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Lewis Cass Technical High School, Then and Now
December 10, 2012 6:44 PM   Subscribe

Detroit's Lewis Cass Technical High School, Then and Now. Period photos superimposed over the historic building's abandoned interiors, presented by detroiturbex.com.
posted by milquetoast (19 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
Sort-of buried in this and important to remember is that the new Cass Tech school which was built quite recently stands directly next to the old, which hasn't been torn down yet. This frequently is left out in the midst of all the oh-Detroit-look-what-it-has-become! ruin-porn.
posted by c0nsumer at 6:53 PM on December 10, 2012 [11 favorites]


I found this beautiful, but I also felt a bit guilty because Detroit has such a problem with overproduction of ruin-porn these days. It shouldn't have to make a statement about Detroit in particular, though. This would be a touching, melancholy project in any abandoned building.
posted by Countess Elena at 6:54 PM on December 10, 2012


Thanks for the supporting info, c0nsumer. I was feeling kinda bummed since some of the "then" pictures looked pretty recent. Good to see the school is empty because the students have a brand new school, and not for other reasons (though I usually prefer to see ok buildings renovated rather than replaced).
posted by zsazsa at 7:06 PM on December 10, 2012


c0nsumer: "Sort-of buried in this and important to remember is that the new Cass Tech school which was built quite recently stands directly next to the old, which hasn't been torn down yet. This frequently is left out in the midst of all the oh-Detroit-look-what-it-has-become! ruin-porn."

Thanks for this point c0nsumer - though it looks like the old school was demolished last year.
posted by dd42 at 7:08 PM on December 10, 2012


Nice treatment of the photos. I graduated from the old Cass Tech in 1979. And, it was torn down over a year ago.
posted by The Deej at 7:08 PM on December 10, 2012


The then-and-now photos are neat, but the images are actually much more powerful without the overlays. See this larger, totally haunting, gallery of the abandoned school before it was demolished.
posted by bicyclefish at 7:10 PM on December 10, 2012


In the gymnasium photos, you can see the railing above the gym floor. This was a banked running track. 22 laps equalled a mile, and I ran many many laps on that track. One day, at the end of my run, I ran up the bank to hop up onto the level floor at the top of the bank. But I was so tired I slipped and landed on the top edge of the bank on my knee. Blood ran down into my sock and shoe and I still have the scar today.
posted by The Deej at 7:17 PM on December 10, 2012 [7 favorites]


Thanks, that's pretty moving....
posted by HuronBob at 7:22 PM on December 10, 2012


See this larger, totally haunting, gallery of the abandoned school before it was demolished.
posted by bicyclefish


Thanks for that link. Photos 32 and 33 show the letterpress I actually ran many printing jobs on, and the composition room I spend many hours putting handling cold lead type from those type cases strewn on the floor! Photo 36 shows the photo lab where I learned to develop film and make enlargements.
posted by The Deej at 7:34 PM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Damn. What gets me is all the waste. Those beautiful wood floors in the gym and dance room, the lab counters that look like actual soapstone... all just left to rot. You'd think when a school was closed, someone would care about the resources- all those things that money were spent on that could be put to good use in other schools. Salvage, at the very least.
posted by oneirodynia at 8:06 PM on December 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


c0nsumer: "Sort-of buried in this and important to remember is that the new Cass Tech school which was built quite recently stands directly next to the old, which hasn't been torn down yet. This frequently is left out in the midst of all the oh-Detroit-look-what-it-has-become! ruin-porn."

You know, given all of Detroit's problems, I'm not going to preach about the architecturally-magnificent building that was demolished -- old buildings cost a fortune to maintain, and Detroit just doesn't have the people or resources to do it.

That said, I'm pretty irked that it's being torn down to make room for surface parking.

Did Detroit's demise teach us nothing about how not to build cities? Why bother building tall structures if there's just going to be a parking lot next door....
posted by schmod at 8:14 PM on December 10, 2012


In fairness, it looks like the footprint of the old building will be used for, yes, some parking, but also a baseball field.
posted by The Deej at 8:26 PM on December 10, 2012


Deej.... it's got to be hard for you to look at these... hang in there....
posted by HuronBob at 8:50 PM on December 10, 2012


Thanks Huron Bob... Yeah, nostalgic; I've seen a ton of Cass Tech photos over the years, and even saw the school in mid-demolition when I visited Detroit last time.

But this is the first time I've seen my actual old classroom and the equipment I used! Pretty awesome! But we take the bitter with the sweet, and the new building is fantastic.
posted by The Deej at 9:12 PM on December 10, 2012


It really seems strange to me that it is cheaper to build a new building than it is to maintain an older one.
posted by psycho-alchemy at 9:38 PM on December 10, 2012


Might not end up being cheaper after all. The caption on the picture of the new school states "The new school in 2010. Five years after its opening, the school still struggles with issues related to shoddy workmanship and poor planning."

It's interesting to see that an earlier part of the school was demolished to make way for a freeway.
posted by alexei at 12:54 AM on December 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sorry, I would have sworn I saw the old Cass Tech building when driving past on I-75 a few weeks ago. I guess it has been torn down, though.
posted by c0nsumer at 6:27 AM on December 11, 2012


How does a building fall apart that quickly? It looks like it's at most a decade or so since it's been uninhabited and yet the ceilings are pretty much entirely disintegrated, the paint is almost all peeled off the walls and the TV in this picture is melted, but with no other apparent fire damage.
posted by nTeleKy at 8:49 AM on December 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


There was a fire in the building in 2007. Photo gallery here.

So, yeah, windows busted out, water sprayed on everything; that'll destroy things pretty quickly.
posted by The Deej at 11:15 AM on December 12, 2012


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