I don’t know about you, but when I visit a city, one of my last priorities is seeing the top tourist attractions. I want to see the underside of the city, with all its beautiful grit, and, something tells me that there are few cities where that underside is quite as glorious as in Detroit. If you are planning on visiting the city, and want to find out about a few things you can do, which may just happen to be on the less traveled path, read on for some suggestions.
St. Agnes Church: Built in the early 1920’s, this gothic inspired church has seen its share of tough times. After a police raid at a nearby drinking establishment, many buildings in the area burned to the ground. Although the church was relatively unharmed, many fled from the neighborhood and the building fell to disrepair. Now abandoned, it stands it in its hauntingly beautiful glory and is well worth a visit.
The Dequindre Cut Greenway: The Greenway is an urban recreational path that serves as a pedestrian link between Detroit’s Eastern Market, Riverfront and other neighborhoods. It is known for its urban artwork and graffiti which is encouraged by the area’s construction project manager. There are plans to extend the 1.35 mile path and a section is being reserved for future public transit.
Crow Manor: Crow Manor is a collective made of artists, musicians and activists. It holds workshops and puts on performances throughout the year. Best known of these was the Crownival, a large party that was held at a Victorian mansion in the area.
Eight Mile Wall: This wall was built in 1934 by local developers as a means to segregate a black neighborhood and a white neighborhood. Although the wall is not eight miles, nor does it run alongside Eight Mile Road, it is known as the “Eight Mile Wall’” in reference to the epicenter of Detroit’s segregation. Although racist policies have since been abolished, and the neighborhoods the wall currently divides are both mostly black, the wall still stands as a harsh reminder of the racial divisions of the past and present. However, it’s original white paint has since been replaced by colorful murals that send a message of unity, community and progress.
Giant Cow Head: This giant cow head, which was designed to resemble “Elsie” the Borden cow, sits atop an abandoned ice cream shop which was restored for the movie “8 Mile” in 2002. The shop has remained empty ever since the production wrapped. 13099 Mack Avenue
Geodesic Dome Home: Looking more like a giant blue igloo, this house stands near the Michigan Central train depot in a neighborhood where nothing else in modern. Built by Parkii Helene Gillis and husband Leo Gillis (brother of famous musician Jack White), the undertaking was no easy feat. However, the total building costs amounted to less than $90,000 and is fairly cheap to maintain. The couple is open to giving tours to neighbors and tourists that pass by.
If you are planning on visiting the Detroit area, these are all great recommendations that are sure to make for a unique vacation experience. If you’re not planning on visiting Detroit, maybe you should make plans to do so. With all these terrific things to do and see, it seems like it just might have to be added to your list of vacation destinations!
Candice Simons, j'adore Detroit