Brush Park, Detroit: Historic Home of Decaying Mansions and Elite Abandonments

(All images by Kevin Bauman (see Flickr and 100 Abandoned Houses Project)

Documented by photographer Kevin Bauman as part of his excellent 100 Abandoned Houses project, the 24-block neighbourhood of Midtown Detroit known as Brush Park, conceived in the 1850s, had once been an oasis of grand homes aimed at the city’s elite. Spearheaded by entrepreneur Edmund Brush, construction peaked several decades later with 300 Victorian, Second Empire and Romanesque homes. But the area fell into disrepair due to the advent of streetcars and automobiles, which enabled well-to-do residents to move away from the inner city during the early 20th Century.

During the Great Depression some larger mansions were subdivided into apartments and by the end of World War Two many homes had been permanently abandoned. While the 1990s brought about an ongoing conservation effort that ultimately led to Brush Park’s classification as a historic district, only 154 of the original 300 structures remained by 2001.

Denver-based photographer Kevin Bauman‘s project 100 Abandoned Houses underscores the dilapidation and decay endured by the Detroit neighbourhood once known as the “Little Paris of the Midwest”. Like other neglected areas that have seen some resurgence in recent years through conservation and art, the regeneration of Brush Park seems to be a largely grassroots effort.

Keep reading – explore 20 Spectacular Abandoned Mansions of the World and don’t miss Detroit’s Heidelberg Project, Empowering Communities through Recycled Art.



  • Mr Riggs

    If those buildings could talk right? Awesome post.

  • Tom

    Thanks Riggy, glad you enjoyed it!

  • christopher garrett

    I really enjoyed this story,
    I have an obsession with old abandoned houses and buildings,
    Especially Victorian mansions. Thanks.

    P.s. great web page and photos!

  • Tom

    Thanks for your feedback Chris and delighted you enjoyed the story and site. They’re definitely amazing old mansions and be sure to check out Kevin Bauman’s full set of 100 Abandoned Houses, it’s awesome!

  • Wastrels.

  • J

    This is an absolute travesty! The degradation of these once classic, beautiful homes that were totally let go and left to rot is so sad! I often wonder what happened to the families who owned them in their hay day? No heirs? Just abandoned and left to die.


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