Originally Posted by LMich
Detroit has so, so many, but one of the most visible to be lost was the old City Hall
What a magnificent Rennaissance revival masterpiece. Demolished in 1961, around the same time as Penn Station, it was during those few years that the most attrocious, brutal acts of vandalism against our architectural history were perpetrated. I guess we needed to do it to a few buildings to realize it was a mistake and set up the National Historic Landmarks archive and historic preservation laws... Still, it's heartbreaking to say the least.
The very sad sad thing about Detroit is that, like you said, it's lost so many of its historic buildings already, because they'd been sitting vacant for years in desperate hope that better times would come for Detroit. And the saddest thing is that it's still happening. Another one scheduled to go very soon is the Lafayette Building, which is visible in your third shot on the right side.
Here it is today:
and this article here explains in detail why it's been slated for demolition:
Basically it's been vacant for 10 years now and it's starting to fall apart, the city's been hopefully waiting for someone to buy and restore it but nobody has stepped forward, and the longer they wait the more it deteriorates - pieces of it have begun falling off on the sidewalk below, so it's now deemed a hazard and it's currently slated to be demolished later this year. On one hand I understand the city - what are they gonna do, they've been keeping it there for years, nobody wants it and at this point its coming apart on its own, so they have no other choice - it's not like they're demolishing a functioning maintained building like they did in the 60s. But on the other hand, I just can't believe that there is absolutely nothing more that can be done...
And another one in Detroit - the prospect of this one being demolished literally almost brings tears to my eyes. The Michigan Central Train station. It's still standing today, but it's been abandoned since 1988. Here are a few pics to give you an idea of what it looks like:
So, what happened is Amtrak discontinued service to Detroit in 1988 - another sad story - and this beautiful Beaux-Arts neoclassical masterpiece, built by the same architectural firm which designed Grand Central in New York City, has been sitting vacant for 20 years now, deteriorating, vandalized, exposed to the elements, you get the picture. It was, however, listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 and its obviously huge (tallest train station in the world at the time of completion) and very historically and architecturally significant, so when the city voted on April 7, 2009 to demolish it, a city resident by the name of Stanley Christmas sued the city citing the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 - got that info from wikipedia and several articles.
Now, interest in the building has been rekindled a little and there are still hopes it might survive and be bought and restored. See this article:
but its fate is still uncertain. I think everything that can be done should be done to save this station. The Midwest High-Speed Rail is coming in 10 years or so and Detroit will be a major stop, so if the station can hold up until then, they won't need to find a use for it anymore.
Sorry for the huge post, I obviously have too much time on my hands these days.
I've actually only been to Detroit once, but it's definitely one of the nation's top cities for architectural history, and I do believe better times are coming for the city sooner or later, so the more demolitions can get postponed the better. The city's got hundreds of vacant decaying houses to deal with - demolish those first before you get to pre-depression ornated buildings downtown.
Originally Posted by Tolbert
Königsberg faced heavy destruction during the war and so did the castle. The Soviets razed the entire city center but two churches and a handful buildings that didn't get destroyed. Everything else was leveled not only because it was already in ruins but to erase anything German left.
Same things did the east German government in numerous cases to erase the "prussian absolutism" of German cities. Most famous example is the "Stadtschloss" in Berlin
Thank you for clearing that up! I can't believe the East German government demolished this beautiful building in Berlin, but I can't say it's any worse than what we did to our own buildings...