The other day I spotted an old gray shack while on a bike ride through Detroit’s eastside. The small, weather-beaten scarred building was tucked into a corner of a fenced-in lot full of weeds, overgrown bushes and clingy vines. At first glance, I thought it was an old fishing shanty stored for the warmer months ahead or a kid’s outdoor playhouse that had fallen into disrepair and dumped there.
Based on the words printed on the outside wall of the old windswept building on Freud Street, it was probably once a parking lot security guard shelter. Now it is nothing but a rickety old place that is barely standing. The door and windows of the wooden building are long gone, and the backside wall is almost non-existent and consists of nothing more than a gaping hole with a few rotting boards still in place. The slanted roof on this little shack is mostly caved in, and what’s left of the wooded floor has nearly disappeared through rot and decay. It’s quite obvious this little old one-man sized wooden building has seen better days.
I’ve ridden past the old shack just off Freud (a street lined with industrial warehouses, truck depots, boat repair facilities, and automobile impound yards) many times on my summer rides and had never noticed it. The vines clinging to the fence surrounding the lot and the large, wild plants close to the building have always been full of leaves, camouflaging the place by turning it into a big green mass. Without the hindrance of full-bloomed leaves obstructing my view, it was easy to spot the little shack from the street.
Shortly, the leaves will pop out for the summer and the wooden shack will once again become invisible. I’m not sure what business may have been on the large lot where the old wooden security shack rests, but the time-worn gray shack seems to have outlived the business it served.