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Geography of Michigan

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The brown brick building at 4860 15th Street is at the center of the next downsizing to hit this failing city: the restructuring of the Archdiocese of Detroit. St. Leo Catholic Church was built more than 120 years ago as Detroit was developing into a manufacturing powerhouse – first in shipbuilding and later in car making. Today its neighborhood is one of the most abandoned pockets in one of the nation’s most desperate cities. Like many Catholic churches around urban America, it has been hit by a shortage of priests and a dwindling supply of parishioners. Read the full story here and photographer’s blog here.

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My friend and MAKE Colleague Becky Stern paid a visit to the Packard plant in Detroit when Maker Faire wrapped up on Sunday afternoon. She snapped some photos. Becky told me there were no fences or signs to warn people away. It would make an excellent set for a post-apocalyptic science fiction movie.

From Wikipedia: "The 3,500,000 sq ft Packard plant on East Grand Boulevard in Detroit was located on over 35 acres of land. It was designed by Albert Kahn, and included the first use of reinforced concrete for industrial construction in Detroit. When opened in 1903, it was considered the most modern automobile manufacturing facility in the world, and its skilled craftsmen practiced over eighty trades. The dilapidated plant still stands, despite repeated fires."

Packard plant Flickr set by Becky Stern

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The Detroit River circa 1905. "Transfer steamer Detroit." Yet another view of this workhorse of the waterways. Detroit Publishing glass negative. View full size.

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