June 10th, 2012

old gm building

441 east grand boulevard

Today my scouting companion and I checked out the Dr. Edmund Viertel home at 441 East Grand Boulevard. The identification of the home and the discovery of the news clipping below were his work, not mine.

From the Detroit Free Press, September 26, 1915.

The house seemed promising at first. The 1915 Arts and Crafts bungalow sits high on a busy (and therefore relatively safe) corner across the street from a nursing home with 24-hour security. The public rooms face south and receive abundant sunlight. The home has three bedrooms, two full bathrooms, an attached garage, and a basement that was solid and dry. The kitchen's original subway tiles are intact, and the original bathtubs remain.

Unfortunately, the house is in deplorable condition. The radiators, boiler, and water heater have all been removed. There is old water damage everywhere. A homeless person--who evidently entered through the broken window--was sleeping in one of the bedrooms. I closed that door and he or she did not bother us. The porch roof is totally shot and needs to be completely replaced. The floors slope and crack in ways that a house from 1915 really shouldn't. Adding to the sense of dread and foreboding in the home is the odor of an unflushed toilet.

Living room.

Dining room.

Evidence of shoddy repairs and historical desecration were everywhere. The fireplace has been covered in totally inappropriate white marble. Details from the inglenook--which I didn't even know was a thing until my friend explained the concept to me--have been ripped out. Previous owners did strip some of the woodwork (including what few original kitchen cabinets remained), but they were never refinished.

As much as I am ready for a new challenge, I decided that this project is beyond my abilities, even if I partnered with my exceptionally knowledgeable friend. The only thing that can save this house is someone with a lot of money.