Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Visiting the old Bob-Lo Island docks in Detroit

Word has it the S.S. Ste. Claire is docked at U.S. Steel in Ecorse undergoing restoration. The S.S. Columbia is being restored as well, and will one day service the Hudson River in New York.

Both used to reside here, at the foot of Clark Street in what wasn't always a mostly abandoned section of southwest Detroit. Driving out of downtown, the old docks are now sort of a Gateway into Delray (Spanish for "place of very tall weeds"). It feels strange somehow that the Bob-Lo Island sign is still painted on the wall.

I remember pretty clearly riding on those two boats, and being on the island itself, but I don't remember much detail about the Bob-Lo Island boat docks. But I do remember that there were a lot of people, and that alone sets it apart from today. These days, if you see even one person in that area, you tend to pick up the pace.

Not sure what happens behind the barbed wire these days; it looks like some kind of shipyard. Maybe one day the RiverWalk will extend this far west, although that would take the RiverWalk through some pretty sketchy areas. On the other hand, maybe one day this will be a footing for a new bridge to Canada. Or maybe it will just stay what it is, a place that used to be something else.

It'll never be the Bob-Lo docks again. I just kind of wish they'd paint over the sign.