Saturday, January 14, 2012

Faded Detroit

The abandoned Globe Trading Company building in Detroit has seen better days. According to, it was built in 1892 at Orleans and Atwater, originally as the Dry Dock Engine Works. An 1881 ad described the company as "manufacturers of steam engines, propeller wheels and machinery of all kinds." A young Henry Ford worked in the company's original building as a machinist from 1880-1892, before Dry Dock Engine Works moved into the larger building now standing at the site. Thomas Edison also served a stint as an apprentice there. The building was later occupied by the Detroit Edison Reconditioning and Appliance Shop before the Globe Trading Company, formerly located on Franklin Street, moved into the warehouse in the late 1950s. Globe sold a variety of products, including steel equipment, cabinets, lockers, folding chairs, benches, tubing, tool and die steels, and factory equipment and motors. There's been talk of renovating it for years. At one point, it was going to be redeveloped into a $15 million complex with 45 condominiums and 10,000-square-feet of retail space. The blog Faded Detroit relayed the news in September 2010 that William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor had received a $25,000 grant from Coca-Cola, the American Parks Foundation and the National Park Foundation to turn part of the building into a 17,000-square-foot play area with a rock climbing wall, playscape, obstacle course and archery range. But for now, the building still sits empty, a shell of its former self. Sadly, that's not so rare for Detroit.

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