In the summer of 1971, I returned to Detroit after two and
a half years in Africa, the Middle East and Europe where
I had visited numerous ancient ruins.
Detroit was restive, as the social revolutions of the late
60's played out their effects, and in transformation as
its population began vacating the city to the surrounding
Still, Detroit seemed little changed from its model developed
in the teens of the 20th Century when it became the preeminent
industrial city in the world with its accompanying wealth
and large home owning middle class.
Unseen to the eye, during that hazy summer, immense economic,
social and political forces, that had been set in motion
years prior, were to render large sections of the city and
its industrial structures into ruination. Could one be instantly
transported from that time forward twenty year it would
appear as if large areas of the city had been carpet bombed
leaving behind huge hulking ruins -- ruins larger and more
extensive than those I found in my travels to Zimbabwe,
El Tajin, Ephesus, Athens, or Rome.
Put aside their negative image, so sensationalized by a
self flagellating media, and view them, for a moment, as
you might one of the celebrated ruins of the world. Then
you may come to understand why I call them The
Fabulous Ruins of Detroit.