Hotel DeVur stands in the New Center district of Detroit and has since the 1920s or possibly earlier. Previously it was an elegant hotel; the closest hotel of its pedigree to the headquarters of General Motors. It began to become seedier and seedier into the 60s, 70s and 80s.
At least that's the information I can take from this random history of the building. Since I can't find one other result for "Hotel DeVur Detroit", we are forced to take what Dworkin says about this era as fact.
In more recent times, nearby Henry Ford Hospital began purchasing properties to expand their parking kingdom. While UJ and I were at the Hotel DeVur, the neighbouring Ramp Room - which used to have an awesome ESAU on it back in 2005 - was already completely gone. The nearby Lincolnshire was a pile of rubble. A few other buildings here and there were either boarded up, or were already demolished. There were also nearby homes purchased; homes which were in a supposedly worthwhile neighbourhood, homes with quality construction...but they also had to go in the name of expanded parking.
As for the Hotel DeVur, it had become a halfway house somewhere along the way, until it was purchased in 2009 and all of the tenants were evicted.
It's weird to go to cities where buildings cost so much that they have to actually build parking garages. It's depressing that buildings are so expendable in Detroit that they can be purchased simply because it's easier and cheaper than building a parking garage.
Anyway, I had seen pictures and heard about this place from UJ while I was away from the city. It sounded interesting enough, so I asked if she could take me by for a look see.
With any place like this, where the tenants are forcibly evicted by a faceless conglomerate; you imagine that some may have come back and are now squatting inside - therefore I was a little more alert in anticipation of finding someone in one of the rooms.
There were rooms where the doors were hard to open and we decided to leave those alone; but being fairly thorough otherwise, we thankfully didn't end up running into anyone. It's not that I'm scared of running into people, it's simply that I enjoy having a building to myself.
Another selling point UJ made was the fact that there was lots of stuff left behind...
...the problem with that was the amount of drug paraphernalia that was also left behind - I wasn't about to start feverishly rummaging through any piles of belongings.
Although I did notice the former tenants had a proper choice in ale.
...but not so much for Jesus paintings.
This seriously looks like they got some dude from the random college down the street...got him to dress up like Jesus...and the painter couldn't do a good enough job - leaving him looking more dude than Jesus.
There were also some new finds!
I was going to grab this with a plastic bag and throw it at my friend Red, but I knew he'd find someway of turning that back on me...so it was left where I found it.
Also hilarious was UJ posting a picture of this already and Steve replying, "oh that's where I left it!"
One room had some interesting motivational pieces left behind.
Hey, whatever makes you get out of bed and face another day.
There were also a fair number of empty rooms; empty rooms showcasing the problems which the Hotel DeVur likely had as it aged - the fact that old hotels had much smaller rooms than we're accustomed to nowadays.
Reaching the roof, the roof-letter supports were still in place, but unfortunately without letters.
The roof is really small and visible; so it's not as if we could have climbed all over the roof letters in the mid-afternoon anyhow.
This is the view towards the buildings in New Center. Henry Ford Hospital would be to my left and the Lodge would head to downtown on my right.
Small elementary schools don't often provide the opportunity to relax and take in a skyline, so I was happy to finally find myself in the position to do so - I lazed about as UJ snapped some pictures.
We wouldn't stay on the roof for long, before making our way down and safely to the car.
Hotel DeVur was demolished in April of this year (2010).
The Google Maps view is so recent that it is already flattened in the satellite view.
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