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Abandoned Shelter of the Week

See a Victorian dream home gone slumming at 619 W. Willis. This 512-square-foot, two-story house was built in the early 1900s. Surrounded by overgrown shrubbery, trees and tall grass, the house may seem to jump out at the visitor. Creeping vines help the house blend into its surroundings.

The building maintains a classy style, despite being plagued by rotting wood and boarded-up windows. A journey into the back yard reveals that the house may still have inhabitants. A dresser sits angled, almost falling into a cellar hole. The dresser does not seem to be weathered; the wood looks new and has a shiny finish. The walls are lined with green trim that fits perfectly with the green porch light dangling from a wood-paneled ceiling on the side entrance. Farther back sits a fresh bag of trash. In addition, an old rusted grill lies near an area of cracked stones which may have been a patio.

This once-beautiful structure brings decay to a bustling area. Its assessed value has risen from $5,200 in 2001 to $35,900 in 2002. The drastic rise in may be a sign of positive changes in Detroit, but this place appears to be in steep decline.

Text and photo by editorial intern Heather Rousseau.

Editor’s note: If you know of an abandoned home you would like to see featured in this spot, send a photo and pertinent information to News Hits, c/o Metro Times, 733 St. Antoine, Detroit, MI 48226 (or e-mail

Check out all of our Abandoned Shelters of the Week

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