Detroiturbex.com is a website dedicated to documenting the past, present and future of the City of Detroit.
From Wikipedia: Urban exploration (often shortened as urbex or UE) is the exploration of man-made structures, usually abandoned ruins or not usually seen components of the man-made environment.
While many of American’s industrial cities have experienced loss of jobs and population, few have lost as much as Detroit did between the 1950’s and today.
There is no simple answer. Detroit grew rapidly between 1910 and 1940, thanks in part to its many auto factories and other industrial jobs. When these factories began to leave the city in the 1950’s for the suburbs and nearby states, the jobs and population went with them. In the decades since, the city has been trapped in a cycle of residents leaving, loss of tax revenue, cuts to city services, and decay.
Because the sheer scale of population loss and decay Detroit has experienced is unlike that of any other city in America, and its still happening.
Exploring and researching abandoned homes, schools, churches, and hospitals is one way to examine and understand the complicated history of the city. Buildings are what is left of the social bonds that tied together people, neighborhoods, and the city.
Yes. Most of the time.*
*There are some locations where we have been granted permission to photograph a building by its owner, but this is the exception rather than the norm.
It comes down to a matter of value versus harm. If we can document a noteworthy location (value) without breaking in, stealing things, or vandalizing the building (harm), is it worth doing?
The goal of this website is not to aestheticize ruins, but to document them. That’s why we focus on historic photos, facts, and narratives about these locations.
Most of the locations on this website are already well known, and can be found easily enough with a quick Google search.
Discovering is half the fun.
We no longer offer tours, but can refer you to someone who does.
We no longer offer prints for sale, though from time to time they are available through charitable organizations. Follow our Facebook page for details.
The photographers are anonymous.
Because we believe that the focus of attention should be on the subject matter – Detroit – and not who took the pictures.
In our defense, the city was like this when we got here.