Wrong Place Wrong Time
Historic buildings get lost for a variety of reasons. Some reasons make sense; public safety, liability, vandalism. Some reasons baffle us.
Almost all involve money and power.
In the case of the 1st Unitarian Church it was a case of the wrong place at the wrong time
Built between 1889 and 1890, the Romanesque Revival-Style church sat proud on Woodward, near downtown Detroit for well over a hundred years. Built of red sandstone, the church went through many changes. Physical and congregational changes happened to this building in the 1930's. In 1982 the structure was "protected" on the National Register of Historic Places.
Sometime in the 2000's the church was abandoned and fell into disrepair.
In the spring of 2014 the church was engulfed in a sudden and tremendous fire. The fire was considered suspicious. It turns out the owners of the property had tried to demolish the church in previous years and failed, due to the church being protected. A new arena is coming to downtown and that church sat in a prime location to profit from this.
1st Unitarian was the 1st church explore I did in Detroit. I remember it vividly. I jumped thru the window to the sight of about 4 or 5 bums sleeping on the floor. The smell was the second thing I remember.. Apparently the bathroom situation was all around me.. on the floor.
I learned a valuable lesson that day: a cigarette can settle any differences between the homeless and the explorer. I have carried cigarettes into explores ever since.
I regret not returning to this location. I was relatively new to exploring on that visit and my pictures, though valuable to me, are not up to the quality I expect for myself now. I miss seeing that church coming down Woodward from downtown.