Abandoned Houses of Detroit

Jul 3, 2011 13 comments

Detroit's population has fallen steadily since the heyday of the auto industry in the 1950s, when it peaked around two million, to just a little over 700,000 in 2010. Disappearing jobs and burgeoning mortgage has driven even stable, middle-class families to the suburbs leaving thousands and thousands of homes and properties behind. According the Census Bureau, the number of vacant housing units doubled in the past decade to nearly 80,000, more than one-fifth of the city's housing stock. Even though the city has been demolishing about 1,000 broken-down houses a year, they can’t keep up with the rate at which families are abandoning them.

Photographer Kevin Bauman through his project 100 Abandoned Houses brings attention to the problem of vacant properties in Detroit.


When Kevin Bauman began photographing Detroit’s derelict houses in the late ’90s, his intention was to create a record of the homes before they were torn down to make way for new development. Using an old Hasselblad camera, Mr. Bauman, 37, a Web developer and freelance photographer, shot them straight on, in the style of commercial catalog photography.

A decade later, most of the structures are still standing, as development in Detroit never reached a fever pitch. And as the houses continue to deteriorate, the photographs, at 100abandonedhouses.com, provide a beautiful and heartbreaking record of what were once some of the city’s grandest properties.

Below is a collection of some of the most beautiful abandoned homes of Detroit.
















[via NYTimes]


  1. I love these photographs. These houses are beautiful, and it's sad to know they are abandoned. This site has shows other abandoned houses and so many other cool pictures of Detroit Michigan http://detroit138squaremiles.com/detroit-138-square-miles

  2. This is what happens when a city is run by democrats and the big unions. This is America if obama is reelected.

    1. You sir are ill informed. Also the first poster never mentioned race. Why is it always racist whenever anyone complains about obama? Also obama has been running a defecit of 1.5 trillion per year. Most of our economic collapse is due to over extending ourselves financially and giving away too much while companies are not running at surplus (pensions and auto industry). Obama is doing the same thing but on a national scale with no one to bail us out. Asking a select few to give up over half their income through state, local, federal, property, and sales taxes is not the answer.

    2. Neither of you is well "informed", actually. Your countries is made up of 2 opposite camps fighting like children with outdated ideals that no long apply to the parties themselves anyway! That's why America's credit rating was demoted, remember? The rest of the world - at least from countries who study economy in highschool, unlike in the U.S. - have predicted all this for a very long time! Only a HUGE change in your stuck 2-parties system will allow America to recover. Watch...

    3. The president is not the only one we can blame. Obama is a moron and yes, Bush screwed up BAD, but most of our economic downfall started with Clinton. He pushed the banks to give out loans like candy. Look where that got us. Union workers not doing there jobs and whinning about contracts is why buisnesses either outsourced or just plain closed. When jobs leave, people leave to find other work. I was born in Detroit and Im proud of it. I still live in Michigan but not Detroit. It is easy to blame those in power but if you think about it, they got there because ignorant people voted them in. So that makes it ALL our fault as to why this is happening. Think about it.......

    4. Sir, you need to go check yourself.

    5. Sad many bash the trade unions for the economical ills. Those same unions were the ones who fought for a 5 day instead of a 7 day work week, overtime pay for work over 40 hours, paid vacation, medical benefits, medical leave benefits, yes those nasty unions are the problem...NOT

  3. I thought posts were being moderated? Why are the above trollbait posts even showing? They have nothing to do with the post or the real world. The article even states that 1950 was the heyday of auto industry in Detroit, so if you consider any math at all, you're looking at 50 years decline prior to even the year 2000. We all know US automakers avoid any innovation without legislation, letting foreign designers mop up the roads with now legendary names like Toyota which wax in the 70s mocked as the original "made in japan" junk label - who's crying now. Japanese auto mfg is top rate and the real top selling brands in the Uas because of real innovation and durability, more. US car brands jack up their numbers with fleet sales to police and govt sales, and auto rental industry. Most American consumers don't even want the junk Detroit puts on the market because they are shoddy antiquated gas guzzlers, not tight state of the art cobsumer-demand focused as Japanese i dustry continues to court.

    Sorry for any grammatical errors, it is 5 am here.

  4. Sad to see a once industrial heartland gone to pieces. But the cars are still crap by European and Japanese standards. The US has no interest in driving something economic and well made, its a mind set born of cheap fuel and a decadent society.

    1. That's why American automobiles are highly sought by collectors overseas. The US auto industry collapsed because of foreign government subsidized imports flooding the US marketplace. It was killed by predatory capitalism plain and simple.

  5. First thing, how is this in any way amusing? It is at least sad. When the writer of the article states blah blah to "...make way for new development" while she/he previously delivered the stats for the dwindling population in the area, it illustrates an oxymoron. What are the reasons behind the abandonment of the area yet, at the same time, the drive of new development, and how are these processes not be related?
    Second: the phrasing "...in the style of commercial catalog photography" should be "documentary photographic approach" in the case the author of the article had any idea of what she/he is talking about.

  6. If you want to know about someone...check how they lived and who they associated with. BHO aligned himself with likes of Frank Marshall Davis, Jeramiah Wright and everyone socialist, communist. It seems he has been living out his angst against america for 7 yrs now.


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