Sunday, April 7, 2013

Walking The Dequindre Cut

Anyone who has followed this blog for any length of time knows that I like trains.  I've heard of the Dequindre Cut before, so I decided to look it up.  When I saw it's tie with rail history, I decided that it needed to be a post or two on this blog.  So here goes.
 This first picture is out of order as this sign is a little further up the cut.  However, it outlines the rules and stuff and seems like a good starting point, so here it is.  As I said, the Dequindre Cut is a part of Detroit's Railroad history and I will cover some of those aspects in this post.
 Another thing the Cut is known for is its grafitti.    From the time the railroad abandoned it until the time it became a greenway, it was used by local grafitti artists to display their wares.  There are actually some really good pieces through there.  Anyway, more on that later as well.
 So where to start?  I guess we will start with the engine factory.   Many of Detroit's industries sprang up along the river because of the easy access to the raw materials from ships.  This created problems getting goods from the factories to other places because of Detroit's haphazard street arrangement.
 The first rail line to Detroit was built in the 1830s by the Detroit and Pontiac Railroad (which was a predecessor to the Grand Trunk Railroad).  By the 1920s, there were over 400 factories operating along the river but there was already a substantial rail network and the city didn't want to snarl traffic futher.  So it was proposed that the line running parallel to St. Aubin Street be regraded so that it ran below the ground level.
 By 1930, the grading was completed and the crossings were built over the Cut.  This cut transit times considerably.  This is sort of the first part of the Cut.  It was converted to a greenway in 2009.
 Some of the vestiges of factories that remain along the grade.
 Looking at the other side of the Engine Works.
 By 1930, the crossings over the Dequindre Cut were finished.  Many of them are still intact but there are a few that are no longer there.  As you can see in this picture, they aren't in the greatest shape.
 As the century progressed, rail usage declined.  Passenger service through the cut was ended in 1982 and freight service a few years after that.  As a result, many grafitti artists started to use some of the walls for their arts.
 Between 1998 to 2000, the Canadian National railroad sold the cut. 
 I liked some of the banners along the way.
 When the casinos were first authorized for Detroit, one of the possible locations was along the riverfront.  When that idea was proposed, it was also proposed that the Dequindre Cut be used as a freeway.  That idea never came to fruition because the casinos ended up being built elsewhere in the city.
 In 2003, plans were put in motion to make the Cut a greenway.  Ground was broke in 2005 and the greenway opened in 2009.  And now people can enjoy it.
 I'm not sure what building this is.
 At one time, this would have been a roadway.
 One of the better pieces of art.  I didn't really notice it going out but it took a different light coming back.
 I'd imagine this was to keep the track free of debris.
 Much of the grafitti has stayed.  And they even encourage more as long as it's not offensive.
 I really like this one.
 I also kind of liked this.
 The St. Joseph Church through one of the arches.
 Another piece that I really liked.  But this begs to be asked if its grafitti or art.
 I liked the message in this piece.
 The symbol for the Detroit River Front Conservancy.
 I should have taken a closer picture of this one.
 And this is where the greenway portion ends.  There are plans to extend it at some point.
 This one reminded me of a city in the clouds.
Looking at the non-greenway part from Gratiot Avenue.  Unfortunately, it was through a chain link fence, hence the diagonals trhough the sides.

I have another series as I returned to the park but that is in a later post.

1 comment:

LindO Designs said...

Is the raven mural still there??