ABANDONED MICHIGAN: Structures of Delray Neighborhood, Detroit
Delray is a neighborhood and former village, on Detroit’s southwest side. It is basically an entity of itself, isolated from the rest of the city.
Delray was first platted as "Belgrade" in 1836. Augustus D. Burdeno returned from the Mexican–American War on October 14, 1851 and convinced other residents to rename the town "Del Rey". Reason being, he came across a Mexican village with that name during the war.
In 1870 the town got its own post office and salt was currently being mined. Soon, companies, industries, and factories began popping up in Delray, thanks to its location near the Detroit River and railroad lines to Canada. Delray was finally incorporated as a village in 1897.
By 1930, Delray had 23,000 residents. In 1939, a wastewater plant opened in the area, which led to many neighborhood homes being demolished and Delray’s first huge population decrease. Soon, many others moved out, thanks to the pollution and neighborhood decay caused by the factories and industrial complexes that moved in decades earlier. When residents were able to move out, they did…and many didn’t bother to fix up their old houses…they just wanted out.
Fast-forward to the 1950s-1960s. When I-75 was under construction, it was deemed necessary for many more Delray homes to be bulldozed. The neighborhood was described by the Detroit Metro Times as "the closest thing to a ghost town within a city”.
And, during the recession of the late 2000s, many business shut down. In the past few years, many of the neighborhood blocks have been bulldozed, eliminating many homes and trees, leaving wide open spaces.
Take a look at pictures and video below of the former village – now neighborhood – of Delray.