Looking for a home away from all the hustle and bustle of Detroit, but still want to be in the city? The Lee Burt House at 420 Concord St. just might be the house for you. The house was built in the early 1870s by geographical surveyor William Burt. After the nearby Uniroyal Tire plant closed in the 1980s, the house was, sadly, abandoned. Today it stands as a shadow of what it once was, but with a little TLC it could be restored to its former glory.
This Italianate-style, two-story home stands just off Jefferson Avenue in what some might call an “abandoned” neighborhood. The ASS (that’s Abandoned Structure Squad, thank you very much), however, would describe it as beautiful and quiet — apart from the traffic on Jefferson. Only five crimes have happened within a mile radius of the home in the last week, none of them particularly violent — with the exception of a simple assault just a few blocks away. Plus, the house comes equipped with guard raccoons living in the knee-high grass of the front yard, and sits between the Detroit and Grosse Pointe police stations. How’s that for safety?
Neighbors keep to themselves, but tire tubes and an empty vodka bottle on the sidewalk makes them seem like fun and active people. And one fashions himself an artist, leaving his artwork on the front of the house.
The bricks have suffered some wear and tear over the years, but the structure remains solid and features tall, ornate windows. The upper windows are boarded with some dark and lovely plywood that complements the bricks. But take down the plywood from the bay windows on the side of the house closest to Jefferson, and you’ll have a breathtaking view of the vacant white building next door.
The front door is missing, but the plywood covering the doorframe sits about two, maybe three, feet off of the ground, just above a small porch and covered patio. There are no longer any steps leading to the door, which is the perfect opportunity for some daily aerobics, without a gym membership!
A cracked walk leads from the door to the street. In order to get to the sidewalk, you’ll have to do a little yard work and hack down some overgrown vegetation. The wrought-iron fence that once surrounded the property is no longer standing in the front, but it does fence off the small backyard. A chain-link fence wrapped around a tree in the backyard adds a little pizzazz.
The ASS couldn’t get fully inside the house to inspect the wiring, plumbing, or interior size, but did notice the house’s two chimneys still mostly intact for those cold Detroit nights, and a toilet on the front lawn for when you really gotta go — on the go.
Alas, homebuyers, she’s not for sale: 420 Concord St. is owned by Clairmont Development Co., and was listed on the city of Detroit’s Historic Register in 1985.
Know a structure you’d like the ASS to assess? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.