Hidden architecture in the Land Before Time:
On Building 39, this sign reads, "Michigan Industrial Electronics, 5300 Bellevue Ave."
Abandon all hope, ye who enter the south end here:
I remember finding a T3 headlight out of a classic GM car on the floor here by the door on my very first trip to the plant. I would've kept it, but I had already sold my 1971 Caprice, and had upgraded to an '84 Riviera with rectangular headlights. Got to keep up with the times, you know!
Now passing through "The Hole In the Wall"...in case ye still had any hope that ye forgot to abandon before, ye best make sure ye abandon it this time:
And take off your backpack too, because it was still a really small hole back in 2007.
I remember always being careful to unsheathe my +3 vorpal Maglite and check the other side of the hole before crawling though...just in case some hobgoblins, were-badgers, gelatinous cubes, or other dungeon foes lay in wait on the other side for hapless adventurers.
Once through, there was a loading dock on the other end of the next room, with an elevator and stairs up into the rest of the building:
Freight elevator tag from the City of Detroit Buildings & Safety Engineering Department:
Extra credit: Hardcore Detroiters will notice the old WAlnut telephone number scrawled above it.
Building 92 was also one of the only places you could still find a working handrail in the stairs:
Another tiny mezzanine room where we often paused for an equipment check...load film or video tape, spin that doob, fix the bag on your 40oz just right...srs bsns:
Looking through Building 92 toward the Pyramid:
Approaching the Bellevue Bridge:
Building 39 begins falling in on itself in earnest:
An advantageously-placed pallet allowed access through the window to walk into the covered conveyor on top of the bridge (for those of us who insist on always doing sh*t the hard way):
Looking south from 92:
Downtown skyline visible through the narrow slit of the missing window sashes:
For whatever reason I never really made sure to get photos of the prominent graffiti pieces in the plant; I liked photographing the crappy amateur stuff in the out-of-the-way areas of the plant that no one paid any attention to:
Building 39's gaping hole again:
This little hut on the roof of Building 39 with all the big vents was a small cafeteria or break room if I'm not mistaken, but I only went in there like once, and apparently I didn't take any photos:
The sign says "Torq Electric, 313-925-5000":
Again, that's a classic telephone number from the WAlnut exchange: WA5-5000.
Hopefully sooner than later I will be able to show you my photos of the Packard's telephone mainframe that was located in Building 12.
This shows the different angle that the bridge was on, compared to Building 38:
Building 92, seen from the roof of the Bellevue Bridge:
As you can see it's starting to get crumbly:
Looking back into 92:
That spot where the roof wall is missing was where the second of two simultaneous major collapses of Building 92 began:
Elevator penthouse of Building 38:
This was also when we started to take our drinking seriously...I mean, now we got coolers:
Building 37-38 again:
That's a fairly sizeable tree on the roof of Building 37:
There was even a day where I randomly brought my chainsaw with us into the plant (I had been using it earlier in the day and didn't want to leave it in the truck). Naturally I sawed a few rooftrees down just for fun...
*Don't let that "Remember 2012" graffiti trick you, this is still 2007; 2012 is a reference to the Mayan apocalypse predicted by the glyphs of the United Artists' Building.
Building 92's northern corner.
Bellevue Street was a popular place for illegal dumping, and depressing spray-painted poetry:
Peering across the roofs of 40-50 toward Poletown Assembly:
The long building is Building 92A:
As you can see I also started really enjoying the zoom feature and 16:9 ratio of my first decent digital camera...
The office wing and front gate of Building 13:
Looking north from Building 37's roof, Building 33 in foreground:
North face of 92:
The faded little orange dots over each building entrance once held the building number of that building:
Bellevue and the Boulevard:
The sheds of Building 34:
The "panhandle" of Building 37:
Building 34 looking all repetitive:
North from Building 37:
Not all of Building 34's roof monitors were identical...
The newish looking vent stacks were used by Bellevue Processing, the last tenant of the complex:
Roof trees of Building 37:
Building 34 and 35:
The Packard was all about repetition...
So this was that day where we (I) decided that we were going to navigate the entire plant from one end to the other, by only using the rooftop...
The weather was nice after all.
Can't get enough of that shot...
The Fisher Building:
The rooftrees really started to look like a forest, when viewed from the roof!
Here we are walking north along the main corridor, on top of Building 35:
The Russell Industrial Center (former Murray Body Plant) is seen in the distance:
A bunch of tar buckets, left behind after a roof repair from many years ago:
Recall that these buildings were where the Packard's truck assembly division was located, according to the Sanborn map:
A distant view of the hole forming in 92:
Rebar that had been left exposed for potential expansion of another story onto the plant:
Looking back south along Building 35's roof:
Elevator shaft of Building 33:
A metal screen partition:
Legs of the southern water tower, and Building 32:
Building 31 at right, 32 at left:
Elevator shaft of Building 31:
Here we are on top of the Palmer Bridge, which we found out was a dead end due to there being no windows or doors leading back into Building 28, and with no ladder the next roof was too high to reach:
Aerial power lines actually cross over top of the Palmer Bridge:
And damn, were they crusty! There were scraps of creosote-linen insulation all over the roof here as I recall, having shed off of the ancient lines long ago, like a snake sloughing its skin, leaving mostly bare copper conductors. Notice the old glass insulators on the cross-arms:
That's the TNT Bar on the corner, which if I recall correctly is now closed:
Looking down on Palmer Avenue, and some dumped refuse:
Building 28...it looks like there used to be more to it, judging by that door to nowhere on the second floor:
Looking through Building 28:
Building 31, and those drooping power lines over the Palmer Bridge:
By looking out the window you can tell this stairwell was in Building 31; we had to go down one floor to cross Palmer:
Here is one of the bridges between Building 31 and 32:
Most of these "mini" skybridges were still sealed at one end or the other:
Building 28's windows looking out over Concord Avenue:
Boulevard entrance to Building 13, apparently ripped open by people too impatient to hike the entire length of the plant from either end:
Building 27, Boulevard side:
The hole where the clock motor used to be in the Boulevard Bridge:
Entering Building 12 from the Boulevard Bridge:
Retrofitted streetlight pole at Concord and the Boulevard:
...the sign for the Packard Motel is in the background. It's shaped like a Packard grille, in cause you never noticed.
The Shoe Pit, with its crazy hanging ceiling still intact:
Passing through Building 3 to the bridge to Building 5:
Entrance to the second-floor bridge to Building 5:
The windows had already been knocked out of it by this point:
Still plenty of wooden sash windows intact on Building 1 however:
Building 5, and its square columns:
Many of the steel sashes had been knocked out of Building 5 by this point.
Plenty of trees around the ruins of Building 7-8-9:
The bridges to Building 5, seen from Building 2:
A popular stairwell in Building 2:
Elevator shaft in Building 2:
As always, stairs and elevators were paired in the same shaft:
I guess we decided to give up on traversing the roof, because here we are on the ground...
Obviously there were once bridges on the 3rd and 4th floors as well, judging by these doors:
Yodelin' In The Canyon...
The small-two-story projection is the main electrical switch room:
A Detroit Edison Co. manhole, no date:
Corner of Building 5:
Looking up at the uncovered 5th-floor bridge to Building 5...notice the holes in it:
An old GE cable spool sitting outside the electric switch room:
There's a really old fire hydrant in all that rubbish:
I guess we didn't go into Building 5 that day...
This unique spot was where the tunnel entrance under Building 1-2 was located...notice the steel stairs:
Looking back up to ground level:
Damn, I *promise you* I have a whole load of photos from inside the tunnels coming, but I guess they just aren't in the 2007 batch. I really wonder how many photos I have mislabeled or misplaced...
Back in Building 38, looking across at Building 39:
If I remember right it was sometime in 2007 that this area of Building 39 was ripped out suddenly one day...I remember showing up one day and there was some sort of crew in here with a Bobcat demolishing the iron structure.
We weren't quite sure if it was legit or just some renegade scrappers going gangbusters. Either way, Building 39 soon ceased to exist in any meaningful form.
In Buildings 37-38, the shed roof suddenly became visible due to the removal of the window sashes that once covered this wall...and as such, people started to go out there and paint on it, naturally:
Stairwell in Building 38:
Oh hey, here's some guy smoking crack or something:
If you're good, you can decode exactly where you are in the plant by looking at the stenciled numbers on each pillar. The first number is the number of the building:
I believe the second number tells you what floor you are on, and the third number (and the letter) tells you what bay you are in.
The wooden slat floor was still there.
And here we go back into Building 92:
The lower level of the Bellevue Bridge was bricked up, and dark inside.
Looking back north again along Bellevue, out a window of Building 92:
Someone was nice enough to go around and bust Kool Aid Man-sized holes in all the cinderblock walls of Building 92 at some point so we didn't have to wander around looking for a stairwell:
The many cinderblock partition walls here eventually became overflow graffiti canvas as the rest of the plant filled up.
92A seen out the window: