slumpy … the William Livingstone Mansion in Detroit’s Brush Park
May 9, 2007
Ryan writes: This is a house in the Brush Park neighborhood in Detroit. A few years ago the home was relocated to the spot it currently sits, but was done so poorly and now sags in the middle. Because of its sag this unique home as been dubbed “Slumpy” by people in Detroit. Its sad and only a matter of time before the home collapses.
Through the magic of FlickrVision, I have been watching Slumpy slump its way toward becoming a pile of rubble for a couple of years. Mac from Detroit BikeBlog (and also Bobby Alcott) pointed out this YouTube video of the front face of the mansion falling off (PG for language). UPDATE! Here’s an even better video (2nd one down). With Slumpy now one step closer to the ultimate end, I thought it would be a good time to dig for a little of the history.
The best I found is at Detroit 1701’s page on the William Livingstone Residence which says:
A prosperous family in Detroit in the 1890s likely wanted to build a home in one of the city’s most elegant neighborhoods. The two most prestigious, arguably, were Brush Park with its numerous mansions or Woodward Avenue where David Whitney and Colonel Hecker had built their castle-like mansion. William Livingstone selected Eliot Street in Brush Park and then employed a very young Albert Kahn who was working for the George Mason-Zachariah Rice firm. When he obtained this commission – presumably with Mason’s help; Kahn was only 22 or 23 years old and had just returned from spending 1891 in Europe studying the classical architecture of the Old World.
Albert Kahn designed in a French Renaissance mode for the home you see, perhaps, reflecting the time he spent sketching the best Gallic architecture. Currently, it takes a great deal of imagination to understand what this once-impressive home looked like in 1893 when Kahn completed it. You can see an interesting array of windows, an appealing tower with its conical roof along with an impressive entryway. This residence was originally built about one block to the west of its present location to the west of John R. The Red Cross intended to demolish this home for their new building. Preservationists succeeded in successfully moving the Livingstone Home about one block to the east.
Wikipedia has a list of buildings designed by Albert Kahn and more information about the architect. They note that as of 2006, Kahn had around 60 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
- December 19, 2005 – Three Years of Slumpy – leads with a great “back in the day” photo. The more I wander through this blog, the more slumptastic I find it to be.
- Flickr map showing location of Brush Park in Detroit – Thanks, SNWEB.org.
- Another Flickr map showing the location of the William Livingstone home from A Dubs
- A Dubs also has some more photos and a much better video of the collapse at his blog, Faded Detroit.
- And All the King’s Men… Detroit Funk photo study
- Detroit’s Brush Park: Urban Decay and Rebirth Tons of pics of buildings in the neighborhood (including some restored homes)
- Forging Brush Park Great Model D article on redevelopment efforts in Brush Park
- What did I miss? Post links to more info and/or your photos in the comments!