Christian VanAntwerpen: Blog en-us (C) Christian VanAntwerpen (Christian VanAntwerpen) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:43:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:43:00 GMT Christian VanAntwerpen: Blog 80 120 A very unassuming location You wouldn't think anything of it from the outside. There was no obviously significant architectural features, no grand windows, amazing brickwork. The location itself made this location more an eyesore than a treasure. and upon first entering, it was not even worthy of pulling out my camera. It was a dump. Collapsed floors, garbage everywhere.. it was horrible. Of all the great Detroit locations, I wondered why I was brought here. 


It didn't take long to find out



I walked into the area that my friend wanted me to see. It was this amazing place, where machines just stopped for the day and people went home... and never returned. Apart from the toll the elements took on the building, it seemed nothing was taken, nothing was moved. All the machinery was frozen in time. Presses and bobcats and welding machines rusted yet still standing were everywhere.

Most locations in Detroit would have been scrapped out at this level of ruin. There is really no respect for history in Detroit. It seemed to be a very well kept secret among explorers. I would have loved to returned to this location. So much to see and document. It was an instant favorite, not just because of everything inside, but also because nobody would have ever expected something so amazing withing the walls of this unassuming location.

Recently, rumors were floating around in the exploring community that demolition was imminent at the old foundry. Not being one to believe rumors, I held to hope that maybe it was another location. Maybe something else was happening near the waterfront area of Detroit. One can only hope until seeing photographic evidence. The foundry is gone forever.. except in photos and memories


I never name locations till a building is saved or lost forever. While it is in limbo, I must protect it's identity. Once a building is gone, I feel it is my duty to pay tribute to the location. Rest in Peace Detroit Gray Iron Foundry . 

Detroit Gray Iron Foundry operated from 1916 and probably ceased operations in the 1980's. The building was located on the waterfront off Jefferson on Wight Street between Iron and Meldrum. Demolition began March 2015

(Christian VanAntwerpen) Abandoned Christian VanAntwerpen Photography Detroit Exploration Foundry Gray Iron Michigan Urban Urbex blog demolished industrial photography prints Fri, 13 Mar 2015 03:27:34 GMT
Wrong Place, Wrong Time 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.

(Christian VanAntwerpen) . 1st Unitarian Church Abandoned Christian VanAntwerpen Photography Church Detroit Exploration Michigan Urban Urbex blog photography prints Thu, 05 Feb 2015 05:20:32 GMT