It’s been a long cold winter, but over the past weekend the warmer weather of spring finally made its way into the Detroit area. I took advantage of the sunny days by hitting the streets on my bicycle. On one of my bicycle adventures, I worked my way out to Belle Isle Park by passing through the rough and tumble neighborhoods on Detroit’s eastside. It’s a section of the city where I’m always amazed by the vast open fields where thousands of single-family homes once stood. Depending on the particular street, there are remnants of small manufacturing facilities, some still in operation and others abandoned and standing open to the elements.
What I find interesting is how many of the old industrial buildings were constructed around the vintage 1900-era frame houses. It’s almost like a horseshoe layout, with the homes setting in the middle and the old factories surrounding them. In some cases you see chained-link fencing with barbed wire running the along the top. This lines the property between the businesses and the few remaining homes that are still left standing. I can only imagine what Detroit must have been like in its prime! The factories were filled with workers that lived in those small frame homes in neighborhoods all across the city.
Lyman Place is one of the rare eastside streets I’ve ridden on that still have a few of these homes surrounded by factories. One in particular appeared to be lived in. Not only was the small shotgun style wood frame house surrounded by small industrial buildings and secured parking lots, but the people living there had their house secured with their own fencing and security doors. As I rode by, I didn’t see any signs of life but felt like I was being watched from within, as is the case in many of the neighborhoods I ride through.
I circled the block to get a rear view of the old house. Someone must have been watching, because soon after I stopped to take a picture from the adjoining parking lot behind, a huge German Sheppard came running from the front of house barking like crazy. Somebody in the place must have seen me and let the dog out into the fenced yard, as a message that someone was home and watching.