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Michigan!

O Michigan

The Spirit of America

August 2012

Perhaps more than any other state, Michigan has taken the brunt of America’s collapsing manufacturing economy. What was once a booming middle class has been decimated by years of auto plant closures, dragging along with it the supporting industries that make up Michigan’s core economy. The result is an entire state full of relics of a bygone era, when the working class could invest in leisure and spent their summers vacationing around the state.

Theme parks, resort towns, drive in theaters and other roadside attractions dot the county highways, all shells of their former selves. Ghost towns abandoned sites are abundant, especially in the north where the economy is almost entirely dependent on summer travel.

I spent a few weeks criss-crossing the state with no particular destination in mind, only a binder of information on possible sites and a willingness to detour and follow new leads as they came. The result is a portrait of Michigan that is both beautiful and melancholy, entombed in its own past and proud of its unique heritage and industries, decaying as they are.

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