Thousands of skilled workers once designed and built luxurious cars at a 40-acre site on Detroit's near East Side. The Packard Motor Car Company, founded in 1899, closed the plant in 1956. The buildings -- factories, administration, service buildings -- survived for decades as rental space, but ultimately became Detroit's (and possibly the world's) largest and most notorious industrial urban ruin.
A favorite of graffiti artists, photographers, urban explorers and people wanting to be photographed there, the Packard plant echoes the great ruins of antiquity in its size and significance. The story of the Packard site includes the vandals and arsonists who hastened the decay of the buildings, but also the visitors who left their comments, their art work and their unrelated leavings behind.
The book features over 230 photos of the Packard buildings taken during the period 2009 to 2014 when it was wide open to urban explorers. The photos are dated and captioned so you can see the effects of time on the outside and the inside of these impressive buildings, most designed by Detroit's most famous architect, Albert Kahn. You also get maps of the site and the bizarre story of the site's disputed ownership and ultimate sale to a foreign developer.
Theresa Welsh is the author of "A Guide to Post-Industrial Detroit: Unconventional Tours of an Urban Landscape." Theresa and her husband David Welsh, professional photographers/writers, took up "urban exploring" in their retirement. They began photographing in a city they have lived in and worked in for over 40 years, documenting the many abandoned buildings and neighborhoods. They have made numerous trips to the Packard plant, where magnificent automobiles were once built, to experience it and photograph it.