The collapse of Detroit has become the story of legend – a once thriving and proud city having fallen into ruin. Urban explorers from around the world converge on Detroit to capture a glimpse of a city’s former glory. After hitting bottom, Detroit is now entering what many people call its Renaissance; the city is rapidly becoming a technology and entrepreneurial hotbed and continues to have a thriving arts scene. However, thousands of empty buildings (homes, schools, churches, factories, and more) continue to silently decay with the occasional visit from eager explorers and photographers.

Chris Luckhardt is a Canadian photographer, based in Toronto. Follow him on on Twitter and Facebook. See also his Abandoned Hashima Island pictures on TotallyCoolPix.

Urban Exploring in Detroit with Chris Luckhardt

Michigan Central Station is perhaps the most notable example of Detroit’s decay. The train station was built in 1912 and thrived for many years until it closed in 1988. Photo by Chris Luckhardt

Urban Exploring in Detroit with Chris Luckhardt

The station prominently features Beaux-Arts architecture with an 18-story tower reaching 70 meters in height. Photo by Chris Luckhardt

Urban Exploring in Detroit with Chris Luckhardt

The view from Michigan Central Station’s roof is breathtaking. Photo by Chris Luckhardt

Urban Exploring in Detroit with Chris Luckhardt

The station is, for the first time in 25 years, seeing improvements. Superficial renovations are being completed by the owner in what many are viewing as a political move to maintain his monopoly on border crossing revenues between Canada and the United States. Photo by Chris Luckhardt

Urban Exploring in Detroit with Chris Luckhardt

Originally used as a post office, the Roosevelt Warehouse became a storage facility for books and supplies as many of Detroit’s public schools closed. Photo by Chris Luckhardt

Urban Exploring in Detroit with Chris Luckhardt

A fire destroyed a considerable amount of books and supplies in 1987, leading to the building’s abandonment. In 2009, the frozen remains of an unidentified person were found by an urban explorer. The person’s body was encased in ice, except for his legs, which were sticking straight up out of the ice. Photo by Chris Luckhardt

Urban Exploring in Detroit with Chris Luckhardt

The Farwell Building, abandoned in 1984, is located in downtown Detroit. It’s known for it’s light court running through the center of the building. Photo by Chris Luckhardt

Urban Exploring in Detroit with Chris Luckhardt

Elements of the Farwell Building’s architecture bring to mind the work of M.C. Escher. Photo by Chris Luckhardt

Urban Exploring in Detroit with Chris Luckhardt

Looking down on the light court from the 5th floor. Photo by Chris Luckhardt

Urban Exploring in Detroit with Chris Luckhardt

The light court is perhaps the most photographed feature of the Farwell Building. Photo by Chris Luckhardt

Urban Exploring in Detroit with Chris Luckhardt

The rooftop of the Grand Trunk Cold Storage & Warehouse offers an impressive view of downtown Detroit from the north. The facility, used for railway storage, was built in 1928 and abandoned in 2002. Photo by Chris Luckhardt

Urban Exploring in Detroit with Chris Luckhardt

Urban explorers often stumble across many unique artifacts. This doll was found in the ballroom of Lee Plaza Hotel, a former upscale high-rise apartment with hotel services. The building was abandoned in the early 1990s after a brief time as a retirement home. Photo by Chris Luckhardt

Urban Exploring in Detroit with Chris Luckhardt

This accounting sheet from Lee Plaza Hotel shows the prices for a room on the 6th floor in 1968 ($175 is worth $1,185 in 2013). Photo by Chris Luckhardt

Urban Exploring in Detroit with Chris Luckhardt

My guide to Hashima Island visited Detroit in the summer of 2012 to do urban exploration. This photograph is from the Packard Plant, Detroit’s famously sprawling abandoned auto plant. Photo by Chris Luckhardt

Urban Exploring in Detroit with Chris Luckhardt

Anything can happen at the abandoned Packard Plant. There are boats and winnebagos on upper floors, large fires throughout the complex and, on this occasion, the random discovery of a video shoot by local thrash metal band Battlecross for their song Push Pull Destroy (the video features great views of the factory). Photo by Chris Luckhardt

Urban Exploring in Detroit with Chris Luckhardt

St. Agnes Church was built in 1924 with an adjoining girls school next door. At it’s peak, the church was home to over 1,600 members. After the famous 1967 riots, church attendance rapidly dropped, hosting only 162 members by 1986. Despite merging with another parish, the church’s low attendance, coupled with operating costs, lead to its closure in 2006. The church’s gothic architecture has fallen into rapid decay since its abandonment. Photo by Chris Luckhardt

Urban Exploring in Detroit with Chris Luckhardt

Detroit has seen many school closings as its population dwindles. Redford High School, once the high school of actor George C. Scott, opened in 1921 and closed in 2007. Photo by Chris Luckhardt

Urban Exploring in Detroit with Chris Luckhardt

St. Agnes School, connected to St. Agnes Church via tunnel, was closed in 2000 and used for storage and events. Photo by Chris Luckhardt

Urban Exploring in Detroit with Chris Luckhardt

This doll was nailed to a pillar inside Visitation Catholic Church, last known as Wood Cathedral Church of God before it was abandoned in 2005. Surprisingly, the church is in relatively good condition considering the length of its abandonment. Photo by Chris Luckhardt

Urban Exploring in Detroit with Chris Luckhardt

Woodward Avenue Presbyterian, affectionately named “St. Curvy” by a Detroit urban explorer, prominently features pews and a balcony with a curved design under a large octagonal sanctuary. Photo by Chris Luckhardt