It’s a much simpler story than you think, the Detroit story.
1998 building demolition. — Photos by Debby Williams
About 110 years ago Detroit was a multi-industry town like many American cities of the time.
About 85 years ago people from around the world, and the country, had flocked to Detroit for work in the auto industry. It became a boom town.
Maybe 60 years ago the apex of that era had been reached. At the time no one knew.
Some 35 years ago the auto industry chiefs kept up the belief that the world we knew could go on perhaps forever. We experienced cyclical boom and bust periods and we were told this was normal.
Detroit by this time was a single industry town. A monoculture.
By the turn of the century any serious Detroiter knew the end was near. Several auto companies collapsed in 2009 or so.
The city declared bankruptcy in 2013. Media analysts across the country were amazed.
Looking ahead, the 2020 census will find the population closer to half a million.
After the current generations fade there will be few who associate Detroit with auto manufacturing. Who today associates Liverpool, England with shipbuilding?
Life will go on with or without the real Detroit.