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Custer’s last stand


Abandoned Shelter of the Week

On Detroit’s east side, 539 Custer sits near a church and barbecue joint. One can imagine the former residents eating a plate of ribs after Sunday worship. But if they did, it would have been some time ago. It has been about a decade since the three-family flat was occupied, according to neighbors. They say that the house was abandoned and is sometimes occupied by squatters.

The roof and second floor of the vintage 1900 structure are in disrepair. It appears that vinyl siding has been ripped off the house. The front door is made of plywood. The original fake brick siding is unscathed by the elements.

The home is valued at $10,600, according to city records. Considering its apparent condition, this is a steal. But the City of Detroit has other plans for the Custer home. Detroit Building and Safety Engineering Department intends to tear it down, says inspector Bob Bommarito.

We have instructed the utilities companies to disconnect the gas and electricity,” says Bommarito. “We are trying to get a permit of demolition for the property.”

Alas, the Abandoned Structure Squad may witness another potential home becoming a vacant lot.

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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