Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

Weekly photo challenge : Abandoned


This week’s WordPress photo challenge is show ‘abandoned.’  Lots of things ran though my mind immediately.  There’s an old rusted truck  out by the main road and I thought I might do that.  And I will someday.   But as I thought more about the word abandoned I began to feel the city of Detroit pulling me.   Some of you probably know the city is in bankruptcy, the biggest city in the United States to head down that road.  There’s been a lot of abandoning that has happened in the city in the past many years, but hopefully the path is becoming clearer for the emergence of a new, brighter city.

There’s one building that stands, for me, to represent the abandonment of Detroit by so many.  I’ve always wanted to go downtown and photograph it, but it’s a little daunting.  Scary too.  So I haven’t.  This weekend I decided to drive down before our weather gets worse and just see what might be possible.  Turns out there were lots of people out and about right there, going to some event down the street.  So, though I wasn’t able to get really close as they have it all fenced off I was able to get a few shots of the abandoned Detroit Train Station.


What a magnificent building this was in its day and what a shame that it has come to this.  You can see photos of the inside here and imagine what it once was.  It’s totally gutted now.  When you’re further away from the building you can see daylight all the way through it, from one empty window through to the empty window on the other side.  This year they hung giant lit snowflakes in some of the windows.  I hear it was pretty at night.


Then I turned around and saw an old hotel, probably the place people landed when they arrived in Detroit and first stepped off the train.  It’s been abandoned too, though not by the graffiti artists.


And next door to the hotel was an abandoned house, you can still see the good bones of it hidden under the boarded up windows.


Around the side of the house was this,  which epitomizes abandonment to me…the abandonment of hope.

Someone had dreams here.

Someone had dreams here.

There’s so much more abandonment in this city;  I saw it everywhere as I scurried into downtown and back out to the illusion of safety in the suburbs.  It needs a braver person than me to document the pain there, and to document the return to life of what was once a great city.  I’d love to do it, but it’s just too darn scary.

You can find more photos by creative people that represent “abandoned” to them, up at the first link at the top of the post….or here and here and here are a few of my favorites.


Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

31 thoughts on “Weekly photo challenge : Abandoned

  1. Wow, great selection of photos, and so sad for the city.


    • It is sad for the city. No resources, a lot of corruption, massive flight to the suburbs. Seems so overwhelming impossible to fix…but there’s also good things happening. Just takes lots of time and lots of commitment and lots of money.


  2. It’s so disheartening to see structures that were so beautiful in their prime disintegrate (with the help of the stupid vandals). I have spent a little time in Detroit when we lived in Walled Lake, and it’s another sadness to see the city disintegrate too. All we can do is hope that it will find the way out of bankruptcy and return to life and sunshine.

    Sent from my iPad



  3. What a gorgeous train station. I hope it will someday be revitalized. We have one of similar architecture here in Albany, but on a much smaller scale. It’s been decades since it was used as a train station, but it had been repurposed, so at least it isn’t abandoned.

    Maybe the hotel will someday be converted into fancy urban condos?

    I must say Detroit has some pretty magnificent graffiti!

    Sad to see old buildings in such a state. So much energy and life went through them, and I’m sure that energy can still be felt if you take the time like you did.


  4. The train station is so beautiful. It seems such a shame that it was abandoned. I hope someone comes along and gives it the tender loving care it deserves. Great shots, Dawn. When I was in Detroit I wanted so badly to go around and take photos of abandoned buildings, but didn’t have the time (or the nerve). I hear there are tour groups for photographers. Safety in numbers and all that.


    • Someone is working on cleaning up the main floor, but I don’t know, what a daunting undertaking to restore the building. The bottom part reminds me of so many great train stations across the country.


  5. What an amazing photo diary. National G needs you. Well balanced pic of the Train Station. I read an article in the Journal of Veterinary Medicine that was dated from this past Fall. In this study, they reported that 50,000 stray dogs live in Detroit. 50k! Then I read this week that mail carriers in Detroit get attacked by dogs 4x more often than their peers. We know why now!


    • There is a photographic project surrounding the feral dogs in Detroit. There’s a book out about them too…was done by the father of my husband’s nephew’s wife. Striking photos…such a huge problem.


  6. Wow, what contrast between your banner and your content! You captured abandoned beautifully.


  7. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Abandoned | NOE Style

  8. What a painfully ironic coincidence it is to find the abandoned train station on your blog this morning, Dawn. Last night in bed, after we watched a movie which was largely set aboard a train, David and I reminisced about memorable train travels in our respective lives. I come from a railroad family and remember literally crying over “NBC White Paper: Our Vanishing Railroads” back in the 1960s. (I may not have the name exactly right.) For me there is nothing that equals the excitement of train travel. My last trip by rail (one David and I took together) was the TGV from Paris to Avignon. Europe has not abandoned its rail system or its trains — or its cities.

    Great shots, Dawn. And I can’t help enjoying graffiti when it’s as well done as what you captured.


  9. So beautiful. We wish every buddy would appreciate the structures and their history
    Lily & Edward


  10. Sad to see how Detroit has deteriorated. It’s been all over the news, of course, but nothing depicts the sadness the way photos do. But there’s hope, you know. They’re giving away free homes to writers who want to live in Detroit (, so maybe that will infuse some new life there!


    • I saw that on the news over the weekend…cool idea…the combination of housing and writers. I hope some amazing work comes out of those houses in the near future!


  11. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge – Abandoned | Joe's Musings

  12. Dawn thank you so much for including my “abandoned” photos in your list of favorites above – that’s so kind! Your buildings are so sad here…also beautiful in their own way. Thanks for capturing them. Debra


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  16. This is one of my favorite themes and you did a nice job of capturing it. You captured abandonment on many levels. Detroit is certainly in a sad state of affairs, as are many other cities from politicians who care more about themselves than the cities they represent. The same goes for our politicos in Washington, D.C. who have abandoned those who elected them.

    As for me, for this theme I would normally go after old abandoned farm houses and barns, but this time I decided to do something a little bit different. You’re welcome to come and see my take on the matter. 🙂
    Part 2:


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  20. I know it is sad, but the hope in the last one still makes me smile 🙂


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