Behind Will’s house was a paradise of wretched forestland. Any homes or buildings had been torn or fallen down, nature reclaiming what it had lost more than a century ago. Full-grown trees stood between dumped boats and hot tubs and railroad ties and piles of rubble, smack-dab on top of where houses used to be. A sextuplet of abandoned grain silos towered over the neighborhood. Scrappers would burn the insulation off copper wire at the bottom, and a rather congenial gentleman, since killed in a fistfight, lived in one of the boats. Occasionally Will and I would climb the towers and look out over the city, smoking cigarettes and drinking cheap beer. I’d try not to fall through the crumbling roof, and we’d point out landmarks, churches, schools, empty factories, trying to figure our place in it all.
An excellent first-person account on gentrification, redevelopment, and literally being a pioneer in rapidly deterioting Detroit.