children's Palace did exist here, Dan, so it could have been one. There was one at Fairlane that looked exactly like that.
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Alan55
Member
Username: Alan55

Post Number: 1295
Registered: 09-2005
Posted on Monday, March 03, 2008 - 9:55 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Eric, it might also be interesting (not that you have the time) to explore the small towns and villages of Michigan and see how they have died over the past 40 years. I am thinking of places like Capac, Almont, Imlay City, (truly sprawlsville) Marlette, Leonard, Brown City, Mayville, Union City, New Haven....the list goes on and on. Many of these places have NOTHING except perhaps a gas station, and a few "Occupied Vacancies" like a Hair Salon or Antiques Mall in the old, historic storefronts along their Main Streets, along with a dozen or twenty vacant stores; if they are lucky, they still have a post office. Otherwise, they are virtually ghost towns.

I find especially sad the former commercial buildings that have been converted to single-family homes / apartments, usually with the 1994 rusted-out Chevy parked alongside. These villages lived for 130 or 140 years very well, only to die in the last generation.

The only villages that have any heartbeat left are the ones right on the shores of the Great Lakes, the tourist towns like Saugatuck or Petoskey, or the ones that are within commuting distance of large business areas, like Chelsea is to Ann Arbor.
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Ray1936
Member
Username: Ray1936

Post Number: 2812
Registered: 01-2005
Posted on Monday, March 03, 2008 - 10:03 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Looks promising, Eric. You write well. I've bookmarked it and will check in as time gets along.
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Gsgeorge
Member
Username: Gsgeorge

Post Number: 587
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Tuesday, March 04, 2008 - 1:44 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Ericdetfan, you gotta check out the former Farmer Jack at 15 and Orchard in "downtown" West Bloomfield, now abandoned. Great site, keep it up!
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Gene
Member
Username: Gene

Post Number: 84
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Tuesday, March 04, 2008 - 6:36 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

What does this say about the viability of Metro Detroit?

Isn't there enough blogs and web sites dedicated to the demise of our cities?

quote,
Ericdetfan, you gotta check out the former Farmer Jack at 15 and Orchard in "downtown" West Bloomfield, now abandoned. Great site, keep it up!

Do I detect delight in the above quote?

If only I wasn't so lazy I would start a blog and web site dedicated to all of the positive things happening in the region.
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56packman
Member
Username: 56packman

Post Number: 2078
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Tuesday, March 04, 2008 - 6:39 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The space you (mis) identify as kresge's was children's palace, the Kresge store was in the center section of the mall, between the Sears court and the Crowley's court.
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Eric_michael
Member
Username: Eric_michael

Post Number: 24
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Tuesday, March 04, 2008 - 7:49 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Nice work Eric! I look forward to further posts. A couple nit picks: Isn't LPP at 6 mile not 8 mile? Also, is Livonia 20 miles west of Detroit? Perhaps it is 20 miles west of Downtown Detroit?
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Udmphikapbob
Member
Username: Udmphikapbob

Post Number: 528
Registered: 07-2004
Posted on Tuesday, March 04, 2008 - 8:02 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Eric, you made me realize something - I haven't written a non-political post on my blog in a long time! But I do have a lot of links to architecture, planning and development types of news. I'd love it if any interested DetroitYES! readers would bookmark me as well.

I posted a link to your new blog, Eric. Hope it gets you some traffic.

http://phikapbob.blogspot.com

And I've got a few photos from the Wonderland demolition, if you ever need them.
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1953
Member
Username: 1953

Post Number: 1550
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Tuesday, March 04, 2008 - 8:05 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

There was a Children's Palace at M-59 (Hall Rd.) and Schoenner in the early 90's. Today, its a Gander Mountain.
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Craig
Member
Username: Craig

Post Number: 661
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Tuesday, March 04, 2008 - 8:15 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

No doubt that metro Detroit & Michigan are in decline, but...

-vintage shopping malls are not necessarily bellwethers of regional economic health. Retail/consumer shopping habits have been shifting from malls to big-box and "lifestyle centers," so it should be no more shocking to see the old Livonia Mall wither than it was to see neighborhood retail shrink with the earlier "discovery" of malls.

-"small towns that have died"... don't you think that the demise of auto in Michigan explains a lot of the slowdown in the little towns? Many had tool 'n die shops and light assembly (e.g. Thumb region was known for assembly of wiring harnesses), and the off-shoring of these has killed these towns the way that Dodge Main killed Hamtramack & Cadillac killed SWD.
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Digitalvision
Member
Username: Digitalvision

Post Number: 600
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Tuesday, March 04, 2008 - 8:36 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

None of this should surprise us - what is happening in the suburbs is the same thing that happened to Detroit city proper when the factories decentralized and moved starting in the 50's.

It's just proof you can't rely on one industry, but for some reason we kept doing it.

That said, like your commentary - there are quite a few more places for you to check out... and more happening all the time. I'd ask you to go a little wider than just malls (read that in your opening post) because there are so many ways that suburban decay is happening.
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Iheartthed
Member
Username: Iheartthed

Post Number: 2785
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Tuesday, March 04, 2008 - 9:48 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I'd like to add something.

Livonia Mall, Wonderland Mall, Laurel Park Place and (especially) Westland Mall aren't really that close in proximity. Livonia has an area of roughly 36 square miles, and Manhattan has roughly an area of 34 square miles. Yet, there is obviously a lot more shopping in Manhattan than Livonia for obvious reasons.

The problem with retail in Livonia (and metro Detroit in general) is that they keep building new to serve a population that isn't growing. The population of the metro area has been virtually stagnant over the past 30-40 years as the population of the entire country has doubled. But the problem is not only Detroit not growing, but recently the affluence (i.e. buying power) of the region has began to drastically shrink.

That local economy has major issues right now that people haven't even yet realized. If the national economy has a cold, Detroit's has SARS.
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Mikeg
Member
Username: Mikeg

Post Number: 1484
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Tuesday, March 04, 2008 - 10:12 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

-"small towns that have died"... don't you think that the demise of auto in Michigan explains a lot of the slowdown in the little towns? Many had tool 'n die shops and light assembly



I think that the decline of small towns is due to several different factors:

- declining rural populations. These small towns originally grew as a commercial center to provide services for the citizens of the surrounding countryside. Since then, the family farm with plenty of children has nearly disappeared over the past century as mechanization has turned agriculture into an industry.

- improved roads. With better roads, what used to be a semi-annual, whole day shopping excursion into the nearest big city is now just an every-day occurrence - much to the detriment of the small town merchants

As far as the blog is concerned, I think it is likely to draw only a handful of readers and few repeat visitors because of its narrow subject matter and unidirectional viewpoint - plus, it has a lot of spelling errors.
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Ericdetfan
Member
Username: Ericdetfan

Post Number: 264
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Tuesday, March 04, 2008 - 10:16 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Thank you all, I will make the appropriate corrections.
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Ericdetfan
Member
Username: Ericdetfan

Post Number: 265
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Tuesday, March 04, 2008 - 10:38 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Does anyone know when the Childrens palace closed?
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Craig
Member
Username: Craig

Post Number: 662
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Tuesday, March 04, 2008 - 10:59 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Mikeg - no argument from me, but I believe that we're thinking of different flavors of "small towns." Sounds like you're describing truly rural/agricultural communities, and I'm opining about blue-collar/industrial small towns. Both have taken lumps, but for different reasons.
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Thnk2mch
Member
Username: Thnk2mch

Post Number: 1137
Registered: 02-2006
Posted on Tuesday, April 01, 2008 - 4:45 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

Does anyone know when the Childrens palace closed?



it looks like around 1992, according to WIKI:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C hild_World
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Wazootyman
Member
Username: Wazootyman

Post Number: 334
Registered: 02-2006
Posted on Tuesday, April 01, 2008 - 7:06 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

From a purely objective point of view, it's a good start. Lots of the information is already out there, but it is a nice summary nonetheless.

My only suggestion would be that we don't need any more "downer" sites focusing on the bad of Metro Detroit. We know what we're up against. We see the blight, and understand that times have been better.

But then again, I look around and see a lot of development underway. Within a mile of my home, there have been several empty storefronts filled. The former George Burns theater was knocked down several years ago for condominiums that are well-occupied, anchored by new storefronts that are 100% leased (with a Biggby Coffee, Jimmy John's, Stucchi's, and a Honey Tree restaurant, for example).

Down the street, the abandoned Wonderland Mall and its neighbor K-Mart were knocked down some time ago and have been replaced with a surprisingly attractive development. While I despise Wal-Mart, they actually did a top-notch job architecturally (for a Wal-Mart), and the new Target is clean, attractive, and a solid anchor. Both big-box stores are set back from the road by a fair amount and brand new storefronts that appear to be almost fully occupied are near Plymouth Rd, hiding the big box stores from view. There are plans to replace the old Wal-Mart near I-96 and Middlebelt with a Lowes.

I pass by several other structures under construction on my way to work - two banks, the new Davenport University building, the soon-to-be-built Market Strategies International building, a multi-story hotel, and the new ITC headquarters.

I recall hearing a rumor a while back that office leasing in Farmington Hills had picked up enough that speculative construction may soon begin again.

Regarding Livonia Mall, it has been considered an "eyesore" for many years. It just didn't keep up, and it seems that shoppers are deterred by outdated structures - compare the performance of relatively new malls (Twelve Oaks, Laurel Park Place, Partridge Creek, Somerset) to those built in the 60's. Our mayor (of Livonia) has plans underway (pending action by the last major tenant, Sears) to redevelop the property, probably in a way similar to that of the former Wonderland Mall site.

As for the comment "that local economy has major issues right now that people haven't even yet realized", I'd like to understand what exactly you think is on the horizon? That's a fairly bold statement to make without any supporting evidence. Unless the national economy takes a severe dive, I don't think any severe cuts at the automakers are in the near future.

Finally, I think that keeping things positive is good not only for our own mental health, but a big boost for visitors to the site. Suppose I'm a visitor and decide to check out one of the most popular Detroit discussion forums out there. What do I see? Threads about urban and suburban decay. Threads about mayoral scandals (okay, this one probably can't be avoided). In general, a lot of negative discussions and attitudes about anything and everything around us.

Two last thoughts:

If everyone is economically in the dumps, why is it in the last few weeks I've had to wait 45 minutes or more at every restaurant?

Also, if we're lucky, it'll be in the mid-50's and sunny tomorrow. Cheer up, guys.
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Cooper
Member
Username: Cooper

Post Number: 7
Registered: 02-2008
Posted on Tuesday, April 01, 2008 - 11:04 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Isn't there enough blogs and web sites dedicated to the demise of our cities?


That's why I started a blog focused primarily on the city and the region's revitalization:

http://thinkdetroit.blogspot.c om
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Mozeewink
Member
Username: Mozeewink

Post Number: 52
Registered: 03-2008
Posted on Wednesday, April 02, 2008 - 9:30 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

For people that are interested in visual blight and think that combatting it is important for our quality of life, you might be interested in this group - http://www.scenic.org/.

There is a Michigan chapter, but they do not seem to be very active.
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Raggedclaws
Member
Username: Raggedclaws

Post Number: 171
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Wednesday, April 02, 2008 - 9:41 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Checked out your blog, Cooper.

"Where's our Harlem?"

Fer real ? Did you actually ask that question in regard to Detroit ?
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Cooper
Member
Username: Cooper

Post Number: 8
Registered: 02-2008
Posted on Wednesday, April 02, 2008 - 9:59 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Point taken. (And the post has been modified.) But if the answer were so obvious, the Council wouldn't being pushing to create an "Africa Town." Detroit is a black city, and proudly so, but I think of Harlem as a singular hub of history, culture, and entertainment -- and I'm not sure there's a strong parallel in the city, a singular district that carries that mantle for African Americans.

Correct me if I'm wrong -- I may well be mistaken.
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Lowell
Board Administrator
Username: Lowell

Post Number: 4704
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Wednesday, April 02, 2008 - 10:02 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Well done Ericdetfan! I have added your site to the DetroitYES links list.

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