Surprise Grayling.

Detroit, Michigan (Map)

Winter 2010.


Most, if not all, of my Detroit friends like the Red Wings. This shared love means that they often get together to watch their team's regular season victories and playoff losses.

One Saturday in January, they were getting together to watch the hockey club from Calgary battle their Wings, and it was worth it for me to ride the Tunnel Bus, then cab it out to the suburbs to join them0.

I thought that watching hockey was the only thing I would be doing & therefore, I didn't even bring a camera or proper winter clothing.

0 - They would have came & picked me up, but I wasn't concrete with my plans to join them.

I awoke Sunday to learn that Chad & Adina had found a sitter & that they were coming to get me - we were headed into Detroit with Nailhed & Hank to hit something-or-other ("c'mon now Navi, it was Sunday after all!").

Suddenly I needed to purchase a few things when we stopped for batteries at the Family Dollar.

Outfitted in a $10 flannel jacket, with $3 thermal underwear, 2 pairs of 2-for-$3 socks, $2 gloves, $3 tall toque & a $3 point-n-shoot film camera, I believed my $24 now made me half ready for some frigid January exploration.

It was time for Grayling Elementary.

Grayling Elementary is the new blown out school in the Detroit Public Schools (DPS) system. They've been doing a really good job securing their schools of late, but every once in a while, it seems one gets all too damaged by scrappers & arson; and then the DPS abandons further maintenance or security.

I remembered taking a walk around this place just a few years prior & not finding any way inside. Nowadays, there wasn't a window left in the place.

Built in 1917 & closed in 2005, we found Grayling to be fairly typical once we made our way inside.

It had the beautiful wood grain cabinets & shelves found in all of the older schools in Detroit.

It also had the evidence of poor management you find in Detroit schools, where you look out at the decaying playground & wonder how they had no idea that this place would close.

Wouldn't they have known not to spend money on a newer playground when the school was closing?

Grayling also had a theatre where the seats had already been scrapped & a typical gymnasium.

The most interesting room for me, was the Detroit Pistons Reading Room. Another room of dark wood grain cabinets, but with nooks & a bay window with seating space for the growing youth.

It was a shame to see this room torn apart.

We finished our icy MGDs1 and Chad offered an idle scrapper his last beer. The young scrapper declined the beer & we went on our way.

Now throughout the exploration of Grayling I thought the next location would be something mediocre, so I had used 21 of my 24 pictures while at one of my beloved abandoned schools.

This was clearly an error in foresight, which became really apparent when our second location ended being a sizable building which I've wanted to see for years.

It was funny to finally enter this building, a building which may be in my top 10 of favourite/memorable locations, and then only be able to take 3 pictures as I had spent the other pictures on a blown-out school.

I spent a lot of time on the top floor of our second location, since I would only be able to remember it from a distant roof shot (above).

When I eventually went back down a few floors to meet up with the group, it was just about time to leave & Chad took me home.

1 - Thanks Yrvelouria!



1 - former Postum Cereal - General Foods - Wikimapia

2 - 3. Canadian Postum Cereal Co. - Southwest Ontario Image Archive

3 - Postum - Wikipedia

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