Brewster - Douglass Housing Projects

Image Number: 00432
<br>Lonely apartment at Brewster - Douglass Housing Project's Frederick Douglass Apartment Tower 301
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--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 00433
<br>Flooded first floor at Brewster - Douglass Housing Project's Frederick Douglass Apartment Tower 301
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--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 00434
<br>Brightly colored apartment at Brewster - Douglass Housing Project's Frederick Douglass Apartment Tower 301
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--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 00435
<br>Tree outside apartment at Brewster - Douglass Housing Project's Frederick Douglass Apartment Tower 301
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--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 00436
<br>View of Tower 306 at Brewster - Douglass Housing Project's Frederick Douglass Apartment Tower 301
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--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 00437
<br>Cluttered apartment at Brewster - Douglass Housing Project's Frederick Douglass Apartment Tower 301
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--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 00438
<br>Loose wires at Brewster - Douglass Housing Project's Frederick Douglass Apartment Tower 301
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--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 00439
<br>A reminder of the less fortunate at Brewster - Douglass Housing Project's Frederick Douglass Apartment Tower 301
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--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 00440
<br>So Many Air Force Ones at Brewster - Douglass Housing Project's Frederick Douglass Apartment Tower 301
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--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 00441
<br>Neighboring Tower 302 with Detroit skyline in the distance from Brewster - Douglass Housing Project's Frederick Douglass Apartment Tower 301
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--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 00442
<br>Over the edge at Brewster - Douglass Housing Project's Frederick Douglass Apartment Tower 301
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--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 00443
<br>Household decorations left behind at Brewster - Douglass Housing Project's Frederick Douglass Apartment Tower 301
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--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 01632
<br>Graffiti from stairwell at Brewster - Douglass Housing Project's Frederick Douglass Apartment Tower 305<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 01633
<br>Trashed couch at Brewster - Douglass Housing Project's Frederick Douglass Apartment Tower 305<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 01634
<br>Empty recliner at Brewster - Douglass Housing Project's Frederick Douglass Apartment Tower 305<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 01635
<br>Broken glass at Brewster - Douglass Housing Project's Frederick Douglass Apartment Tower 305<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 01636
<br>View of the project with Downtown Detroit in the background from Brewster - Douglass Housing Project's Frederick Douglass Apartment Tower 305<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 02470
<br>Empty basketball court with Frederick Douglass apartment towers in the background from the Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 02471
<br>Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects looking down the Division Street walking bridge over Interstate 75<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 02472
<br>Empty bleachers with Frederick Douglass apartment towers in the background from the Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 02719
<br>Red chair in athletic field at the Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 02720
<br>First floor of Frederick Douglass Apartment Tower 306 in the Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 02721
<br>Frederick Douglass Apartment Tower 301 as viewed from Tower 306 in the Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 02722
<br>Eastern Market and the Thorn Apple Valley Slaughterhouse as viewed from Frederick Douglass Apartment Tower 306 in the Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 02723
<br>Sweetest Heart of Mary Catholic Church as viewed from Frederick Douglass Apartment Tower 306 in the Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 03027
<br>Brewster - Douglass Housing Project's Frederick Douglass Apartment towers at night<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 03028
<br>Detroit skyline at night as viewed from the roof of Brewster - Douglass Housing Project's Frederick Douglass Apartment Tower 302<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 03029
<br>Brewster - Douglass Housing Project's Frederick Douglass Apartment towers at night as viewed from the roof of Tower 302<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 03030
<br>Night view looking out of entryway at Brewster - Douglass Housing Project's Frederick Douglass Apartment Tower 302<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 03031
<br>Basketball court with Brewster - Douglass Housing Project's Frederick Douglass Apartment towers at night<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 04075
<br>Winter night at the Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 04076
<br>Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects in late autumn from Brush Park<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 04077
<br>Winter night at the Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 04078
<br>Winter night at the Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 04079
<br>Winter night at the Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 05419
<br>Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects at night<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 05420
<br>Frederick Douglass Apartment Tower 106-A2 at night during abatement from Wilkins Street<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 05421
<br>Frederick Douglass Apartment Tower 106-A2 at night during abatement from Wilkins Street<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 05422
<br>Frederick Douglass Apartment Towers 105-A1 and 106-A2 at night during abatement from Beaubien Street<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 05423
<br>Frederick Douglass Apartment Towers at night<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 05424
<br>Detroit skyline from Frederick Douglass Apartment Tower 105-A1 at night<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 05425
<br>Detroit skyline from Frederick Douglass Apartment Tower 105-A1 at night<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 05426
<br>Detroit skyline from Frederick Douglass Apartment Tower 105-A1 at night<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 05427
<br>Room in Frederick Douglass Apartment Tower 105-A1 at night<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 06142
<br>Demolition of Frederick Douglass Apartments Tower 105-A1 with Renaissance Center in the background at night<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 06143
<br>Demolition of Frederick Douglass Apartments Tower 105-A1 at night<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 06144
<br>Frederick Douglass Apartments Tower during demolition at night<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 06322
<br>Frederick Douglass Apartments during demolition of Tower 305 at the Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 06323
<br>Frederick Douglass Apartments across Interstate 75 during demolition of Tower 305 at the Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 06324
<br>Frederick Douglass Apartments during demolition of Tower 305 at the Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 06513
<br>Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects during demolition of Tower 305 viewed down Alfred Street<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 06514
<br>Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects during demolition of Tower 305<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 06548
<br>Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects during demolition<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 06549
<br>Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects during demolition of Tower 305 viewed from Saint Antoine Street<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 06550
<br>Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects during demolition viewed from Chrysler Service Drive<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 06551
<br>Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects during demolition of Tower 305 viewed from Chrysler Service Drive<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 06552
<br>Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects during demolition of Tower 305 viewed from Chrysler Service Drive<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 06553
<br>Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects during demolition of Tower 305 viewed from Chrysler Service Drive<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 06554
<br>Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects Tower 302 viewed from Chrysler Service Drive<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 06555
<br>Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects during demolition of Tower 305 viewed from Chrysler Service Drive<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 06556
<br>Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects during demolition of Tower 305 viewed from Chrysler Service Drive<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 06557
<br>Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects during demolition of Tower 305<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 06558
<br>Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects during demolition of Tower 305 viewed from Alfred Street at Saint Antoine Street<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 06928
<br>Demolition of the Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects' Frederick Douglass Apartment Towers 302 and 306<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 06929
<br>Demolition of the Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects' Frederick Douglass Apartment Towers 301 and 306<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 06930
<br>Demolition of the Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects' Frederick Douglass Apartment Towers 301 and 306<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 06931
<br>Demolition of the Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects' Frederick Douglass Apartment Towers 301, 302 and 306<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 06932
<br>Demolition of the Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects' Frederick Douglass Apartment Towers 302 and 306<br>
--Detroit, Michigan Image Number: 06933
<br>Demolition of the Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects' Frederick Douglass Apartment Towers 301, 302 and 306<br>
--Detroit, Michigan

Location Name:  Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects (Detroit, Michigan)

Location Type:  Abandoned Site (Housing Project)

Year Completed:  1938

Architect(s):  Harley, Ellington and Day

History:  

Brewster-Douglass was the first federally-funded public housing project for black Americans. Designed by architects Harley, Ellington and Day, construction began on the Brewster homes when First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt broke ground for the 701-unit development in 1935. A 1941 expansion brought the total of housing units to 941. The Brewster homes were built for the working poor. Contrary to the social stigma often associated with living in "the projects," in the earlier days the housing commission imposed strict requirements for project tenants. To live in Brewster-Douglass, each family must include at least one employed tenant before residency could be established. The projects were seen as a place for upwardly mobile lower income families to start off. The projects were something of a social experiment meant to uplift those in need; but only those who were willing to help themselves.

In 1952, the Frederick Douglass Apartment towers were completed, making Brewster-Douglass the largest housing project owned by the City of Detroit. The six fourteen story towers were built in the modern architectural style. The growing projects were once home to such notable figures as Diana Ross, Lily Tomlin and Smokey Robinson. Yet despite the early successes of the Brewster-Douglass projects, migration of the upwardly mobile tenants to the suburbs brought harder times on the projects. During the 1960s and 1970s, housing restrictions weakened and the area became known for the drug and crime problems that plagued the inner city.

In 1991 the low-rise apartment blocks were razed and replaced by 250 townhomes, now known as the New Brewster Homes. In 2003, Frederick Douglass Towers 303 and 304 were demolished, leaving just four towers remaining; these were converted to senior housing. Continuing problems eventually led to the 2008 closure of the towers. Today only the townhomes remain in use. The city has stated that it intends to demolish the abandoned properties but no date has yet been set. Until then, the four ghost towers overlook commuters traveling along Interstate 75. What awaits the property? No one knows. Just a stone’s throw from the city’s new and thriving stadiums, perhaps it can be invigorated by its proximity to Comerica Park, Ford Field and the Foxtown area. In the meantime, an important part of the city’s past awaits the wrecking ball, but the scar it creates is visible for miles around.

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