Detroit: The Ghost Apartment


Many abandoned apartments often still contain the larger, harder-to-move and sometimes uniquely vintage furniture items, like sofas and chairs, and most of the units in this building are similar.  The first floor’s ceilings are, like, 14 feet high, but the rooms are small and hallways narrow and mazelike, with soft, rotten spots to dodge along the floorboards on every level.  The weakening structure makes the doorways tilt against each other at odd angles, and the apartments are all painted bright, contrasting colors, manifesting a funhouse-like atmosphere.


One apartment stands out from the rest as far as artifacts go – the stylish and well-read occupant/s left behind a large assortment of books on multiple shelves, strewn among the detritus on the floor, and piled up on the tables, dusty and flecked with paw prints. Clothing still hangs in the closets, and food is still stored in the pantry – much of which is now on the floor, though several jars of beans and some kind of horribly rotten soup contained in Tupperware remain shelved.  The kitchen is a brown-orange ombre with yellow accent walls with neatly shelved, albeit randomly assorted dishes, while the attached living room is painted a soft lilac purple, shadowed with dust where ornamental, faux filigree wall decorations once hung.  There’s a small TV on a vintage teak coffee table, personal care items in the medicine cabinet, and a calendar from the 1990’s.  I could go on and on.

The thing with these frozen-in-time apartments is that, before or while the building was being condemned and the residents were leaving, someone probably died.  They’re rare, intimate glimpses into people’s lives, decades ago, and it feels a little bit like archaeology.  People often ask me what my favorite locations are, and if you’re only counting things that haven’t been torn down yet, my answer is definitely a list of apartment buildings like this.

7 thoughts on “Detroit: The Ghost Apartment

  1. I agree – the apartments like the one shown above really are the most interesting of your posts. The buildings have interesting features, but the apartments are ghosts of the people who once lived in them. They’re haunted by untold stories.

    Liked by 2 people

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