Tired & Retired: Detroit’s Abandoned Arnold Home

Care Less Whispers

As time went by, age became more of a factor – not the age of the residents, mind you, the age of the Arnold Home itself. “There are inefficiencies of running a building this large and this old and the bottom line is the Medicaid rate doesn’t cover the cost of doing care here,” stated Julie Kaslly, administrator of the Arnold Home, in a July 2004 interview with Fox 2 News.

Home Lessness

The interview took place in the wake of the announcement that, after almost 75 years serving the needs of Detroit’s most vulnerable retirees, the Arnold Home would be closing down. By the end of September 2004, approximately 185 remaining residents were transferred to other facilities and roughly 300 employees were laid off. The only staff still on the payroll were security guards charged with keeping looters, squatters, vandals and unauthorized metal salvagers off the property.

Michigan Ragged

The security company’s contract expired in 2007 and was neither renewed nor re-tendered, which left the abandoned Arnold Home wide open to the depredations of the aforementioned destructive elements. Petty crime, prostitution and drug use flourished within once-hallowed halls while the city’s efforts to foreclose and demolish the complex languished in bureaucratic limbo.

The Termination

Those efforts took on new urgency in late 2011 when a ceiling collapsed over two scrap collectors… their lifeless bodies were recovered several days later. With that, it could no longer be denied that the Arnold Home, once a jewel in the crown of American end-of-life care, was now ending lives period. Demolition began in May of 2013 and was completed by the end of that summer.

Flickr member Nitram242 visited the abandoned Arnold Home in March of 2012, when the complex was nearing its nadir of deterioration. Selected excerpts from his striking 17-image photo set are included here under an Attribution 2.0 Generic Creative Commons license.