It’s like the Henry Ford, only with the honesty of graffiti and neglect.
Even if you know Flat Rock, you might not know about this train yard. It’s not very big and it’s sort of off a side street that doesn’t have much of anything on it besides this little twin track space and a building that used to take rail traffic. These empty cars were just left to rust and their molecules returned to the earth by the longest possible route.
Across the road, an angry Mother Nature looks on, patiently waiting to reclaim what was hers. Her sentinels already seem to be stretching out to take back these cars.
The Great Ghost
Here we have the place that Cthulu would erupt from, if he bothered to be at such a place.
That’s where my cousin worked, before they went under. He got another job, at another place that went under. Thus did the journey of his death begin, with a lack of funds and spiritual loss, leading to not being able to see a doctor, spiraling problems and the eventual end. Good thing we don’t have socialized medicine, otherwise a good man that everyone liked might have lived. Who wants that?
Well, enough of that! Let’s get to the big thing shall we, the thing I’ve been building up to. The grand monument of a town that is dying right before our eyes, let’s get to where the shopping plaza used to be…
Used to be a Food Town here. Until it closed and they took every thing out. Was a drug store too, once upon a time. I neglected to get a good shot, but there was also once a Kmart here. That too is gone, they’ve all gone. Gone to Hemingford Home, or if not there, then away to Boulder.
I’m not naïve enough to believe they’re cleaning the place up to refurbish it. This is a dead spot. You can feel it when you step over it. It’s a shunned place. Even the teenagers don’t hang out here.
I’ll be honest, it doesn’t much matter to me if anyone is looking at these particular posts. I’ve just got to get his out so anyone interested will understand what my problem is with a place that seems to be just trying to get by. I don’t know if it’s going to fully come through, and I don’t really care. I’ve got to get it done.
Becoming a Ghost Town
The School my mother went to.
Flat Rock’s Public School! Actually, I believe this building is just administration now. There is a larger building for school. You’ll notice that the building says A.D. 1911 on it. That’s not a ‘good old days’ thing, Flat Rock gets so excited when they build something new they stamp the date on it. The Rite Aid that was built in 1999 has the date it was built on it. I didn’t get a picture, but it’s true.
More crumbling masonry. Sad, my grandfather was a Mason, would he have stood for this when he lived there? Probably, the Free Masons didn’t really muck around with brickwork much when he was a member.
I only point it out because as I said before, this defines the place for me more than anything else does. The place is defined by the word “crumbling” in my mind. Even the stone can’t keep the forces away.
I heightened the color here so you can make out all the places where bricks have been replaced and things have been torn out and changed. Also you can clearly see all the windows that have been covered.
If you know your trends in building materials, you can even tell when they replaced the big windows with these little portals. Mid 80s to very early 90s. You can tell because you could conceivably open these. After the mid 90s they’d have been completely sealed, no question.
Again, I have to ask, why? Did the wide-open windows let in too much light? Could they be opened and allow fresh air to come in? Did they just make the place feel more like a place where a young soul could learn and grow and less like a prison? WHY?
Again, someone gave a shit once. But not much of one, as you can see (I didn’t, but pointed it out.) the lines on the name plate saying Flat Rock don’t match the columns. I think the name pieces might be replacements, put in after people stopped caring.
Let’s get on with the tour, shall we?
Evertime I have to go back, I keep saying that I shouldn’t have to go back again. Each time is a funeral, and I keep thinking that there is no one left in that place. Flat Rock isn’t exactly a dead town, but it always feels like its breathing its last. It’s a depressing place to go in the first place, made more so by the sole reason I’ve gone there in the last few years. Even without the funerals, it would still be a depressing place, as I will now show you.
I keep saying I should take a camera and go down there, but no one in their right mind would go to Flat Rock. If you had something very precious, that everyone in the world was trying to steal from you, I’d suggest putting it in Flat Rock Michigan. Even if you told them you’d put it there, they wouldn’t believe that anything of value could be there and they wouldn’t want to go in there and get it even if they did. Flat Rock is not a place to go to, it’s a place to come from. My mother comes from there, and that’s why we have to keep going back.
So this time, because I knew we’d be there all day. I took a camera…
I’m going to say straight out at the beginning, I’m not going to be fair to this place. It’s not all as bad as I’m going to show, but that’s not really the point. This is Flat Rock as I see it and how it affects me.
But soft, let us see what awaits us as we move through the town…
“HEY WAIT!” I hear you cry, “Ever since those train tracks, you’ve been taking shots of far more scenic and picturesque Rockwood! Haven’t you?”
Well, yes, but in my defense, there isn’t actually a grocery store in Flat Rock anymore. The Food Mart is here in Rockwood and the freeway is right between the two towns AND my grandmother used to live on this side of town so this place is one of those spots of my youth. Also, when Mazda opened a plant in Flat Rock, they made a big national advertising campaign about it being the quintessential small American town and you can have a Mazda because Americans made it and all that. Only the place wasn’t considered quintessential enough to actually be in the commercial. Not a single frame of the commercials were actually shot in Flat Rock.
From here on out, there will be only shots of Flat Rock, promise.